How to Quit Pro Ana

Most people who are addicted to the world of pro-ana and pro-mia aren’t there because they believe eating disorders are lifestyles. They’re there because they’re hungry for understanding, for community, and for someone to make them believe that they aren’t crazy.

But there comes a point when we realize that pro-ana isn’t giving us what we came for. At that point, we’re so stuck in the world that it seems impossible to pull out.

Here’s five choices that helped me quit ana:

  1. Quit thinspo. Thinspiration is ana porn, leading you to objectify people, searching strangers for butterfly collarbones, and to have unrealistic expectations for yourself.
  2. Delete. Delete all documents, secret pinterest boards, blogs, tumblrs, memberships, and email accounts associated with your pro ana network. Unfollow pro ana blogs, bid adieu to ana buddies. Keep nothing.
  3. Resist the urge to lurk. Surfing the pro ana world without participating still affects you. Notice how you feel after wading through ana/mia propaganda for an hour. Empowered? Encouraged? Probably not.
  4. Distinguish fake love from real love. “Stay strong, lovelies” is the song of the day, and you do feel a sort of love for fellow ana and mias, but it is a selfish love. We are promoting potentially fatal choices. That’s not love. It’s a fondling hatred.
  5. Fight the fantasy. Transformation is the pro ana’s god, but if you visit the community again after five years, everyone will still be wrestling the same demons. Nobody will have transformed into a skeletal angel. There is no transformation, there is only an eternity of ABC diet challenges and reblogged waifs. And that’s no way to live.

I wish you the best for your fight.

Have you fallen for some pro-ana myths? Find out here: Pro Ana: Mythbusting Questions.

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3 Ways to Quit the Self-Esteem Game

 

1. Stop monitoring your “self-care.” Sure, it’s wonderful to take a cinnamon bubble bath, read the Witches by Roald Dahl, knit toe socks, and otherwise nourish yourself, but self-care is a side-effect of enjoying God and glorifying Him, not the goal. Self-care is the fruit, not the tree.

2. Stop sweating to win. Guess what. There are people better at life than you. There will probably always be someone better than you. And even if you are the world-proclaimed champion of this-or-that, you’ll always be terrified that people will realize that you’re just you. So jump out of the game now. Stop faking strength or hiding strength, be honest about where and who you are, and start doing what you do for the glory of God rather than the glory of you.

3. Read Job or the first few chapters of Hosea. God is not comfortable. The self-esteem game pursues what you need for your recovery – a faithful significant other, a cookie, or alone time. But Jesus doesn’t preach healing through comfort and happiness, though He does promise healing. When we submit to Jesus, our lives fall apart. Old routines split like plastic grocery bags, spilling treasured dreams like eggs in the middle of the parking lot. But it’s only through the process of losing ourselves and our comfort that we are forced to rely on Jesus, and it’s only in His arms that we find healing.

Why isn’t self-esteem the answer?  Here’s what I think.

What do you think about high self-esteem? Is it really necessary for recovery, or is there a better path toward healing? Spark the conversation with a comment!

How Shakespeare Can Teach You About Recovery

Self-help books, blogs, TV shows, and fabulous online magazines (like this one!) have their place, but they can never bring fully healing. An idea may challenge your perspective (Women Food and God by Geneen Roth rocked my world), but if you find yourself obsessively consuming self-help material, it may be because your eating disorder is feeding on it. In recovery, it’s easy to put all the focus on your eating disorder, when recovery is about embracing a big, fat, juicy life – with so many other facets and streaks of rainbow than bulimia/anorexia/compulsive-overeating. You need to shoot cracks in the walls of your eating disorder centered world.

How? Take a hammer. Read Shakespeare. Pick up an interesting novel and voraciously consume it. Put a book of poetry by your bed and read a poem each night before you sleep. Find a blog on something unrelated to your ED: knitting, writing, art, or mothering. Listen to a band unrelated to self-esteem issues.

Disorders are suffocating. What you’re doing is opening a window.

THE LISTS

Pick one from each list and request it from your library. Right now. I dare you. 

Marvelous Poetry

Ogden Nash

Emily Dickenson

Walt Whitman

Shel Silverstein

Maya Angelou

Robert Frost

Lewis Carroll

Imaginative Classics

Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Light Princess by George MacDonald

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Breathtaking Modern Novels

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt