Is This What An Eating Disorder Feels Like?

April 22, 2020

Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here. This is Zikoko’s What She Said.

Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their takes on everything from sex to politics right here.

This week I talk to a 20-year old lady who in her own words ‘just wants to vent’.

Hi there! 

I’m not sure if this is an actual problem. Especially right now. It’s like there are people dying o Funke* and this is what you are talking about. 

Lol, I haven’t even asked anything yet. 

I know, I know. It just felt right to acknowledge that given the current state of affairs in the world my issues aren’t exactly going to bring a tear to anyone’s eyes. 

Would you like that? 

No o I’m not looking for a pity party I just want to vent really. Ok maybe a little bit, for once I’d like to be able to talk about this and get sincere concern or even a genuine ‘pele’. I don’t know if anything I say is actually going to be publishable. Sorry in advance. 

I solemnly promise not to scoff. What do you want to talk about? 

I was reading about a girl who has an eating disorder the other day. She wasn’t anorexic or overeating so people nobody took her seriously until it started affecting her health. But every time she ate she’d go and stick a finger down her throat and throw up. Or sometimes she’d go for days barely eating anything, just drinking water and juices. And I just thought to myself yo this sounds like me. I don’t have any health problems, at least I think I don’t but I’ve struggled with my body image since I was a teenager and done some stupid things because of it. 

In your opinion what’s the most stupid thing you’ve done?

Had to be buying slimming tea. Someone in my hostel was selling them last year, she’s model slim and she claimed that’s what worked for her. For months that’s what I was drinking. I was drinking like four or five cups a day until I got an ulcer. I can remember the doctor asking me over and over again if there was anything I’d like to tell him. But I was with my mum so I didn’t mention the tea. To be honest I don’t know if it was the tea or the fact that I wasn’t eating that caused the ulcer. 

Ever tried anything else? 

See, I actually don’t have sense. When I was 13/14 I used to stick a finger down my throat to throw up anytime I ate something TV said could make you fat. Like cake or a pizza or if I just felt like I had eaten too much. I continued doing it till I was 16. 

What made you stop?

My sister caught on and reported me to my parents. It was a pretty big deal. My mum especially was so angry. She didn’t understand why I was doing it, she thought it was some form of rebellion. After my sister reported, anytime I ate in the house my mum would make me sit down in front of her for hours and monitor me when I went to the bathroom. Nobody ever asked me why I was doing it. 

Why were you doing it?

I’m not a large person. I’ve never been at least in theory. At my largest, I was probably a size 12 max 14. I’m currently a size 10. But I’m a little top-heavy so for certain clothes like button-down shirts. I sometimes have to buy a size 12. Anyway, I’m not a large person in theory but I’ve always felt like I was occupying more space in the world than was originally allocated to me by God. 

I am small-boned. I can tell from my wrists and ankles. Also, all the women in my family are tiny. My mum has had 4 children and is still a size 8, my sisters are probably size 2 and 0 accordingly. They are also not very tall, about 5’5” max. So when you see my mum and my two sisters they just look like three tiny triplets. Then there’s me, I’m the last child but I’m 5’10 and wear a size 10. My breasts are DDs theirs are B and C cups.

I don’t know if you get the picture. My sisters can swap clothes with each other and even my mum, but I can’t.  Even when they are shopping they leave me out because they think my taste is different from theirs but it’s not. I just can’t wear the clothes they wear because of my body. Do you get?

 

I get it, ever talked to them about it? 

I used to but I think it’s either I don’t know how to communicate how I feel or they don’t understand. They always make jokes about let’s say buying a particular dress so everyone can do and co then one of my sisters will say oh but Funke can’t wear this one o it won’t fit her. And someone else can reply don’t worry you’ll do and co with daddy. We are all girls and I’m not even close to my dad. None of us are, he’s hardly around. So I pretty much live in a college girls frat house. 

What’s that like? 

I’m 20, my immediate older sister is 21 and the one before her is 23. Our mum is 44, she got married pretty early. But she’s very jasi, she could pass for someone in her 30s. She has Instagram, Twitter and she has even just joined TikTok. She has a ‘my door is always open’ policy so nobody is really hiding to do anything. You can talk to her about anything boys, relationship, except sex sha I think that’s where she draws the line.

