As I know from personal experiences, dealing with an eating disorder can be incredibly difficult, even if your struggle is entire private. Swedish teen turned fitness blogger Antonia Eriksson, turned her experience with anorexia into a learning experience for everyone when she decided to document her recovery on Instagram and Twitter. The result, @EatMoveImprove, is an inspiration.
Eriksson originally posted under an anonymous account according to her interview with The Daily Dot:
“When I first started @eatmoveimprove, it was actually called @fightinganorexia and it was an anonymous account. It took me a while before I decided to share my identity. So I had this account alongside my personal [Instagram account] to track my recovery, and then it grew and changed into what it is today.”
While the account is now a touching tribute to body positivity and healthy living, Eriksson’s year long journey to recovery was a long and painful one. When she was first admitted to the hospital to begin treatment, Eriksson weight only 84 pounds. Her family was afraid she was near death. The photos from that time, shared on her Instagram account, paint a grim picture, and in the interest of not adding to the thinspiration machine, I won’t be sharing them here.
After a two month-long stay at the treatment center, Eriksson’s condition began to turn around and today her account shows a vibrant young women focused on health first. According to Eriksson, sharing her story through Instagram has helped her to fight her demons and she hopes it can help others the way people online helped her.
“Instagram helped me a lot. I found other people who felt the same way or were struggling with battles like my own, We supported each other a lot and when I was feeling low I could always turn to my ‘Instagram family’ for support and advice.I felt I had a responsibility since I had a lot of followers who looked up to me and saw me as an inspiration … it became very important to me to recover in a good way and to stay healthy. To show people that it was possible and worth it.”
What I like best about her approach is that, while she does occasionally post follow up pictures, she is very careful about what she shares in general:
“People ask how much I weigh or how many calories I eat, and I won’t talk about that. I don’t want to share numbers because I know that triggered me, and I don’t want that to be what my account is about, I do post progress pictures, and that took me awhile. But followers were asking how my workouts were going so I decided to share more progress pictures—but I’m quite careful there too: I don’t talk about my body like I do about my progress. It’s not how I look, it’s how much energy I have or what I can lift in the gym.
I’ll tell people off when they ask me how to lose weight. Me losing weight was me almost losing my life. You shouldn’t ask me how to do that. That’s like asking me how to commit suicide.”
I think Eriksson is an inspiration, and I think her account could seriously help other teens struggling with eating disorders. Considering the media saturation regarding awful body image messages, Eriksson is a breath of fresh air.