TRIGGER WARNING: This article, or pages it links to, contains information which may be upsetting to some people. If you are experiencing distress, depression or have an eating disorder please consider contacting Mental Health America – (703) 684-7722I or National Eating Disorders – (800) 931-2237 for support. For readers outside the U.S. we recommend searching the web for support in your area.
Music can be healing, therapeutic, and empowering. It can also be a way to express complex emotions and experiences.
For people living with eating disorders, music can offer support and insight. Sometimes the lyrics are poignant, sometimes funny, other times just plain. Below are ten songs about eating disorders.
“Paparazzi” – Lady Gaga
The song’s lyrics talk about the dangers of being in the public eye and the scrutiny that comes with it.
Gaga wrote the song to respond to the media’s constant obsession with her personal life. This song reminds people that those in the public eye are human and should also have a private life.
Gaga has spoken about her struggles with bulimia, and the song appears to talk about her experiences.
“Scars to Your Beautiful” – Alessia Cara
Eating disorders are severe mental disorders that can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
Alessia Cara sings about how society is so focused on perfection that people with eating disorders feel like they do not fit the societal norm and begin to think their body is “not good enough.”
However, the song says that no matter what anyone says or thinks about people with eating disorders, they are beautiful in their unique way. The song about eating disorders is a reminder that everyone is recovering and that there is beauty even when we are struggling.
“Eyesore” – Maria Mena
This song is about wanting revenge on someone who has hurt you in the past. In the song, Maria Mena sings about how she wants to hurt the person who has hurt her the same way they have hurt her.
“Eyesore” is about the anger and resentment that people with eating disorders feel. They feel like they do not deserve happiness.
The song says that the person with the eating disorder is as worthy of love and joy as anyone else.
“Courage” – Superchick
This song is about overcoming your fears, defying those who want to control you, and taking back the power of your life.
The lyrics are about how the singer will not let anyone tell her what to do, and she will be brave in the face of her fears.
This song talks about the courage it takes to overcome an eating disorder. It is often a difficult battle, but it is possible to win. It shows that people with eating disorders are not alone; their family and friends support them.
“Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus
This song is about a breakup and the singer’s recovery from heartbreak. Miley Cyrus speaks about how people should not be ashamed of their pain or sorrows and learn and grow from their experiences.
It is relevant to people with eating disorders because often, people with eating disorders feel ashamed of their condition and feel like they are the only person who is struggling.
The song reminds people that others understand what they are going through and are not alone.
“Skin and Bones” – Marianas Trench
The song is about a friendship that has gone sour because one of the friends no longer wants to be friends with the other.
Often, people try to hide their struggles from others. They feel uncomfortable with their condition and do not want anyone to know about their struggles.
This song reminds people that it is okay to be open and honest about your struggles and that you should not be ashamed of them.
“Sober” – Demi Lovato
The song is about a woman who fights with her boyfriend and drowns her sorrow in alcohol. The song talks about how after she gets drunk, her sadness goes away, but the next day when she wakes up, the pain comes back again.
Many people use alcohol for comfort when they are upset or sad. Demi Lovato tries to display how addiction and eating disorders often relate in the song.
Many people with eating disorders also struggle with addiction, whether to food, alcohol, or drugs.
“Beauty From Pain” – Superchick
This song is about how pain and suffering can lead to something beautiful. It discusses how sometimes it takes a tragedy or heartbreak to truly realize what you have in life and that once that happens, the person will truly appreciate their life.
When upset, people often resort to extreme measures, such as cutting, starving themselves, or purging after a breakup. Superchick shows that it is possible to recover from an eating disorder and hope for the future.
The song reminds people that those feelings are okay and okay to be upset, but the pain will not last forever.
“Buried Myself Alive” – The Used
The song talks about how the singer has been through a lot of pain in the past. They have hidden away from the world, so they do not have to feel the pain anymore.
Mostly, people with eating disorders do not want to open up about their struggles, just like how the singer has chosen to ignore their pain.
The song reminds people that it is okay to be open and honest about your struggles and always hope for the future.
“Cause and Effect” – Maria Mena
In this song, Maria Mena refuses to change herself to please someone else. They want to be true to themselves, and they will not let someone else control them.
This song is relevant to eating disorders because people often feel like they have to change themselves to please others.
They think that if they can lose weight or become thinner, everyone will like them. However, this song reminds people not to let someone else control their lives.
“Skinny Skinny” – Ashton Irwin
Ashton Irwin’s solo single “Skinny Skinny” tops the list of songs about eating disorders new to our blog. This compelling song discusses body dysmorphia and bulimia without sensationalizing them.
Men rarely admit to having eating disorders and body image issues. Ashton’s lyrics describe the torment he is suffering, and he shares his pain openly.
People are blamed for their mental health issues and are discouraged from getting help or sharing their stories. Ashton breaks down the barriers and encourages others to fight back.
“Prom Queen” – Beach Bunny
One of the more popular new indie pop songs about eating disorders is “Prom Queen.” Beach Bunny wanted to discuss serious issues such as the stress of adulthood and the impossible expectations for beauty in today’s society.
