I post and read basically everything from my phone because my laptop is mostly out of commission. So, the categories that come up for my reader should be a no-brainer since I write about weight loss mostly (I hope to branch out, but that’s not for right now). I always check “Blogs I Follow” first, then I check “Weight Loss”. I’ve been doing this everyday for months.
Within the last month especially, I have been seeing a rise in pro anorexia blogs. With names like, Becoming, Seeking, Being, Finding, Achieving – Ana. At first I was a little naive. One of my best friends’ name is Anna and she is European, so I figured “Ana” could just be a different spelling. Then I open the blogs. They are all different but the same; A girl around 130 pounds trying to get to 100, the heavier girl around 240 thinking this is the only way.
It has been making me not want to open WordPress at all, it is SO depressing. I know I can’t go personally help or save any of these girls or talk some logic and sense into them about why and how this isn’t a good idea for their health. I also know they probably wouldn’t listen if I tried. I feel.. not pity, but empathy, I guess.
On the flipside of that, it also really pisses me off. Reading that kind of stuff makes me think about my nieces or friends with daughters (not that men aren’t affected also, but regarding this speficially, I have only come across female blogs). It made me remember in June sometime, I found out my eldest niece was freaking out over gaining a couple pounds of summer weight because all her girlfriends at camp couldn’t stop texting her about “how skinny we are getting!” These are 14 year-old girls, I was there once, it’s brutal.
My Sister-IL knew I had been working out and losing weight and all that and was talking to me about how my niece thought they needed to go purchase exercise machines and this and that and hoped she would be as thin as her friends by the time they went back to school. So, I offered to talk with her.
My niece is pretty tall, taller than average and average weight at worst. It broke my heart that she was panicking like this. I also knew that I had to take responsibility for the part I played in her poor body image issues. I apologized, first and foremost, for not being a positive female example in her family, our family. I’ve been overweight her entire life as have most of the female members of her family on both sides. I can see why and how she got scared. I’m sure she thinks that someday she’s just gonna end up big like the rest of us. It was that day that I realized how much I could impact someone’s life for better or worse, someone other than my own child. I choose better.
I told her my story, how I’ve been able to workout without equipment (besides dumbbells really, and they have a treadmill in the house where we have a bike), how it has helped my depression and made me much stronger; I showed her a progress photo at the time, explained why she should focus both on strength and cardio and most importantly, that she didn’t need to do this at all, but I understood why she felt she did and encouraged her to get strong, not skinny. Then, I promised to be a positive example from here on out for her and the rest of the younger generations of our family and I really, really mean it – to my very core.
So, when I see “Pro-Ana” blogs, that’s what I think about. Are my nieces seeing this stuff too? Probably. That makes me sad and I know I can’t control it. Maybe, though, just maybe, if I can set a good enough example for the younger generations in our family – maybe that is, not THE, but A, first step?