Monday, January 4, 2010

Ana as Religion

This is going to cause a lot of controversy…

i don't know how many of you readers are religious. i have to say, i'm atheist. we'll get into that perhaps at another time, but just making the point, i'm not a believer in deities.

but have any of you noticed, sometimes we treat our eating disordered lifestyles like religions, and that omnipresent Ana (or Mia, for some of you) like a god?

religion is defined as "a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by." and isn't that exactly what ana is? in the pro-ana community we have our shared beliefs, values and attitudes that we all live by, devoutly.

if you think about it, we have religious texts (a lot of people call the book "Stick Figure" the "Ana-Bible"). we have "hymns" (see my sidebar, "Ana's Playlist"). we may not go to a church every sunday, but don't we sure as hell pray sometimes, "ana, give me strength..."? i know i have. lately, the term ana for me has become more and more personified. i know she isn't a real person, and i am not that schizophrenic (once again, a topic for later discussion), but i almost feel that when i am fasting, there is ana watching, and i must prove to her that i am strong, that i can make it, that i am deserving to be thin. when i found out the a few months ago that i'd lost 6.5 lbs during my intense 5-day fast, i honestly whispered, "thank you, ana" without even thinking about it. an automatic reaction. as if my weight loss were a blessing from the ana deity.

i know there is a commandment in the bible saying you must not worship other gods. i'm not asking you all to sin, i'm simply telling you my opinion, and what has worked for me. normally, i make it three or four days on a fast and quit. because i was fasting only for myself, and half the time i'm too lacking in the self-confidence department to feel that i deserve to be thin. a day or two into my fast, i made the connection, and i made it five. whole. days. i had never fasted that long before. i'd tried, and i'd failed. this time, i'd succeeded.

some people define ana as a disease, and some as a lifestyle. a disease means that it controls you. a lifestyle means that it is just the casual norm for you, a choice. but think about it: if you see ana as a religion, how much more determined would you be to be devout to your fasting, to your diet plans, exercising, restrictions? how much stronger would you be if you saw Ana as a sort-of person, as more real, and by staying true to her path you are being faithful to her?

stay strong, think thin, live ana


  1. i am also atheist, and i definitly agree with u, that ana could be considered a type of religion. It is what we believe. We have our own little rituals, like working out, food journals, praying to be skinny, looking up to thinspo, and fasting. Im sure this might cause a lot of controversy but i am quite happy with your post.

  2. You can't argue with a dictionary.
    Ana definitly fits into the definition no doubt, whether you like it or not.
    Just like a christian with God, I feel like its a higher power that I cant control..But I dont want to control or fight it either.. I enjoy knowing that there's something else there helping me when im lost.. Its not crazy- Its exactly the same as people turning to god for guidance or joining a 'Crazy' Cult to feel accepted or Being part of a Terrorist Extremist group and blowing yourself up ... Its all about choice, Everyone has the right to choice.
    We all want to be loved, wanted, feel safe & accepted for who we are and in my opinion, Religions are just a cover name for groups of insecure, scared, humans wanting to feel like their life has & had purpose before they shrivel up and die!
    We Shouldnt Judge others beliefs, If it makes you happy, thats all that matters!

    Great Subject..!

  3. Never thought of it that way, but now that you've spelled it out, I realize I do the same thing. I have some dissociative characteristics as well, so talking to Ana is pretty normal for me.

  4. I never thought if it that way either.... its interesting
    thanks for the post :)

  5. That is an interesting idea. I've never thought of it that way before, but like Jayne said, you can't argue with a dictionary. I suppose it's a matter of opinion, but I'm sure that any anorexic can relate to what you say here and that it could possibly be a religion.

  6. Wow, I totally agree with you. I am also atheist, but I do feel as though the whole ProAna thing is kind of religious. But I am fine with that!

    Also, about the whole personifying Ana thing, well I must admit that it really goes to my head. I talk to her, argue with her, hear her, starve with her...and I swear she takes over me sometimes. Messed up, right? Haha x

  7. wow, thanks for all the positive feedback guys :)

  8. I just found your blog and I really like it. When did you start ana/mia? I have 2 months to lose as much weight as I can, hopefully 10-30lbs. Also, how do you keep from feeling nauseous when you fast?


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