Eating disorders are far more common than most of us think.
Those who have never had an eating disorder find it hard to understand those that suffer from one.
And those who suffer from an eating disorder often feel they are alone in their suffering.
Hopefully these songs about eating disorders can help both.
I hope they help those with a healthy relationship with food understand what the rest of us go through.
And I hope they help anyone with an eating disorder understand they are not alone and there is no shame in getting help.
Keep reading for a list of great songs about anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.
Table of Contents
- 1 Songs About Eating Disorders
- 1.1 Ana’s Song by Silverchair
- 1.2 Grapefruit by Tove Lo
- 1.3 Smaller Than This by Sara Kays
- 1.4 Pretty by Lauren Alaina
- 1.5 On My Mind (Binge Eating Disorder) by ElysianSoul
- 1.6 She’s Falling Apart by Lisa Loeb
- 1.7 I Lie Awake Every Night by James Vincent McMorrow
- 1.8 Eyesore by Maria Mena
- 1.9 High School by Sara Kays
- 1.10 The Food Song by Barbra Lica
- 1.11 Orange Juice by Melanie Martinez
- 1.12 Sugar & Ice by Elysian Soul
- 1.13 Skin And Bones by Mariana’s Trench
- 1.14 I Go Hungry by Mother Mother
- 1.15 Sober by Demi Lovato
- 1.16 Song About Anorexia by Devin Dennis
- 2 Songs About Anorexia And Bulimia: Final Thoughts
Songs About Eating Disorders
Here are 16 great songs about different types of eating disorders. I tried my best to include songs from as many different genres as I could, so that anyone can find at least a few songs that speak to them.
Ana’s Song by Silverchair
Silverchair’s Ana’s Song came out in 1999. Ana stands for anorexia. Silverchair’s lead singer Daniel Jones wrote this song about his anorexia. The song also mentions Princess Diana who struggled with the same disorder.
Ana’s Song is a sad, yet beautiful, number that resonated with many people, especially teenagers struggling with eating disorders.
It describes the devastating effects anorexia can have on your mental and physical health. It also describes how the world is obsessed with being thin and what a struggle it is to break free from ‘Ana’.
Grapefruit by Tove Lo
Grapefruit was written by Swedish singer and actress Tove Lo, who was asked to lose weight during her teenage modeling days. She became bulimic as a result of that phase.
Grapefruit is a food people commonly eat when they are trying to lose weight. For Tove, the fruit became a symbol of her eating disorder bulimia, and her unhealthy obsession with her weight.
Later, in 2021, when she was asked to lose weight for a film, the hunger pangs and starvation brought back those unhealthy memories. Tove said in an interview that it took her almost a decade to write Grapefruit.
The song is about her feelings of self-dislike when she looked at herself in the mirror and how all-consuming her eating disorder was. This is something many go through in their teen years, but surprisingly, not one of these songs about being nineteen talks about eating disorders.
Smaller Than This by Sara Kays
Sara Kays wrote this song about her struggle with bulimia. She always wished she was smaller than her current weight. She would set a goal for herself and work hard, but despite the had work and some success, she still always felt she looked the same as she did when she started.
The lyrics “I am chasing a body that I’ll never outrun” can be interpreted as the singer’s struggle with body image and self-esteem issues.
Her words depict the symptoms that people with anorexia bulimia often undergo. Sara Kays talks about extreme starvation and how she feels like a failure if she doesn’t skip breakfast and dinner.
Pretty by Lauren Alaina
Alaina’s Pretty has beautiful lyrics that will resonate with every anorexic:
All the other girls are thinner
So you skip another dinner
And tell yourself “It’s for your health”
What’s the matter with this picture?
Girl, deep down you know better
When Alaina was going through her anorexia and body image issues, her mom helped her by having her stand in front of the mirror and saying three great things about herself. She said that, at first, she could not say a single great thing about herself, which she felt was pathetic.
Pretty is an inspiration to all girls (not just the ones with eating disorders), because it talks about how people are beautiful when they do good deeds and have kind hearts and not because they are skinny or wear good clothes or makeup. In a sense, it is an empowering and uplifting song that celebrates self-love.
Alaina reiterates the fact that true beauty comes from within and not from external sources and that having good self-esteem and self-love are the real ingredients for a fulfilling life.
On My Mind (Binge Eating Disorder) by ElysianSoul
British singer and songwriter Elysian Soul has written several songs about various eating disorders. The song describes a typical binge-eater mentality of ‘let me binge-eat now, since I will starve myself tomorrow’.
Every binge eater feels the same – a hope that the morning will bring something new, but that is never the case. That is the typical all-or-nothing nature of bingeing.
She’s Falling Apart by Lisa Loeb
Lisa Loeb co-wrote She’s Falling Apart in 2002 with singer Thom Schuyler. Schuyler had someone in his life who was dealing with anorexia at the time.
Loeb agreed to write it, because she always wanted to write about depressed girls, girls with eating disorders, and those dealing with body image issues. Issues families deal with but are afraid to talk about.
