Scrolling through Instagram, you’ll find pictures of sunsets, nails, cats, Starbucks…and “thinspo.”
Short for thinspiration, thinspo consists of bone-thin girls and even boys, often with captions reminding you to drink plenty of water and to “skip dinner, you’ll wake up thinner.”
Some people say it’s a helpful weight-loss motivation, others say it’s a disgusting glamorization of a deadly disease.
Many teens have given the fabricated face of this disease a name, Ana. She is worshipped on millions of blogs and websites. She is thanked for saving people’s lives, for helping them become the pretty, skinny person they had always wanted to be.
Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. It affects 24 million Americans each year. Sometimes called a silent killer, it is often hard to know when someone is at risk before it’s too late (anad.org).
Ana may do more harm than good. 20% of people with an eating disorder die from it (mirror-mirror.org). Hair loss, stomach pain, insomnia, cardiac arrest, depression, skin problems, dehydration, even infertility are only a few of the many complications.
Whether or not you believe that thinspo can be helpful, remember that 95% of dieters will regain the weight they lost within five years (kidshealth.org).
Cutting down calories can lower your metabolism, and make it easier to binge (eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time).
The signs of Anorexia may go unnoticed, but being aware could save someone’s life.
Guest Reporter Tehani deGuzman