Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strayed from the path...

Hey everyone,

Well, what can I say...

This past week has been a resounding fail as the overwhelming workload that I have been pushing on with for the past month or so, finally managed to throw me off course.

I swear, it was as if all the fates were conspiring to make me deviate this week. I found myself working 12 hour days and actually thought it would make it EASIER for me to avoid food. Uh-huh? As if my life could ever be THAT easy!

Turns out that as a 'reward for all the hard work' myself a few colleagues have been putting in, the boss wanted to take us all out for dinner on TWO occasions, along with bringing in these outside caterers to feed us whilst in the boardroom, with fully fattening lunches.

Not only were we locked into this fucking board room every single day so that we were acutely aware of the actions and activities of each and every person, but we couldn't eat, drink, shit or avoid doing all three without it going noticed.

Thinking he was being really nice and decent and helpful, the boss claimed to have not seen me eat a thing all day. And because he couldn't have one of his star workers (his words, not mine) failing to last the distance, he made sure that the caterers brought us in whatever we wanted from their corporate luncheon menu.

A menu that just happened to be laden with an array of highly calorific, fattening, greasy, lard-laden foods. Seriously, they couldn't have picked any worse foods for this menu if they'd tried. Added to that, the fact that all of us were huddled together in this one board room and you can only begin to imagine the overwhelming combined smell of foods wafting around the place.

My boss actually ordered a fillet mignon and foie gras. Seriously. I mean, can you imagine how much lard would have stuck to his ribs with that? Someone else had some pork terrine thing and the girl next to me had burger and chips! I felt like I was being tested seriously... everywhere I turned there were really fatty foods; the air was filled with the scent of the stuff and my stomach was growling terribly. In the end, I went for what I hoped was the least damaging of the items and had a chicken and bacon foccacia. I took the bacon out and tried to scrape as much of the mayo off as possible and ended up demolishing it the whole foccacia in hunger.

That evening he took us out for dinner at an Indian Restaurant.

Fuck my life.

I mean, what the hell am I supposed to say to that? "No I can't come out for a meal with the reps who are over from Ireland, despite me heading up the entire collaborative project." Or how about, "Yeah I'll come but I'll just sit there and drink iced water whilst all of you put away a small banquet?"


All the planning in the world wasn't going to help me get out of that set-up. I just had to try and order what looked the least fattening and went for jasmine infused rice with tandoori chicken and no sauce or naan or anything else. 

Fucking torture.

The next day was just as bad. We started at 7am and the boss ordered in a huge selection of pastries for us. I managed to avoid it by saying I'm just not a breakfast person and stuck to a black coffee, but come lunchtime I was having to order a caesar salad and hoping it wasn't too bad. The weird thing was, it was as if everyone's eyes were on me. I'm not at all thin and I haven't let on to anyone that I'm on any kind of diet, so they had no reason to think anything odd was going on, but they just seemed really surprised that when presented with the opportunity to have ANYTHING I wanted off of this super luxurious menu, I was picking the least extravagant choices on there.

Everyone else was trying to make the most of the opportunity and were ordering two courses each time. I can see their point, I mean you aren't supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth and all that, but they really exploited this freebie run for all it was worth. Steaks, crab, crawfish, pate, name it, they ate it.

And there was me picking out the smallest, most insignificant items on the menu.

I guess my size kind of went against me, because looking at me, I'm sure everyone expected me to put away my fair share. The fact that I didn't really just raised suspicion.


And it's not as if I could have eaten and then purged it afterwards, because for some reason, where I work, for a floor of 120 people, there are two cubicles in the ladies toilet. The bathroom is NEVER empty and I just couldn't get away with purging in there. Previously, when I've purged at work, I've used the disabled toilet which is set apart from the others and that's perfect. But the disabled toilet is being completely refurbished over these two weeks so that all the little handrails and extra fixtures can be updated and brought up to the required standards for health and safety - even though there are NO disabled people working at my company right now.

Like I said, fuck my life.

So yeah, with the forced luncheons and the dinner at the Indian and another at an Italian Bistro, the breakfast spreads and the piss-up at the end of the week, I managed to gain two pounds. Thankfully, by not eating anything all of yesterday, walking five miles and taking some ephedrine, I lost one of those pounds again and I'm working towards getting the other one off again real soon too.

I really couldn't believe it. It was as if everyone was in on my plan and had decided to come together and do their utmost to thwart my plans to stay the righteous path.

Why can't everyone just fuck off and mind their own business?

I know that my boss really was being nice. He didn't have to stump up the money for these huge extravagant meals and whatnot, but he thought he'd reward us all for our hard work, by treating us to the best catering available for free. To anyone else it was a really lovely gesture, it was just me who saw it as a means of torture.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Checking In

How is everyone  doing today? I'm happy because when I weighed myself today I discovered that I've now lost 22 pounds altogether thanks to Ana! Yay!

I'm not about to broadcast my actual weight here yet as it's quite revoltingly high and I don't want other Anas to think that I'm any less in the same boat as them by being so much further away from my goal. Saying that though, I'm sure we all feel the same way about our bodies right now, regardless of how much we actually have to lose, so all of you can probably identify with my own thoughts, feelings, struggles, trials and tribulations.

