Music & Culture
Written by Nicole | June 9, 2011
Anorexia is an incredibly dangerous psychological disorder that kills thousands of girls each year. Many start out with just wanting to ‘lose a couple pounds’ but then many times it turns into a life-threatening disease. When I was 15-18 I was very obsessed with my weight, and even when I was skinny, my modeling agent wanted me to lose weight.
I was obsessed with counting calories, and I remember one time I went on a fast for three days when all I ate or drank was water. I felt weak, self-conscious and wasn’t comfortable in my body. I wanted to look like the stick-thin runway models I thought were so beautiful. It took a few years to finally appreciate my curves and to be completely happy with my weight.
Now I don’t diet. I just eat until I feel content but not overly full. It’s so important to get help if you are struggling with an eating disorder before it’s too late. Your heart can actually stop when you’re starving yourself. Here are some signs and symptoms of anorexia according to helpguide.org:
Anorexic behavior signs and symptoms
- Dieting despite being thin – Following a severely restricted diet. Eating only certain low-calorie foods. Banning “bad” foods such as carbohydrates and fats.
- Obsession with calories, fat grams, and nutrition – Reading food labels, measuring and weighing portions, keeping a food diary, reading diet books.
- Pretending to eat or lying about eating – Hiding, playing with, or throwing away food to avoid eating. Making excuses to get out of meals (“I had a huge lunch” or “My stomach isn’t feeling good.”).
- Preoccupation with food – Constantly thinking about food. Cooking for others, collecting recipes, reading food magazines, or making meal plans while eating very little.
- Strange or secretive food rituals – Refusing to eat around others or in public places. Eating in rigid, ritualistic ways (e.g. cutting food “just so”, chewing food and spitting it out, using a specific plate).
Anorexic appearance and body image signs and symptoms
- Dramatic weight loss – Rapid, drastic weight loss with no medical cause.
- Feeling fat, despite being underweight – You may feel overweight in general or just “too fat” in certain places such as the stomach, hips, or thighs.
- Fixation on body image – Obsessed with weight, body shape, or clothing size. Frequent weigh-ins and concern over tiny fluctuations in weight.
- Harshly critical of appearance – Spending a lot of time in front of the mirror checking for flaws. There’s always something to criticize. You’re never thin enough.
- Denial that you’re too thin – You may deny that your low body weight is a problem, while trying to conceal it (drinking a lot of water before being weighed, wearing baggy or oversized clothes).
Purging signs and symptoms
- Using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics – Abusing water pills, herbal appetite suppressants, prescription stimulants, ipecac syrup, and other drugs for weight loss.
- Throwing up after eating – Frequently disappearing after meals or going to the bathroom. May run the water to disguise sounds of vomiting or reappear smelling like mouthwash or mints.
- Compulsive exercising – Following a punishing exercise regimen aimed at burning calories. Exercising through injuries, illness, and bad weather. Working out extra hard after bingeing or eating something “bad.”
Some of the physical effects of anorexia include:
- Severe mood swings; depression
- Lack of energy and weakness
- Slowed thinking; poor memory
- Dry, yellowish skin and brittle nails
- Constipation and bloating
- Tooth decay and gum damage
- Dizziness, fainting, and headaches
- Growth of fine hair all over the body and face
Here are two pictures of me when I was at my skinniest. I took this picture because my agent wanted to see if I lost any weight. The second picture is me out at a club in Hollywood with the infamously gross Andy Dick. I definitely hung out with many celebrities including weird ones, and I’m so happy I’m permanently out of the Devil’s Playground.
The girl in this video is a spokesperson for anorexia. She explains how it almost killed her. It may be extremely hard to watch, but it’s important you do to stay strong and not develop anorexia if you’re at risk. Don’t let it take over your life.
Do you struggle with an eating disorder? If you do, you’re not alone. I’m hoping through my testimony that you can be strong enough, too, to overcome this dangerous illness.