There’s no sneaking around, we don’t really have curfews and I can walk into her room right now and tell her I’m going clubbing. Well at least pre corona she won’t have batted an eyelid she’d just ask which club. She has jokes for days. But for as long as I can remember I’ve always felt like the fat kid in the popular girl’s clique who is the butt of all their jokes. My mum is the Queen B and my sisters are her cohorts. It’s not as if she’s mean or anything but I think because I don’t look like them it’s easy to be excluded. 

And you say it? 

I talk about it all the time but it’s always laughed off or comes across as whiny or annoying. I’ve tried talking to my mum ‘woman to woman’. The summary of what I told her was that I always felt excluded from the family. She replied that it was unfair to blame it on her on my sisters because I’m the one who excludes myself from things. But I don’t, they always conclude I don’t like something before they even ask me.

Back to your eating habits, what are they like now?

I wish I could say I’m over it and I’ve gotten to a point where I love my body, but I haven’t, so I’m always on some diet or weight loss experiment. Any time I tell myself I’m done with one, a new one pops up. I’m currently trying intermittent fasting. Before that, I was doing water fasts. Since I read that article I’ve just kept asking myself. Is this what an eating disorder feels like? Do I need help? Or do I just need someone to slap some sense into my head? 

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

February 15, 2021

Have you ever wondered why and how some women become side chicks? If they regret it or how they felt when they found out? Well, these twelve Nigerian women share their experience as side chicks. Amaka, 27 I was 21 and had just gotten out of University. I met him at my best friend’s party […]

August 17, 2020

The average woman working in Nigeria has a story or two to share about being assaulted in her workspace. The most common type of which is sexual assault. Today, we have a woman who speaks out on the physical and verbal assault she had to endure in her former workplace. How did you get the […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

April 10, 2021

With almost two years of being in existence, Sex Life has grown while staying true to its goal of exploring the sex lives of Nigerians. In the last one year and five months since Sex Life was created, we’ve spoken to about eighty Nigerians who are at different places in their lives, with different orintentations, […]

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

April 9, 2021

You’re at a job interview, answering all the questions and feeling yourself when the one person that hasn’t spoken throughout the meeting suddenly asks, “Why should we hire you?” If you’ve ever been in this situation and you didn’t know what to say, we’re sorry we didn’t write this earlier. Here are some of the […]

April 9, 2021

If you have ever considered getting into spoken word poetry and you did not know how to go about it, we are here for you. Just remember us when you blow. 1) Use burial music There is no spoken word performance without proper burial music. You might try to switch it up and use church […]

Recommended Quizzes

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

More from Her

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

workplace horror stories
April 9, 2021

Working in Nigeria is the ghetto. No shade to my boss. Last week, I asked Nigerian women to tell me the worst things they have experienced working in Nigeria. Here’s what eight of them had to say.  Jumoke, 25  My former boss used to gaslight me, to the extent that I began to doubt my […]

April 8, 2021

You want to know why the Nigerian women in your life do not iron clothes? Well, here are six very simple reasons. 1) Clothes Have you seen the clothes of an average Nigerian woman? Where do you expect them to start the ironing from? With all the ruffles, puffs and pleats. The clothes look like […]

April 6, 2021

The HER newsletter is a weekly Zikoko newsletter that comes out every Saturday by 2 p.m. Since we just got to 2k subscribers, we decided to explain the six types of HER Newsletter readers. 1) The early bird They read at exactly 2 p.m. every Saturday. They have no time to waste. The only thing […]

April 5, 2021

The series was initially to run through just the month of March, but we decided to extend it to April, and maybe even May. So, here’s what happened in March incase you missed it. 1) The Elevator: From Four Degrees in Finance To Multimedia Journalist In this story, Aisha Salaudeen talks about how she was […]

Alopecia loss of hair
April 1, 2021

As told to Mariam Last week, I asked Nigerian women to share their biggest insecurities with me for an article. Sandra* was one of the women that reached out to me. After she responded, I asked more questions and this is what she told me:  I was born with dreadlocks. When I was two years […]

Marriage married woman
March 31, 2021

As told to Mariam In my first month at Zikoko, I put a call out for Nigerian women to tell me about their proposals. Cynthia* was one of the women that reached out to me. I thought it was interesting that she was a bisexual married woman, and I wanted to know how that worked […]

March 31, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a Nigerian woman in her 50s. She talks about her difficult experience living with extended family, her relationship with her father and managing her mother’s mental health until she died.

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X