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The Secret & Silent Killer Behind Thinspiration

Beautiful images of fashion, art, vacation destinations, and food: what’s not to love about Pinterest?

Well, after seeing several pins labeled “thinspiration,” displaying overly thin women and quotes like, “All I want is to be happy, confident, and skinny as hell,” I decided it was time to speak up.

The image in this post is of me, back in my modeling days. This photo was very popular with friends and family on Facebook and with my followers on a modeling website I was a member of at the time.

If Pinterest had been around back then, I definitely would have pinned it for all to see.

Some may look at this image and see a woman that offers “thinspiration,” but the truth is actually much darker.

15 Comments to
The Secret & Silent Killer Behind Thinspiration

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  1. As a man, when I see all that “thinspo” stuff online it kind of creeps me out.

    I have news for you ladies: real men love curves!

    Way to go Victoria for putting yourself out there & standing up for what you believe in.

    People on the Internet love to hide behind anonymity to get their points across, it’s good to see a real person standing behind a real argument!

    I look forward to reading more of your work!

    • Thank you Dan! We definitely need to get the word out that real men love curves, and that many real women have them!! I appreciate your feedback.

  2. Few if any people I know who have eating disorders find themselves involved in those behaviors because they think it’s “sexy”, as the article’s headline implies. For them, “Thinspo” images are pictures of people who are not so much sexy, as they are representations of people with enviable levels of harsh,rigid and inflexible self-control.

    While anorexia may have the highest mortality rate among all mental health diagnosis, what’s rarely mentioned is that the primary cause of death among those with anorexia is not starvation, but suicide.

    While our society glorifies self-control, a truly rich life involves openness, self-forgivness and flexibility.

    • Thank you for your comment. I absolutely agree that our society glorifies self-control, and that we need to find more balance, openness, and flexibility to truly live a rich life. While this article certainly applies to those with eating disorders, it was more geared towards people in the “gray area;” those that don’t even realize that their behaviors are unhealthy. Many of those people do look at images of overly thin women and think they are sexy. As a result, they hop from one diet to the next, and abuse their bodies without even knowing it. But you are absolutely correct: When it goes too far, it does turn into envy over the inflexible self-control that allows another person to stay thin. In fact, that envy is always there in some form or another. As you know, it really is quite complex.

      This article does not imply that the primary cause of death among those with anorexia is starvation. Eating disorders are mental illnesses first, that unfortunately have very severe physical side effects if left untreated.

  3. Thanks for bringing such an important social issue to light in such a poignant way!

  4. Thank you for sharing this Victoria. But if someone had told you back then that you were at risk of osteoporosis, and everything it entailed, or any of those other conditions, would it have made a blind bit of difference? I don’t know what the answer is, though. Maybe with enough reinforcement it will get through.

    • Hi Angela. I was actually diagnosed with Osteopenia when I was 19, so I knew that I was in danger long before it progressed to Osteoporosis. However, it wasn’t causing pain or discomfort so I made the choice to ignore it. My self-destructive habits were far more powerful at that age then any diagnosis I could have ever received. I also thought I was invincible, so the words Osteopenia and Osteoporosis really meant nothing to me. So, to answer your question: No, having that diagnosis at an earlier age made absolutely no difference. However, now that I’ve been through all of this, I know what I did to heal. I also know what DID work to break the destructive psychological patterns leading me to live such a destructive lifestyle. I’d like to see more awareness raised about these issues, coupled with ACTION. I’d like to see more programs available to help people work through these issues. So, if someone comes across this article and knows of a person that struggles with these issues, I’d like to see action being taken to get that person help. More awareness means greater potential to stop these behaviors from going on for too long. So I agree: Maybe with enough reinforcement it will get through. It can’t hurt!

  5. Thank you very much! It is so true. The long term consequences develop silently.

    I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider an article about “fitspiration.” All the profitness and pro working out images that are not very different from thinspo.


    • Thank you for your comment. Yes, I will absolutely consider writing something about “Fitspiration.” The same trends that I see on Pinterest with “Thinspiration” apply to the fitness world as well. Some of the images and workouts that are pinned are pretty extreme, and unhealthy. But it’s usually the personal comments underneath them that bother me the most. So many people are dissatisfied with their bodies, and the message that extreme dieting and exercising are not the answer, needs to be reinforced.

  6. This article is so true. Many woman are obsessesed with thinness. It is so brave for you to have come out on this to help other women! Yoga can help us balance but can also be used as an extreme for of exercise as well!

    Love you Victoria! You look fabulous. I would love to get together soon!

    Love, Light & Peace,

    Diane Lisa

    • Hi Diane! You are absolutely right: Even yoga can become just one more way people fall out of balance. We need to continue raising awareness about these issues! Thank you for commenting :)

  7. i just wanted to say …. thank you….

    today i woke up… and kind of pop up this picture of a naked woman with all her bones out… extremely skinny … and it really scared me …..

    i dont understand how i thought yesterday that was so beautiful and actually wanted it… and today it really scared me …

    i tried to find the picture again in google… i didnt find it.. instead i found this…. i think it wake me up even more

    i have 7 years with eating desorders 6 of them fighting against it…. but yesterday i was falling…. very very deep…. i think you saved me this time.

  8. Hi Victoria, this is wonderfully written, i have an eating disorder recovery board on Pinterest, and i think this photo of you would be very effective in showing the dangers of thinspiration and eating disorders, and what it can cause-do you mind if i use this photo on my recovery board on Pinterst? my board is very positive and informative about the dangers of eating disorders, thanks

  9. Dear Victoria,
    It appears a few years have passed since this article was first posted, but, even if you won’t see this comment, I feel that I must post it.

    I encountered this article a few weeks ago, when I was in the midst of a period of binges after losing weight, as is my relationship with eating. I was very distraught and felt extremely uncomfortable in my body as I could feel it expanding, coupled with lower body edema.

    I was desperate to undo the “damage” I had done with my binges, but I was just so hungry and couldn’t seem to stop myself. I also wasn’t able to go to the gym either, which I had long since despised doing, but, y’know, can’t be “lazy”.

    I’ve been aware of my risk of osteoporosis for a long while, but I’ve always tried to make excuses: “Well, I’m eating above my BMR”, “The studies that examined being underweight didn’t control for illness and smoking, so there’s no real evidence why I shouldn’t be underweight”, “Models and actresses maintain underweight BMIs, and their doctors would tell them if it was bad, and they would change, right?”.

    I’m 5’6, and I got down to 100 pounds by eating a normal amount but working out for two hours a day, and running around doing as much housework as I could. I felt “beautiful”, but could always find some extra fat, so I said I would stop at 98. I was progressing from that grey area into a continuing battle to be ever thinner. I was starting to use drugs and excessive caffeine to sustain my behavior. I thought that because I’d lost weight “the healthy way” that it was okay, and that I would surely stop at 98.

    Seeing this article, and learning about the research associated with the Female Athlete Triad, has been a wake-up call. I just didn’t think my problem was severe enough. I was focusing on eating healthy. I kept telling myself it was fine.

    I look at this article whenever I start to try to bargain with myself that “being a little underweight can’t be that bad”. I’m still struggling with trying to keep my weight in this tiny range that I’ll still accept. But the binge eating has stopped, and I’m hoping I’ll continue to get better with effort, and that I’ll not have done too much damage to myself.

    Thank you. I really hope you’re doing well.



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