• Sun, Jan 5 - 10:10 am ET

Fitness Blogger Struggling With Anorexia Courageously Documents Her Road To Recovery On Instagram

 

Antonia Eriksson

Image: Antonia’s Instragram Account Eat Move Improve

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.

 

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  • pixie

    This is great. She’s really got a good head on her and knows what her triggers are. She also knows her triggers (knowing numbers) are triggers for others. It’s great that she won’t talk about those or tell people how to lose weight. Becoming healthy is more important. Eating better (meaning different things for different incomes and different people), being more active (like going for a walk or walking to the corner store rather than driving).

    Confession. Recently, I’ve been losing weight in a not-very healthy way. I don’t think I’m overweight, or I needed to lose weight, but I’ve been having other medical issues that make me scared to eat. Sort of feels like I’m having a reaction to something. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from the boyfriend’s family who are obsessed with being thin (whether they are or not). My parents and boyfriend are the only ones who worry about me; I’ve been able to open up to them because they express concern. I have gotten referrals from my doctor for an ear nose and throat specialist and a new allergist. I won’t get on a scale because I don’t want to see the number drop lower and I am trying my hardest to eat more.

    • ElleJai

      Good luck! I’m battling my way through referrals right now too, but in my case I have plenty I’m able to lose unhealthily before it becomes a problem.

      I’m looking into proper eating habits, because I’m 100% sure eating chips and the odd chocolate doesn’t actually count as healthy eating (but it’s mostly what I can keep down, so I figure it’s better than nothing). It just infuriates me when people think I have a special secret, because I can’t come back at them with the appropriate level of snark.

    • pixie

      Thanks and good luck to you too!

    • Demanda

      I frequently get asked what my weight loss “secret” is… I always tell people I’m an anorexic. Then I get nervous laughter, and I explain that I’m serious, you don’t want weight loss advice from me. Good luck with your health issues, I hope you start feeling better soon.

    • ElleJai

      You too. I’m an unwilling bullimic (unwilling as in for the last two years my health issues have meant I frequently end up throwing my food up). Worst part is that I’m starting to get to a point where I don’t care, and wonder if I can do it on purpose.

      Eating disorders, mental or physical, SUCK.

    • Demanda

      They really, really do suck!

  • Kay_Sue

    It’s really neat to see how knowledgeable she is about her personal triggers and how she adjust her own language to support her recovery (and that of others too, I’d imagine).

    I know it’s difficult to be that aware of your disordered thinking, and consciously making the effort to adjust it. It’s something I’ve had to do to control my depression without medications, honestly, so it’s really impressive and enlightening to see that it applies to others struggling with other kinds of disordered thinking too.

  • arrow2010

    Sorry, but for me the entire exercise is on in narcissism. First when she was anorexic and now as “fitness model”.

  • Limsky

    Lets hope someone won’t say “You need to lose weight” to her or she’ll probably regress