ProAna Challenge: What did we learn?


We started the ProAna challenge back on May 24th. As “30 day challenge” comes to a close, what have we learned?

When I think back to all the posts going back and forth between the most active participants, I am left with the following conclusions:

1 We all made some great, new friends.

2 The vast majority of posts were positive in thought and very encouraging in nature.

3 I have to believe the challenge made you all stop, think and recognize your destructive behaviors. Even if you didn’t stop the behavior, you need to pat yourself on the back for any and all attempts to STOP. I congratulate you!

4 The web is very alluring. ProAna sites are a huge part of your lives. Your friends are there and walking away from the sites means walking away from friends. I want to leave you with this….your friends will understand why you had to walk away. Who knows, perhaps your exit from the proana circuit will make them stop and think.

5 You are all intelligent, compassionate women with great lives ahead of you. I am convinced that you will all find your way. It may take months, or years but you will find yourself. You are not your ED.

Please tell me in your own words what you learned here,



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21 Responses to ProAna Challenge: What did we learn?

  1. kay says:

    Mama V,

    I have learned a lot during the course of this challenge. It did live up to the namesake, because it really was and is a challenge. I “fell off the wagon” a few times, but i endured and never gave up on myself.

    Honestly i am worried as to whether or not i can continue on with the lifestyle of the challenge, don’t get me wrong, i am thrilled with some of the mental gains and changes that i have made, but physically, i am ashamed and mortified at myself.

    I started this challenge weighing 90 lbs. ( i’m 5’0) i am now 102. I have gotten positive feed back from people, but i don’t hear it as such, maybe its my distorted mind that turns well meaning words into backhanded compliments.

    I was planning to fast when this challenge was over, but i realized, that would grossly defeat the purpose of me doing it. I have dispensed advice to people through this blog, and i figured it was high time that i took some of my own encouraging words and used them on myself.

    The greates thing i have learned, or am starting to learn: some semblence of self love. thankyou mama v for all that you do, and your unconditional love, understanding, and most importantly support.

    ~avec tout mon amour~ with all my love

    ~ kay~

  2. Jaime says:

    here is an amazing resource for people with eating disorders.
    I pray it will bless you all.

  3. Jaime says:

    btw here is the site of June Hunt

    She is an amazing woman.
    I got her tapes on depression and victimization.

  4. Joey says:

    What i learnt:
    – such sites are more triggering/depressing than i realised
    – the importance of focusing on things other than the ED – ie hobbies etc (this helps with the “you are not your ED” because you build a new healthier identity. I’m “the girl who does art” rather than “the girl who has an ED”, and my effort and competitiveness will be focused into art rather than being “the best anorexic/bulimic”).
    – how reliant i am on such sites to combat loneliness and to have somewhere to talk openly when i’m desperate

    I’ve also made some lovely new friends :)

  5. Jane says:

    I learned

  6. Jane says:

    ooops. I didnt quite finish that!

    I learned so much from the challenge. I realised that there are so many things I have neglected in my life because of my obsession with Ana forums.
    – I have amazing friends who really do want to help me
    – My religion is more dominant in my life now
    – I actually can get enjoyment from other things, I can enjoy reading, creative writing, walking in the park, going out with friends.
    – That even though I might not be ready to recover yet, I have to make an effort to start living my life, not just floating through it
    – That there are so many people out there who are going through the same emotional rollercoaster as I am.

    The challenge was, lets say, somewhat uncomfortable, but it made me think A LOT about my priorities in life and about how little I care for myself. Things aren’t perfect, but they are moving forward now rather than staying still (or more acuratley, moving backwards). Thanks MamaV and everyone who has given me support over the last 30 days!

    Jane x x x

  7. Emily says:


    i have learned so much from this challenge,
    such as
    * Their is more to life that going on pro ana/mia sites
    *I have learnt that their will be a better life for me after i have recovered from my ED, which may take a while, but il get their one day
    * that their is more to life than being thin and unhappy
    * that you can be happy what ever size you are

    this challenege was one of the hardest things i have ever done, but i have made some great friends on here and have helped me get the help that i needed, thats why i hav admitted my self to a clinic 4 days a week, thank you all so much for everythink, mama v u are amazing for posting all of these things on here and encouraging us gals to get better, love u so much.

