What I went through as an anorexic teenage girl

By Siani Nunez
December 7, 2021

I have always loved food, but I never connected my love for it to my body image. 

Until I was 15-years-old.

I developed orthorexia and anorexia at the same time.

The National Eating Disorders Association defines orthorexia as an “obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating.” The Mayo Clinic says that anorexia is an “eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.”

I was so insecure about my body, comparing my stomach pouch to the board-washed abs of Instagram girls. As a Latina, I was ashamed of my flat butt and wished for a bigger one to make me seem desirable. 

Cake was one of my fear foods. Photo by Ana Nunez.

That’s why I started to pay attention to my weight and consume myself with anorexic (ANA) pages on Tumblr and Pinterest that promoted harmful eating disorders. It was like the people who promote eating disorders slowly dragged me into their world.

I was always thin growing up, but my perception of my body completely changed. Instead of loving it, I was ashamed of it. I began to experience body dysmorphia as a result.

I starved myself into oblivion and exercised like crazy, in spite of the fact that I had zero energy and felt extremely weak. 

I restricted my diet to low-calorie and low-fat foods like rice cakes and vegetables and truthfully, I hated every second of it. My body was telling me to just eat the foods I wanted, like sugary, processed foods, but I didn’t allow myself to. I was an irritable person because of that.

A typical meal for me: rice, beans, chicken and vegetables. Photo by Siani Nunez.

I would weigh myself after every meal, and if I gained even an ounce of weight, I would call myself fat and feel so ashamed of myself. I became extremely pessimistic and depressed.

On the other hand, if I lost even a fraction of a pound, I celebrated and felt so happy, like life was “good again.”

This is how eating disorders work. They take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and a horrible obsession with food, in a way that you fear being around it in case you “lose control” and binge.

Now, I enjoy ALL of my meals. Photo by Ana Nunez.

I wondered, “Why am I the only person struggling with this? Why is it so hard for me to lose weight? Why don’t I feel beautiful?”

Luckily, when I was 17-years-old, I realized that I wasn’t the only person experiencing eating disorders and a bad body image.

I came across positive social media accounts that helped people in recovery from their eating disorders by being less restrictive with their foods and focusing on their health, not their weight.

Slowly, I rediscovered my passion for food again. I started going out to restaurants, cooking at home and eating plenty of high-calorie, processed foods; I regained my life.

This is not a piece written for pity and “fake wellness culture.” This is for the people who have gone through eating disorders and never asked for help- this is for you. 

Please open up and share what you feel. It’s scary, I know. But trust me when I say that it lifts all of your burdens off from you. 

You can and will be able to enjoy food and love your body again.

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Siani Nunez

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