Pro Anorexia (Pro Ana) is a secret society of individuals who condone anorexia. They may not condone it for other individuals, but ultimately, they are encouraging, worsening or potentially starting eating disorders for themselves and millions of women and men around the world. They support and follow “Ana” rules and tips on a regular basis in a strive for the thinnest, most frail body to feed their mental illnesses and eating disorders.
They will sacrifice their well being, the rest of their confidence and their body to be thin, to be what they deem beautiful. Body parts with pertruding bones and concave skin are worshiped and glorified, and are what every woman should strive for, according to these websites. Without being thin, beauty is far beyond your grasps. Not to mention, it encourages community, friendships, self-discipline and beauty, and working hard to achieve that standard.
So, how can Pro Ana websites really be all that bad
1. Being thin is a gateway to a lifelong friendship with Ana!
Those who turn to Pro Ana websites are often those with a plummeting self-esteem, in search of a solution. They may initially be hit with the thought that thin = beautiful, and achieving beauty is a few pounds away! They are turning to Pro Ana to resolve self-consciousness and seek validation of themselves, within themselves.
Someone in the early stages of their eating disorder or progressing within it may be flung full force into this community and the support around them. Mentally ill individuals are supporting each other to act out unhealthy behaviours, without the interruption of conscious decision for future benefit. In these acts, they may find themselves feeling euphoric and will pursue the behaviours until they can no longer reverse the effects.
In summary, exposure to the images, quotes and support of the community, one, especially adolescent, may find a home for themselves where they feel they can express, destroy and cope with themselves. They may be determining the beginning of a lifelong eating disorder!
2. You will be living in a fairy tale of beauty!
In the evolution of this disorder, you may find yourself losing touch with reality. Suddenly, you are aware of more “flaws” within yourself that weren’t apparent before, and aren’t exactly realistically accurate.
Those actions that were once choice no longer are choice, they become habitual or ritual in your life, without the ability to cease them. In the process, you may find yourself wanting to stop, with no avail. Conscious decision is no longer within your hands, and you have Pro Ana communities to thank for your slow walk on death row.
The consistent restriction of nutrition will starve you of the abilities of your brain, causing great difficulty in everyday tasks, and seeing things for what they really are. Reality will no longer be in your grasps.
3. The tips, tricks, advice and exercises are very successful!
The websites and communities promote tips to lose extra weight and get through fasts in succession, all while reducing hunger tendencies. Many of these tidbits are successful and trick the human body into refusing food, worsening the eating disorder and spiral the obsession with food, weight and control. The continuous practice of these behaviours inevitably lead to all the awful physical symptoms of eating disorders, and the last one, which is death.
4. YOUR life is YOUR business! Privacy above all else!
A good portion of advice offered within communities are ways to conceal behaviours and preserve the on going nature of the eating disorder. It offers in house tricks to convince loved ones that you are eating food and keeping it down, even if you aren’t. It ruins relationships, trust and will rob you of your life. It distances the ones who care, and alters their mind into believing that you are well, ceasing them from providing you help out of your self-destructive hell.
5. A community will stand by you to lose that extra flab! You will never be alone!
A flow of constant individuals supporting your weight loss will cloud the negative nature of your eating disorder. The positive reinforcement that is continuous convinces your mind that this is okay, that this is natural, healthy and an intelligent decision. You will be assured by the dozens that you will be happy when you are skinny, but you won’t. Everyone involved in Pro Ana or who has an eating disorder is mentally ill and their perceptions are skewed because of it. Their support and comments are a reflection of their own spiral and loss of control.
But at the end of the day, you will always feel alone with yourself, your laptop, and your spiraling sickness.
6. There are many benefits of extreme weight loss!
Beauty is pain, right? That is true in the case of anorexia and bulimia. You will be so happy you lost those five extra pounds when you stare yourself back in the mirror, witnessing the clumps of hair falling from your scalp, and transferring as peach fuzz on your otherwise smooth skin. Your teeth will yellow, weaken and rot with the various attempts of rising food from your stomach up into the toilet bowl. You will constantly feel weak, tired and faint on a daily basis, becoming deficient and anemic. You will grow anxious in the confines of your bedroom, begging to leave but also to remain enclosed. Unhappiness and depression will become your closest friend, as you push away any human being that tries to get close. Your friends will insist you leave the house, but you know that safety is within those walls, and that the world only offers fat, your biggest fear. And when you finally choose to recover, eating will be the hardest decision you will have ever made.
In those moments, you will not be grateful for the hell you went through.
7. Comparing yourself to others is a good pastime!
The constant bombardment of images of overly thin women from your Pro Ana peers will convince you to compare yourself to any woman who walks by you. The thinner women will be the death of you, and you will perceive thicker women as thinner than you. You will find aesthetic “beauty” in passerbys, measuring yourself up to size, trying to conclude how many more pounds are in your vicinity to lose.
If being out and about isn’t enough, try having the community sharing their inner torment and self-destruction with you constantly. The images will become pornographic to you, bringing you euphoria aside of great shame. Suddenly, each individual struggling with an eating disorder is nothing but a number. Goal weight after goal weight, up to an ultimate goal weight, decorated by the digits that define their height, age and body mass index. Your peers will post images of their dying, decaying bodies, and you will ogle them, defining which aspects are your favourite. You may even advise them to lose more!
8. Being thin and not eating are signs of true willpower and success! You can never be too thin!
With extreme dieting and overuse of these abundant behaviours will lead to death. Being thin and “beautiful” will be the only thing you lived for, and it will have not been a good life. Death will be ugly, painful and agonizing, and as much as you will wish to the heavens for it to cease, you have been taken control of. You are no longer at the steering wheel, and this car is going full force into a fiery crash!
An eating disorder is a constant battle, day in and day out, with ourselves and our bodies, which we cannot escape. It is life or death, and may not seem worth fighting, but it truly is. At the end of an eating disorder is recovery, happiness, well being and a HELL OF A LOT of good food! You may have spent hours, days or years surfing these websites, trying to find where you fit in the world, when none of that was necessary. You were physically fine, healthy and most likely happy!
But now, as hard as it is, it’s time for recovery. It’s time to delete the heaps of images saved on your phone or on your laptop, delete your search history, delete Pro Ana songs, and kill what’s been eating you!
If you or anyone you know is consulting pro ana blogs or websites, please seek help from a professional or call a help line. Recovery is possible.