We have a semantics problem.

What does pro-anorexia even mean anymore? Who is responsible for starting this confusing term Pro-Anorexia? If anyone knows, please fill me in. 

I’d like to try to define the Pro-Anorexia Community for those who are looking to understand it, basically we have two very distinct groups: 

ProAna Type 1 means you have an eating disorder, a mental disease, likley with a genetic component. The primary reason these individuals visit proana web sites is for support from other individuals with the same issues. They may or not be seeking recovery options. This is anorexia as we have traditionally known it, a cruel, disfiguring, mental disease.

ProAna Type 2 means you want to have an eating disorder and you are deliberately starving yourself for the body you aspire to. These individuals visit proana web sites for support from other “wannarexics”. Thinspiration images of models and hollywood stars are needed to keep their starvation motivation going, and when the individual breaks down and eats, they punish themselves incessantly due to their failure to restrict their diet.

These two types of proanas can be best be understood by watching the following videos, created by members of the groups themselves.


Type 1: Real Anorexia, every mother’s nightmare.

Here is the ProAnorexic point of view from the perspective of someone who is suffering to death from this mental illness. These individuals do not have control over their restricting behaviors, and there is likely genetic component to their disease. 

Type 2 : “Wannarexia” or Social Anorexia.

This video depicts the point of view of an individual who wants to be anorexic because they desire the body type of an anorexic. They desire protruding bones because they see this look as the ultimate in beauty. They are willing to accept the consequences of starvation to achieve their desired body image. These individuals have control over their actions, at least when they start down this path, and are choosing to restrict their food intake.

Either way, it ain’t pretty is it?

So, why do I care? How can I not. Wannarexics are the group I am honing in on. The fashion industry is pushing the right buttons with our girls, Wannarexics are gaining strength in numbers.

Won’t you join me?


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89 Responses to Wannarexia

  1. Vanessa says:

    you left out people with serious eating disorders that aren’t anorexia. they’re called bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, and EDNOS which is mostly anorexia without some of the medical criteria like a low bmi. lots and lots and lots of pro-ana community members have actual eating disorders that could be diagnosed, but aren’t medically anorexic. they can’t just choose to stop having them, but they often wish they had straight up anorexia as a way to escape overeating or binging and purging

    come to think of it this whole type 1 type 2 thing is just completely and totally flawed.

  2. mamavision says:

    Hi Vanessa: I understand your point, and you are absolutely correct. I am attempting to scale this back to a level that parents can understand, and in order to do so I need to try to place the types into categories of sorts.

    Please fill me in on your thoughts on the two types I outline here, what do you see as flawed.


  3. Terra says:

    I *think* Vanessa is also being a little grandiose, because as most people with extensive experience in the ProAna world, those who call themselves ProAna really DO fit into the two types you’ve listed. There is a whole different section of people who subscribe to the ProMia labels. Those who are EDNOS tend to also fit themselves into the Ana or Mia clubs. I have rarely encountered an overeater within a Pro-Ana atmosphere that couldn’t be called Type 2 – alternatively, most overeaters I’ve encountered were actually more ProMia.

    Also Vanessa, I’m curious as to what the difference between BED and COE is?

  4. Amie says:

    Hey Mama
    Ok well when ever i talk to my counsellors about pro ana etc, i always put it in the frame that pro ana is a place to go to feel encouraged to be sick, i find that most the girls in the forums/sites etc dont actually have what i would consider an eating disorder, yes they may suffer from low self-esteem etc but these girls seem to last a couple of days/weeks with there ‘extreme’ diets and than go back to ‘normal’ these girls, it seems the ones i talk to need other people motivating them to keep starving, keep purging etc… i know that they are many other eating disorders, i have been diagnosed with ednos only because i dont fit all the critera of anoreixia but i believe that no matter what ed you suffer from no matter if its anorexia or bulimia etc you still have the same thoughts, fears, etc…
    I think that most the people in the pro ana and mia sites are suffering from wanarexia or social anorexia as you put it.
    but thats just my opinion

  5. Emily says:

    Hi Everyone….

    Havent been on here for ages, missed you guys.

    Have been at the clinic i relasped badly again, but am back on track now and still fighting.

    How is everyone doing?

    How are you mama v?

    To all the Wannarexia’s–
    Eating disorders are not nice- people don’t chose to have them. they make our life’s misable and painful. its been the most miserable time of my whole life and im hating it but i know i have to accept it that i have a problem but i know one day that problem will be solved ( get better). So please so all those social anorexic stop trying to have a ED your regret it and you will lose control very fast just like i did, have a ED is nothing but hell and pain and it is defintly not glamourous. so please please get help before its gets bad. Anorexia kills if left untreated.
    Hope i have got through to people.

    _ _ _
    To the parents of children/teenagers with a possible ED

    The key to a good realationship with your child is to talk to them, so if you think your child could have a Ed talk to them to find out some of the reasons for there ED.

    to all people that havent got a ED—-
    Remeber that people that are still in the normal weight range can still have a dangerous ED– you don’t have to be skinny for a Ed to be harmful.

    So please everyone get help before it gets bad. i know what im saying may be hard but belive me im regret not getting help right from the start.

    Please everyone take care of yourself.

    love you guys.

    Emily XxX

  6. Lily says:


    I know you are very busy but if you are out there I really need help,


  7. Jane says:

    I understand MamaV’s reasoning behind dividing things into “types”, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I can see the logic behind it. I have several points to make regarding this whole post

    1. I do object to having the other, more common, ED’s not mentioned, since this seems to feed on the common idea that anorexia is THE ED, and that the others aren’t as serious, or don’t really constitute an ED. This, I believe is rather bias and unfair, almost seeming to invalidate a large proportion of our problems, I most certainly don’t think that MamaV intended this, but this is something that immediately hit me.

    2. The difference between COE and BED is very slight, when a compulsive eater overeats primarily through binging, he or she can be said to have binge eating disorder. Where there is continuous overeating but no binging, then the sufferer has compulsive overeating disorder.

    3. I actually think that by labelling any ED things are made worse. When I was diagnosed with EDNOS for example, I simply became more determined to reach the criteria for Anorexia. I don’t see any need for the labels… but, I disagree with all labelling anyway, why should a label set people apart; I see it as identical to racialist behaviour.

  8. Vanessa says:

    my major criticisism is that by mamav’s criteria anyone who isn’t emaciated is a “wannarexic”. which is just so unbelievably simplistic to me. it’s a bias in proana as well, but mamav isn’t your entire deal that you’re supposedly better than proana? i’m someone who has cycled between periods of restriction ending in hospitalization for anorexia and periods of compulsive overeating, followed by returning to anorexic behaviors. i think there are many many people who have serious, persistent eating problems that don’t have anorexic bmis, and making anorexia the be all and end all is both unrealistic and in a way encourages people to try and make it into the officially anorexic category.

    there isn’t much difference between BED and COE, jane explained it. i just put both so as to be inclusive.

    i think if people have persistent eating problems that lower their quality of life they should be taken seriously and things should be done to try and help. part of my own experience is that when i am overeating i am far more unhappy than when i’m restricting, but mostly people only worry and intevene when things get to a crisis point after restricting for a few months, not when i start overeating.

  9. Hagar says:

    Hi Vanessa… I don’t really know what to write except this:

    Emotions can turn into actions

    Emotions and action’s don’t always show the truth

    What I mean is in a way you are more under the control of the ed when you are restricting, but when you are over eating it is extremly bad to yourself too because you know that you will just turn to restricting again…

    I don’t think that ANY mental illness can be so harshly ruled out…

    These are just some basic things… But I don’t think that anybody has exactly the same issues and fears and emotions… Basics yes but not entirely…

    I’m really confused now lol

    Anways I don’t know what to write now but if you want to talk let me know… This is interesting

  10. Danielle says:

    Wannarexics insult me. Most of them do not have eating disorders. Most of them just want to have an eating disorder in order to lose weight quickly. In my opinion, wannarexics are just ignorant. They don’t understand eating disorders nor what it is like to live with one. They make somewhat of a mockery of eating disorders and it’s so hurtful to see this when you are someone who actually suffers from a real eating disorder. I don’t know what it’s like on livejournal, but the wannarexics are everywhere on xanga. Most of their journals read something along the lines of “OMGZZ!!!111one1!!! I’m SOOOO fAt! Today I was FORCED to eat by my friends so I had a cheeseburger, four slices of pizza, fries, and three pounds of animal lard!!! It’s not THAT bad, but I think I’ll do a six hour fAst to maKe up 4 it. Anyone have TiPs?! WWMKD? What would Mary Kate do? AnA LoVe!!! :) :) :)” I wish I was exaggerating. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve been instant messaged by one of these wannarexic girls wanting “tips” on how to lose weight and keep from eating…like it’s rocket science or something and I’m an almightly master because I, unlike them, actually have an eating disorder. They are so offensive and the worst part is that most of them don’t even realize it.

