Pro-anorexia websites are full of contradictions. Most of these sites that I have seen contain thousands of members who glorify disordered eating in hopes of losing weight fast and easy. However, there are always the truly sick ones who stumble in, looking for a hand to stroke their thinning hair and congratulate the destruction they have caused to their bodies. Words of encouragement towards certain death, spoken by those who see supermodels as goddesses of purity and perfection.

I'll have three cottonballs for lunch, please. No, that one has too many calories. I'm full. I'm fat. You are too.

Although pro-anorexia sites are more talk than walk, they cause serious damage to body image and encourage women to be what they eat. Sharing tips of how to puke after eating a carrot is not a worthwhile way to spend your time.

If pretending you are anorexic makes you feel worthwhile, go ahead and do it. Just don't expect to get my respect. Pro-anorexia sites demean the horrible mental disorder that so many people suffer from. Having an eating disorder is not something to be proud of.

I have an eating disorder, and I am ashamed.

Ashamed of myself, ashamed of the time I spent fighting anorexia, ashamed of the hundreds of thousands of dollars my family had to pay for my treatment. Ashamed of my body. You glorify my shame. It hurts.

Here's the thing that no one ever talks about when talking about eating disorders: it doesn't go away once the weight is gained, once you're no longer placing your body in mortal danger, once you've been caught. Yes, you've embraced health, life over death, you appear normal, but there's always that voice there, telling you that you're fat and because of that, you're worthless. The voice is smaller, less powerful than it used to be, but one that is never silenced.

At the gym, reading Glamour. In between photo shoots featuring gloriously thin women there's an article about body image. It begins, "How many times a day do you think about your weight? Once? Twice? Twenty?" Twenty, eh? I wish. I can honestly say that not a minute goes by in any day when I don't at least once think about my own body, compare it to someone else's, think about how much I've eaten today, how little I've eaten, something. I don't even think of this as abnormal anymore, it's just the static, the background noise in my thought process. Men think about sex every four seconds, I think about this every four seconds. No big deal.

When you think about something so damn often, a lot of times your thoughts just have to come out. When you worry that your appendix is going to burst in your house kitchen, "Does appendix surgery make you lose weight?" just pops out of your mouth and everyone just looks at you, thinking, how pathetic.

This is why the pro-anorexia movement disturbs me so much. Young girls come to these sites, with growing issues with their weights (which in western society is hardly abnormal), and think that maybe this is the ticket, starving yourself. Gain admiration from your friends, the envy of your enemies, the worry of your parents, and last but not least, attention. You will begin your crusade thinking that it's okay, you will never have a problem because you chose this route, you are in control. That's what everyone thinks, but you imitate the behaviors enough and it takes control of you, and you are never the same again.

Food will never be the same for you, it will be a complicated issue filled with moral repercussions. How did you ever eat without considering the calories involved before? Can you remember eating a meal without a fleeting thought afterward, reassuring yourself that if you really needed to, you could make yourself throw it up, absolution for your sins? From now on, your first reaction to stress will be to stop eating. Unhappy with the way you're using your body (or letting someone else), and you will go to Dairy Queen, buy yourself a Blizzard, go home and throw it up.

Healthy girls look to pro-anorexia websites for inspiration, for instructions for self-destruction, ultimately to become unhealthy. I won't pass judgement...if this had been around ten years ago, I would probably have been a part of it myself. I just want to tell them all of these things that I've just written, and hope (probably wrongly) that something could change their minds.

Many poeple who have read my w/u on pro ana websites have asked for me to add some more information on pro anorexia-so here it is!

Everybody has fat days when they can not bear the thought of looking in the mirror but anorexia is beyond this.It is a way of life because you can not escape it in any way. Due to this terrifying mindset, sufferers feel alienated from life in general. I can walk down a street with my eyes shut because of a sickening fear of seeing my reflection in a shop window; it has actually made me physically sick in the past so I have developed a way of walking by looking at my feet. To people who have not suffered from mental illness, this may seem highly bizarre but those that have been there will totally understand where I am coming from.

Due to this total alienation from society various support networks have been set up to try to bring sufferers into the real world. Some of these have legal channels such as The Eating Disorder Association (British) or Something Fishy (American) but the majority are illegal underground routes such as pro anorexic websites. Bearing in mind that when a person is admitted to hospital for the treatment of an eating disorder, the person in question is bound to meet people in a similar situation who give tricks on how to cheat the hospital system. This is no different to the way that these websites are run. An anorexic needs to have the knowledge that there are others who are going through the same experiences as he or she is.

