This study uncovers the ways rural Appalachian Kentuckians adopt disordered eating patterns in highly motivated attempts to lose weight. The author engages with affective political ecology to explore what disordered eating is, what might produce it, and what it produces in others. This study utilized a mixed-methods approach. Pre-surveys (June 2020; n = 182) and post-surveys (March 2021; n = 56) included the twenty-six-question Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) to assess rates of disordered eating, along with demographic and food procurement questions. Participant observation and thirty-two (August–December 2020; n = 32) in-depth semi-structured interviews provide experiential and self-reported data about disordered eating behaviors. Twenty percent of survey respondents had a high overall score on the EAT-26. All interview participants reported engaging in and/or observing disordered eating behaviors in efforts to lose weight, which produced ripples of embodied experiences. Disordered eating slipped between bodily boundaries, altering the material and felt realities of family, friends, and coworkers of dieters. These data suggest high rates of disordered eating behaviors among participants, due primarily to dieting for weight loss. This counters the stereotype of the fat rural resident as lazy or unmotivated while offering fertile grounds for exploring affective political ecology and the sociality of disordered eating.

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