  11. holyperfection says:

    i don’t know if you have ever touched on spiritual anorexia her on mama vision. to me forfeiting food is the ultimate sacrifice to the Gods. i fast for forgiveness i fast for those who are to weak to do it them selves. there is always some sin or some blessing to fast for i go as long as i can with out giving in. fasting is a sacrifice because eating is a pleasure tasty treats are a rapture. if i am fasting for forgiveness if i get pleasure out of even looking at food i feel guilt and i must start over. if i am working toward a goal or praying for a blessing i give up food to get..
    i do realize this probably sounds crazy to everyone but starving makes me feel closer to Them.

  12. Nats says:


    WHere you been? lol Im on openforum if you wanna chat babe x

    Missed you loads

    Nats xx

  13. Nats says:

    Ill join you mamaV, I want to help any way I can x

  14. Josie (Joey) says:

    I agree with the above posts that the other eating disorders should be included – maybe by saying “eating disorder” instead of “anorexia”? Only a small proportion of members on proana sites have diagnosable anorexia, most fit the criteria for bulimia or EDNOS, if any.

    There’s also the wannarexics who believe they have an eating disorder – this is much bigger than the conscious-wannarexic. The media and healthcare system generally say that if you do certain things (starve, binge, purge, abuse laxatives, etc) you DO have an eating disorder, when in fact ANYONE can do this, and actually 1 in 4 teenage girls do, but not all of them have clinical EDs. I expect there are a lot of girls who believe they have an ED but are choosing to behave as they do.

  15. Kristin says:

    I totally can relate to what ‘holyperfection’ said, myself I went 24 days at the most fasting on nothing but water (salt, herbal teas – all BAD… just the smell of coffe made me feel like I was failing the whole thing). Anyways, fasting can be about religion as well, you know instinctively I feel that pro-ana is not good for my wellbeing, neither physically or emotionally etc, so fasting to reach God, or as a means to express my sorrow, or while praying about something specific, is a way of really getting what I want (skinny girl), while not giving in to total destruction. It feels like I’m doing something purifying, and I really believe it CAN be good for the body to rest the digestive system, though now it’s gotten totally out of controle. I fast like every other day, then eat and make sure I finish everything, cuz I don’t want any leftovers to ruin my fast the following day. Always wanting to reach the 40 days, that’s the ultimate goal. Food, to me, has become the epitomy of evetyhing I want to rid my self of, and sustaining life on ‘nothingness’, feels like a genuine expression of how god-forsaken I feel most of the time. SO PLEASE, mamaV, don’t think that everyone in pro-ana places are without hope… sometimes the hope is starvation, trying to reach fullfillment, not in death, but in beautiful, holy life………….. love Kristin

  16. Terra says:

    Jane and Vanessa, thank for the clarification. I love to hear the differing viewpoints from those with experience.

    Danielle, totally my experience as well, right down to one of my little sisters. It, on some level, makes what we’ve done a joke – not that it’s necessarily sometime to logically be proud of.

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  18. Rio Iriri says:

    This was a pretty good description. I was never that concerned about being thin during that period. My depression and despair manifested as an inability to eat, and an inability to WANT to eat. The idea of food was just nauseating, and the longer I went without it, the more I didn’t want to eat. There was no “thinspiration”, no daily weighing, no need for forcing myself. If anything, I viewed eating as a conscious continuation of life, which was the opposite of what I wanted at that time.

    And, now that I look back, it was the only thing I could control in a life dominated by a paranoid, overprotective parent. I was desperately lonely, but rarely permitted to see friends outside of school. Some people resort to cutting (which I eventually did, near the end of it), some of them eat for comfort, some take it out on others–but when life got crappy, I starved.

    When things got better, I ate fairly normally–less than most people, sure, but at least once or twice a day. I would occasionally fall back into it when depression hit, usually for only a couple of months. I still have a day here and there now, but my spouse watches and asks if I have eaten or not–and he can tell if I’m being evasive or dishonest about it.

    But, it was never about being thin. It isn’t now, even though I have (thanks to the slowed metabolism of those who starve themselves as teens) become quite non-thin. I stop eating in times of anger, depression, and loneliness, but, now that I think about it, the anger is the most effective one.

    I’m 33 now, and life’s a LOT better than it was before, but it would be foolish for me and my husband to assume that it’s completely behind us.

  19. Lo says:

    I have to disagree with you to some extent.

    Although there are certainly “Wannarexics” out there, I believe that the majority of girls (and some guys) that visit Pro-Ana/Mia sites who have not had restrictive behaviors for a long period of time, still have some sort of genetic predisposition to the mental illness. The average person does not desire to be emaciated, so I think that those that don’t necessarily participate in unhealthy eating habits as of yet but still have thoughts of wanting to achieve the waifer-thin look are at least in the early stage of developing some sort of an eating disorder.

    Also, the video you posted from “ProAna Type 1” displays images of girls that have the most severe cases of anorexia. These are images of women near-death, and in most cases it takes a bulimic and/or anorexic a long while to reach this status. From the numerous treatment centers I have attended I will tell you that MOST of the girls do NOT look like this. (I have seen maybe 3 total in person that looked like a holocaust victim). Most were underweight, but many were at a healthy weight or overweight. The physical appearance of ED individuals varies depending on their diagnosis and illness-severity.

    But I’m sure I know what you meant, that there are these “Wannarexics” out there that are deliberately visiting these websites because they have highly influential minds or a currently shitty-life and they look at magazine pictures of Mary-Kate, Richie, Jolie, etc…and think “Ooohh, if only I looked like that, then EVERYONE would like me more and I would get more attention”. Whereas for those suffering from an ED with a genetic component (and note I wrote “suffering” from it), the eating disorder has less to do with the desired image (although it is still a huge part of it), than it does with the strong desire to have control over SOMETHING in their life. And I know there are other purposes for EDs but I don’t really need to write them out since most people already know.

    So I guess I just wanted to clarify that just because a girl is not almost dead or unhealthily skinny, that does not mean she is not a “true” ProAna. I don’t think you (mamavision) actually thought this but I felt like you inadvertently portrayed that message in those particular videos that you chose.

    Regardless. the unhealthy cult-like ProAna/Mia culture all over the web is disturbing no matter what “type” of person is exposed to it.

  20. mamavision says:

    Hi Lily: I just emailed you privately so we can talk.

  21. mamavision says:

    Hi Amie: Thanks for your input, you make some good points. Especially the fact that when you “try” to have an eating disorder your body eventually takes over and you can’t continue the restriction.

    It seems to me that anorexics have the genetic component that controls their ability to continually restrict and therefore get down to dangerous weight levels. Do you agree?

  22. mamavision says:

    Hi Jane: Thanks for commenting. I agree that “labeling” is not the best approach, however my goal is to educate and I don’t know how to do this without boiling down the issue into terms and groups as someone who is totally unfamiliar with these problems can understand.

    Please know that my descriptions above were not meant to cover the whole spectrum, if I attempted this I would lose the users I am attempting to educate.

    I hope this makes sense,
    Thanks and take care!

  23. mamavision says:

    Hi Kristin: Thank you for expressing yourself, your post touches on an aspect of Ana that is not discussed nor explained enough.

