Instagram Thinspo Ban Wont Combat Pro-eating Disorder Web Content

Now Instagram is under fire for failing to adequately ban images that promote unsafe (and sometimes deadly[1]) dietary practices.

According to the Telegraph[2], Beat, a UK organization that works to aid those grappling with eating disorders, believes the popular photo-sharing site could be doing more to remove photos that may be classified as thinspo.

“It’s worrying that, with the powerful medium of social networking and the growing popularity of phone apps such as Instagram, people are able to easily access images that encourage the individual to believe that an eating disorder is a lifestyle choice and to avoid treatment,” a spokesperson for the organization told the outlet. “Some sites have acted to remove content that is seen as dangerous and encouraging people to do dangerous things. Eating disorders as a lifestyle choice should be treated in the same way.”

In April, the site took measures to eliminate photos promoting self-harm by reworking its user guidelines[3].

The instructions read: Don’t promote or glorify self-harm: While Instagram is a place where people can share their lives with others through photographs, any account found encouraging or urging users to embrace anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders or to cut, harm themselves or commit suicide will result in a disabled account without warning.

Though searching for the hashtag thinspo has been disabled, the criticism stems from the fact that terms like ana (short for anorexia and in many cases referring to pro-ana behavior) and mia (short for bulimia or pro-mia) still yields thousands of results[4].  

While some of the images that come up are geared toward those in recovery, others can have damaging consequences.

One photo[5], posted by the user SkinnyGirlsDiePretty, shows a skeletal, bikini-clad form along with the quote Ill stop when Im thin.

Another, uploaded by AnitaWantToStarve[6], shows a cup of coffee and a cigarette and uses hashtags like #starve, #noeat and #mia.

Last year, sites like Tumblr and Pinterest cracked down on posts that may be deemed harmful or promote masochistic behavior.  

Furthermore, when users search for tags like thinspo, proana and purge, they are provided with the contact information for the National Eating Disorder Association Helpline.

Yet both sites remain a resource for those looking for thinspo.

Though entering bulimia into Tumblrs search bar[7] can provide users with recovery tips and positive encouragement (one photo shows a toilet with a note that reads stay strong), it also brings up horrific images that show women with protruding ribs and Kate Moss highly controversial quote[8], Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

Pinterest, which banned thinspo pinboards, still contains pro-eating disorder images[9], but the content is less horrifying[10] than it once was.

Despite the changes made to these growing sites, no amount of moderating is going to eliminate the online communitys ability to glorify and promote eating disorders.

Facebook has long been a resource[11] for pro-ana or pro-mia groups looking to share and compare extreme weight-loss goals while pro-eating disorder websites began catching the medias attention as early as 2001.

The issue gained considerable attention following stories like Times Anorexia Goes High Tech[12] by Jessica Reaves and the Oprah Winfrey Show Episode Girls Who Dont Eat.

Since then, the dangerous relationship between eating disorders and the Internet has been a topic of discussion. However, sites such as ProAnaLifeStyle[13] and Pro-Thin[14] continue to have a devoted following.

Marci Warhaft-Nadler, author of “The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping, Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive, believes that these sites can have detrimental consequences.

What things like thinspo pictures on Pinterest and Instagram, as well as pro-anorexia like ProAna do, is give people suffering a deeper hole to crawl into by pushing them further away from positive influences.

Pro-Ana Nation[15] operates under the belief that anorexia is a lifestyle not a disease. Many of the sites’ users post such alarming statements as Eating = fat and fat is DISGUSTING. Control is beautiful, and Fasting, purging and envy of thin women.

Unsettlingly, Pro-Thin[16] offers purging tips for bulimics that include:

Once you think you are finished purging, drink a big glass of water, do a couple of sit-ups and go for it again. MORE food will come up!

Having trouble getting those last bits out? Punch yourself in the stomach HARD — it works wonderfully!

Though the Web may have a hand in the development of eating disorders, the debate surrounding such illnesses does not end with the types of photos one can access or post on social networking sites.

According to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Inc.,[17] roughly 24 million Americans are suffering from eating disorders. The organization has also determined more people will die from eating disorders than any other mental illness.


  1. ^ deadly (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ the Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ user guidelines (nymag.com)
  4. ^ thousands of results (statigr.am)
  5. ^ photo (statigr.am)
  6. ^ AnitaWantToStarve (anitawanttostarve.tumblr.com)
  7. ^ search bar (www.tumblr.com)
  8. ^ controversial quote (www.tumblr.com)
  9. ^ pro-eating disorder images (pinterest.com)
  10. ^ less horrifying (www.buzzfeed.com)
  11. ^ been a resource (www.thedailybeast.com)
  12. ^ Anorexia Goes High Tech (www.time.com)
  13. ^ ProAnaLifeStyle (proanalifestyle.blogspot.com)
  14. ^ Pro-Thin (pro-thin.webs.com)
  15. ^ Pro-Ana Nation (pro-ana-nation.livejournal.com)
  16. ^ Pro-Thin (pro-thin.webs.com)
  17. ^ National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Inc., (www.anad.org)

Original Story Here


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  1. Reply

    Does Anyone Know The Top Secret Fat Loss Secret Who Would Be Willing To Share It With An Overweight Teenager? I am a 15 year old, overweight girl. I hate it when people make fun of me because of my weight – it is so embarassing! I would like to know the top secret fat loss secret from someone who is willing to share it with me. I can’t afford to buy the book, or else I would. I’m desperate. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Any fat loss tips, too.


