The Truth About Online Anorexia

Fearne Cotton examines the ongoing trend for super-slim women and
immerses herself in the worrying world of pro-ana websites who
encourage anorexia and starvation as a life choice.

As Fearne explores the diet and exercise regime of a pro-ana, shell
try some of the extreme regimes that they endorse and meet other girls
whove embraced the same lifestyle. She will explore the seductive
nature of these support groups, examine the world of competitive
dieting, and look at relationships that ordinary women have with each
other when it comes to diet and body image.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Gloor/748065452 Paul Gloor

    My god this is disgusting !! The avg woman NEEDS 2000 calories a day to function !
    You can be heavy without being fat, muscle weighs more than fat. If you are concerned about that fatty layer, watch what you eat and make sure its not empty calories and fatty foods like chocolate bars, chips, soda.  Eat a big breakfast, normal lunch and small supper to distribute your calories to when you would burn them rather than store them and snack in between to keep your metabolism going. Stay fed, stay active… period !

    • Alicia

      unfortunately anorexia doesn’t have a focus or even basis in health or optimal bodily function.

    • Alicia

      unfortunately anorexia doesn’t have a focus or even basis in health or optimal bodily function.

    • Zenqi

      Your advice may be helpful for someone, but a person suffering from anorexia nervosa has psychological issues driving the behavior, not necessarily a lack of education on nutrition.

    • Zenqi

      Your advice may be helpful for someone, but a person suffering from anorexia nervosa has psychological issues driving the behavior, not necessarily a lack of education on nutrition.

    • Georgia

      Anorexics will do anything to be thin, their diets go over the edge, theyre so desperate to be thin they dont regard their health

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Gloor/748065452 Paul Gloor

    My god this is disgusting !! The avg woman NEEDS 2000 calories a day to function !
    You can be heavy without being fat, muscle weighs more than fat. If you are concerned about that fatty layer, watch what you eat and make sure its not empty calories and fatty foods like chocolate bars, chips, soda.  Eat a big breakfast, normal lunch and small supper to distribute your calories to when you would burn them rather than store them and snack in between to keep your metabolism going. Stay fed, stay active… period !

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804215183 Alexandra Santel

    After watching this documentary…I just feel like rushing to McDonald’s and ordering a BigMac lol!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804215183 Alexandra Santel

    After watching this documentary…I just feel like rushing to McDonald’s and ordering a BigMac lol!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651110584 Haven Acariâtre

    So I guess these girls think that the children in poor countries like somalia are all the rage…the fuckers should just kill themselves and give the food they would never eat to people that actually don’t have a choice on whether they want to starve themselves or not.

    • Xxstarxgazerxx

      wow, that.. comment is so stupid. you do relaize anorexia isnt just an eating disorder, it is in the mind as well. people who have this disorder are SICK. people that think that anorexia is just about being thin, doesn’t understand the issue at all. i dont think pro ana sites are any good, because they make you think this eating disorder is not aonly glamorous, but just about looking pretty.

      • Thought Criminal

         Stupid or not, WTF is up with all the “Comment removed” bullshit? This site never used to censor opinions, but lately I’ve been seeing censorship on almost every comment section on this site. Who the hell is the new admin who has taken it upon himself to be the opinion police? Or is it an old admin who has caved in to pressure from the minority of us who think we need to be protected from the “wrong” opinions? I don’t care if someone is trolling or not. This is bullshit.

         I originally came to this site because other sites such as topdocumentaryfilms were approving which comments could be posted. I don’t know if they still do, as i haven’t been there in over two years.

         I might be inclined to agree with Xxstarxgazerxx, but i can’t because some asshole who deems himself moral arbiter of the comment section removed it. Free speech does not exist to protect opinions you agree with. I suppose I’m wasting my words though… this comment itself will probably be deleted. Is it time to move on to a doc site that still promotes free expression…. ?
        /Quotes/
        If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. 
        ~Noam Chomsky

        The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. 
        ~Tommy Smothers

        Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. 
        ~Potter Stewart

      • Thought Criminal

         Stupid or not, WTF is up with all the “Comment removed” bullshit? This site never used to censor opinions, but lately I’ve been seeing censorship on almost every comment section on this site. Who the hell is the new admin who has taken it upon himself to be the opinion police? Or is it an old admin who has caved in to pressure from the minority of us who think we need to be protected from the “wrong” opinions? I don’t care if someone is trolling or not. This is bullshit.

         I originally came to this site because other sites such as topdocumentaryfilms were approving which comments could be posted. I don’t know if they still do, as i haven’t been there in over two years.

