Carrots: My Anorexic Obsession

Sarah McMahon
4 min readSep 23, 2018
Me & my stuffed carrot, Tommy

Carrots are an American produce staple. We dip them in ranch. We pair them with celery and hummus. We add them to soups and curl them all fancy like on top of salads. We feed our elderly mushy steamed carrots to compensate for their lack of teeth.

Carrots are not all that significant. One serving of baby carrots (about 8) contains 30 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber and more than double the daily recommended vision-boosting vitamin A. When I was deep in the dredges of my eating disorder, I routinely ate roughly five pounds of carrots each week — not normal in case you were wondering. I ate carrots for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. If I ate other “safe” foods, I would pair them with carrots to feel less hungry.

One of the worst parts of my eating disorder was constantly feeling hungry and never feeling satiated. Even when I ate, I was simply less hungry than I was prior to eating. And, I discovered something most people probably don’t know about eating, which is that if you don’t eat for long enough and go through all the stages of hunger, from nibbly to famished to starving, you begin to not feel hungry anymore. The feeling simply disappears (for a while, it always returns). Over the years, I fine-tuned the exact moment I needed to stop eating to not feel anything.

I often felt as if I controlled nothing in my life, but I damn sure could control what I ate. The more restraint I felt in other areas of my life, the more rigid I was about food. And when my boyfriend mentioned that I was looking too thin and that he was scared? Extra bonus points for me! That is fucked up and weird, and a bit hard to understand. My obsession with carrots was also weird, and eventually turned the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet an orange-ish tint. As I slowly learned to nourish myself, I decreased my carrot consumption. My carrot quota has been filled.

I thought that by controlling my body, I was solving my problems. I think people do this far more often than we realize. We try to control our partner instead of learning to trust them, to have that Instagram-holding-hands-on-the-beach relationship we think is happiness. We think that by controlling what other people see of us, we can control their perceptions of us as cool or put together or amazing, even if we don’t feel any of those…