How I get through the day

So I originally called this Tips for Big Girls, but as someone pointed out elsewhere, “you don’t need tips for a mental illness.”  And since my anorexia stems from the hateful voice inside my mind, rather than some desire to be sick, I chose to change the name.  These are things I do to get through the day.  If you find you need some help distracting yourself, these might help.  Best of luck in your struggles…

 

I’m always adding more here, so check back regularly!

Cravings

  • When a craving hits remember the 4 Ds—-
    • Distract yourself
    • Distance yourself
    • Delay yourself
    • Decide what your goals are
  • Think before you eat.  Never eat without giving yourself permission.  That means avoiding unconscious snacking (in front of the tv, etc.)
  • If the craving has lasted for more than three days and you can think of nothing else, have a small amount of whatever it is you crave.  Once the craving is out of your system, get back on track.
  • Sugar-free gum helps.  Chewing gum fills your stomach with saliva which can help you feel full.  Stick with sugar-free and check the calories.  I sometimes chew tiny bits of Big Red, it has calories but I can break one stick up into about 20 tiny pieces which seems to do the trick.

Curbing Appetite

  • Check out the Put Down the Fork, Now page.  Still want that candy bar?  Didn’t think so.
  • Read every label before buying, and again when you decide to eat.  If possible, avoid prepackaged foods.  Try to make the food yourself, sometimes substitutions and eliminations can create a lower calorie meal with the same flavor.
  • Eat ice.  This is great if you are an unconscious eater, like smokers trying to quit, you need something to do with your hands and mouth, eating ice fills that void and has the added bonus of filling an empty stomach while hydrating.
  • Make a list of safe foods.  Safe foods are low in calorie and fill you up.  These foods are safe to eat when you just need something.  They still have calories, though so keep that in mind.  For me, those foods are
    • Celery sticks, plain
    • Radishes
    • Spinach
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Pickles
    • Mustard
  • Write down everything you eat and how many calories it contains.  There are lots of free apps out there to help with this.  If you feel hungry, look at how many calories you have already eaten for the day.
  • Still want to eat something after looking at your available calories, look up how many calories are in the food you want.  This works great for me, even something with 50 calories will make me think twice before eating.
  • Try eating in front of a mirror.  If you live alone, eat naked in front of a mirror.  Yeah, that’s going to curb your appetite real quick.
  • Associate eating with something unpleasant.  This can be anything, a dead pet, a particularly sad movie, anything.  Food=unpleasant feelings.  A rubber band around your wrist works, too.  Snap it when you think of food and eating.  Ouch!  I have a rubber band tucked under a chunky bracelet I wear, sometimes I just snap it to feel something.
  • Drink lots of water.  Water fills your stomach and the hydration is good for you.
  • Chew gum.  I chew gum when I cook so I don’t taste and snack.
  • If you cook, keep a person nearby to do your tasting for you.  Butter them up, “I value your opinion, what do you think of this…” works every time.
  • I really enjoy watching people eat the foods I cook.  When someone really enjoys what I have created, that is all the satisfaction I need.
  • Smaller plates and bowls look more full, tricking your brain.  Eat cereal, if you decide to eat that crap, out of the tiny dessert bowls.
  • Brush your teeth.  Minty toothpaste kills an appetite.  Brush often, eat less.
  • Drink tea.  I use herbal tea to curb my appetite and cleanse my body.  Check the label, some herbal teas have calories.  Use a no-calorie sweetener with your tea.  I love ginger-lemon tea.  It works to fill you and acts as a diuretic.  Try it hot or over ice.
  • Add lemon to your water.  Appetite suppressant and diuretic properties.  Noticing a trend here?
  • Develop hang-ups.  Hang-ups are those little things you just can’t bring yourself to do.  Some of mine are real and some are fictitious (a way to avoid something I can’t control myself around).  For me, these include:
    • Cinnamon, I don’t like it, at all, thus I don’t eat any of the pastries with cinnamon.  Boom, no calorie overloads.
    • Eggs, all breakfast foods really.  I don’t care for them, everyone knows this so I’m not pressured into eating them.  I love waffles, but since pancakes are easier to make at home, and I’m not a fan, I don’t have to worry about it, we rarely have waffles at home.
    • Chocolate chip cookies, not a fan of the chips.  Since most people bake these cookies, I can beg forgiveness for not eating one because I hate chocolate chip cookies.
    • Bacon.  I don’t really mind it, but I claim to find it disgusting, keeps me from eating it.
    • Chocolate ice cream, and most chocolate.  I like chocolate, but I don’t care for chocolate ice cream or chocolate cake.
    • Fried foods.  I love fries, cheese sticks, chicken tenders, oh how I love them.  But I claim to not be a fan, on account of working as a fry cook for many months.  The job leaves you greasy EVERYWHERE.  I claim the notion of fried foods grosses me out.
    • I was vegetarian for a long time.  Actually, of an on for most of my life.  Claiming to be vegetarian gets you out of a lot!  If you are severely anemic, as I was, this may not be a good plan.  Use caution.
    • Cake and Cookies: I ADORE cake and cookies, or most cakes and cookies.  But I prefer the batter to the finished product.  The result: unless I make it myself, I don’t have the batter.  I am a trained baker, but I’m also lazy, lol.
    • I don’t eat food prepared by others.  This is one you will have to work at, especially with family.  Start slowly by selecting whose food you will eat and progress from there until you only eat food you made.  This is easier if you are a germaphobic person already, (picture birthday cakes with some snotty kid blowing out the candles all over a pile of icing you plan to eat, yuck).  I’m still developing this one, I’ll let you know how it goes.
    • Gravy, I hate loathe and despise gravy.  So if something has gravy on it, I won’t eat it.  Saves lots of calories and no one questions me not eating.
    • Grains.  I eat no grains whatsoever.  So every high calorie food made with grain is a no go for me.
    • Think of some on your own!  PS Allergies are helpful here, real or imagined.
  • Keep a list of reasons why you want to be smaller.  Look at it when you get hungry.
  • Keep a Thinspiration journal filled with pictures of skinny beautiful people.  Carry some pictures in your wallet or tucked in your phone case.  Pull it out to look at when you get hungry.