This song portrays a young girl struggling to achieve and maintain the prom queen image. Lead vocalist, Trifilio, sings about counting calories, mom jeans, and plastic wrap, and the prom queen is starving herself to be accepted.
“I Go Hungry” – Mother Mother
Another song that describes a man’s battle with an eating disorder is “I Go Hungry” by Mother Mother. It details a man’s struggle with self-image. The song also shows how people can sometimes lose control when trying to cope.
Those suffering from an eating disorder often think of nothing else and are consumed with the thoughts of becoming thinner.
The man in the song believes that he will find success once he becomes thinner and achieve everything he wants once he reaches the perfect weight, and this is not the way to achieve success.
Unfortunately, eating disorders in men are rarely discussed, and eating disorders do not discriminate and can happen to men or women.
“Hunger” – Florence & The Machine
“Hunger” is a song about an eating disorder that Florence Welsh had as a teenager, and she describes starving herself to understand the loneliness she was feeling. In her interviews, Florence mentions that she did not discuss her eating disorder with anyone, not even her mother.
Anorexia and eating disorders are very private battles that patients do not want to discuss. Florence wanted to make eating disorders part of the conversation and force people to recognize and talk about them.
“Control” – Alexisonfire
“Control” by Alexisonfire describes a person suffering from an eating disorder. They think they are in control, but they are not. People with body image issues think they look great the more weight they lose, and the people around them recognize that they look unhealthy and frail.
The song encourages the person to look past what they see in the mirror and value themselves as they are. Ignore the burden of achieving the perfect weight and be who you are. The song coaches the person to rejoice in their inner beauty.
“Invisible” – Skylar Grey
This song depicts the writer’s journey from invisible to invincible. Skylar wrote this song when she was a broke, starving artist. She felt invisible to the world. The song describes how she struggled with body image. She delves into recognizing your true self and the self that you show the rest of the world.
Many people can relate to feeling alone in a crowded room when no one knows the real you. The songwriter talks about trying everything to make people notice her, and nothing seems to work.
“Skycraper” – Demi Lovato
The vocalist struggled with an eating disorder and other mental health issues during the time that “Skyscraper” was created.
Demi released this prior to her breakdown and what followed. The meaning of the song was on her inner voices which repeated she wasn’t attractive enough, thin enough, or flawless enough, leading her to self harm and develop eating disorders. She has since declared that those thoughts are no longer in control and she has since overcome those particular issues.
Demi has continued to work on her mental health ever since, and she is also an outspoken supporter of people with mental health issues.
“Big Fat Lie” – Nicole Scherzinger
This is the lead single from Nicole Scherzinger’s second studio album of the same name. She is listed as a co-writer of this one song only off the whole album – which seems to be the most personal of them all. It was Scherzinger’s battle with an eating disorder served as the inspiration for this song.
Because it tells what seems to be the story of many facets of Nicole’s life, Scherzinger’s battles with an eating disorder served as the inspiration for this song.
“This is me being revealed at last. I believe we are all guilty of big, fat lies”, she states in an interview with Digital Spy.
Scherzinger initially discussed her eating disorder in a 2012 Behind the Music show on VH1 where said her bulimia became an addiction. She acknowledged that she had been dealing with the issue ever since she joined the Pussycat Dolls in 2004.
“Mary Jane” – Alanis Morissette
There are several interpretations of Morissette’s “Mary Jane.” She describes a woman trying to please everyone around her while ignoring her own needs. She mentions that she is losing weight but wonders for who she is losing the weight. She warns the woman that she is heading for difficult times if she continues on the same path.
The songwriter encourages Mary Jane to think about herself and to be selfish. She wants her to be honest and care for herself without worrying about everyone around her. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves.
“She’s Falling Apart” – Lisa Loeb
Lisa Loeb co-wrote this song with Nashville songwriter Thom Schuyler. He had a woman in his life that was suffering from anorexia, and he wanted to write a song about it.
The song describes the real battle that someone has with food. The body craves the nourishment it needs to survive, but the brain refuses, giving in to anorexia.
People that suffer from anorexia often pull away from their loved ones. It is easier to not go to the supper table than to explain why they are not eating.
“Starving For Attention” – Geri Karlstrom
This song portrays a young girl crying out for attention from her parents. She states that there is too much on her plate and that she is fading away. She is starving for her parent’s attention, and she is starving herself.
There is a point in the song where the songwriter mentions cutting, so the girl may also be cutting herself. She is crying out for her parent’s attention. You will shudder when you hear the last line, “She’s dying for your attention.”
Listening to songs about eating disorders can provide comfort, support, and healing. They remind people that they are not alone and always hope for a brighter future.
These songs are an essential part of the healing process and can help people feel more connected to others who are also struggling. Besides, they help people feel empowered and motivated to fight the condition.
So, if you are struggling with an eating disorder, be sure to give these songs a listen. They might change your life.
Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.