    So, as I understand your point, you equate your fasting efforts for Ana with religion, a way to purify yourself to reach your goal. Is this accurate? If not, please restate this for me so I do understand.

    During a fast, how do you feel?
    After a fast, how do you feel?

    I’d like to dig deeper on this topic, hope you don’t mind sharing!

  24. mamavision says:

    Hi Vanessa: I am glad you came back to post, you have important points to make and I really appreciate it.

    Let’s start with what my “deal” is (this made me laugh, because sometimes I have a hard time defining what my deal is so you are helping me) :) I would say my deal is that I am not “better” than proana per se, I try to be a voice of reason to help girls see how totally out of hand proana life is. I know each and every girl who is proana will eventually come to this conclusion themselves, the key is to reach them before they have to endure such suffering. Its seems you are all so absorbed in this life as some level of normal, due to all the media influence and other factors, that I try to say “WHOA, let’s get a grip on reality here.” Does this make sense to you and others?

    Next, you make a great point about trying to achieve anorexia, or its like you don’t have an eating disorder. I like to actually say “disordered eating” this seems to put a different spin on the term and make people realize….well when you say it that way, yes I have disordered eating. One of the biggest problems I see emerging here and expressed over and over is that girls are suffering, they go for help, they don’t look emaciated, so they not taken seriously.

    Ahhh, I’ve got to really think about this one Vanessa. I will keep this front of mind. Sometimes I ponder a post for like a month before I write about it. So give me a little time and we’ll get back to this. And again, thank you for articulating this so clearly.

    Take care,

  25. mamavision says:

    Hi Danielle: You nailed it, this is what I see, and I wonder- how have you all co-existed on the ProAna boards?

    For example, if you are in the depths of despair with your ED, you don’t have control, and a wannrexic emails you about how to have control, how are you to respond?


  26. mamavision says:

    Hi holyperfection: Thank you for expressing yourself, and bringing to light the spiritual side of Ana. I have not touched upon this side because quite frankly, I have had a hard time getting my arms around it.

    A few questions for you:
    When you say, when you fast you feel closer to THEM…who is them?

    If you long for food, you have to “start over” – what does this mean and how is this even humanly possible? Here I mean that it is natural to desire food when you are starving, so how do you block this natural desire?

    If you fast for forgiveness, what do you need forgiveness for?

    Would you like to talk through this privately, you can help me understand this a bit more and then I would like to post about it.

    Thanks, and take care,

  27. mamavision says:

    Hi Josie: Thank you for reiterating this, I know you have made this point before, I just need things drilled in a few times before they sink in!!

    I agree that I should utilize the term eating disorder rather than anorexia because this broadens the scope who would be under this umbrella. I think for simplicity sake and clarity, when I direct posts at parents or people who are totally unfamiliar with this entire trend….I know they will understand if I state Wannarexia vs Anorexia. I know this does not help all of you, but it does help the individuals I am attempting to educate. I talked to my father after posting this and he is kind of my gauge, helping me understand what can be understood from his perspective and what is just way too heavy.

    If all of you can try to understand this, I would appreciate it. If we are to make an impact on the understanding of eating disorders….I believe we have to start as basic as possible. I will expand this description in the future though because I know this is important and I certainly don’t want to be painting half of a picture.

    Take care!

    Say hi to Prime for me 😉

  28. Vanessa says:

    oh, you wont get rid of me that easily- i was just on vacation for a few weeks.

    i’ve always ignored wannas completely. i just figure they’re teenegers who don’t know better, going through a mostly harmless phase. and nowadays i stick to a less stridently pro forum. but back in the day i would *cringe* write passionate defenses of proana and give out tips when asked. it was my first time around and i’d just lost 100 pounds and i was so proud of myself and certain i’d found the key to the universe.

    mamav, i agree in theory that it’s good for people to reality check everyone in the proana universe on a regular basis. sometimes i get reminded of how few proana people are fully mired in an eating disorder like i am, and could get out fairly easily. it just makes me want to cry STOP you idiots! you don’t know what you’re doing! that said, i still feel strongly that if you bring more attention to proana through traditional media outlets it will literally do more harm than good. and the informing the parents thing is a mixed bag. look how well parents do when they forbid their children from drinking! parents forbidding proana could go a long way towards making it cool. even hysterical former models speaking out against it does something for the cool rebellious factor, i’d say.

    i think attempts to reform the community from within have more merit- maybe having regular guest bloggers who are former members of proana and actually had or have eating disorders would give your message more balance, and cancel some of my objections to the cult of personality thing you have going. i don’t blame you for it, you know, i just have noticed its existence. you laugh it off but… ok, this is definitely a different topic, and i’ve gone on long enough already.

  29. Kim says:

    I guess I never thought about the types of Pro Ana. I just thought of pro ana as people speaking positively of distorted eating, some wanting it and some just dealing with life with it. I dont know where I fit in these two categories. My anorexia started with an injury. I had a torn disc in my back and with the pain medication my doctors prescribed every time I ate I threw up and it hurt. I was honest with doctors who would say try it two more weeks to see if side effects subside and if they do we will change medications. Medications were changed numerous times all with the same effects so I learned to stop eating as doing so resulted in vomiting and that caused more pain to my back. I guess then it just became a pattern of behavior or I still associate pain with eating. Plus people initially do tell you how great you look and you dont even remember the day it went from those “you look great comments” to “you look so unhealthy as you are so thin”.

  30. Kim says:

    watching these videos still triggers me.

  31. leigh says:

    Dear Mamavision;

    I understand the categories completely. I use these categories myself, but in a different sense.

    Pro-ana was something i first discovered aproximately 7 years ago. It existed but not nearly to the extent that it does today. It was limited to a few sites. These sites were nothing like the “pro-ana” sites we see today. From what i can remember “pro-ana” originally was NOT used to describe someone who promotes anorexia but was a small group of eating disordered individuals who supported each other unconditionally and worked towards trying to remove the stigma associated with anorexia as a mental illness. Back then eating disorders were not nearly as socially accepted as they are today. The “thinsperation” pictures were originally galleries of member pictures which later developed into galleries of “beautiful people with eating disorders”… basically this set of groups were focused on trying to support each other and remove the stigma.

    THEN… this moved on. Groups of people with eating disorders when put together get “competitive”. You can see this simply by scanning ED clinics. They dont mean to feed into each others disorder, but the feelings of inferiority if someone is 2 pounds lighter plays into the disorder and so commences the competition. Likewise, (again use the example of the eating disorder clinic to represent this in the “real world”) if an entrenched eating disordered individual believes they can obtain ways to continue their behaviours despite interventions then they will think nothing of exchanging tips amongst themselves.

    NOW… the majority of this original group (type 1: “Pro-Ana) would not associate themselves with the term pro-ana, nor the “type 2: pro-ana” groups. Type 1 are more likely to be found in support forums exchanging tips on how to keep their body as healthy as possible and discussing problems amongst themselves, however not promoting the disorder.

    FOR the type 2 it seems much like a trend started by thin models and celebrities. I guess i would aliken it to other fandoms such as the gothic look. I.E. this has possibly become “the model look”.

  32. Jane says:

    holyperfection – I also fast for God, it makes you think of what you have to be thankful for (as a Muslim a fast means without food, water, ciggarettes, sex… everything, from sunrise till sunset) and reminds me of why I need God, and also, how much I need His forgivness and help. Fasting just feels like a good thing to do, for God, for myself and for my body. x

    MamaV – I know you werent being sadistic or unsympathetic, and I can see why you had to create these labels. I don’t really mind, because its you, and because I understand and respect what you’re trying to achieve. x

  33. holyperfection says:

    i have emailed you Mama V . when i fast i do drink water ciggys pollute so i don’t smoke and sex to me is a holy act but i do abstain if im fasting for forgiveness.

  34. E says:

    I find that “wannarexics” who come to pro-ana sites just to lose a bit of weight are almost always unsuccessful. I have seen it myself after years of being on pro-ana forums.