RULES

Here are some of my rules.  Keep a list of these in your wallet or tucked between your phone and the case.  They serve as a reminder.

  • I trust very few people with this secret. I make sure that those who know have no ties to my family.  They are the only ones capable of making me get help.
    • Do whatever it takes to avoid raising suspicions.  Gradual changes work better, especially if you live with a parent, partner, or friend.
    • Make no drastic changes.  The exception here is Lent.  Any good Catholic can tell you Lent is a great way to kick the habit.  I adore pasta, this year I gave it up in the name of Jesus.  Sudden changes raise suspicion.
  • Never eat before 3 pm.  I go to bed around 5 am and get up at noon, so this isn’t a challenge for me, but I stick with it anyway.
  • PORTION CONTROL.  Huge issue here.  Never assume something is a certain amount or size.  Always check.  If you have bowls with designs on them, determine where a half cup or cup comes to on the sides using water.  Now whenever I want something liquidy, I use the bowl.  No one will know you are measuring out your food.  I do this with our homemade applesauce which is about 50 calories for a half cup.
  • If you are prone to night binges, eat something earlier in the day, keep the calories lower, however.
  • Stop eating at a set time each night.  For example, nothing after 7 pm.
  • Cut your food into tiny bites, cut everything into tiny bites.  Your plate should look like it was prepared for a toddler.  This delays eating, especially when others are eating with you.  They will be half done before you start, then you can finish when they finish, having only eaten half the food.
  • Learn to use chopsticks.  They slow your pace down.  If you are particularly bad at eating with them, you might get frustrated enough to give up before you finish.  I am skilled here, but they do fore me to take smaller bites and eat slower.
  • Can’t do chopsticks?  Try baby silverware.  Tiny forks and spoons mean tiny bites.  Looks crazy but who cares.  This is about becoming beautiful.
  • HOT SAUCE.  I put that shit on everything.  Not a fan? Become one.  The hot sauce helps burn calories, plus it can stop you from eating something.  Special Trick—“I can’t eat anymore, I put too much hot sauce on it and it’s killing me.”  Boom, now you don’t raise suspicion when you stop eating!
  • Exercise.  Find a few routines you can do and keep with it.  When the routines become easier, step it up.  Go longer, harder, faster.  Search for a new routine.  Monotony kills you quicker than anything.  If you keep doing the same machine or workout, your body gets used to it and the effects diminish.  Spice things up.
    • ADULTS ONLY: Sex is a workout, too.  (Semen has calories, btw)
  • Eating out?  Look at the menu online before going, decide what has the fewest calories and plan to order that and nothing else.  Stick with water, black coffee, or tea for a drink.  Diet sodas are ok if you need something more.
  • NEVER EVER EVER eat at a fast food restaurant.  The food is so bad for you, just walking past a fast food restaurant may cause significant weight gain.  If it can’t be helped, look for nutrition info online first.  At Chipotle I order a salad, no vinaigrette, with salsa and fajita veggies.  About fifty calories.  I usually get strange looks but who cares.
  • NEVER GIVE UP.  Even if you have a bad day, use it as a learning tool.  Why did today not work for me?  Write it in a journal, online is more private.  Turn bad days into educational experiences.  Make tomorrow rock.
  • Never save clothes that are too big.  Once they get too big, give them to your fatter friends, sell them, or donate them to Goodwill.  Don’t keep them around “just in case.”  The thought of needing to spend tons of money on new clothes a size larger will keep you on track.
  • A growling stomach is an applause. This is so Pro-Ana, but I really do like hearing my stomach growl.  It doesn’t seem to happen often.

FOR THE COOKS

  • Avoid oil, butter, margarine…I use water in a skillet to saute and cook broccoli.  Just a little water and the florets in a pan.  The florets get blanched and then when the water is gone the broccoli goes on to saute in the now dry pan.  Its delicious and never over-cooked.  If you must use oil, wipe it on the pan with a paper towel so it coats but does not pool.
  • Look for substitutions.  Applesauce works in place of oil and eggs in some recipes.  There are tons out there, just Google it.
  • Spices, spices are your friend.  Giving food flavor makes it more satisfying.  Look up new and interesting recipes online, check the calories!  Dry spices do have calories, don’t forget to factor that in.
  • Frying adds fat.  Avoid it like the plague.
  • Learn to stir fry.  I do this with the tiniest amount of oil, usually wiped on with a paper towel.  In our wok, I start with garlic and onions, then I add any veggies that cook longer.  A bit of soy sauce at the end helps with flavor, but watch the calories.  I  make a huge batch and save it for breakfast.  Its great with hot sauce and any vegetable will work.
  • Get creative.  Cooking is supposed to be fun.  Loo for new things to try.  If its awful, you have an excuse to skip the meal!
  • Make extra.  Goes against everything you believe, I know.  But if something is super low in calories, making extra means you have a meal for the next few days.  One brick of tofu gives me about five meals.  I cook it all once and then reheat servings.  This may be a challenge if you tend to lack portion control.
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