I’m new here (TW: possible eating disorder?)

Hi everyone, I’m new here. I’m an 18-year-old girl and I’m just feeling really overwhelmed with a lot of issues lately, so I thought I’d give this forum a try.

First of all, I’m afraid I might be developing an eating disorder. I was super skinny as a kid, but I gained some weight during puberty and I’ve been struggling with how I look and feel since I was about 13. I know that weight gain is a totally normal part of puberty, but I still have a really complicated relationship with my body. I know I’m not fat (I’m 5’3” and between 105 and 110 pounds), but if I gain even a few pounds, it all goes straight to my belly. If I notice that I’ve put on even a little weight, I sometimes go on short little crash diets (like some days I’ll wake up and not eat anything until dinner).

I know this isn’t the right way to lose weight, but I sometimes catch myself doing this. I usually do it for a few days and lose a couple pounds (I think a lot of it is water weight). But then there are other days when I totally don’t care about my weight at all and I just eat tons of junk food. My mom is always nagging me to eat, and she always cooks these rich foods like lasagna and mac-and-cheese. I always end up gaining the weight right back within a couple weeks and then I just fall back in the cycle. Occasionally, I can’t sleep because I can’t stop touching my stomach.

The weird part is that I don’t think being skinny will make me prettier or anything; I personally think thick girls are sexy. I don’t want to be thin for anyone else. I just don’t like how my body feels lately. I feel gross when my tummy is squishing out from my jeans. I feel uncomfortable in shorts because my thighs are a bit jiggly. I don’t think I’m anorexic but I definitely don’t have good eating habits and I want to get help before it becomes a bigger problem. Thanks!


Hey @belled,

Welcome here! And congrats for sharing about what’s going on, for acknowledging that something might be wrong and need to change. As someone who struggled with eating disorders for a long time, I can tell that reaching out as early as possible is incredibly important. The more we dive into a specific cycle of thoughts and habits, the more it’s difficult to change it.

We’re not professionals here so no one is equipped to tell you if you are struggling with an eating disorder specifically. Though if you’re interested in receiving an official diagnosis (for some people, hearing that what we’re struggling with is/or isn’t what we think about can be a very powerful step in itself), I’d strongly encourage you to talk about it with a doctor - and even more, to persevere if you feel like the person in front of you doesn’t really understand what you’re talking about. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of misconceptions and stigmas around eating disorders that make it hard sometimes to find a professional who understands what’s going on, but thankfully there are people who understand.

I hear that your relationship with your own body is complicated and you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. It’s quite normal to look after a way to control that through the way you eat. As for your mom preparing a lot of rich foods, it’s also normal to try to compensate in some way. Those are definitely things I related to when I started to develop eating disorders. For me, it started with a huge discomfort in my own body (I wasn’t fat but not thin either as I grew up, which made me ashamed of my body) and just a diet. Though the diet became more and more restrictive, and the main goal became different over time. It wasn’t just “I want to feel better in my body”. It became “if I lost X pounds, I’ll be more confident/happy/loved”… which is when the train derailed for me. The limit between what we associate with our body/our physicality, and what we associate to our worth can be very fragile sometimes. So if you notice that kind of thought, again I’d strongly encourage you to talk about it to a doctor.

Overall, the cycle of eating/restricting yourself can also be a trap. You have some kind of unsaid standards in your mind of what is acceptable to eat or not, and then you start to feel guilty for eating specific kind of food, or a certain amount of food. So you decide to compensate later. A good thing is that you’re aware that not eating is not a solution. Indeed, it makes you lose water first and foremost, but even more it’s not a long-term solution. No human being can live that way. The only way to feel better in your body and with food (such as rich foods, which are not bad, it’s a matter of balance as for everything else) is to work on your relationship with your own body, and with food. So, jut a few thoughts/suggestions:

  • Avoid by all means any diet you would found on Internet or magazines. There really is a ton of sh*t out there said about food. Diets are almost a cultural thing, but if you feel vulnerable with your body already, it’s also a perfect recipe to create an unhealthy relationship with food, and just to feel even more distressed. There’s no such thing as bad or good food, unless you have a health condition. No such thing as food that makes us gain or lose weight instantly. It’s a matter of long-term balance, of being at peace with food.
  • Our bodies are incredible machines that are able to regulate themselves. A good starting point is to learn to be more aware of your body signals (hunger-satiety). Basically, to learn to eat more with your body, and less with your mind. Food isn’t about calories, just like your body isn’t a number on a scale. It’s about being more mindful in the way you eat, also to find pleasure in the foods you eat. Make your meals a special moment: take your time, enjoy the sight, the flavors, the textures.
  • If you’ve noticed that you weight yourself regularly, consider doing it less often.
  • Do you exercise? If you feel uncomfortable in your body, this might help. First to reconnect to your body, but also to feel more active in general. Exercising doesn’t make someone lose weight, so it shouldn’t be the purpose of doing it. But it can really be a way to feel better in your body. You know, just this “fresh” feeling after a good cardio or stretching session followed by a shower? Sometimes just doing this helps to improve how we feel for the rest of the day.
  • Consider talking to your mom about what you eat, the fact that you’d like more variety. But even more, why not cooking with her? You could share recipes, try new ways to cook, explore new tastes and flavors. She probably has her own habits because it’s pretty exhausting to look after ideas of things to cook. Maybe it would be good for both of you to make cooking something that you share together?
  • Try not to spend a day without eating, even if it feels good. Give something to your body, even if it’s not a lot. Having an empty stomach makes us crave for junk/rich food. That’s how we binge eat, and basically it creates a cycle of: restriction -> binges -> restrictions to compensate -> binges, etc. Be aware that this cycle exists, and it’s important to keep breaking it. On the opposite, if you eat a lot of junk food one day, try to keep in mind that it’s okay, that it won’t make you gain weight instantly. What matters is to keep back to eating regularly and not in a chaotic way the day after. Also to be aware of your body signals, as much as possible (you’re likely to naturally eat less the day after).
  • Look after ways to take care of your body. To be checking on your belly and the parts that make you uncomfortable is also something to break down, at your own pace, if you find yourself doing that often. You can try to keep a list of things that your body allows you to do - a kind of gratitude list. You can treat your body well: a good and warm bath, using a skin cream you like and taking your time to appply it, wearing clothes that make you feel confident. Just some examples. <3

More generally, the idea is to learn to be at peace with your body, through plenty of small changes and actions in your daily life, but also in your mind. Your body is not your enemy. Just like you are not defined by your weight or your body shape. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your body. But even more, don’t be afraid to reach out if you feel like this is likely to be out of your control. Nothing to be ashamed of, really. :heart:


The way you feel uncomfortable about your thys being jiggly- I know about how that feels…
That’s all I can reallly say… I am basically struggling in a way similar to you…


Thank you so much for this long and detailed answer! This is all excellent advice and I will take this all into consideration. I appreciate it so much. I’ll try all of this and I’ll probably come back here and let you know how it’s going.


It’s okay! Just knowing that someone else can relate makes me feel better. I hope you feel better soon, and I’m here for you if you need any help. <3



I’d love to hear how it’s going for you! In any case, take your time. Be gentle with yourself. :heart:

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