2. It will start to change your physical appearance subtly, starting with your skin. Your skin tone will become washed out, which you may not notice, but others surely will, and get used to hearing comments like “you look tired” and “are you feeling O.K.?” on a regular basis. The question may appear to come from compassion, but the tone is usually curious, and they’ll look at you like you have a third eye in the middle of your forehead. There are literally a dozen problems that arise on your skin alone from under-eating. I personally turned orange from eating too many carrots. My hands looked like I had screwed up with self-tanning lotion — except it wouldn’t wash off.
3. Bad breath and a discolored tongue may seem like easily hidden problems, but no matter how much sugarless gum you chew, if your stomach is empty, those acids are going to seep up and into the face of the guy you are chatting up.
4. Then there is the Lanugo hair. This is fine hair that begins to grow in unfortunate places on your body like your stomach and jaw. Good news though: It’s soft so when you’re making out with your boyfriend he won’t get scratched!
5. That hair may come in handy for another irritating symptom. When you have a low body fat you cannot keep yourself warm. YOU ARE ALWAYS COLD! This may seem minor, but when you can’t sit through a movie in an air-conditioned theater without shivering, imagine what it’s like on a brisk winter day. You feel like a corpse, and you look like one too.
6. Ironically, as your body hair sprouts, the hair on top of your head thins and becomes brittle. There is no escaping it, unless maybe you start using women’s Rogaine. That would awkward to explain at sleep-overs, eh? Where is that control over your body when half your hair comes out in your hand when you wash it in the shower?
7. Many anorexics subsist on a diet of vegetables. Some even try to disguise their issues behind the “vegan” lifestyle. Well, here’s another ugly truth. When you subsist on nothing but veggies and air, you become extremely gassy. To the point where you’re at school or a social event, and you are physically uncomfortable trying to hold it in. When you do let it out it smells ten-times worse than normal. So you’ve got bad odor coming out of both ends now. Perfume doesn’t help because the gas clings to the scent and overpower the nice-smelling bits. You’re essentially spraying yourself in eau de flatulence.
8. Sitting down on any hard-seated chair becomes painful after 15 minutes. I’m sure people at my high school thought I had a bladder problem with the amount of times I left to use the bathroom. Sores and bruises start to appear on your butt and lower back where your spine rubs against the seatback.
9. With your weakened immune system, you’ll get sick 10 times more. Head colds, flus, stomach viruses. You don’t want to be known as the girl who has to carry around two packs of tissues and nasal spray all the time.
10 This is kind of delving into the mental side, but it’s worth mentioning. If you abuse your body long-term with diet restriction, the chances of developing a serious or chronic health problem increase by the year. The older you get the harder it is on your body to be underweight. There’s no surprise in that revelation, but think about how that’s going to feel. Every time I get a weird pain or skin rash, I wonder if this is the day that I will have to go to the hospital for organ failure or some wholly avoidable issue that has afflicted me as a result of my neuroses. And you thought life was stressful before.
When you develop an eating disorder, it doesn’t become an element of your identity — it becomes your identity. Because food is necessary in order to live, it cannot be ignored. So making food the enemy is almost as bad as making air your foe. It is an exhausting and frustrating battle every second.