  35. Danyel says:

    The sad thing about a wanna-rexic in my personal opinion, some of those girls already are predisoposed to an eating disorder. The mindset is there. Because no NORMAL human would dare wish this emotional termoil willingly on themselves. I think they have no idea what they’re getting into and once they realize all the crappy side effects due to their disordered behaviors…sometimes I fear it’s too late…
    And that’s when Wannarexics becomes a real eating disorder.
    It reminds me so much of candy coated poison, you know? Tastes good for a little while, then you’re in trouble…

    *sighs* It saddens my heart to see people out there who do just do it because of the social norm.
    It’s such a lonely desperate isolated prison, no one should WANT an eating disorder or even WANT to open pandoras box by fiddling with the behaviors.

  36. Elle says:

    I understand your desire to simplify things for greater understanding. I think that these types are fairly accurate, although, I am rather against strict classifications and prefer to use spectrums or 2-d grids when trying to differentiate between members of a sample group. (Sounding all scientific-ee now) But I won’t get into details here of how these could be used for the “Proana” community.

    I think that many have already explained about the presence of other eating disorders on “Proana” sites. That is the most obvious hole in the explaination. But if you are only looking at Anorexics, then you are fairly accurate.

    Also, I’m not entirely certain what these video were suppose to tell us. It seems you are saying that true anorexics accept that they are sick and unhealthy and “wannarexics” idolize the thin feminine figure. I don’t think this is true because there are true anorexics that still don’t see themselves as sick.

    To me these videos don’t give me any greater understanding of either “type” of Proana. I think you should just stick to your explanation and not use these videos. I can think of a couple youtube channels that are much better representations of what you are trying to explain, but I won’t name them here without their permission.

    I’m relatively new to Proana. I am an active member of one forum. I think the word “support” is not enough for what “type 1” anorexics are looking for at this forum. I have defined the forum as a “sanctuary” where people can come to be understood, not judged. This is the difference from support of many others they might have in their life. The support is coming from people who have or are going through very similar circumstances.

    I personally see very few “wannarexics” on the forum i frequent, but I also avoid threads that look triggering or are obvious tip hunters. I’m also very careful about the advice I give and not to support unhealthy actions. At the same time I do not to make anyone feal worse than they already do about their habits or try to make them feel guilty, which I feel is a common habit of family, friends and doctors whether they are trying or not.

    Is that long enough? *whew*

  37. Gina says:

    I use to bbe “wannarexic”.
    As little as I can remember I would go to these sights & look at. For some reason the thought came to me was if I looked at these pictures & watched these videos I would become thin.
    In a way it did. It made me hate my self even more & I started to act on the behaviors that these girls did in the videos.

    So I pretty much started promoting Pro Ana sights & going there & getting tips to the point those tips put me in the hospital ready to die.

    I personally think if you start looking at Pro Ana stuff you start to think like you have an eating disorder. I think it kind of messes w. your mind.

  38. Pingback: Eating Disorder Talk » Blog Archive » mamaVision Vs. Post Secret

  39. holyperfection says:

    i am starting to wonder if i started out as wannarexic w/ a religious twist. i used to love food and i had to try soo hard to resist it but i certainly didnt need tips or tricks to get to the point where i am i have gone to pro ana sites and the thinspo does nothing for me . i dont even know howmuch i weigh and couldnt care less this body thin or fat is nothing it isnt even real to me anymore.

  40. Flo4t For3ver says:

    Not everyone with Anorexia visits Pro-Ana websites. That is like saying everyone wants children, or everyone who has a camera like to take pictures, or everyone with a car likes to drive. Some Anorexics are just trying to survive what is going on in their head it’s not just about being thin it’s about being perfect it’s about alot of things that people don’t understand.

  41. .mel. says:

    my responce to this is rather long so instead of taking up sapce here i simply posted it to my own blog which can be found at http://www.freewebs.com/starvingirish/blog.htm

  42. Amie says:

    hey mama!
    I just read your reply lol sorry i must of like skipped over it! I certainly believe that there is no way a person can maintain the physical actions of an ed without having the genetics and mindset of an ed… does that make sense?! As a human we are made to eat, its what we do, its programed into our brains so in order to restrict and to get down to like 90 pounds etc, it is to go against our survival skills… it is like holding your breathe, yes you may pass out but your body will always make urself breathe, its like that with food… i guess people can last a couple of weeks on there diets etc, but without the mind frame its un maintainable (is that even a word)
    anyways thats just my opinion..
    how are you by the way? I got into the clinic…

  43. Someonenewtestingyou says:

    I guess I fall into the type 2.

    I want to be an anorexic. I enjoy not eating for long periods of time.
    I take cold baths to make my metabolism work harder.
    I punch my stomach when I feel ‘hunger’ pains.
    Yea. Right. I’m not hungry.
    This site is baloney.
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to be thin. Nothing wrong with wanting to see bones.
    Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
    It’s not my fault I’m a skinny girl living in a fat girl’s world.
    I do eat normally, I eat enough to survive. I can’t help that we live in a piggish society where everyone is constantly stuffing themselves.
    I made my choice. I don’t want to be normal and overweight. I want to be unique and be the girl that the overweight one envies.
    Remember, perfection isn’t reached when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.

  44. b says:


    You obviously have SOME kind of eating disorder??

    You dont have to be emancipated to be classed as anorexic

  45. Amie says:

    that person talking the pro ana crap, sod off, your a tool! If you were here i would kick you in the teeth, did you actually read what you wrote, you sound like an idiot! or did you want to sound like an idiot? FAKE People like you are the ones that give the REAL people a bad image. Your an idiot! And no matter how big or small i may be, i would NEVER envy you!

  46. Angie says:

    Eating more than just above starvation level is not being piggish. But, then again, since I had a cracker and some tuna you’d probably think I was piggish too.

    Someonenewtestingyou, you need help. Punching yourself in the stomach when you get hungry is NOT HEALTHY. You’re internalizing the proana/promia slogans. Please. I’ve been there/done that. I’m still fighting it. Many of us here have. We’ve looked death in the eyes, and you say we don’t know what we’re talking about.

  47. Danielle says:

    Someonenewtestingyou, thanks for showing us that you know how to copy and paste on your computer. I’ve read those things time and time again on pro-ana sites. Way to be unique.

  48. Danielle says:

    Sorry. That was kind of mean.

  49. Vanessa says:

    see, this is another example of why i feel this site misses the mark. if you want to help people escape pro-ana then the community jumping down people’s throats when they display ignorant pro-ana attitudes, posting pictures of sick people without their permission (MAKING FUN OF THEM) on the blog, and making sarcastic comments about nicole richie is never ever going to help. ever heard of gentle persuasion, people? the pro-anas that this site is targeting are, by a process of elimination, young teen girls without an ingrained eating disorder. the absolute last way to get through to them is implying they are stupid and laughing at things they believe. sure, i know better, most people reading the site know better, almost all adults know better. but 14 year olds in pro-ana DON’T know better and telling them “duh, you’re wrong” isn’t gonna help.

    i mean, DUH! haha

  50. Danielle says:

    I just wanted to comment and say that someone who is a wannarexic obviously still has issues they need worked out to make them wish to be anorexic. I have seen many sites with girls that say things like they I hate themselves cuz they ate a meal so now they better fast for a few hours or say how much they wanna look like whatever celeb they idolize, etc and they may not have textbook eating disorders but there is still some sort of something there that they need to deal with and get fixed before it turns into a full blown ED.

    I understand there are probably wannarexics who come on ED sites looking for attention too that may or may not have real issues, but who are we to say they don’t need help or have a problem when clearly they must if they wish to have an ED?

    Anyone that is “wannarexic” or wanting any kind of ED can get one if they continue down their unhealthy path, it can start out as innocence and curiosity but that does not mean it will not manifest into an obsession and you won’t eventually have an ED.

    Not all pro-ana sites promote Anorexia or EDs like they are some great prize you won at a fair, some are like others have said, support for people with EDs where you are not judged, and not all are there to encourage each other to stay sick, but as a person with an ED I must say it is a lot easier talking to strangers with EDs about my problems and it does help me to talk about progress, calories, weights, etc, it may not be helping my health in a positive way but mentally it helps. I don’t know if that makes sense.