The lyrics “she pulls up her sleeves” made Loeb’s fans think she was singing about a ‘cutter’, but Lisa clarified that they were about how an anorexic looks at her arms and feels they are too thin.
Loeb and Schuyler hoped the song would encourage listeners to reach out to others for support and to be honest with themselves about their own struggles. It also highlights the importance of self-care and self-compassion in times of difficulty.
I Lie Awake Every Night by James Vincent McMorrow
James Vincent McMorrow wrote I Lie Awake Every Night in 2016, as a hauntingly beautiful tribute to his struggles with bulimia as a teenager. It is an emotional and introspective song where the line “I lie awake every night” describes the singer’s profound loneliness and despair.
The Irish singer was even hospitalized at a mental health unit at one point when he weighed just 70 pounds.
Says McMorrow of that dark period: “I wasn’t coping well with life. I had no friends because I was unhappy and I was unhappy because I had no friends – like the chicken-and-egg story. I just wanted to control everything and my eating disorder made my life spiral out of control.”
Eyesore by Maria Mena
In Eyesore, Maria Mena refers to anorexia as Ana. The song is about how Ana starved her (Maria) of her youth. And despite knowing that Ana is bad, she has a voice and she calms the singer down.
Eyesore is a song that describes feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred. It also touches on the theme of societal pressure to look pretty and the damaging effects that can have on vulnerable people like the singer.
The singer also laments the fact that one’s worth is measured by the weighing scale. She says it will be okay and that she has now come to terms with the fact that she will always be an ‘’eyesore’. The song does not have any ending and may seem abrupt, but that is exactly how it is with anorexia – it takes a long time and a ton of patience to heal.
High School by Sara Kays
In High School, Sara Kays perfectly describes the angst a girl undergoes when she is 12 and just starting to transition into a teenager. Whether she is a size 3 or a size 10, she is always unhappy with her body.
And by the time she is 17, she still feels the same way, nothing has changed and she wishes she were anyone else but herself. This beautiful song with its haunting melody and upbeat music resonated with teenagers everywhere.
The Food Song by Barbra Lica
Many of us are guilty of overeating when we are stressed or anxious or happy. We often eat depending on the way we feel. The Food Song is an upbeat number depicting this relationship with food. It describes how “the singer eats it all” when she had a bad day.
Orange Juice by Melanie Martinez
“Your body is imperfectly perfect, everyone wants what the other one’s working.” This line perfectly describes a bulimic’s mindset.
In Orange Juice, Melanie Martinez describes a bulimic who orders oranges and clementines off the menu, because they are the only thing that won’t make her fat. Even then, she continues to shove her fingers into her throat to bring them back out.
The song explores the insecurity and self-hatred that make the singer indulge in her eating disorder.
Sugar & Ice by Elysian Soul
This is the second song on this list by Elysian Soul, a recovering anorexic and singer/songwriter from the UK. She mentioned on her YouTube channel that her music aims to reflect the hidden inner struggles of psychological disorders by externalizing the internal.
In Sugar & Ice, she depicts the contrasting nature of anorexia. Anorexia, says she, can be sweet like sugar if you give in to it and cold and unforgiving if you disobey it.
Skin And Bones by Mariana’s Trench
In Skin and Bones, the singer describes a bulimic closing the door, turning on the faucets, and puking their guts out. The bulimic is all skin and bones and the vomiting burns their throat, but still the disorder wins and they have no choice but to give it to its demands.
I Go Hungry by Mother Mother
In I Go Hungry, the singer talks about having a date on Friday. As a result, he won’t eat anything until then, so that his date can feel his skin and bones. It is one of the few songs dedicated to an anorexic male. Most people think that only girls suffer from eating disorders.
Sober by Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato wrote Sober in 2018, when she relapsed back into her addiction and her eating disorder, despite being sober for almost 6 years.
The song describes her struggle and the “feeling of being trapped” by her illness. In an interview, Demi said she wrote the song almost a week before she relapsed. Sober reached No. 47 on the Billboard Hot 100s chart.
Song About Anorexia by Devin Dennis
In Song About Anorexia, Devin describes a girl screaming for help. She knows she is at war with herself and with the food on the pantry shelf.
When anyone tries to help her, they end up giving up on her. The singer screams and begs for them to not give up on her. She even prays to god asking him to not give up on her. It is a heartbreaking song that will resonate deeply with someone with an eating disorder.
Songs About Anorexia And Bulimia: Final Thoughts
As mentioned, I tried to include songs about eating disorders from as many different genres as possible, but I know some are definitely underrepresented (or missing altogether). If you have suggestions for additional songs I should add, especially ones in genres missing from my list, please let me know in a comment below.
And if you (or someone you know) are suffering from an eating disorder and you don’t know where to turn, there are organizations that can help. One option is the non-profit ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders). You can find their website here, or call their helpline at: (888) 375-7767.
Finally, we also have an article similar to this one listing songs about suicidal thoughts. You can see that here.
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