A terrifying trend

Wow. I was reading a feature story on msnbc.com today about this whole new “pro-ana” (pro-anorexia) revolution happening online these days. That, combined with the last episode of the always hilarious and witty “Boston Legal” that featured a “pro-ana” plantiff, made me very interested in learning more.

I googled “pro-ana” and found hundreds (maybe thousands) of websites devoted to losing weight. Apparently, many “pro-ana” supporters believe that anorexia is a lifestyle choice – not a disease. In their websites, they've found a place to network with other supporters to discuss their diets, new weightloss techniques, fasts and "thinspo" (inspirational images of emaciated models and celebrities).

This whole thing both scares me and makes me sad. Here are some of the comments that I read.

“With the holidays fast approaching, I know we all want to stick to our caloric restriction plans, and meet our goal weights. I thought we could post our stats, and goal weights. Maybe that will help us stay on track! Height: 5 feet Current Weight: 80 pounds Waist: 22 inches Hips: 29 inches Goal Weight by December 25th: 75 pounds I'm having a hard time lately because everyone is forcing food on me. Parties and family gatherings are the worst. Everyone's like, ‘Have a cookie,’ ‘Eat this, I made it myself.’ Great... guilt.”


“Evening peeps. Hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the weekend. Well I’m a big fat failure: Day Two of my lemon detox and I caved. Stuffed a whole flapjack into my body. 500 Calories. I almost passed out at the gym so thought hmmm I’ve a calorie target of 14,000 to burn by Christmas perhaps I should eat a little something seeing as I was running on the treadmill with what felt like a goldfish bowl on my head. Why did I choose such a rubbish option? Greed I guess :-( Anyhow managed to burn 1100 calories today. Didn't bother going to work hehe - 1h30 in the gym and 90 minutes Bickram…killer but YAY only 10,000 calories to go. Should I hate myself or be excused seeing as I worked hard at the gym. Obvioulsy I don't eat again today. I’d love to hear your thoughts and how anyone is getting on. Bye for now”

I can’t imagine. The pain. The agony. The hunger. The sadness.

I know there’s no stopping websites like this from popping up. I just hope parents out there are playing an active role in the children’s lives and watching their computer habits. Peer pressure and the need to fit it can take hold of anyone I suppose.

* As I was looking for a picture to accompany this post, I actually felt like I was going to vomit from seeing some of the photos. How can anybody think that's attractive?


M said...

I think it goes without saying, this is completely disturbing.

M said...

Just read this again, my heart truly goes out to them.

M said...

Here's a lovely quote from Kate Winslet:

“I hope that in some small way I’m able to say, ‘I’m a normal person, I’m doing all right.’ I’ve got a lovely husband and children and I didn’t lose weight to find those things, and those things are what should be important.”

This is very true. It's a shame that younger people won't realize this early enough. But I think it's well said.

Tiny said...

I love Kate Winslet. :)

Anonymous said...

wow - i had no idea that this "culture of support" existed, but i guess it makes sense. if it's justified as a "lifestyle", not a problem...then people living this life can certainly draw strength from each other in a powerful way.