    I don’t want to be thin to look like a celeb, I want to be thin for myself. All my life I have had the belief that I am never good enough and can’t amount to anything and will never be truly happy until I am thin. I guess because I have had a lot of crap go on in my life that I kinda always thought it wouldn’t have happened if I were skinny. I got teased everyday that I went to school for being fat, was too depressed to concentrate on school work, had very few friends, all because I am fat. It’s like in my mind the key to my happiness is thinness. I have never been diagnosed with an ED but clearly have issues with that, I mostly restrict. I guess I should mention I have BDD and OCD, so basically I’m insane, but functional. lol.

    If anyone ever wants to chat go to my xanga and add me.

  51. Josie (Joey) says:

    MamaV – though i see your point of using the label “anorexia”, there is a massive flaw here….

    lets say a parent stumbles across this site, for example my dad finds it in my internet history. He reads this post. He knows i have been to proanorexia sites so he looks at these two definitions, anorexia or wannarexia, and wonders which I fit into. He thinks of anorexia, and thinks of an emaciated girl close to death – that’s not Josie! So he thinks “ah my daughter is a wannarexic” and i’d get treated as such, when i’m not, and not get the help i need.

    As the majority of members of pro-ana sites probably have EDNOS or bulimia, this makes a huge number of girls incorrectly labelled as wannarexics because they’re not the stereotypical anorexic. Being labelled a wannarexic when you have an actual ED is the worst thing in the world, as you could imagine, especially as for most with an ED it is their entire identity.
    I hope you understand where i’m coming from….

  52. caramel says:

    mamaV, i feel that you shld not include social anorexics AS wannabes, that is extremely insulting to us “social anorexics” heres your definition of a social anorexic.

    Social Anorexia is an eating disorder stemming from the pure desire to be thin, in order to be perceived by others as beautiful and worthy. Sufferers are heavily influenced by media, hollywood and the fashion industry. The message they understand is being sent from the media; thin is beautiful. If you are not thin, you are not worthy.

    yes i DESIRE to be beautiful, so that my parents would LOVE me and stop making fun of me all the time, so that they would no longer be embarassed of me anymore. i want to be thin just so for once people will NOT see me as the fatter one but the skinniest one in the group. i HATE to be compared to my younger sister and to be constantly called a “Fat Pig” by her. i want so much for once to be skinnier than her and to show her that i am finally more PERFECT than she is. my parents only cares about my little sister. because shes perfect to them. everything that i do is wrong. everything she does is correct. she blames everything on me and my parents believe her. i started off with COE and then MIA and finally as your term goes” social anorexia”.

    there is a broader range of anorexics compared to years back. and not all social anorexics are wannabes. yes we may not be the steroetype of anorexics that come from extreme trauma but we still hear the voices in our heads. “fatty did you see that? your dad is looking at your legs again you know why? BECAUSE HE THINKS UR FAT AND HES LAUGHING AT YOU INSIDE. what a loser.” we still count our calories all the time ( not on purpose). do you know how it feels like to spend an hour in a supermarket and buying only 3 things because you compare calories NON stop and you cant control the urge to? and for doing all that im considered as a wannarexic just because my prime purpose in this is to be thin, perfect and beautiful. i feel guilty even when i take the lift because it means that i have forsaken an exercise which takes away some of the calories i ate. i take ages to decide on something to eat because im trying to see which has less calories than the other. i want to be perfect for the 1st time in my life. and to me, thin = perfection. my whole childhood and teen years have been about being fat fat and fat because of my COE and being taunted for it non-stop. in a way, the media might have influenced part of my perception that thin=beautiful but tell me, since when is fat beautiful?

    i know that you’re just trying to help us disordered people ( or apparently i dont even have a disorder) but sometimes too much is not good. my mother now thinks im stupid for being a “wannabe” and that im destroying myself on purpose thanks to this. like everyone says, it takes one to know one. no one else can ever understand us properly unless you’ve been through this yourself. the hurt, the insults, the need to “feel thin” constantly. the need to lose calories, the need to be… more perfect everyday.

    trust me, i did try to stop for my boyfriend. but everytime i try. the voices in my head keep taunting me and insulting me like ” you shouldnt be eating that. you are so fat you deserve to starve for eternity” then i go all the way back to square one. just with MORE weight to lose. i dont have the body of an anorexic. but i think like one. and i think thats enough. pro-ana is not really as horrible as you make it to be. the girls who want to get an eating disorder can never stay for long because they JUST cant do the things we do even if they force themselves to. in the forum, our goal is to cope with our eating disorder but trying to eat as healthily as possible. when a member looks too skinny we try to make her go for treatment and check with her on a daily basis if shes alright. if someone wants to suicide we try all ways to convince and stop the person from doing so. when im down they are the ones who help me up again. and, they are the only ones who understands me and one of the few reasons why im still alive and living. so please, look at pro-ana forums with a more open mind. if you take them all away. how do we live?


  53. Danielle says:

    Caramel, so much of what you wrote is what I think as well and I couldn’t have said that better myself. I guess I have social anorexia too for wanting to be thin, beautiful, feel worthy and wanted. I don’t fit the criteria for anorexia because I am overweight, still have a period and sometimes purge, but basically restrict, but that does not mean I have nothing wrong with me.

    If social anorexia is what I have, it’s not something I wanted or can just get rid of. “social anorexia” is just as serious as any eating disorder because it’s still unhealthy not only pysically but mentally as well. Is it so bad to want to feel good about yourself for once in your whole life?

    ps: I’m the same Danielle that wrote above with the same xanga link, but not the one that does not have a link to her name.

  54. Nats says:

    Im sorry girls but I think you are completely missing the point!!

    The fact is, there are people with and eating disorder and there are people who want one!! I am sorry but simply wanting an eating disorder is just wrong!! Why on earth would someone want to be this way?? I have nearly killed myself 18 times because of this and yet there are people who WANT to be this way?!” MESSED UP if you ask me!!
    I am in no way saying that people with “social anorexia” are in any way less important than…. how to word this without it sounding wrong?? No way I guess, ok so social anorexia is no different to any other kind of anorexia! BUT I agree with the fact that girls who are wanting to be this way need help! They do not know what they are getting themselves into! Did you know that only 1 in four people with anorexia actually live to tell the tale??? So basically I could be dead by the end of my ed and not be around to tell you all. So someone seriously needs to explain to me why on warth people would want to be this way??
    I am seriously confused by this!

    Actually someone needs to answer this for me. What would be the best weight to be classed as THIN?? In your eyes what would you have to way to be thin and loved as you guys put it??? Coz if your having to starve yourself even if you dont want to (which to be honest noone can starve themselves unless there is something in side them telling them they want to or have to) to be loved then the sad story is you could be dead before that time comes! I am currently trying to get over my ed and coming here is helping with that and if you girls want to come on here and have a go then go ahead but please respect the fact that mamaVISION is helping those who want to be helped and is not trying to make you worse! Yeah sure disagree with something she says, everyone has their own opinions but how dare you come here and say she is “making fun of them” when you know absolutly nothing!! I have been on this site for a very long time and I have seen hundreds of her posts and the comments made under them and strangly enough I have not seen some of your names! You guys are coming here to shout off about something you know your going to need to face up to in the end and you are SHITTING YOURSELF because its coming quicker than you thought it would!

    Guys I hope you get the help you need and deserve, I may not agree with what you are saying but you are still sick and I hope you recover from it


  55. Vanessa says:

    chill the heck out. just because you’re a mindless puppet devoted to mrs. high and mighty doesn’t mean the rest of us want to relinquish our ability to think for ourselves. i don’t know how old you are but i’m guessing i’ve had problems with eating longer than you and tried recovering more times. and for the record: MAMAVISION MAKES FUN OF PROANA AND SUFFERERS OF ANOREXIA. she makes snarky comments about nicole richie (not like i care about ms. richie). and she puts sarcastic comments below the pictures of dying girls.

    i’ll never be part of anyone’s “army”. i’ll certainly never give my money to some crackpot self-aggrandising blogger (even if she does mean well). and i’ll never give up my critical thinking skills. if any of this bothers you then toooooo bad.