         I might be inclined to agree with Xxstarxgazerxx, but i can’t because some asshole who deems himself moral arbiter of the comment section removed it. Free speech does not exist to protect opinions you agree with. I suppose I’m wasting my words though… this comment itself will probably be deleted. Is it time to move on to a doc site that still promotes free expression…. ?
        /Quotes/
        If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. 
        ~Noam Chomsky

        The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. 
        ~Tommy Smothers

        Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. 
        ~Potter Stewart

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651110584 Haven Acariâtre

    So I guess these girls think that the children in poor countries like somalia are all the rage…the fuckers should just kill themselves and give the food they would never eat to people that actually don’t have a choice on whether they want to starve themselves or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651110584 Haven Acariâtre

    So I guess these girls think that the children in poor countries like somalia are all the rage…the fuckers should just kill themselves and give the food they would never eat to people that actually don’t have a choice on whether they want to starve themselves or not.

  • Anonymous

    Anorexia does not mean, “I think I am too fat”…

    I just had a surprise when I was diagnosed by a doctor of having anorexia.  I suffer from having zero appetite.  I eat to live, as there is no enjoyment of food, like others have. I want to GAIN weight badly.  I have ZERO body image issues. So please do not assume that Anorexia is just a choice.

    • Frostemi

      Anorexia is the medical term for not eating. Anorexia nervosa, the condition associated with body image and extreme dieting is a mental illness and is what this documentary is concerned with.

  • Kat

    The documentary made a mistake : 1200 calories is considered the MINIMUM level needed by an adult female, not the “recommended amount.  Even then some dietitians think this is too low to allow for proper nutritional requirements.

  • poopark

    Strange how Western chicks do all they can to try and be thin. Just travel to Japan, or other Asian countries and you will see just how really fat and slobbish you really are. 

    • Thursday

      It’s people like you, with comments like this… smh.  You really are an entire park filled with poo aren’t you?  Would you be this inconsiderate in person?  Why are you so determined to spread your negativity as far and wide as possible?  Oh yeah, and since you are a park of poo, that makes you the biggest, smelliest slob in the room.  Keep your crap to yourself.

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  • Lucy

    This documentary uses a mental health problem to make a case for internet censorship. Getting rid of these websites is not going to reduce the prevalence of eating disorders. Like the doc says, get rid of them and more pop up. They are a symptom, not a cause. Cotton’s response to the sites, repulsion, is why they exist. Most other people refuse to try to understand ED sufferers, so they create communities where they can express themselves without fear of judgment and disgust. Though I agree that in many respects the websites can be harmful to those who read them, I think the focus here should be on the factors that make them popular.

    • Kim

      I agree with you Lucy. I was bulimic when I was hunger and that was before the internet. It is so much more complicated than the internet in so many ways.  I believe it starts with home and parents as well.

      • Kim

        Oh my – I meant younger not hunger – how is that for an ironic typo !

  • RecoverED

    People suffering from anorexia or any other eating disorder can find positive and healthy support on the internet.  If you need support please google “something fishy remember it hurts” for a fantastic support forum that has helped so many people find their road to recovery. xoxo

  • Fat Franky

      It seems that every day psychiatrists diagnose a new illness people suffer from. Now i’m not trying to downplay anorexia, but i had a few interesting thoughts. A significant part of society will always seek something wrong with them that can be heroically overcome, used to excuse one’s shortcomings, or provoke “romantic” pity. I know that sounds harsh, but its true.

      There’s actually a subculture of gay men called “bug chasers” and “gift givers”, who actively seek and “give” each other AIDS. The reason i bring this up is because it possibly relates to the conditions of these women. These gay men are attracted to the idea of having AIDS because of the way they precieve society to treat AIDS patients. They want the sympathy and support that comes with having a terminal disease. They find it romantic. And strange as it sounds, makes them feel special.

      Now im NOT saying “All these girls are just seeking sympathy, blah, blah” Im simply offering a possible alternative to the root causes of a condition we don’t understand. To say that everyone diagnosed with anorexia has the same underlying cause would be idiotic. If indeed some of these women are attracted to having a condition that would elicit sympathy and support, (which is not entirely unthinkable) then documentary’s such as this would only exacerbate the problem. An unsettling thought.

      On a sidenote; Lucy i think your spot-on. Especially about the subject being used as an excuse for internet censorship.