For those who are lucky enough to have never suffered from the dehabilitating illness here are some of the things that we do to ourselves in the search for perfection

2-4-6-8: This is a regime of keeping the metabolism at a high level. On the first day, you eat 200 calories; the second, four hundred calories; the third, six hundred calories; and the final day eight hundred calories. Please bear in mind that eight hundred calories is a lot for somebody whose usual intake is around the two hundred three hundred calorie mark.This used to be my personal favourite as it does not allow your body into the starvation mode which is where it slows down your metabolism as your body goes into self preservation mode.

Apple cider fast (liver detox) 8 a.m. one glass apple cider (8 oz) 10 a.m. two glasses (16 oz) 12 p.m. two glasses (16 oz) 2 p.m. two glasses (16 oz) 4 p.m. two glasses (16 oz) 6 p.m. two glasses (16 oz) 8 p.m. two glasses (16 oz) Juice should be natural, with no added sugar, and unpasteurized. (Make some yourself if you need to, in a juicer.) The apple cider diet heals and rejuvenates the liver

The Cabbage Soup Diet Plan Eat as much cabbage soup as you desire for seven days and you can lose 10 to 15 pounds. The recipe varies slightly, but basically includes a variety of low-calorie vegetables such as cabbage, onions and tomatoes, flavored with bouillon, onion soup mix and tomato juice. Each day of the seven-day program has specific foods that must be eaten, including potatoes, fruit juice, many vegetables, and on one day, beef. Day One: Eat only fruit, all the fruit you want except banana. Drink unsweetened tea, black coffee, cranberry juice and water. Eat as much soup as you like. Day Two: All you want - fresh, raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. Stay away from dry beans, peas and sweet corn. Reward yourself with a big baked potato with butter for dinner. Eat as much soup as you like, but no fruit for today. Day Three: Combine days one and two, eat as much fruit, vegetables and soup as you like but no baked potato. Day Four: Eat as many as eight bananas and drink as many glasses of skim milk as you would like on this day, along with your soup. This day is supposed to lessen your desire for sweets. Day Five: You may have 10-20 ounces of beef (300-500g) and a large tin or up to six fresh tomatoes. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water this day to wash the uric acid from your body. Eat your soup at least once today. You may eat broiled or baked chicken (skinless) instead of beef. If you prefer, you can substitute broiled fish for the beef. Day Six: Eat beef and vegetables today. You can even have 2 or 3 steaks if you like, with fresh vegetables or salad. NO BAKED POTATO. Eat your soup at least once. Day Seven: Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices and vegetables all you want. Be sure to eat your soup at least once to day. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages - not even diet soda

B/P= Binge purge cycle. Eat whatever you want but make sure that it can be vomited up afterwards.

C/S= Chew and spit. Rather than swallowing the food, spitting it out in the bin will cut out the worry of finding a toilet to throw up in.

Shocking is it not? N.B This should not be used by anyone. I am not condoning the behaviour of an anorexic as it assaults the body and mind and should not be used as a "diet".It is a psychiatric disorder.

Pro anorexic websites are a means for people who might not necessarily meet as the majority of people with an eating disorderare never diagnosed and certainly do not need the drastic step of hospitalisation. It does, however, provide them with a community of people who understand exactly what they are going through and allows them to make a step in the direction of making contact with the reality that they are not the only ones going through it.Reality hurts.Reality is hard.

There is a general misconception that these places are there to make people worse but in fact, they offer protection from doing dangerous things such as the use of ipecac to make oneself throw up. As I have said in my previous w/u, I am in contact with a few of the girls I came to be very close to. This means that if we have not heard from each other or are worried about the mental state that people have gotten into, we are able to check up on them and talk them out of doing anything horrific like overdosing or actually commiting suicide. We go out of our way to protect each other. We regularly post our height/ weight ratios and yes there can be celebrating when someone reaches a stw-short term weight or a ltw-long term weight but if someone is getting dangerously thin, we offer them support in trying to eat something if only to raise their blood sugar level. there have been times when people have gone on-line to stop themselves from taking an overdose and they have always been urged to rethink by the other users. If a child enters the room (average age of the users is around 18), we all log off until they have left.

Having spent ten years of my life like this, I am now working towards a future of eating three meals a day without obsessing over each morsel. I have "recovered" before but this time, hopefully, it will last a little longer so that I can start living my life in a real situation rather than in a world of mirrors and underground chatrooms where I converse with other very sad cases. I hope that this offers some insight into the world of an anorexic and helps people understand why these websites exist.

I shall just reiterate that this is not condoning anorexia in any way. this is just a real account of what life is really like.Please remember, it is not a diet, it is a mental illness.

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