The best part about this way of eating is that the severe restriction has led to my stomach shrinking, which in turn has naturally lessened my appetite. I find myself becoming fuller, faster and the urge to eat has diminished somewhat. I'd often heard people say that over time their appetite lessened, but I never quite believed it. I always thought it was just something that folks would say to annoy the hell out of the rest of us. But it's actually true; my stomach is definitely smaller and I'm nowhere near as hungry any more. That can only be a good thing.

Do any of you ever become a little 'overwhelmed' at the enormity of the whole Ana lifestyle thing? Not so much what it entails, but more the fact that it's going to be something you'll need to do for such a long time? Maybe it's just me, what with my plan having to be so much more long-term, but maybe you guys get it too. It's not that I think 'I can't do this' or that I'm worried I'll get bored or lose patience, more that I think it's just going to be an incredibly long journey. Does that make sense? Probably not. I think it's more just a case of slow dawning and a realisation that can only come about once the initial giddiness of a new approach has passed.

When we first start out on a new eating plan, we're almost invincible. "THIS!" we tell ourselves "THIS will be the diet that FINALLY works for us! THIS is our time to succeed!" And we jump into it all feet first; we start assembling all the relevant information, resources and products we'll need to help us on our way and when the weight first starts to drop off of us, we're so excited, it just spurs us on to do better and lose more. 

But for those of us who have a longer road ahead of us, we might come to a point when we have to shift gears a little. Just as you would have to change gears when driving a car uphill, so too do you have to alter your approach when you pass into the second phase of your weight loss. It's at this point that a lot of us will falter. Not because we're not losing weight, not because it isn't working and not because we're finding it difficult. Generally it's because we get complacent. Not 'bored' exactly, but more benign. More neutral, more indifferent to our lifestyle. We're happy that it's working and we're plodding along just fine, but we're not gripped by the same excitement that we had at the beginning. 

Anas with a lot less to lose won't have this. They'll be fast approaching the really low weights, numbers they have only ever dreamed of and it's a dizzying, exhilarating place to be. But us long-term Anas, we've got a way to go before we start seeing anything drastic. We need to stay the course a lot longer and it's at this point in our weight loss that we can feel a little 'blah.'

We need to maintain our focus. 

And for that I suggest a re-evalution. Every so often, say every three months, I recommend taking stock of everything. Sit down and write a letter to yourself. Write a new commitment to yourself, detailing your goals, your plans, your hopes, your wishes and your feelings at that moment. Then, in three months time when you sit down again, open that letter you wrote yourself, read it and see if you've managed to meet any of your goals. See if you feel any different to that person you were three months ago, write yourself another letter, seal it up and leave it for the next session. 

The idea behind this is to break up your journey into smaller, less overwhelming chunks that you can look at and approach much more easily. When you look at the whole journey, with no actually knowledge of when you'll reach the end, it's easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, you should go with a more finite time scale. Something you can actually visualise and something you can begin to work towards. 

That's what I plan to do anyway. Take it day by day and only work towards smaller more manageable goals. Right now it's August. In three months it'll be November. Winter will be on the horizon, the days will be shorter, the nights longer and that cold, crisp, frost in the air, nipping at our fingers and noses. How much smaller I'll be by then I don't know. But at least I can visualise that time. I can see a date that I need to work towards and do my best within that time frame. 

The way I see it, I have three months to make the most of my resolve. After that is another kettle of fish altogether, I'll cross that bridge and re-evaluate that new time scale, when it arrives. Until then I'm sticking to the plan, keeping my head down and striving every day to get this fat ass of mine to shrink down to the size it's meant to be!

Ana catch the bus


Hi ladies,

I know y’all are probably sick of me mentioning the ‘plan’ word by now, but I seriously can’t emphasise the importance of tackling a pro-ana way of life, in this way.  The level of restriction and restraint we need to incorporate into our daily lives requires a huge amount of dedication and commitment and sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the intensity of it all that we kind of come undone. I’ve been sharing my own little approach to my Ana lifestyle with a couple of ladies in my group this week and so I thought I might post my ideas here too so that anyone who needs to can perhaps glean some inspiration. 

As much as we might think we spend almost all of our day thinking about calories and food and the best way to shrink our asses, our thoughts as a whole are generally quite frenetic and non-specific. They're buzzing around in our minds at hundred miles a minute, along with all the other stuff we have to keep track of on a day by day basis, which can leave us a little fraught and overwhelmed by it all. 

Do you keep a journal/diary? If you do you might be familiar with a scenario a lot of journalers find themselves encountering every now and again: journaling block. Basically, it's when despite having the overwhelming urge to put pen to paper, vent, confess and spill forth all your innermost thoughts / feelings / fears / worries / hopes / dreams, when it comes to actually writing it all down, something seems to be getting in the way. There's something preventing you from connecting to your media and like a novelist who might get writers block, you just can't seem to be able to get anything down on paper. In instances like these, journalers use journaling prompts; writers use writing prompts. These can be anything from subject specific questions or queries, to random suggestions as to what you might like to write. The idea is that by honing in on once specific subject, you force your brain to focus. You take it out of the swirling, cacophony of craziness that we all have going around in our minds 24/7 and give it something to concentrate on. I know, it sounds like some weird, hokey, tree hugging, hippy crap, but trust me this really does work. (And no, in case you're wondering, I'm not selling anything or trying to get you to join any crazy scientologist-esque cult, I'm just passing on something I think my help you!) 