      • HealthNut
      • January 5, 2013

      Go wheat free. No pasta, pizza, bread and so on. And no food after 7 p.m.
      I know a woman who lost 60 pounds a month on it. She did nothing else!
      and as for your book – go to a bookstore and browse it. Or go to amazon.com, find it and then click “search inside this book” – you will be able to read an extract.

  2. Reply

    What Can I Do To Guarantee Losing Weight And Toning In A Fairly Fast Way? I really need to lose weight and I have been having trouble.

    What workouts should I do?
    What foods should I eat?
    Which foods should I avoid?
    What is considered a “small” meal when people mention eating 5-6 small meals a day?
    How much water should I drink?
    What other weight loss and fat loss tips do you have?


      • HealthNut
      • January 5, 2013

      Drink Genmaicha green tea.

      it is a japanese natural tea, that helps with weight loss.


  3. Reply

    What Are Some Good Ab Exercises? I’m really skinny and I really don’t have any fat in the abdomen area, but I’m trying to get my abs defined. A lot of the articles for ab exercises I’m seeing have things like “fat loss tips for great abs”. Since I don’t need to lose fat, I’m wondering if I need to do different kinds of exercises than what those articles are suggesting.
    I’m also doing cardio exercises. Should I do ab exercises before or after I do cardio? Or should I do them at completely separate times?

      • HealthNut
      • January 5, 2013

      They say so, because you do have fat on top of your abs, you just do not need to lose it anywhere else. Or little flab.
      jogging is an excellent exercise because it let you tone throughout your whole body. If you want to tone in
      specific areas, you should target them with exercises. If they are
      your problem areas, they will be very difficult to tone. You will have
      to work double on them. The best approach is this:
      1. Lower/control your daily calorie intake (control for normal
      weight, lower for overweight).
      2. Run/jog to lower your overall body fat percentage.
      3. Target your problem areas with exercises.
      an excellent exercise, you can do it in front of your TV: sit on a
      stool, and put your toes under something (piece of heavy furniture,
      for example). In your hands hold a little dumbbell. Please, make sure
      that it is not very heavy, start with one kilo, for example, or you
      will damage your back and spine! Slowly move the upper part of your
      body back, until it’s parallel with the ground. Stop for a second and
      move it back to the sitting position. Repeat ten times. Every week add
      to the number of repetitions. You will see the results in a week,
      guaranteed! You will see or feel under the fat – if you have any – six
      pack and muscles. Dumbbells do wonders. Much better than these
      crunches – I came up to three hundreds and there was no results AT
      ALL. With the dumbbells you will see it in a week.

  4. Reply

    What Is Are Some Of Your Favorite Weight Loss Tips? What are some of your most succesfull weight loss tips?? I have my few that I live by, but I am looking for some tips on cutting down. Please only share different/ unique tips.
    I know about all the common ones…. lots of water lots of rest six small meals etc.

    thank you so much in advance!

      • HealthNut
      • January 5, 2013

      Hi CollegeGirl

      In my opinion, no weight loss tips are truly successful on their own. Lots of water is not necessarily a good way, because how much water a person needs depends on the BMI of the person. 6 small meals maybe hard at times, especially when you are stuck at school or office and have no chance to eat, and then you need to eat more when you have the chance. Well, dieting is a good way to lose weight, but then it is hard to stick to a diet. For example, something like this:

      2 egg, low fat Cheddar cheese omelette – 320 calories
      2 slices wholemeal toast with thin smear butter – 200 calories
      Large slice melon – 47 calories

      Spicy Turkey Salad recipe – 304 calories

      Muesli or honey nut Health Bar “Sainsbury” – 180 calories

      Baked potato with 100g “Heinz” baked beans &/or Cottage cheese if desired – 300 – 400 calories (350 average)
      Large helping salad fruits &/or vegetables – 100 calories

      Another weight loss tip is to do interval and turbulence exercise.

      Turbulence Training is a fresh plan that requires finishing three 45-minute exercise sessions each week with marginal equipment. It is an increasingly trend-setting fitness plan with the intention of helping you in the reduction of weight.

      Interval training is the fitness world’s equivalent of a visit to the in-laws. The shorter and more intense the visit, the better. An interval is a short period of exercise performed at a given intensity for a specific length of time. Each interval is separated from the next interval by a short rest or lighter activity. There are no strict rules on how long or how intense the interval must be, however, changing the interval length or intensity changes the way your body works and responds to exercise.

