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.

Pro Ana: Mythbusting Questions

I’m not pro-ana or pro-mia, but I used to be. Here are some answers to questions that I’ve heard bouncing around recoveryland.
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  • Does anyone who calls herself pro-ana or pro-mia have a real eating disorder?  Many people involved with the pro-ED community are just searching for companionship in a disorder they aren’t willing to give up yet.
  • Then why do pro-EDs call eating disorders a “lifestyle?” Personally, when I was involved with the community, it was comforting to believe that bulimia was an easy choice like vegetarianism or minimalism. I was already the queen of self-deception – “It’s not exactly lying to throw my pancakes under my little brothers’ chairs” and “stealing food doesn’t count if I purge it” – swallowing that lie was easy.
  • But aren’t there fakers that think anorexia is a diet? Of course. But how long do you think someone would last on an anorexic diet without either a) becoming anorexic or b) eating a pizza and moving on with their lives? (I wish recovery worked like that). Also, many “fakers” are just people trying to switch disorders, often Binge Eating Disorder for anorexia. They say they’ve already got the hell, so why not the body?
  • So are you saying we should allow pro ana and pro mia? No! Pro ana is wrong. It encourages people, often very young girls, to starve themselves to death or commit suicide trying. All I’m asking you to do is to soften your eyes when you look toward the world of ana/mia.

Above all, be compassionate. Look at the people, not just the problem.

Any more questions? Just ask!

Are you stuck in the world of pro ana or pro mia?  Check out How to Quit Pro Ana  or talk to me.

Planting First Thoughts

A gargantuan hill mounts before me, a monster of sidewalk and height. Yes, one mile up, steep enough to land you on your back. It’s 85 degrees, I have sweat running down my calves, and at the moment, I hate running. But my first thought as I face the Hill is: I can do this. I will do this.  I’m not an optimist of epic proportions. Trust me, at this point, I’m more likely to strangle myself with my shoelaces than chant a mantra. But I’ve learned to plant pockets of empowering thoughts along my run before I get to the challenge.

Early in my run, when I’m feeling strong and shiny, I coach myself. “When you get the the Hill, what will your first thought be?”

“I can do this.”

“When you’re tired and stupid with heat and you hit a wall, what will your first thought be?”

“I can do this.” 

And I can.

This technique works for recovery, too. You can plan ahead. “When I see a skinny, perfect woman and I look down at myself to compare, what will my first thought be?” “When I feel like all I want to die, what will my first thought be?” “When I open the refrigerator, what will my first thought be?”

“I am beautiful.”

“This too will pass.”

“I choose recovery.”

Create your own first thoughts. Something that touches you deep. Something you will respect enough in the heat of the moment to flip your attitude for. Over time, these thoughts become automatic, springing up to meet you whenever a trigger is tripped.

“I can do this,” is simple, but for me, it represents a mountain of effort. I can run three miles. I can mount the hill. So I have no excuse to shirk it. I’ve trained for these moments, I know I have the option to be strong. So how could I choose anything else? A single burst of truth can pierce the negative chatter and give you an open door to a different choice.