At various times throughout my illness, I was consumed by ‘thinspiration/thinspo’ (quotes and images that fuelled the eating disorder) and caught up in the world of proana sites. These quotes, images, and interlinked identity became deeply entrenched in my mind and negatively influenced my thoughts and behaviours. As I began to recover, I worked extremely hard to extricate myself from these communities, find my sense of belonging with people and groups that were going to support recovery and life rather than starvation and death, and to replace those negative, destructive quotes and images with positive ones that inspired and motivated me towards recovery. From these, I produced a little box which I call my ‘Inspo Box’. It is a collection of quotes and images to counteract the negative ones and to help stimulate and establish new neural pathways. I replicated my Inspo Box for a couple of friends who were also traversing the path of recovery, and they too found it beneficial, so I decided to make them available to you. I have recently produced a sequel with 300 new quotes and images to inspire you. To order your own Inspo Box, click on the image below or on the following links: Inspo Box #1 and Inspo Box #2.
When you are faced with a tough decision; are struggling with ambivalence; are tempted to resort to eating disordered behaviours; or are simply in need of some encouragement, take the lid off the box and rummage through for as long as you need to. Some people keep their Inspo Box on their bedside table and start each day with an encouraging quote/image; others keep it on their dining table and select a few to concentrate on at each meal time; whilst others keep theirs on their bathroom sink, selecting different ones to stick to their mirror each week. I encourage you to pick out your favourites and stick them to your walls, mirrors, fridge, and wardrobe doors. Take a screenshot of your favs and set them as your background for your phone/laptop/computer etc. Flood your mind with that which propels you forward and promotes life.
If you would like an inspo quote or image texted or emailed to you, send your mobile number or email address to firstname.lastname@example.org, write ‘subscribe to inspiration’ in the subject box and indicate if you would like it sent to you daily, weekly, monthly or randomly.
- The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) states that Pro-Ana sites “can pose a serious threat to some individuals, not simply because they promote eating disorder behaviors, but because they build a sense of community that is unhealthy. They lure the impressionable and persuade them that the Pro-Ana community is providing caring and nurturing advice.”
- Bodywhys (the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland) notes that pro-ana sites “might initially help people to feel less isolated, but the community that they create is an unhealthy community that encourages obsessiveness and minimization of the seriousness of these potentially deadly disorders.”
I have found that belonging to the Sisterhood of Recovery is FAR more rewarding, satisfying, fulfilling, affirming, and inspiring than that which I ever experienced in belonging to the ED community. Connecting with life…with those in recovery, with women I have met through netball, the Deaf community, church, etc, has been a constant reminder of all the reasons for why I am choosing to move forward. In my experience, the antidote to the fear of letting go is connecting more to life and finding something worth living for. I know that amongst the ED community, there is a measure of understanding that seems to be unparalleled to anything experienced outside of it, but turns out, that’s not true either…my mentor through the Isis Peer Mentor Project and other women I’ve met in recovery, understand just as intimately the struggles and challenges, BUT they also know the hope and life that can be experienced and understand that journey better than those who have yet to walk that path. You needn’t be alone or isolated. There is help, support, and understanding just around the corner. Check out the Sisterhood of Recovery, Isis’ Peer Mentor Project, MentorConnect, and the Get Help section for more information.
Also, there is a brilliant YouTube channel, Holding0n, dedicated to eating disorder recovery quotes and images. I have watched and rewatched these videos numerous times. I have downloaded them onto my phone, and I view them whenever I am needing an infusion of hope and encouragement or a reminder for why I am choosing to move forward.
If you know of a site that provides inspiration, encouragement and hope, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page, and if it is appropriate and meets the guidelines, I will post it here for others to access.