Anyone that struggles with an eating disorder faces an uphill battle, so it’s always encouraging to listen to songs about eating disorders to find added motivation to overcome the problem that you’re facing. So here are some of the best songs on this topic, which I hope will help you realize you’re not alone and put you on the path towards getting healthy and finding inner peace.
Songs About Eating Disorders
Let’s begin with a song by Nessa Barrett.
Dying on the Inside by Nessa Barrett
Nessa Barrett released this song to raise awareness about eating disorders, calling it “one of the most honest songs I’ve ever made.” The lyrics go into things people have said to her without knowing the struggle she was having with her eating disorder, and how many compliments she gets when she’s Dying on the Inside.
She’s afraid that if she quits, she will lose people she cares about, and even herself. It’s easy for an eating disorder to become a part of your identity, especially when other people are noticing it and perceive your weight loss as a good thing.
Every time she looks into the mirror, she doesn’t know who she is. She feels like there are demons in her head and they always come back no matter how hard she tries.
Prom Queen by Beach Bunny
Beach Bunny released this song about feeling the need to fit into the standards that society sets. She looks at blue-eyed and blonde-haired girls, thinking that life is easier for them and that if she were like them, she would be happy.
She feels that boys don’t pay attention to her because she isn’t skinny (or skinny “enough.”) She doesn’t know if she should try harder or if the perceived expectations should be lowered. She spends her days dissecting her insecurities and wishing she looked different. Her entire life she has been fed the words “beauty is pain” and been made to believe that looking a certain way would make her happy.
She doesn’t want to downplay the way she feels, but at the end of the song, she comes to the conclusion that she just wants to be okay. She feels like this needs to be taught to her, though, since all of her negative thoughts were taught to her as well.
Sippy Cup by Melanie Martinez
This is one of many songs on Melanie Martinez’s K-12 album with a title alluding to childhood, perhaps a commentary on how critical words are said around us from early ages, and so ingrained into our brains that we carry them into adulthood. This song tells the story of a dysfunctional family and how their relationship affected their child.
The song doesn’t exclusively refer to eating disorders, but to how all destructive behaviors are learned, even if years before they are implemented. She says, “kids are still depressed when you dress them up,” likely a reference to trying to fix the outside when the inside is what needs help. Problems don’t go away if you don’t address them.
“Pill diet, if they give you a new pill then you will buy it.” If we’re given or told something by someone we trust, we will subconsciously believe that it’s good for us. She seems to have developed an eating disorder from stress and grief, and she puts weights in her pockets when she goes to the doctor because she’s been taught to hide her struggles.
Pretty Hurts by Beyonce
Beyonce’s Pretty Hurts is a commentary on the pressure that women feel to be physically attractive. The music video portrays Beyonce competing in a pageant, taking diet pills, and overexercising while watching her fellow contestants eat cotton balls and partake in other unhealthy behaviors.
She doesn’t even know what she “should” look like, because, “TV say, ‘bigger is better’,” but, “Vogue says, ‘thinner is better.’” Halfway through the music video, a pageant judge asks her what her aspiration is in life. As she stutters trying to find an answer while clips of herself crying in the mirror and posing in front of trophies play, she finally settles on, “to be happy.” No crown or number on the scale will make anyone truly happy, “you break when the façade leaves you in the dark.”
She sings about how we always shine the light on our worst qualities, trying to fix them, but “perfection is a disease of a nation / it’s the soul that needs the surgery.” When asked about the song, Beyonce said it’s about digging deeper than surface level to find what matters to you. “It represents finding the one thing in the world that truly makes you happy.”
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Hating Your Body
Body by Julia Michaels
This song from Julia Michaels’ extended play (EP), “Inner Monologue” is just that—her inner monologue, particularly with thoughts she has about her body. She addresses opportunities she’s missed out on because of having a poor body image, and how she wishes she could see herself the way other people appear to when they compliment her.
She told Teen Vogue about the unique concept for her song, “nobody really talks about that intense toxic relationship with yourself. They talk about toxic relationships you have with other people, but I think the relationship you have with yourself can be the most toxic.”
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Toxic Relationships
Fat Funny Friend by Maddie Zahm
In this song, Maddie Zahm writes about her struggles with her body image and how she feels the need to compensate for weighing more than her friends by exaggerating her personality and making herself available. She wonders, “do they keep me around so their flaws seem silly?”
She sees herself as the comedic relief in the movies, waiting for the cue to join her friends, the main characters who always end up getting the guy. She doesn’t feel like it’s even worth explaining how she feels and what she’s going through because she knows they can’t relate to her.
She’s taken the title of being the “fat, funny, friend” and demotes her personal struggles when she’s around her friends because she already feels inferior to them. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many diets she tries; she still sees herself as below people who are skinnier than her.
Apparently, she never intended to release the song. Her mind was changed after she posted it on TikTok and saw the community she drew in that could relate to the raw lyrics.
God Must Hate Me by Catie Turner
Some of the truest words ever spoken are “comparison is the thief of joy.” People with eating disorders know this too well. This song is about looking at other people and thinking that God must hate you because you’ve got “ample mental illness and personality flaws while their only flaw seems to be that they have none at all.”
Our genetics aren’t our choice, and neither is the fact that “they don’t track how many steps it takes to burn off dessert.” It’s much easier to blame some metaphysical force for the way you are than trying to fix things that weren’t your fault to begin with.
Smaller Than This by Sara Kays
It’s common for people with restrictive eating disorders to feel like they need to be smaller, no matter how much weight they’ve lost this. Sara Kays knows this and says, “I’m chasing a body that I’ll never outrun.” She says that even though it’s not true, she feels like she’s the only one who feels this way.
She wakes up at the crack of dawn to go on runs and feels like she’s let herself down if she eats breakfast. She wishes she could be happy with how she looks, or at least find the reason that she isn’t. She is afraid that she won’t be able to drop the habit because of how far she’s lost herself in her disorder.
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Body Parts
Teen Idle by MARINA
The first thing to notice about this song is the intentional spelling of the word “idle” instead of “idol.” Idle means pointless and worthless, while the word idol means the exact opposite. In this song, Marina feels that her teen years were idle because she spent them trying to be an idol.
She wishes she’d been a “prom queen fighting for the title” instead of spending her teen years feeling “super, super, super, suicidal.” She says that she wants to be like the people who drink all night, carefree. She wants to eat angel cake, but it doesn’t matter because she’ll “puke it anyway.” She regrets spending her youth believing pretty lies to find ugly truths.
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Teenagers
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Being 17
- You Might Also Like: Songs About Being 19
Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara
This song is spoken from the perspective of an observer. Alessia Cara talks about a girl who’s always comparing herself to the women on magazine covers and trying to look like them. She wants to be noticed the way they are and feels like she needs to achieve the same (Photoshopped) look that she sees everywhere.
But she doesn’t understand that beauty is more than how she looks, and there’s something inside her that other people see, even if she doesn’t. And she doesn’t “need to change a thing, the world needs to change its heart.”
The pressure of beauty standards affects people everywhere, especially with the rise of social media. One good thing that has come from social media though, is more people are sharing their experiences and moments of vulnerability, reaching audiences who can relate to their songs about eating disorders.