Monday, April 26, 2010


*This post contains possible triggers for sensitive folks. If you are highly vulnerable disordered eating, or are highly suggestible in this area, proceed with caution!

**Also, beware: cursing ahead! You have been warned.

Image by Ruth Gwily.

I was very lucky to have never run across any pro-anorexia (also known as pro-ana ) websites during the darkest time of my eating disorder. I'm not sure why I didn't, as I was a very Google-happy anorexic (and continue to be a master web browsing procrastinator). The only explanations I can come up with are that a) God was/is looking out for me, and b) pro-ana sites were on their way in only after I was at a much healthier place and deep into my therapy, so I was less susceptible in the few brushes I did have with these sites.

This weekend, however, I randomly stumbled across a website that promotes a lesser-known eating disorder, chew-and-spit. I read a former chew-and-spitter's blog (and it's a good one!), which is where I first "learned" of this practice. I say "learned" because I've done a bit of this myself. As the name suggests, this practice is like bulimia, but instead of swallowing the food that the disordered eater is binging on, she spits it out after chewing. Gross, right? Not only does it tend to result in weight gain instead of loss, it's horrible for the teeth, expensive, and guilt-inducing, to mention only a few of the heavy side effects.

I was curious to see if more folks suffer from a chew-and-spit habit, so I Googled. The first result was this: Chew & Spit -- Free Weight Loss Program! Here's a little sampling of quotes from this website:
"I am not here to sell you anything, nor am I here to offer my services. This is strictly a humanitarian gesture. I seek to free our society from the grip of the 'health food' industry, and its evil sister the media witch. I offer a simple solution to help you enjoy the food that you love, and not feel guilty about the fat and calories that go along with anything that tastes remotely good. Cast aside your shackles friends, and join the millions that will be using this new and divinely simple methodology to shed the pounds, and live healthy lives, while enjoying all the food they want."

"I am a big believer in helping my fellow man. So I don't care about making a profit from the misfortune of others. The decision was simple for me. My fellow brothers and sisters would be able to use this method to be healthy and be happy."

"I don't want any reward for the gift of a healthy fellow human being is reward enough."
Friends, family, and regular readers know that I don't curse much, both in person and on the blog. We're family-friendly around here. So you know that I mean business when I say what the fuck? I mean, come on -- seriously? Not only is this site's creator promoting a enslaving, bondage-inducing, mental and physical healthy nightmare, but s/he is demurring the obviously expected accolades of those h/she helps trap in this lie? It makes me sick!

What's more, there is a "weight loss accessories"page. That's right, you can buy your very own Chew & Spit (TM) bib, spitting bucket, and bib/bucket detergent. While this choice items are not currently available, they are "reasonably priced" and "coming soon." Thankfully, this site seems to have been published in 2007, so that promised update will probably (and hopefully) never come.

I can't tell you how angry this ridiculous website made me feel. It also made me curious (that twisted, cringing kind of curiosity) to see what the whole pro-ana movement was about. After visiting a single pro-ana tips and tricks site whose header asks, "Why be ugly forever?" my anger melted into sadness at the viewers who will die, or hurt or hate themselves, because of that very question.

WTF, people? WTF . . .
Have you ever encountered a website that promotes eating disorders for weight loss? What were your experiences? What are your thoughts now? And, perhaps most importantly, what do you think we can do about it?


  1. Post ED, seeing all that just makes me want to be healthy (non-anorexic) more. It reminds me of how much it takes over your life and thoughts. It's so, so sad. I feel so bad for anyone struggling with it and shame anyone imposing the illness on others. It truly is a sickness.

  2. Heather Iacobacci-MiApril 28, 2010 at 5:14 AM

    Actually yes I have run across a few. Sad and disturbing especially when there are so many out there trying to recover.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King