All I really want to say is, don't get into this for the wrong reasons. If you've come here hoping for instructions for anorexia, I ask you to please think about why you want to starve yourself, whose choice that really is, and how your life might change if you decide to strive for anorexia.

No matter how many times you see one of those "anorexia is a lifestyle, not a disease" signs, it's not going to change the fact that it is called a disorder for a reason. It's often seen from the outside as a glamorous, 'perfect in a fucked-up way' thing. A diet gone too far. Enviable even. And then it's seen as something you can recover from.. just say the words and the anoretic will change their ways and forget about their old habits. But the truth is that once you're in, you're in, and you'll never be the same, even if you're far down the road of recovery, or believing that anorexia is a lifestyle.

Eating disorders are generally a way of coping with something, whether that be trauma, self-image issues, depression, anxiety, some other difficulty, and often it is a combination of some or all of those. Everyone has their own individual reasons for starting and living with this. My point is that it's too often the wrong reason: comparison to others, feeling inadequate because of media-made ideals. A young woman's natural stage of uncertainty with her body could be a natural progression in her life if not for the rude interruption of an eating disorder. Teenage years are a time when females are learning how to accept their new bodies, a time when they're trying to take in all the information they can to learn how to do this. In our world, women are bombarded with unrealistic expectations and ideals at a time when they're most vulnerable.

The gap between extreme weights of celebrities doesn't help. There are tons of celebrities admitting to having eating and body issues these days. There are skeletons, there are yo-yos, and there are curvacious ones, and all of them are criticized for a different reason. I'm trying to find a middle ground. Awareness of eating disorders is growing, but pressures still exist.

What I want to say is that you need to be aware of what you're doing. If you begin following "ana's rules," before you know it you will be in a huge mess, wishing that you hadn't begun just because you visited a website and saw a picture of a body you wished was yours. You'll be changed forever. This is a mindset, an obsession.

If you feel that you're willing to give your life up to your weight, then go for it. Not only will you lose weight, you'll lose plenty of other things: friends, interests, energy. As I've seen in myself and others, you will become manipulative and isolated. You will feel like nobody understands except others we meet through these websites, people we don't know and who are only similar to us in what we're obsessed with and how shitty we feel about ourselves. You will pull away from your friends because eating is a social habit for them. You will pull away from them because at some point all you'll want to do is be alone to focus on eating and weight. You'll become extremely self-aware, conscious of every dimension of your body because you've stared at it, taken pictures of it, pinched it, begged every inch of it to please shrink away... and after you've lost your friends and interests, all you have is your disorder and the other people with disorders who you'll never meet in person, who will probably fade away after a few weeks or months of eachother through e-mail. And you'll continue to tumble further and further into this obsession with control. Hopefully before it's too late you'll realize that while you feel you're in total control, it's quite the opposite.

I understand that this may not mean much to you if you haven't already lived with an eating obsession. I know that my discouragement won't help and that you may think this is hypocritical. But please try to understand that thin does not mean perfect. Starvation does not equate happiness. The thinner you become with your disorder, the thinner you will want to become. You'll never be good enough; the closer you become to your goal, the further it will move away from you, moving to double-digit numbers that mean nothing. Please, please, please understand that starving yourself or purging the calories is not a healthy thing, that there is obviously some other deeper problem within yourself that can be solved in a healthy way. You can lose weight in a healthy way, believe it or not, even if it takes longer, it will last longer. Imagine being thin and healthy for ten years. Twenty years. For the rest of your long, happy life. I hope you would prefer to be able to maintain your healthy weight for a lifetime than maintain a sick obsession only to have that painful life cut short.

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