This Site Posted a Recovering Anorexic Woman's Photos as Weight-Loss Inspiration
Anne Marie Sengillo's photos were meant to send a cautionary message, not an aspirational one. Yet TheChive.com picked up the images and included them in a story about "amazing" weight loss transformations.
Recovering from an eating disorder takes time, often years, and can come with relapses and countless roadblocks. So in an effort to share what she has been through, Anne Marie Sengillo posted her own eating disorder recovery journey on Reddit, which chronicled her rapid, unhealthy weight loss in 2007—she went from 150 pounds to 90 pounds in one year, and at one point even got as low as 70 pounds—and her slow road to better health since then.
The photos in the post were meant to send a cautionary message—not an aspirational one. Yet TheChive.com picked up the images and included them in an article about amazing weight loss transformations.
"That was the exact opposite reason of why I posted those photos," Sengillo told People. “Those pictures you see online of super skinny girls? Most of the time it's either done dangerously or they have a really high metabolism, and that's only a few percent."
The Chive has removed her photo and issued apologies both publicly and to Sengillo privately. "We had previously discovered the photo somewhere out there in the internet echo chamber which contained no frame of reference whatsoever," reads the statement on its site. "We obviously had no idea Anne Marie had anorexia but that doesn’t excuse the action at all. It was a mistake, completely unintentional, and the photo was removed the second we found out about it."
Now, we’ve all felt inspired by “before and after” weight loss photos, but when the “after” photos are of someone who is dealing with a serious medical disorder and are taken out of context, the message becomes disturbing and detrimental.
Especially considering what Sengillo was going through when her eating disorder first began. In her original post, Sengillo said, “My dad died and other crap snowballed my weight loss into some monster of a thing. It started out innocently enough, but became a 5 hour a day workout and 500 calories a day.”
She then went on to describe how she put on weight in 2008, but reverted back to a dangerously low weight again in 2009. A caption under one shot reads, “My first relapse. I had a few more. I had more stress at school and started a job. I would diet and work out to calm my OCD and PTSD thoughts.”
At the end of the post there’s a recent picture of her shoveling the snow with the caption, “Fox news did a segment on me because I have been shoveling the sidewalks and driveways in my neighborhood for free since I am out of work. Back in my 70lbs I would never have been able to lift a shovel.”
We're happy that Sengillo is in a healthier place now, but she's still facing the consequences of her disorder. “I have osteoporosis in my hips and knees and I'm only 27," she told People. "I have liver and kidney problems. I have to get blood tests done every week. There's a possibility I won't be able to have kids.”
All things you'd never see in a photo.
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