So I have devised a way to attempt at understanding what it might be like to not only have a preoccupation with food and exercise, but also to self-disclose on the internet. I am working on a challenging experiment. I am taking note of my caloric intake from food, and what I expend during exercise and I will post it online after four days. I was also thinking of calculating my own BMI and figuring out what my caloric intake/ expenditure might have to be to be underweight.
Today is the first day of this experiment. So far, I have to say, this is difficult. Not only to find the caloric value of all the foods I eat, but to remember each thing that I eat ( I am trying to write it down) as well as to get an accurate measure of how many calories I expend. I am a little nervous about disclosing this as I have already discovered that my own eating habits verge on ridiculous. For example, today I ate three 'steamies' and fries for lunch and in doing this experiment I feel myself hyper-aware of their caloric value whereas I otherwise wouldn't think twice about downing hot dogs and fries for lunch (delicious!).
Another issue that has been on my mind lately in researching the pro-ana community is the dissention between what we put in our mouths, how much we exercise, and the shape of bodies. There is this assumption it seems, that food it directly related to body size. This simply is not the case. There are so many other factors that are involved to body size, such as body type, age, hormones, access to healthy foods and lifestyle. I think of a friend who is the size of a minute, but can eat like a true champion, and other friends who diet compulsively or watch carefully what they eat and yet are unable to shed pounds. Ultimately what is at work for the people involved in this community is an distorted self-perception as well as unhealthy eating habits. There are, as I am learning, a number of reasons why people develop eating disorders, but as I have tried to express in this post, there is a myth surrounding food/calories as being the sole factors that shape the body.