    Will always go on this website, its so great, mama v u have helped so many people including me, thank you so much u deserve a medal hun.

    Hope everyone is well,
    talk 2 u soon
    love u all
    Emily x x x

  8. Christy says:

    I learned from this challenge that I can control impulses, such as weighing myself contantly, if I really put my mind to it. So often I feel like such a failure because of how easily I give into to my eating disorder. But, I showed myself in these last 30 days (despite occasional slip-ups) that I am capable of regaining some control and actually feeling pleased w/ myself and in general.
    I know that I have wasted so much valuable time & energy with this illness, and feel the need to leave it behind so I can move on with my life, and more importantly, enjoy it!
    Like Jane, I’m not sure I’m completely ready to recover. I’m not sure I’ll ever be. But I am willing to take small steps, make little changes here and there that will hopefully help me lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.

    Thank you MamaV for proposing this challenge. I think it was an excellent idea! And judging from the posts above, along w/ my own, it appears as though it truly has helped those of us who participated gain more positive perspectives. You rock!


  9. Christy says:

    I forgot something…

    I also wanted to say thank you to all of you who offered so much support and encouragement throughout the past month. Reading your posts and knowing I wasn’t alone was such a comfort, especially when things were difficult. I am glad I met all of you!

    Thanks again and I hope everyone is well!! :)


  10. Sarah says:

    the pro-ana websites are not making me starve myself. I can go months without visiting a single pro ana site, and I will still have this ed, I will still starve myself and b/p. the only difference is when I visit pro ana sites I have people supporting me, people who understand. I had this ED for 10 years before I visited my first pro ana site.

  11. Nathalie says:

    I have to admit that I did not go the full 30 days without visiting my sites. When I did make a concious effort not to go to the sites I found myself to be very isolated.

    A huge problem with having an ED is that it is a very secretive disease even though the effects are very visual. The sites provide a outlet where I can tell my secret without fear of hospitalization, scolding, meds being stuff down my throat and judgement. The only thing I can equate it to is like alcoholics when they go to AA. They are given a buddy (an ex-alcoholic) who they are to rely on and can speak to when they are overcome with the temptation to drink. Heck nowdays AA has message boards much like pro-ana boards to discuss their daily battles. Does it trigger people to drink again? No. It is a support system.

    I am trying to find a balance where I can co-exist with my ED but not be consumed by it. It has been with me for most of my life and I truly believe it will always be there. The thought of waking up one morning and it being gone would mean me as a person, who I am is gone and I would be lost. As one friend once told me, recovery is different for each person.

    I truly enjoy this blog because it provides this subject from a different view point . And helps me achieve some type of balance.

    Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard.

  12. ruby says:

    you are an inspiration, no question of that at all.

    i started cutting myself only a few hours ago and i’m “old” so i feel unworthy and helpless. willing to receive any help.

  13. vachon says:


    I understand. Please try to stop tonight and write about what’s troubling you instead. Postpone whatever you are doing until tomorrow. Or postpone it for 1/2 hour intervals if that’s easier.

    Things are very difficult right now. For you, for me, for a lot of us on these comments. Sometimes it seems so horrible and overwhelming. And yet, we all hold hands and get through it for a little while, for a little longer.

    I do understand. I’m going thru a very bad time now myself. And I’m much older than everyone here. Yet, well, I haven’t given up on myself, and I certainly haven’t given up on you.

    So what do you say? Give this place a whirl for a bit? For a week maybe two?



  14. Christy says:

    Hi Ruby,

    I can understand how you feel. I’ve been there before many times. I think Vachon offers great advice and I hope you consider what she says about postponing. Know that you are not alone. There are many of us who can relate to what what you’re going through, or at least to how you cope. I hope you’re okay and hope to hear from you soon.


