Ana is everywhere – how to cope if the whole world seems to be obsessed with bodies

Even if it feels like Ana is only existing in your head, you are not the only one who met her.

Some people only meet her for a short amount of time. Others have a relationship with her for years, but it may not be as intensive as yours, as in your case, Ana temporarily helps you to cope with the existential problems behind your eating disorder. However, Ana seems to be everywhere. I can hear her laughing when I see a magazine cover, promising the life, you always dreamed of by follwing the guide to ultimative weight loss. I feel her presence when my friend tells me at the phone how guilty she feels for having eaten „the whole package of cookies“ and that she has to go for a looooong walk in the afternoon to make up for it or start a detox right now.

Body and beauty obsession is omnipresent. Just to name a few examples: the botox and plastic surgery trend in the U.S. Female politicians who are judged for the few pounds they recently gained rather than for the political changes they initiated. But it’s not only women. I just watched a group of young men at the busstop, all holding a protein shake, talking about how the diameters of their upperarms have increased during the last month and how they built muscles by eating a kilo of low-fat curd a day. I mean: guys, seriously!

The focus on food and body image in the media gets understandable if you look at the huge industry behind it. Basically, we know what a healthy and balanced diet consists of, don’t we? Whole grain, lots of fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat moderately, little sugar and coffein. But diet books sell, which means you can publish them in big runs which finally means: money! And, as we all know, that’s what makes the world go round. Forming our body gives us a sort of concrete success. It’s measurable. it gives us the feeling of having accomplished something, when we feel lost in a life in which everything seems to be so unsure and unpredictable. We forget, that food is supposed to be secondary. Something that gives us energy so that we can simply exist, work, follow our dreams. We are missing out on indulgence and pleasure and wonder if we are not happy even if we have a sixpack and fit in size 36.

So, if your friend orders a diet coke the next time even she loves the taste of real coke. Just be sorry for her. Or if your mum tells you how she wants to start a cleanse the next week. Just think: blablabla. Or if you watch a TV programm, discussing the size of Kim Kardashians ass and if it may have been the reason for her recent break-up. Just switch off. Breathe. You know it better.

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