Who are Ana and Mia?

If you are in the fitness community on Twitter, Tumblr or any other social networking site, you’ve probably ran across two quite unsavory characters….Ana and Mia.

Cleverly disguised to be somewhat acceptable in the social media world-Ana and Mia are personified “nicknames” for the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. They are friends, as well as enemies- the respective devil on the shoulder of the person who suffers from them.

Now obviously, we all know what eating disorders are. We’ve learned about them, realized they are awful, and have moved on with our lives.  However you’d be surprised to see such a terrifyingly HUGE community on these social media sites of people, often young girls, creating anonymous accounts to post things like:

“Mia and Ana are in a competition to see who will kill me first.”

“take a look at what you’ve become, you’re a monster and you deserve to die.”

“all that in the fridge is failure! Is that what you want?”

“I can now count most of my ribs! #Proana”

“‘too fat to go to school tomorrow”

As well as posting photos like this:

These “thinspiration” photos are usually representing frail, delicate models or even normal girls, highlighting the ever coveted “thigh gap,” protruding bones, and always seeming to have somewhat of a somber tone. Sometimes there are quotes as well that promote starvation and self-hatred.

THIS MAKES ME SAD.

THIS MAKES ME ANGRY.

THIS MAKES ME WONDER WHERE WE WENT WRONG.

HOW did we, as a society, make it okay for girls to think they are nothing unless they are skin and bone? Young girls, 13 year old girls still not even used into their bodies yet, not even CLOSE to being overweight are absolutely hating themselves for not looking like a Victoria’s Secret model.

It wasn’t until starting my fitness-themed Twitter account Fit Strong Sexy that I realized this was a SERIOUS issue and affects way more girls than  I ever thought. It alarmed me. It woke me up to it all. I realized that the anonymity of it makes it so much easier for girls to post these things, whereas on their personal Facebook or Twitter accounts they would obviously be ridiculed or reprimanded. Girls take solace in these “pro ana/mia” communities to help each other “stay strong” and “starve on.”

Now, I’m not saying that this has never been an issue before, because I do know that it has. But the worrying part about all of this is that before the onslaught of the social media frenzy, there wasn’t such a unified online community as there is now, making it easy for girls all over the world to “bond” together, creating a sort of bubble of strength with other victims of these diseases.

The horrible part of it is that of course these girls striving for stick-thinness starve themselves then “fail,” “indulging” in a meal (because, well, we NEED TO EAT.) Consequentially, this screws the metabolism over and causes weight gain, which then turns into extreme forms of self-hatred and harm, and as you can see the vicious cycle continues.

We all need to realize that eating disorders are more than just something you learn about briefly in health class in high school, but they are real and way more prevalent than you think. Lately I’ve taken it as a mission of mine to encourage healthy habits that promote FITNESS and HEALTH. That’s why I love strength training so much- because you HAVE to eat in order to get strong and fit! Haven’t eaten all day? Good luck trying to hit a personal squat record! Basically your progress goes out the window if you don’t eat, and that is the ideal I try to promote. Not necessarily being “skinny.”

I wish all girls could realize that it is possible to have a fit, toned, slim body all while eating lots of healthy food that is used as FUEL! Because starving yourself isn’t sexy. Negativity and self-hatred isn’t attractive. Feeling that only in being “delicate, fragile, and light as a feather” can you be feminine is just absolutely false. 

It’s so important to start loving your body RIGHT NOW so you can treat it right by building strength and eating the right things, not to punish yourself for being “fat,” but because your body deserves all the love it can get! It’s the only one you have!

**And if anyone is out there that is currently suffering from this and wants advice to start living a fit lifestyle instead of a “pro ana/mia” lifestyle, do NOT hesitate to e-mail me (janinedemichele@gmail.com), find me on my Twitter account, or comment here. I want you to know that you are not worth the negativity and pain. You can be happy, healthy, fit, strong, and sexy WITHOUT starving yourself! 🙂 **

Love and positivity to all!

-Janine

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