Living an Anti-Anorexic Lifestyle
By Jane 
DATE: MAY 9TH, 2001
(Anti- anorexic note for Anorexia: You can’t use this against others as a source of comparison because these thoughts are not your wishes, they are my own. They are for others to add onto, not for your uses.)
1) Plugging my ears or changing the subject when people are talking about food and diets, or what others should and should not eat. I could also open up a conversation with them and question their thoughts so we could possibly externalize anorexic ideas together.
2) Making the choice not to read or look at any women’s magazines, including Parent, Martha Stuart, etc.
3) Doing homework to get it done. Whatever I write is my work to turn in. Every assignment does not have to be a reflection of my best work. Instead, I can do what would be natural for me to produce at that particular moment. If I am tired or my thinking is not clear, then it does not mean I am a failure, it means that I have discovered that I am tired and my thinking is not clear!
4) Having baskets for clothes instead of hanging them over and over again.
5) Starting something and doing it until I get tired. It doesn’t have to be until it gets done.
- Cleaning room
- Doing homework
- Working out
6) Not counting the reps when I do weights.
7) Covering the timer on the workout machine.
8) Not looking at the clock before or after I go running.
9) Running a different route as much as I can.
10) Not looking at the labels for calories or fat grams.
11) Not weighing myself or having a scale in the house
12) Not measuring how much I should eat on my plate according to quantity or calorie intake.
13) Taking down the mirrors in my house.
14) Going to the grocery store and choosing what foods I want to eat, not which ones are less damaging. Also picking out foods I have never tried before.
15) Not putting on a mask of makeup everyday, but if I want to wear it then it’s okay.
16) Dressing in what is comfortable such as pants that are bigger. They don’t have to be form fitting and attractive looking.
17) If I’m getting dressed and anorexia thinks I’m unattractive and keeps obsessing about how I look then I should just leave.
18) Turning the radio off when it makes me feel uncomfortable, like 93.3. Also not watching television unless it’s news, the Discovery Channel, etc.
19) Thinking about my intentions before going to stressful gatherings/ parties/family functions/dates. I ask myself, What do I want? Do I want to look good for others, or do I want to make personal connections and expand my thinking, which is what is important to me. (To make true connections I have to be true to myself.)
Example: If anorexia had its way it would get me dressing for a party in tall shoes, slimming pants, a sexy top. It would have me doing my makeup perfectly and exercising and worrying about food all day. Usually, if that happens I would go to the party feeling that I had dressed up as somebody else. Anorexia would say that if I acted like Jane then I would be a fraud, because I did everything for him that day. Taking a stand to go as I am excludes the fight with anorexia about being a fraud. It can’t win!
20) Leaving any kind of function when I feel uncomfortable.
21) Going back and remembering accomplishments in my life or times I have learned something new. (Doing an anti-anorexia journal writing five things I did anti-anorexically at the end of the day). This is a big one!!!
22) If I have phone calls to return and I am not feeling that great, then I can decide on my own behalf to call or not. Usually anorexia makes me feel bad for not returning calls so instead of molding myself into being cheery for them, I can tell them up front that I’m not feeling so hot and it would be great if I could call them back another time.
23) If something someone says doesn’t sit very well with me, than I confront the person right away and ask him or her what was meant.
24) To be honest about how I feel and say it aloud even if it makes others uncomfortable.
25) When I do my art, whatever I come out with is a reflection of what I’m feeling at that moment. That way there is a lot of space for me to feel okay with whatever comes out. Or I do a different kind of art. One with no exact result required (Abstract or craft).
26) If I do journal work and I haven’t written for a while, than I try to be as gentle as I can with myself. I will try to push myself to do it because it makes me feel better after, but not so hard it makes me uncomfortable. I will start by setting a limit for myself so it will not be overwhelming. My intentions will be not to catch up but to start over and write anything that comes to mind.
27) When I do poetry, thinking of it as a stream of consciousness. The only right way to do it, is writing down whatever pops into my mind even if the thoughts do not go together.
28) When I work out, not doing it to burn calories but instead, to just move a little and get my blood flowing. To do it in any way that is fun.
29) When anorexia gets me caught up in calories or it’s making me think too hard on what to eat, I will just make a choice and move onto the next thing. (Culture/anorexia working through people: food has become a fashion and something to watch. It has moved from its purpose to give nourishment to the body to something that is to be eaten in a way to shape a certain kind of person. Examples I am a vegan, I only eat organic foods, less fat is better because I will be thinner.)
30) Doing something after I have a meal:
- Calling someone
- Taking a bath
- Reading a book
- Going for a drive
31) Trying not to be alone when anorexia is attacking me.
32) Staying conscious before I eat things by claiming the food. I will do this by reminding myself that I am Jane not anorexia so there is not an expectation for me to eat anorexically. I will continue to claim every bit, by eating it slowly and tasting every part.
33) Listening and responding to people when they are speaking to me. Staying present in the conversation by actively participating, even if only for a few moments.
34) Building a community around me that shares similar anti-anorexic values. Examples are people who are inclusive and who seek to explore and learn about all walks of life.
35) Being able to have my time in the morning, where I sit with a cup of coffee and eat my breakfast.
36) Eating when I’m hungry, and not feeling the expectation to eat only three large meals a day.
37) Not measuring my day by the clock
38) Forgiving myself by starting over again every time anorexia makes me feel bad. (Example: Eating too much food. Anorexia will make me nervous by threatening me that Ill never eat again so I’ll end up eating more, or anorexia will make me go exercise. If I start over and focus my attention elsewhere instead of listening to anorexia then eventually he will bug away.
