What is Pro Ana?
Pro ana anorexia is trend mostly among young women to share tips and pictures on social media through websites, Instagram, Twitter etc. Its name, Pro Ana, helps to personify the psychological disorder, anorexia nervosa, as if it were a real girl. Adherents of the Pro Ana movement believe extreme weight loss is a life choice. Influenced by celebrities and fashion, Pro Ana proponents are interested in "thinspiration". They often post pictures of thin celebrities and fashion models to encourage loosing weight. Along with photographs, Pro Ana proponents post tips on how to lose weight, many tips are extreme methods that could lead to starvation.
Pro Ana and Anorexia
Anorexia Nervosa is an established psychological disorder. People with this disorder often begin dieting that becomes an endless cycle of diets, exercise and the use of diet pills. It becomes an obsession, almost an addiction. People, mostly young women, with anorexia nervosa often have a skewered body image. They continue there extreme behaviors and can't break out of the pattern. Many people suffering from this disorder have a difficult time seeking treatment and a more difficult time maintaining a regular diet. With food so prevalent in socializing, many women with anorexia nervosa become isolated which increases their lack of self esteem that fuels the obsession for the disorder.
Pro Ana advocates are not necessarily anorexic as defined as a psychological disorder. Often advocates are simply trying to loose weight and share tips with others in the online community. This could lead to more extreme anorexic behavior and, in the meantime, can influence someone just reading the sites out of curiosity.
What are the Risks of Pro Ana Websites?
The appeal of Pro Ana websites are its biggest risk. Young people, in particular, can be easily influenced and persuaded. If a person has a tendency to be drawn to obsessive behavior and is not very social, he or she may want to seek out companionship and camaraderie with people on the internet who have the same feelings. Young people are vulnerable and open to exploitation. A Pro Ana site can help them feel understood. While it may be good to find support, it is certainly not good to find support with the potential to lead you down a self destructive path.
The Pro Ana movement does not just appeal to youths. Adults may seek it out to and fall into the obsessive pattern of losing weight. People seeking out Pro Ana sites without a predisposition to anorexia nervosa are called "wanarexics". They may be overweight and frustrated with conventional methods of loosing weight and seek out ways to lose it quickly. They search for tips that could lead to a severe eating disorder.
Are There Safe Pro Ana Anorexia Tips?
Not all of the advise on Pro Ana websites is detrimental to one's health. Some tips such as eat dense meals and drink a lot of water make sense. Most conventional diets encourage dieters to eat foods heavy in fiber and nutrients and to avoid foods with unnecessary calories such as soda and candy. Of course everyone should drink a lot of water each day.
You should chew your food a certain number of times, lay down your utensil and take a sip of water before chewing again. Most of the tips seem to create a complete focus on eating/not eating. If you put all of your time and effort into food what would your daily life be like?
The Pro Ana movement may not harm anyone intentionally but it certainly has the potential to do irreparable harm to vulnerable people. With the existence of social media, the movement is more popular and accessible than ever. It is important not to fall into the trap of excessive dieting. Even if you are not predisposed to the anorexic disorder, you could easily become obsessed with getting thin and that could lead to a serious problem.