Pro-ED Websites

… actually exist. Did you know that? If you’ve read this blog post that I wrote back in Feb for Melinda Tankard Reist, you probably did.If you haven’t, please do! The more who know about this sort of thing going on, the better.

‘Pro-ana’, as it is affectionately called by many stuck in the eating disordered world is simply the promotion of Anorexia Nervosa as a lifestyle choice. You can therefore make a fair assumption of what ‘pro-mia’ means. Basically, there are hundreds of websites / communities within Live Journal / pages on Facebook etc where girls and guys (generally teenagers, but often children and adults also) encourage unhealthy weight loss behaviours, share “tips & tricks” in regards to purging, restricting and hiding weight loss, amongst other things.Not everyone who is involved in these sites encourages the weight loss. In fact, I’m quite sure that many people feel terrible about encouraging others in their ED – but will do so if it means they receive the same encouragement in return. People upload photos of themselves onto these sites – half-naked, ribs jutting out, spines showing, thigh gap apparent, shoulder blades prominent – apologising for how fat they look and saying how much more weight they need to lose. And people might tell them they are too thin, or even that they’re too big (these people are sicker than the ED’d, I reckon) and it’s just this ongoing competition which spirals ridiculously out of control.

So on Facebook ED accounts, people tend to have a pseudonym that identifies whether they are anorexic or bulimic – mine was ‘Graceful Ana’, for example. That account was deactivated a long, long time ago and I haven’t thought about it in quite a while either. L changed the password and then helped me to deactivate it.

I think I’m spurting all of this info out for a few reasons –

1) It’s so strange that these sites exist. And so terrible. People are dying as a result of eating disorders. People are very ill. And then these websites exist that only make one focus even more so on their ED. They are so wrong, and they make me so mad and I think the more people are aware of their existence, the better position we are in to do something about it. But I think also that the existence of these sites shows us how ill anoretics and bulimics are.

2) If you think your son or your daughter or your wife or your relative of any kind is looking at websites like this, you need to confront them. These websites only contribute to the downfall of the eating-disordered. And it’s a long, crappy climb back to normality.

3) If you are looking at pro-eating disordered sites, you need to tell someone. You need to tell someone because you won’t be able to stop if you try to do it on your own. You need to tell someone because you need to be kept accountable and even if you tell yourself you won’t log into that Facebook account anymore, your ED will whisper in your ear and coax you back by its side with its false sense of safety and security and control. This is a battle that is impossible to win alone.

There’s so much more I could talk about here but I think you’d be a little overwhelmed. Hopefully though, I have given you some idea of the nature of pro-eating disordered websites and armed you with a little knowledge about them too.

Bekah Xo.

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13 thoughts on “Pro-ED Websites

  1. Great informative post. On the upside, when I started this blog, I was totally unaware that recovery blogs exist. The media focuses way too much on the negative and almost advertises “pro-ana” websites by mentioning them all the time. It was only after I started my blog, that I realised how many people were “pro-recovery” if you will, I have found blogs like yours extremely helpful in aiding my initial steps into recovery, and I thank you for that. Xxx

    • You’re right. But I think that many, many people don’t even know about the existence of ED sites in general. Seriously, anything that you can think of that I can do to support you, please let me know X

      • Aw, thanks, that’s so kind 🙂
        Yeah you are right, I know people who have never heard of ED sites. The problem I have with the “negative” ones is, whenever I tell people (mostly nurses, doctors etc) that I have a blog where I am honest about my ED and that it is really helping me, they automatically assume that it’s one of the “pro-ana” ones! It would be good if somehow we could raise awareness of the positive ED recovery ones. xx

  2. I was shocked when i got online 2 years ago, I’ve lived the majority of my ED without ever coming into contact with these sites. The thought of actively wanting it, of seeking out tips and tricks, of celebrating it, makes my blood run cold.
    I think a lot of the pro ana community don’t actually have an Ed, they have BPD and are using the ED as another self harm tool, or they are people without eds who are struggling big time with body image and weight and have chosen to call it ED. Ed is genetic – cannot be chosen as a lifestyle, cannot be learnt. Someone with an ED who goes on a diet will have the ED bomb explode in their faces. Someone without it, might end up with some dangerously disordered eating but it’s a totally different kettle of fish.
    I take offence too, to misdiagnoses. To 200+pound people labelling themselves as ‘ana’ because it’s in their ‘thoughts’ or they see ana as a diet. NO. Your ‘diet’ is not an ED. If they want to label it, maybe EDNOS is more accurate.
    It goes way beyond this. I am a member of a watchdog community online. We specifically keep an eye out for the predators that prey on the Ed community. Think about it – it’s a predators dream. Lots of vulnerable young women who are friending anyone who might be ED at all, sight unseen, posting pic after pic of their half naked bodies for all to see (sadly they don’t seem to bother with privacy on these accounts) and very open to comments like “you are so thin” “you are so beautiful” and.. “You could lose more weight”… Sadly these girls often LISTEN to comments like this – they are desperate for ‘advice’ on how to lose more weight and having a ‘mentor’ who starts literally controlling them and demanding they lose more, eat less etc – it’s something they grab. Without realising that soon they might be controlled more than they ever thought possible.
    the latest predator we have been warning people about, collecting info and hard evidence on, and hopefully now that we have turned this over to police, getting OFF the internet – is a rapist, who preys on anorexic girls, plies them with alcohol, rapes them, photographs them, and uploads the photos to an anorexic fetish site. The stuff there is HORRIFIC. And sadly he is only the tip of the iceberg really. This has been going on for years and years. I cannot stress enough the importance of observing strict safety online. It’s dangerous enough to engage in the pro-ana community but PLEASE girls – please keep yourselves SAFE.

    • I just did a little research of my own and wow, there’s more of a crazy world out there than what thought. How can people be so seriously screwed in the head that this type of thing is a fetish for them and they exploit girls like that? pqowrjdfnsidjkfbedfbsdkfsd so ridiculously mad ad upset right now. so so so so mad. I just wish these girls knew that people have the potential to exploit them – and it’s just going to make their situation so much worse than what it already is.

      • me too.. it makes me sick, literally sick. all i can do is try and make a part of it safer if i can by raising awareness and if i can, getting authorities involved. It is so sick 😦

      • Well done you, such a worthwhile thing that you’re doing. But maybe someone needs to get amongst these girls in their accounts and let them know too, do you know what I mean?

      • YES and that is so important. I am doing that – and this has a bright side, it’s raised this again in a timely way and gotten the girls discussing predators and safety. BUT too often it seems to fall on deaf ears sadly. And there are so many millions of these girls out there.. just keep on plodding on I guess and hope that it helps. xx

  3. I wrote a similar post not long ago, because I was genuinely shocked & surprised that these sites existed.

    Like Fiona & Roxy, I was not influenced by the internet in any way when my Eating Disorder developed, I was completely unaware that people would actually encourage people to starve themselves. Shocking and saddening.

    I have found the recovery blogs on here an amazing source of support, and I suppose it’s quite easy to see how impressionable people could get sucked into a ‘pro-ana’ community but it’s just so dangerous. I didn’t know you were part of a watchdog Fiona, that’s an excellent idea, and you’re right – it’s so important to raise awareness.

    • For me it was more just the tip of the iceberg, would you believe it? I’d been wandering down the ED path for quite awhile when I read about them (IN A CHRISTIAN FICTION BOOK) and yeah, I lost it.

      The recovery blogs are much, much more helpful 🙂

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