  56. Nats says:

    Oh so I am a mindless puppet am I? Right I ok fair enough if thats what you think but how about you take a run and jump into the little thinking tank coz what you are thinking is absolute rubbish! mamaVISION is trying to help people! Why can t you see that? I dont understand what you feel is wrong with her raising awareness of the problems we are ALL going through?? Im guessing the reason you are so upset by this is because you support proana?? Just asking not accussing. If you are then I would like to know why you support it, and again if not then I would like you to tell me why not. I am simply trying to understand where you guys get off by having a go at the last few people who actually give a shit, alot of you have said you do this for love! Well then mamaV is here she loves all of us and will still love us if we eat!!!

  57. Nats says:

    Oh and regarding mamaVISIONS army! I am glad to be part of that, and I will be in it until the day I see something done about what stuff is going on! I am roud to be part of it and be part of what mamaV is trying to accomplish.

  58. Vanessa says:

    ok let’s take things one at a time:

    are you a mindless puppet? well, you attack anyone with a difference of opinion and rush to defend her or do whatever she suggests. fits my description of mindless puppetry if you’re unable to see the merits of opposing viewpoints.

    is mamav trying to help? yes, i think she means well

    do i think she is going about helping in a useful way? sometimes maybe but i’d say she gets a lot of things wrong and will definintely do more harm than good if she brings even more attention to proana. proana feeds on attention. as i’ve said before, any newscasts bringing up the “problem” of proana websites immediately result in a rush of new people to all pro sites and especially the ones they publicise.

    so, am i a supporter of proana? excellent question. i am at most a marginal participant in one forum that is semi-pro ana, but intended more for support. i used to participate a lot more in a different forum that i liked a lot, but i went off to recover and when my recovery failed that site had been sht down. i think generally speaking i’m more against than for proana, but to me it does no harm since i’d have just as much of an ed without it, and since my critical thinking skills are engaged when i’m on a forum as much as when i’m here.

    why do i participate if i’m not for it? well, because i’m very socially isolated and it gives me some level of comfort, support, sanctuary, whatever you want to call it.

    where do i get off having a go at the few people who actually give a shit? well, i have my opinions and i choose to voice them that’s all. it doesn’t harm mamavision, if anything it will make her more effective since she’s surprisingly receptive to constructive criticism.

    and as for mamavisions “army”? i’m against the cult of personality in any form. i’m against following people and letting them do your thinking for you. i think eating disorder sufferers of all people need to be more assertive and in touch with their own feelings and needs and the last thing we need is some guru, some know-it-all, some blogger to tell us what to think and how to feel. most people with eating disorders that i know seem to be meek little follower types whose only method of acting out is by harming themselves. i don’t see how becoming a follower of mamav instead of proana is going to change that.

  59. Kim says:

    Vanessa, that is why mamav believes in freedom of speech and you are more then welcome to your opinion as are we. So while I find mamavision helpful you may or may not, but remember no one is forcing you to be here. So, if you find this site helpful as I do, please stay if not, good luck in your quest for recovery and I hope you find it. kim

  60. Danielle says:


    Not sure if you were talking about me at all but if you were…I did not choose to think this way or behave the way I do. I have never wanted an ED.

    I hate the people that say they want an ED and are pro-ed’s and act like it’s a quick way to lose weight to look like a celeb. There are no celebs I want to look like because I don’t see them as real people. All of their photos are airbrushed.

    I don’t know how to explain what my mind thinks but just know I did not choose to think this way and don’t wish I had an ED….I do have some sort of ED and not by choice. As much as it comes from control issues, it’s more like it controls me.

    If you read my past comments (2 others on this page) notice how I said “if social anorexia is what t have” meaning you people may call it that, I call it an obsession, I don’t know if that’s what I have and don’t think that just because you want to feel thin & beautiful means that you’re pro-ana or have a less important ED. Just for the record, I have never actually been diagnosed with an ED, but have been diagnosed with OCD & BDD. I realize some of my obsessions with food, weight & such could have to do with the OCD but also I would think the BDD doesn’t help that either. Either way, anyone with ED behaviour obviously has something in their brain telling them to act that way, I don’t mean intentional.

  61. Vanessa says:

    kim, thanks. i’m not currently on a quest for recovery but when and if i return to it i know where to go and it isn’t here. and for now i choose to stay and voice opinions that may not otherwise have been voiced. the ironic thing is that i’m closer to mamav’s position than not in most cases, think she means well, and am one of the least pro people in the proana community (if that phrase makes sense).

    my largest concern is actually that mamaVISION is going to ultimately cause more harm than good. if she continues with her plan to publisize herself and her opinions beyond this blog she’ll bring more people to proana than she helps leave or avoid it.

    attention for proana is like oxygen. the more oxygen you give it the healthier and stronger it becomes. the best way to combat it, in my opinion, would be both change from within so that the communities become more support and recovery oriented and by reaching individual people already involved with proana and helping them recover on a person to person level. that person-to-person thing is what some of you are experiencing and i think it is both useful and great! the problem is that if this site gets more attention and this lady publicizes her opinions in the larger media it will bring in more people to proana. i absolutely promise you that is the case.

  62. mamavision says:

    Hi Vanessa: You bring up a really good point about publicity…I need to think about this and I would like to discuss it more.

    So if we go with the idea that if the blog grows, many people start to visit due to media attention, what is the down side of this? I am thinking off the cuff here but I’d say:
    1) There will be more random comments from people who are simply curious and really don’t care about the issue.

    2) I could get swayed off track because I will be bombarded from all different directions (this does scare me a bit).

    3) Girls who have no idea what proana is will start checking out proana. Hmmm. this is a hard one. I would have to compare it to when you find out about sex, or drugs…you opt to try it or not. Free will, free choice, free speech. I would have to saym get it out there, some may be sucked in but I believe MOST reject it and join my side (I have to believe this otherwise why would I be doing this right?)

    I am sure there are more, but on to your next point- combat the problem with support and recover oriented efforts at the community level. This is the ultimate goal, it may take a while to get there, but we have to start somewhere right? This sure as hell ain’t working!

    Let’s look at it from the other side, what if the handbook I publish brings in the funding for me to put towards building these community efforts we are talking about? I have in my head that I would travel a lecture type circuit, adding to education and awareness, penetrate colleges and schools, and ultimately be the voice of reason that says “Enough, there is nothing cool about this.”

    I know I can do this, I know I am the right spokesperson, but I need you guys behind me. I refer to “army” just as a funny term…not cult intended.


  63. mamavision says:

    Hi Everyone: Just a gentle reminder….let’s scale back the attitude here. This open forum and all blog posts should be written with honestly, respect and compassion. Yes, heavy emotion is fine….but bring it down a few notches.

    We will never understand each other if our minds are so full of our own point of view that we can’t hear what others are saying.

    When we are open, flexible and willing to listen we learn the most about others and ourselves.


  64. Vanessa says:

    mamavision, please give more thought to point 3. aren’t you in marketing? ever heard of “any publicity is good publicity”??? that’s not true in all cases, but in this one it is particularly apt. right now, most people don’t know about proana. of all the people in the world only a tiny minority would be susceptible to the pro message if they did hear of it. but the more people that hear of it the more of that little minority comes to hear of it. so even if the huge majority hear your message and agree with it, the net effect will be that proana grows and thrives.

    unfortunately, the minority that are attracted to proana are not going to be scared or argued out of that attraction. i don’t need to guess about this- i’ve seen the phenomenon in action.

    right now proana is a relatively small internet phenomenon. ask most people and they’ve never heard of it. i would even guess that if you ask most anorexics and teenage girls they’ve never heard of it, although maybe it is more widely known among teens than i know of. anyone have any facts one way or another on that? if it’s rampant in middle schools and high schools already then i might have to rethink some of this. but i doubt that it is.

    as you may have noticed, i disagree with you on several points. but this is the thing i find most concerning about your intentions. otherwise you could have your little group and whatever- who cares? i might not like cults of personality but its not hurting me any if your followers can be a bit overly devoted. but if you end up strengthening proana by trying to fight it, well, it would be really unfortunate.