39) Talking to strangers and not allowing anorexia to silence me.
40) Speaking my voice amongst authority figures.
41) Taking care of myself so I can take myself seriously and so that others will.
-If my car breaks I don’t call my dad, I fix it.
-If I’m sick, I call the Doctor, not my mother.
42) Being honest, even in the face of mistakes. If I were to lie, cheat, steal, or hurt somebodys feelings, etc, than I would accept the consequences gracefully. I would not let anorexia make me lie further or beat me up for it.
43) This is the most important one: Not living a perfect anti-anorexic life. When any of those things above don’t feel natural to do, I won’t do them. There is a place in the middle where I feel comfortable to rest. When I am an extremist on behalf of anti-anorexia, anorexia has just used that as a way to march me to death again.
44) Motto: Trying to ask questions instead of Anorexia’s way, which is making statements. (When Anorexia is making any sort of critical statement in my head, it could come from various places, but one of them I feel, is from history of women’s oppression that still exists today. Women were (and still are in many ways) treated as invisible by never being acknowledged for what they thought or how they felt. They were never asked questions about what was going on inside them, just objectified and judged from the outside. If there were no effects from these ways of treating women, then they would not be eating and behaving their way down to invisibility. If a person is never asked questions, then they can never learn to ask their own mind questions, remaining in a deadly trance. Anorexia preys on me when I am not paying attention, because I do not realize that he has infiltrated my thoughts. Anti-Anorexia is about questioning what I see, feel, hear, and think, so that I can live inside my own body and not be a host for anorexia.
Example: The other week I had to do a huge research paper with footnotes and it took me an obscene amount of time and they weren’t coming out right.
Anorexia/Culture: (Making statements) God, you’re really messing up. You need to get this done, so that it looks professional like the work of everyone else in the class. You need to sit in front of the computer even if you’re tired, even if you’re about to pull your hair out. You’ll feel better afterward.
Anti Anorexia: (Asking questions): Curiously I would ask, why am I having so much trouble on these footnotes? or What is important to me about this paper? This helps me to delve deeper within myself to discover my own wishes, and reveal anorexia’s deadly whispers. I would answer that I am not especially fond of detail. My strengths are with the body of the paper because my thinking is very much tied to big concepts. This helps me realize that it is my choice to not try so hard on the footnotes. Anorexia had me working so hard to not fail the assignment,î that I was failing myself. I would then take care of myself by setting limits and stopping when I had enough.
45)Motto: Being honest with who I am instead of giving in to whatever anorexia wants me to be.
Example: I am talking with Sally and she happens to say something rude about somebody she doesn’t even know.
Anorexia/Culture: It would say to laugh and go along with what Sally is saying. It is just who she is and you don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable or bad about herself for making such comments. ( Anorexia is having me please Sally and answer her needs before my own).
Anti Anorexia: Asking myself why is Sally making me feel uncomfortable right now because usually I really love Sally? I would than recognize that Sally’s rude comments were anorexia’s thoughts, not her own. Why would I want to go along with anorexia? Than I would ask myself, Would I rather feel uncomfortable to help Sally feel more comfortable? Do I have control over how she will react to me? Do I only have control over myself? Would I rather be myself? In that scenario, I would tell Sally, Well that could be one story about that person you might have, but I am more interested in figuring out what kind of person they are or what kind of lifestyle or ideas they live by.
46) Motto: Enjoying My precious time on earth slowly, soaking everything in, vs. anorexia wanting to rush so fast that I don’t live at all.
Example: Driving in my car.
Anorexia/Culture: It would say:
-If you get to this place sooner, it is better, even if it means becoming angry, irritated, and anxious.
(Everything that is a subtraction from my true being)
But you will win, anorexia says, its worth it!
(Strong idea of competition supported in this culture)
- You better hurry because if you get there, then whoever is waiting for you will be terribly mad and you will disappoint them. (Connection to culture: Women always being in the position to please and make all decisions according to how others will feel)
- You have to hurry because you need to get this task checked off from your day so that you can move onto the next thing. You won’t be able to do as much if your taking your time.
(The idea of Quantity being better than quality. Produce more! Comes from strong economic values heavily supported since the industrial revolution).
Anti Anorexia: Asking myself, how would I feel more at ease right now? How would I make this trip in the car a pleasant time for me? Then I would most likely choose to drive slower. I would turn off the voice of anorexia by turning on some music, singing, or daydreaming about something pleasant or an idea I want to work out in my mind. I would most likely not cut people off because I would be more at peace. I would be adding to myself as a person by helping others, qualifying my thinking, and finding happiness in moments time. (This would be a counter culture act putting quality vs. quantity.
Example #2: Trying to stay thin
Anorexia/ Culture: It would say:
- If you are thinner, it is better, and you will be the most beautiful woman even if it means subtracting from whatever is natural for your body. You will win the race against other women! (Competition)
- To please an idea by being an object that is beautiful to look at. (Women putting others before themselves and women being objectified as a thing of beauty).
- Worrying about numbers with calories and weight. (This is focus toward quantity not quality.)
Anti Anorexia: I would ask myself, What about being thin really makes for a more interesting person? I would see that focusing on quantity and measuring my self-worth in numbers wastes my life. If I focused on what I found valuable, it would be everything supported by quality. Living a life anti-anorexically has nothing to do with what you eat or don’t eat. My mind would be focused toward gaining knowledge, getting to know people, sharing my soul, developing relationship, and living in the moment. I would add depth to my being.