How I Came Out to My Mexican Mom About My Eating Disorder

In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week taking place February 22-28 this year, I want to share my story with the Her Campus community. I hope to inspire anyone struggling with an eating disorder to take that leap of faith and reach out for help

I have been battling an eating disorder since my freshman year of college. I didn’t know what an eating disorder was; nonetheless, did I know about NEDA. I first heard about NEDA when shopping at Aerie during the month of February. The store associate asked me if I wanted to round up my total to support the NEDA foundation. At this moment, something clicked because I realized I wasn’t alone. Nobody knew about my condition except for my dietician and therapist. I can’t pinpoint the exact day my eating disorder started, and I don’t know when it’ll end, but I’m on a journey towards recovery. 

Celina Timmerman-Oversized Tshirt And Cup Celina Timmerman / Her Campus

Let’s take it back a few months. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I moved back home to be closer to my family. I loved being at home, but it became difficult for me to enjoy family meals. As a Latina, I grew up watching my mom recreate all of the recipes she learned from my grandma in Mexico City. My mom loves to cook, but I established a cooking routine of my own while in college. I cut out many items from my diet, and I didn’t know how to tell her I stopped eating certain things like tortillas and red meat. 

 

During this time, I was going to therapy. I kept telling my therapist I was looking for the ‘perfect time’ to open up to my mom about my eating disorder. But the truth is there was never going to be a perfect time. I kept putting it off. I couldn’t tell my mom because I didn’t know where to start. I also feared that I would worry her when it was time for me to live on my own again. I even had to Google search how to say “eating disorder in Spanish.” I didn’t know how to tell my mom, who loves to cook, that I have a problem with food. 

Grandma baking with granddaughter Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I kept quiet and waited for the perfect time to roll around. As 2020 came to an end, I wanted to start the new year off fresh. I didn’t want to take my eating disorder silence into the new year, so I braced myself and came downstairs to the kitchen one morning and simply told her, “te puedo decir algo?” Can I tell you something? I didn’t practice, but I just told her how I felt. With tears, I finally said, “tengo un desorden alimenticio.” I have an eating disorder. I opened myself up to speak about something I would have never said out loud. The one thing I did prepare was a list of Spanish podcasts on topics about eating disorders. 

Phone and headphones with Spotify open https://unsplash.com/@fixelgraphy?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText

Telling my mom about my eating disorder was probably the hardest thing I had to do in 2020. But so much weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m proud of myself. I deserve recovery. It feels so much better to let others in. I now have my mom in my corner rooting for me. I was worried about how she would react because of our cultural background. Mental health topics are often stigmatized in the Latinx community, and food is a central part of my Mexican heritage. But I learned there’s never going to be a perfect time.