  65. Kim says:

    Vanessa, I like hearing your point of view and seeing things a different way. I think in some ways I agree with you. If I am honest, I only found youtube ana videos after finding healthy.place.com and one of the girls there linked me to a video and I have been going there ever since. The only bad thing I see (and it is purely selfish) is that by mama v traveling and talking about this topic is that this site will become less of a priority and as you know if you have read my posts here, I do find something here that draws me back day after day and I believe it to be a positive thing for me. Thanks for sharing your insight and thoughts. Vanessa, can I ask why you are not looking for recovery??? My life with ed sucks bad and I cant imagine anyone having a good experience with it. I am, however, terrified of facing life without ed if I dont have other, I dont know what word I am looking for, tools to survive it but I believe that is part of recovery. Your thoughts??? Am I way off???

  66. Kim says:

    Sorry if I sounded as if I had an attitude. I would never intend to hurt anyone or disrespect their opinions.

  67. mamavision says:

    Hi Vanessa: Got it, and I will think about this over the weekend. By the way, I like the way you think. I believe it is very important to have opposing viewpoints, it allows you to grow as a person.

    My background is in technology, online sales, project management, and yes marketing. This book thing dropped in my lap. Now that the opportunity is here, trust me, I am waivering on it because its a big commitment (I have a real job, children, and family which are most important…on top of this blog).

    Let’s say I walk away, I say I don’t want the commitment and I am concerned that I will be adding “fuel to the fire”…..isn’t this just like sticking my head in the sand? Like saying I am afraid of educating parents because the girls may listen and get hooked? This is just not jiving with me…but as I said I need to ponder this.

    My intuition is telling me this is something I need to do. My head is telling me to run for my life because I am scared! Seriously, the whole media thing is not my bag. But I realize the “marketing” of this goes with the territory, I just have to be as careful as I can to have the issues positioned appropriately. My BIGGEST fear is that the media will turn this into a circus as usual and focus on the sensationalism. I have been contacted by a national broadcast program and a major NY publication- I have committed to neither because I need to make sure I want to head down this path.

    Ok, girl- FIRE AWAY!! :)
    aka mamaV

    PS the cult of personality comment is interesting. I don’t like it either and I discourage it, perhaps I need to discourage it more (then again saying mamasARMY isn’t discouraging it is it!??? I meant this just in a fun way. Bottomline- this is about the individual, not me. I am not going to solve their issue, but ED suffers need hope and I provide that to them, I see myself as this guiding first step….but they need to take the leap. Could you perhaps look at me as a spokesperson? Imagine if I traveled to Universities and High Schools sending the message of reason, focused on self esteem (which I believe is the core of this whole thing). Can you see positives in that? And also, what if I don’t try? Who the heck else is willing to take this on?

  68. Vanessa says:

    kim, you asked why i’m not in recovery. it’s a bit off topic, and if you’d like a more involved answer you could always visit my own blog (blameful.blogspot.com). for instance there’s a post called why i love my eating disorder. but the short answer is that i was in recovery and after about a year i relapsed into binge eating and gained a lot of weight which led me to leave recovery completely and go back to methods i knew would let me lose weight again.

    heather, thanks for the compliment. i think the best way to discourage the cult of personality thing could be to have more of a team atmosphere here as you go forward, rather than just you. this would also ease some of the pressure off you. i imagine it as you and maybe 2 or 3 other people who’d guest blog and help deal with requests for individual attention, and that those people would have personal experience with eating disorders and/or proana. obviously you’d still be the driving force, but other names blogging regularly and other people answering cries for help might dilute things a little. but no, even as a joke, the mamasARMY thing doesn’t help.

    i’m still leaning towards the opinion that any and all media attention paid to proana will strengthen it, but i’ll try to give it more thought as well.

  69. Terra says:

    mamaV: i agree with one of vanessa’s last comments – have you considered having guest posters or interviews? i think it would open up the airwaves a little more – get more issues/opinions on the table. and what was mentioned earlier seems to be quite true: so many ED sufferers are meek, small-voiced people. i think that’s what we all need to work against, rather than focusing on a specific area, one of the FEW areas where these timid people might be open, proana areas.

    i’m neither for or against proana. i know that may be a problem for some people, but from my personal experience and what i’ve witnessed, it can be a haven f positive support for people who just want a hand with their thoughts; it can also be a tunnel for people to spiral down. like most things, there is a double-edged sword.

  70. Nats says:

    Whats wrong with this site?? Everytime you try and log on to it, its shuts down!

    Anywho, I thought I would write a message to Vanessa. I am sorry about m y attitude, I know it stinks, I just got on my soap box and was in terrible mood. I know this is no excuse but I am sorry.

    Could you possibly explain to me why the name mamaarmy etc is so bad? Maybe I am missing something but I dont understand whats so bad about it, its just a bit of fun nothing personal x

  71. Vanessa says:

    hey nats, don’t worry about it. i responded just as nastily and i’m sorry too. i am totally aware that i often don’t come off very nicely on this site but usually i try to stick to voicing my opinions that way and not attacking individuals. i really do apologize for my comments, and i understand why i piss people off, honestly.

    as for the mamasARMY thing, there’s nothing so bad about the name, it’s cute. the problem is that i’ve noticed the people that read this blog tend to put heather on a pedestal and beg her for help as if she can personally solve their problems but no one else could. all that to me seems unhealthy both for heather herself because it puts pressure on her and might give her a swelled head, and particularly it’s bad for the people who are doing it. people with eating disorders need to find their own voices, and they need to reach out to supports in real life in order to get better. so the focus on heather as a person rather than on the ideas she’s promoting get in the way of that i think.

    does that make sense?

  72. Nats says:

    Hey Vanessa!

    So we friends then??

    About Heather, during my time on this blog I come to trust and respect her. Not because of the fact she has been through the same things (although that helps) but because of what she is trying to accomplish.
    I depend on her a lot and ill be the first to admit that I would rather go to heather instead of my counselor, because she understands. My counselor is great I love her to bits but as much as she tries (and she really does try) she doesn’t really understand ed’s. I know there is only so much heather can do on this blog and with us, she has always been honest about the fact she is no professional, but its because she isn’t that people come here hun. She is the person in between, trying to get the two halves together.
    I would bet everythin I own ( I don’t own much but the thoughts there lol) that heather would help each and everyone of us even more if she were able to. She goes past those boundries that noone else has dared to do. And that is the reason I respect and trust her.

    The way things come across over the internet can be misjudged and it seems we have both done that lol

    Hope your ok


  73. Kristin says:

    Hi MamaV…
    Actually, I don’t know if I am Ana or not, I used to be when I was younge. Since then, bulimia is an issue, but mostly I fast (obstain) for periods of time. As I feel that’s in som way purer than making myself sick… The problem is, of course, I get totally weak from fasting all the time, at one point I started throwing up water and thought I was going to die. But this is the real issue – I feel 100% better when I am empty, than when I give in to normality. In my mind, food is dirty, I cannot eat without the hope that I will be clean the next day, and somewhere along the line I HAVE TO reach the ana-bmi. (I’m 5’9, goal is under 100 pounds)
    So maybe it’s ana-state of mind. But I feel I can’t give in to total death and destruction, I need to feel like I’m a decent human being, som maybe my fasting for God (Christian God that is, I’m norwegian lutheran), is just an excuse. I desire cleanness, holiness, everything good, like kindness and making others smile… but I can’t seem to live a normal life. Am I ana, or just plain insane?
    My point is I don’t think I do fast for Ana – I dont think I’m anorexic, because I don’t really have a problem eating, allthough I live the lonely life of many ppl with ed, always trying to avoid situations that involve food. This is not my ‘idol’, I do believe in God, even Jesus, so in my mind, nothing I can do will ‘save me’, but that work is done allready by Him. Still, I feel like a little dirty creature. I feel there is so much I could do, if I were thinner. So much I’ve missed because of lack of controle.
    During a fast, I feel physically faint, and obsessed with food, but sooooo hopeful. After a fast, my body is starved, and I hate myself for eating. I’m completely depressed. It’s like food is my drug – it really is! – and I don’t see how I will ever be able to balance it, it’s like a druggie that’s supposed to take a tiny bit of heroin five times a day – I wish I didn’t have to eat at all. It’s after I fail my fast that I really feel like garbage.
    I can’t even look at other people without remembering what’s really going on in their bodies, maybe they are beautiful on the outside, but on the inside it is like a nightmare. I envy them for being so ignorant. I wish, somehow, I wasn’t human.

    luv kris

  74. Kristin says:

    By the way, I heard/read about some nuns in a convent, that fasted until they died. I think that’s a little like me… Just going overboard. That happened long before anorexia supposedly was discovered in the nineteenth century or whatever. Even the Bible, and I think some egyptian sources too, talk about ppl who had contempt of food in their soul. I think eating disorders is an ancient issue! Certainly the romans practiced bulimia shamelessly, in their co-called pergatories… It sounds so awful to everyone, making yourself through up, but it really can be done in an orderly way. Just releaving yourself… crazy stuff.

