We’re tired of being swamped with unhealthy #thinspiration images, how about you?
When a 23-year-old woman named Kara saw people on a weight loss Reddit page uploading their diet progress photos, she decided it was time to share hers.
Like many of the other before-and-after images in the ProgressPics thread – and on the internet more generally – Kara is depicted at home, wearing everyday clothes, smiling down the lens. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Because Kara’s photos don’t reflect a typical weight loss transformation; rather, they document her ongoing recovery from anorexia nervosa.
The first photo was taken 20 months before the other.
In an interview with Today.com, Kara explains there were two main reasons behind her decision to post the photos in a forum thousands of people around the world access every day.
“Firstly it was just to share my story, seek support and provide encouragement to those dealing with eating disorders. When one is in the depth of an eating disorder, the idea of weight gain is absolutely terrifying and seeing examples of people who have [gained weight] and appear confident and reasonably at peace with their ‘new’ body can’t be anything but good,” she says.
“Secondly, it was a way to challenge or balance the abundance of messages telling people that they need to constantly be striving for weight loss. Media seems to tie health and happiness to losing weight when, in reality, it is so much more complex than that. There are so many paths to health and happiness and the journey is different for everyone.”
Clearly the images have struck a nerve; so far they’ve garnered over 1800 comments, mostly supportive of Kara’s ongoing path to recovery.
Kara’s struggle with anorexia began when she was in Year 11; since then, she’s been continuously in and out of hospital. She says her most recent hospital stint differed from those before it because she went in completely exhausted and disappointed by how her life had been impacted by her “vicious” illness.