  • malamikigio

    hmm… while i truly feel for the women and men who have these disorders–because yes, i do recognise that these are primarily diseases of the mind–on the other hand, i sometimes wonder if people may be putting too sharp a focus on the “thin” part.  i feel like we’re having hundreds of conversations about young people “dying to be thin”, or simply overeating, when i think by now it’s become clear that there’s something else missing from the lives of these people.

    shouldn’t we start talking about how to shift people’s attention away from themselves by now?  couldn’t it be that we’re simply allowing people to navel-gaze a bit too much?  maybe we could help people with these conditions understand that it’s more important to *add* to oneself (in the form of knowledge, and concern about the rest of the world) than to *take away*?  

    the greatest people who’ve ever lived might’ve suffered from a disorder or two (you think Norman Borlaug never looked in the mirror and felt ugly or worthless?) but still managed to find the time to change the world!   

    it’s possible i just don’t fully understand what it’s like to be obsessed with ones body for one reason or another.  it does make me sad though.

  • Abc

    How does this documentary help at all for girls to combat anorexia? I got the feeling Fearne Cotton was secretly excited to try out these diets. The Doctor mentioned that she herself did not need to lose much to be considered under weight. 

    Besides there was no sense in this whole documentary. It was just Fearne repeating herself over and over and over again. “horrible, disgusting, can’t believe it”. 

    Also I agree with Lucy. This is way to make a case for internet censorship. If there was any real point to be made by it, that was it. 

  • Abc

    How does this documentary help at all for girls to combat anorexia? I got the feeling Fearne Cotton was secretly excited to try out these diets. The Doctor mentioned that she herself did not need to lose much to be considered under weight. 

    Besides there was no sense in this whole documentary. It was just Fearne repeating herself over and over and over again. “horrible, disgusting, can’t believe it”. 

    Also I agree with Lucy. This is way to make a case for internet censorship. If there was any real point to be made by it, that was it. 

  • Abc

    How does this documentary help at all for girls to combat anorexia? I got the feeling Fearne Cotton was secretly excited to try out these diets. The Doctor mentioned that she herself did not need to lose much to be considered under weight. 

    Besides there was no sense in this whole documentary. It was just Fearne repeating herself over and over and over again. “horrible, disgusting, can’t believe it”. 

    Also I agree with Lucy. This is way to make a case for internet censorship. If there was any real point to be made by it, that was it. 

  • Rista Smith
  • Rista Smith
  • Oly

    “These websites should be illegal”

    -absolutely not. such an ignorant viewpoint. there are thousands of people that belong to these communities. the answer is not shutting down websites, the answer is education.

  • http://thebibleandthenews.com/ beauregard

    I watched this while eating fatty chips, which I highly recommend. Miss Cotton thinks that her few hours of fasting is an experience of anorexia. This is why she ends up dramatizing the effects of her diet. In fact, a one day fast is not that a momentous thing, and very good for you. If she had fasted one day, for religious reasons, say, her reaction would have been quite different, and more positive. I do not advocate anorexic behavior. But this documentary would not do much to stop me from starving myself if I were into that.  

  • James

    From a males view point (mine and everyone i know) thinks anorexia is just horrible, i would not touch any anorexic girl with a ten foot pole. I honestly cannot even imagine where the idea comes from that anorexia makes you beautiful. In who’s bloody eyes?!?!

    • Georgia

      I kind of know you mean well, but it sounds like you ae discriminating people because of their mental illness. thought i’d tell you that before someone jumps on you

  • Sophie

    500 Pro ana websites ? try 5000 , have they not been on Tumblr ?
    And can i point out shes on Internet Explorer as her Browser – wow she really is before the Internet Generation .

  • Sophie

    shes a bit over dramatic , she couldnt even do one day ? its not that difficult to do 1 single day !

  • Georgia Matsell

    Piss off Fearne! Stop being so judgemental, yes its wrong but these girls on them can’t help it, anorexia changes their mind.

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  • Missy

    Anorexia is a true disease of the mind. It is a spiral into darkness and a perpetual cycle that is so very hard to break. Pro anorexia sights make these girls feel as normal as possible because they aren’t alone is this crazy life. The thing that they can’t see is that it is fueling their disease. It can be done and it is going to be emotional and hard and truthfully you might have to go through it more than once, but the cycle can be broken.

    From a nutritional point. Food is what gives us energy, nutrients and vitamins. These are the building blocks for a stable mood and allows us to be a functioning human being. When you start to take these away, your brain and your organs are no longer working….your body literally starts to slow down. There is no ‘life’ in your body.

    I wish there was more of these documentaries to bring awareness to eating disorders. But I also would like to see more interviews with survivors of this disease. It is a scary and very lonely path to walk and to see those who have made it through to the other side would be very inspiring.

    Fearne, this was wonderful.

    My message to girls with ED or EDNOS- There is only ONE YOU. You are special and life can be pretty amazing if you give it the chance.