  75. Randi says:

    I weigh 167lbs. Through starving I’m trying to get down to 130lb which is the weight I really should be at considering my height of 5’4″. People don’t believe I am 167, they assume I’m in the 140’s range, so I think a lot of it may be muscle, but back to my point, I’m trying to get to a desginated weight through starving and over exercising, does that make me a “wannarexic”? I’m not going after the annorexic look but I am using the means of starving and whatnot. Am I just a crazy dieter? Because I’d rather be that than an “wannarexic” or whatever the word is.

  76. Lex says:

    I think some people are more genetically inclined even towards social anorexia. Or rather, more inclined towards doing unhealthy things to fit in and feel good about themselves. I also think social anorexia can quickly f with your brain so much that you really do have a physical disorder soon.

  77. Emily says:


    I am a compulsive overeater who would be considered a “wannarexic.” Compulsive overeating is demoralizing and painful and maddening as well. I often find myself wishing I had the “good” eating disorder (anorexia) Of course no eating disorder is “good,”they are all torturous. However, It has become painfully obvious throughout my 32 years on this Earth that “thin is in”. You can see our cultures loathing of fat people multiple times a day. Even friends who mean no harm make comments that feel like daggars. I have had recovery from my disease several times and have relapsed. I am at my heaviest weight now ever. However, even at a normal weight I am miserable because I am obsessed with food. My understanding of anorexia is that it is manifested by an obsession of controlling food?
    I guess my point is that we have to face that our culture perpetuates eating disorders. When I say that I would rather be annorexia, I am aware that it leads to serious medical complications and even death. Compulsive overeating does as well. No one can debate this. So, in my insane thinking, I guess I would preffer to die thin than fat because that would be less embarrassing.

  78. Emily says:

    I just want to clarify that I don’t believe any eating disorder is “good.” And I hope that I have not offended anyone with my previous post. That is not my intention. I think the fact that I wish I was anorexic is sick. I just want to let others know that it does make sense that someone would prefer it over food addiction becaue of the social stigma of being overweight. I don’t think “normal” eaters really even consider it. In that vein, “social anorexics” are not “normal” eaters. They obviously have issues with food which may just not manifest as severly yet. I am guessing, however, that anorexia is a progressive disease as is compulsive overeating. With this I mean that it doesn’t usually get better on its own but gets progressively worse if left untreated. By addressing both “types” of anorexia, we are just facing the problem in its entirety, not just one part of it.

  79. Jo says:

    I think the girls on the last video are stunning. I am not ‘wannarexic’, I would just prefer a much slimmer body like those in the last video. I dream of being slim, I would just like my boyffriend of 3 years to be proud of the way I look. He says he already is proud, but my overweight size 12 figure haunts me! I just can’t bear the thought of him leaving me for a slimmer girl. I am currently taking slimming tablet which admittedly are helping, in 3 days I’ve gone from 11st 2oz down to 9st 11oz. I do feel alot better for this! The girls in the first were admittedly sickening, I dont agree with bones sticking out to that extent, it would be nice to be one of them for a couple of days!

  80. Elle says:

    Vanessa: I’m reletively new to mamaV, so I’m also new to your response to her, but I have to agree that mamaV can be very condensending, and this attitude and general tone to some of her post are fundamentally harming her cause. I think this is especially so with her audience. These are strong-headed girls who feel a need for perfection in all or some aspects in their life. Once they have decided what IS perfection, mocking their decision is the last way to change their mind. Thank you for bringing up the subject.

    Josie: Your point about being treated as a “wannarexic” (I quote: “! So he thinks “ah my daughter is a wannarexic” and i’d get treated as such, when i’m not, and not get the help i need.”) is completely true. There is alot of debate on pro-ana sites about non-emaciated members, which is mostly childish bickering and competitiveness between girls. But on this site and from knowledgable people of EDs, I expect better. Anybody, no matter what weight they are at, are engaging in dangerous behavior if they restrict, stave, purge or the like. And if someone wants to and is trying to accomplish these things, they too need help, awareness, and understanding to prevent them from such behavior.

    MamaV: I don’t mean to harp, but I’d still be very interested just what your intention was with those videos. Their purpose still doesn’t make any sense to me. Am I the only one? I feel stupid, heh.

    P.S. – May I also mention that the new forum is a FANTASTIC change? Since first visiting this site I felt that a true online forum was needed for discussion, and now we have it. Thanks!!

  81. Anne-Marie says:

    What a stupid and pathetic thing to say- wanting to be anorexic because they desire an emaciated body, yet they are not anorexic.

    Are you blind or just ignorant? If someone desires an anorexic body and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there (your ‘wannorexic’), who are you to call this any less of a disorder? The primary goal of anyone with an ED is to lose weight, so what difference does it make whether the reason they want to lose weight is because the individual dispises their own body or apires to someone else’s body… It’s the same thing!

    I can tell your children must be very repressed at home.

  82. Chelsea R says:

    Hi there, i am working with a group of people (we all suffer from eating disorders, the illnes not the fashion cult) to trawl through xanga, bebo, and myspace flagging and reporting wannarexic and pro-anorexia blogs, i just wanted to say after finding your page….im impressed 😀
    i have tried the nice approach – with no luck, the xanga i made (link under website heading, if not i shall repost
    http://www.xanga.com/anorexia_reality this is a rather…hmmm, whats the word? harsh approach. but for every stupid “omg i bet ur really fattt” comment i receive, i also receive a handful of positive ones.
    Anyhoo, i just wanted to say well done on this site i commend you!
    x chels

  83. T.S.N. says:

    I’ve seen you on youtube before, as I have made a few videos. (Only one concerning eating disorders, however) I think what you are doing is a good thing, however I believe a few things have been misunderstood about the “pro-ana” subculture. I would be interested in chatting to you, if you have the time, about your views on this.

  84. T.S.N. says:

    Wow, I just noticed a friend of mine just commented above me, haha!

  85. mamavision says:

    Hi T.S.N: I would like to chat privately, please email your thoughts to mamavision@gmail.com

  86. Amay says:


  87. sassaheat says:

    Hey, that was awesome. I am trying to join pro ana websites however they are all full—any suggestions?
    Go Pro!!!
    Thank you!

  88. Sarah says:

    I made one of those videos..I’ve never seen this site before..
    I like it..

    <3Stay strong
    please take me ana

  89. Tricky says:

    Seriously sickened by this.
    Not at individuals but the thoughts behind it. Here’s a thought: YOUR’E ALL SICK.
    Happy now? Eating disorders of any kind are a mental illness.
    *Well done, Clap Clap* (sarcastic tone)for focusing one just one aspect of life willingly.
    Mind I add you ain’t doing anything special. The Internet will tell you that. It ain’t gonna make an ounce of difference to how you feel. It’s addictive behavior. It’s a drug. You need to go to rehab for drug addiction. See a specialist on addictions. Damn.
    I’m one who got it without the damn research. I didn’t want it. I like being skinny. But guess what? That happiness lasts all of 2 seconds.

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