  15. ruby says:

    thanks for your words vachon and christy. i’m doing ok this morning, only embarrassed that i now have to cover my arms in 80+ degree weather.

  16. Alexa says:

    Sadly i larned…

    That i hate my ED as much as i need it, i can try to be normal but ana its always in my head so doesnt matter if i eat or not… and for now i prefer not.
    i love to come here, because i like to think that there’s people who can win this or at least strong enough to try to find the way and get help.

    and finally, Thanks MamaV for all the hope you give us.

  17. Heather says:

    So Mama,

    Did you ever have an eating disorder?

  18. mamavision says:

    Hi Heather: Yes I did. Was I officially diagnosed? No. My story is I was a model at 16, and therefore I had to mold myself to the standards of the industry. I exercised my body to the bone, lost my period and had a very restrictive diet. At my lowest I was 5’9 and 125…not anorexic but darn thin. Most importantly, I had the mindset of an eating disorder sufferer.

    Once I quit, I went into therapy focused on getting myself back to normal in terms of my eating and exercise habits. It was a long road but I made it.

    I still have reminders of the whole ED phase of life here and there, such as when I was pregnant…it was scary gaining all that weight but I got through it just fine.

    Or now as I am soon to be 38 and I am hitting the “middleaged slump”… I am not as thin as I was but I am ok with it. Health is most important now, and showing my children the importance of balance meals with a few treats here and there is ok!

    I think having kids changes you, as a mom nothing is more important than my children so I will do anything to make sure I am healthy for them.

    I can not tell you what it is like not thinking about food every second of every day. ED’s are hell of the mind.

    Take care and thanks for asking,

  19. mamavision says:

    Hi Ruby: I am glad you reached out. How can I and all the support here help you?

    First you need to understand I am not a professional. Just a mom and a listening ear, one that has experienced some of the ED suffering and can relate. The rest of the girls here are living it with you as we speak so they will also have some words of wisdom for you.

    But really, the first step is deciding you need help and figuring out what avenue you are comfortable with in getting help you need. Have you tried calling the ED helpline above? They are totally, 100% anonomous, and they are a great first step.

    You mention you are cutting. I don’t have experience with these issues, but I assume these behaviors are tied in with your ED behaviors in some way, I am sure the wonderful people at the helpline can help you with this as well.

    So are you ready to reach out to them, or is this not a path you are ready for?

    PS Let’s see who is “old”- I will be 38 in August. how about you? I am sure I can relate on body changes…wrinkles, cellulite, you name it, we got it!! :)

  20. ruby says:

    I’m still not sure what the right support for me is, just thinking/typing about what’s going on in my life brings on tears, I’m not certain I could even make it through a phone call. My 14-year relationship is in the process of ending, and because of the closeness of that relationship, I never made any personal friendships outside of that. Add a few other life problems on top and I got overwhelmed and cut myself for the first (and last!) time ever. And I’ll be 34 in just a few weeks. My ED didn’t even start until after I turned 30. I’ve always been a late bloomer 😉

    Thanks again MamaV. It’s hard to ask for and accept support when I know so many people in the world have it harder than me.

  21. Nats says:

    Hi Ruby,

    Just to let u know that we are all here for you if you need us, we all help eachother with what we are going through. Chance are one of us has been through what you are going through now even if it seems are problems are different.

    I am in a clinic at the moment receiving treatment for my ED. I am struggling soooo much its unbelievable but with the support i get from people on this site like Joey, Christy, Jane, MamaV and Emily makes me feel that little bit better which helps me get through that day. Sound silly really that it only helps for a day but im not going to kid you or myself into believing that things you are told dont always help much as the feelings we are experiencing are much to strong to be over taken. As much as I wish that what im being told by the people on here would have more of an effect on me it doesn’t BUT IT GETS ME THROUGH THAT TIME I NEED TO GET THROUGH.

    I hope your ok, if you need to talk im here for you, always will be.

    love ya loads

    Nats x

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