      But people have a short willpower. It may be strong at the beginning but will eventually fade as time goes on- as they realize that going on a diet is not actually as easy as they think it is. Of course, the strength of willpower differs from one person to another. This is the reason why there are people who can actually maintain a diet and exercise program for 1 year and there are people who can only maintain it for few months. Nonetheless, willpower is a big factor that dictates someone whether to continue losing weight or not.

      And in my opinion, besides sticking to a diet and exercise plan, it is the ultimate willpower to stop yourself from overeating that is the #1 tip to lose weight. But that is the hardest part if you are accustomed to eating lots of food even though your body does not need it. It is partly because of the delicious taste of the food causing a craving for more. There are certain ways to fight this craving ad I found one that maybe helpful. It is a type of chocolate that can actually suppress your appetite. It will can provide Good Energy that promotes a healthy weight by providing energy while burning fat. And it helps suppress cravings for sugary snacks.

      Good luck!

      PS: Information on the Special Chocolate that I mentioned can be found on the website in the source box. Recently, they are giving away a one month free trial.

  5. Reply

    What Is The Best 12-week Diet Plan For Fat Loss? As the weather gets warmer we become more self-conscious about our weight. Since summer is right around the corner it is time to get our fat loss diet in check.

    What is the best 12-week diet plan for fat loss?

    What is a reasonable amount of weight to lose in 12 weeks?

    What are some important tips for someone who wants to lose the fat, but maintain their muscle gains?

      • HealthNut
      • January 5, 2013

      Of course, there are a huge number of weight loss blogs to choose from. There are a number of medically supervised and very expensive calorie restricted programs costing thousands of dollars, however, that doesn’t make these programs effective. According to Gina Kolata, who did extensive research on the topic, the most popular diets are also ineffective for the vast majority of people over an extended period of time. If you embark on a 12-week diet, you will lose weight for the first 12-weeks and then re-gain the weight after that.

      To be effective, you must embark on a permanent lifestyle change that includes a radically different way of eating. I lost 90 pounds and kept it off without having to pay anyone for anything.I read “Eat More, Weigh Less” by Dr. Dean Ornish. Former President Bill Clinton reversed his heart disease and lost 25 pounds by eating the same low-fat whole plant based diet. His was supervised by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. at the Cleveland Clinic.

      My advice is to go to the web sites of the following experts to seek help:

      Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell of Cornell (he wrote “The China Study”)
      Dr. Neal Barnard (“Food for Life”)
      Dr. Joel Fuhrman (“Fasting and Eating for Health”)
      Dr. John McDougall (“The McDougall Plan”)
      Dr. Dean Ornish (“The Spectrum”)
      Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. (“Forks Over Knives”)

      The “Whole Plant Based Diet” is the program that is ideal for optimal health and maintaining an ideal weight. It’s a lifestyle change, not a pill or a quick fix. If you are not in it for the long-term, your weight loss will not last.

      You can very easily lose 1/2 pound per week if you choose foods carefully and avoid commercially processed food like products. If you choose a medically supervised fast, you can expect to lose about 2 pounds per week of fat (the other weight is water weight and will come back on your body after the fast ends).

      Instead of dairy, choose leafy greens containing iron, calcium, and protein. Eat whole grains (brown rice, quinoa) and ligumes (peas, beans, lentils) for additional proteins. Take a B12 and D supplement if you go vegetarian.

      Instead of meat, pork, fish, poultry, eggs, or any other form of animal based foods, take the foods listed in the paragraph above and eat ground flax seed for Omega-3 Essential fatty acids. Otherwise, you do not need to eat any form of oil or fat. Even virgin olive oil contains saturated fats which are unhealthy for your cardiovascular system. A gram of fat/oil contains 9 calories and can increase your appetite.

      Eat lots of raw and cooked vegetables, and some whole fruits every day. Avoid commercially processed drinks that might contain refined sugar or artificial flavors (aspartame and MSG cause weight gain due to their effect on appetite).

      If you want to maintain muscle mass, learn free weight training. A pound of muscle is the energy equivalent to seven pounds of fat. Read about “vegan” body builders and athletes who focus on endurance sports. (Rip Esselstyn wrote an excellent cook book called the “Engine 2 Diet.” He and his father were world class athletes.)

      You can ignore most health information on commercial media. I have found that it is almost always misleading. Please read the publications of some of the independent experts listed above. Former President Bill Clinton reversed his heart disease and lost 25 pounds by following the advice of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. of the Cleveland Clinic.

      You can do this on your own, but if you want an optimal weight loss, I suggest that you follow a medically supervised water fast. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is the world’s leading authority on this. If you can get into one of his programs, that is ideal. Remember, for the diet to be effective you must change your eating habits for life.

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