You see, you a lot of you Anas remind me of me. The way you use very descriptive prose when you write, and they way in which I can almost see how you would find yourself getting caught up in your writing at times and almost get carried away with it! It's exactly what I do. Why use four words, when you've got about 12 other ones, which are so much more elegant, eloquent, descriptive and mellifluous right?! :-) And if you are like me, then the one thing that will help you get yourself properly back on track, is planning. METICULOUS planning.

I'm talking about working out a schedule that will take you from the second you wake up to the moment you go to sleep at night. Does that sound crazy? Well, it might do but if you think about it, the thing that can cause the most issues for someone trying to lose weight, is your own mind. It will play tricks on you; it will tell you you're hungry, tell you to eat chocolate, tell you "just one won't hurt" and myriad other annoying little lies in order to get you to break your fast and fail at your diet. And the more time you have on your hands, the more likely you are to hear those little voices and end up finding yourself in the cookie jar. 

So, the best defense against this is a comprehensive plan/schedule of your day/week. 

Do you have some sort of spiral bound notebook? If not, then try and get a hold of one. Either that or a ring binder with a refill pad of lined paper and dividers. I like large, thick, chunky, spiral bound notebooks with narrow lined paper. Narrow lines because my handwriting looks smaller and neater and you fit more on the page; spiral bound because you can then stick photos, thinspo, food labels, receipts, scraps of paper into them and the spiral binding will allow the size of the contents to expand whilst remaining neat. And I always recommend using a real paper notebook and pens for your 'plan' journal (as opposed to something you create and maintain on a computer) for several reasons: firstly, computers may be fantastically convenient when it comes to being able to store a huge amount of information, typing it neatly and checking your spellings. That's great when you want to create a database or write a report or compile a CV. But it's not necessary for a private and personal journal. 

You need this journal to be something personal to you. It needs to be something you can carry around with you at all times and write in absolutely ANYWHERE. It needs to be completely convenient, easy to open and refer to and simple to update. It's going to be helping you run and record your life for the next few months so it needs to be able to go wherever you go and not rely upon a power source or the five minutes you might not have, to boot it up every so often. 

It also needs to be something you can connect with on a personal level and research has shown that journalers who use a real, analogue, paper and pen style of journal, find it easier to connect with their media, confide in it more easily and develop an intense symbiotic relationship with it. It's all very well being able to harness the online capabilities of weight and fitness trackers, converting all your progress into graphs and recording your calorie intake on a pie chart, but it's so....impersonal. You need something that you're going to find easy to use and impossible to do without. 

Take your time finding the perfect journal first. Head out into town, hit the stationery shops or have a look online. I'm forever scouring eBay for random journals and I've got about 20 stashed away for future use! The important thing is you find something you love, something you'll like the look of, enjoy writing in and feel connected to. On top of that get yourself a few different pens of different colours, and any tape or glue you might need to affix items inside. Once you've got your journal, its time to start accounting for every waking second of your life. Reading through the many emails, posts and comments of y’all, I can see that when some of you first started to develop Ana-esque behaviours and habits, the recording and calculating side of it came really easily. That's good. That shows  that your analytical mind works well counting and planning - two things you're going to have to do a lot of! 

First of all, I would draw up a timetable. Like the one's you would get on the back of academic planners at school/college. Break up your entire day into half hour slots. If you work or you're at school, pencil in the hours that takes up first. You'll work on coping strategies to use during those times later. What you're left with should be anything from a couple of free hours in the morning before you leave, to up to seven hours of free time to yourself, once you get home, with perhaps an hour for lunch and the occasional 10-15 minute break am and pm. 

Then decide what time of day you will have breakfast, lunch, dinner. I'm not saying you have to actually eat during those times, but you may live with family or friends or with a partner who will expect you to observe those times. Also, even if you are tackling these so-called 'mealtimes' alone, you want to be able to plan for them in advance. So pencil those times in too. Next, set yourself a time to get up at every day. This is going to require some discipline, but by starting your day with a strictly adhered to plan will reinforce your own self discipline and set you up for the rest of the day. Try to plan to get up a little earlier than you would like. So if you're used to getting up at 7.00am, plan to rise at 6.30am every day. Not only will you be giving yourself and your metabolism an extra half hour a day to fire up and burn off calories, but you'll be giving yourself a window of time in which to go about writing a morning entry in your journal. 

I don't know how you'll want to work it out yourself, but I like to have my journal sectioned off: schedule at the front, pages of supplements to be taken, exercise routines, lists of music or books to check out and then finally the journal part itself. Every morning, when you wake up, I want you to set out your mission statement for the day. Take a few minutes to describe what the day looks like, how you're feeling, what you dreamt about, your mood and what you have to do that day. Set out the number of calories you are going to eat that day, the exercise you are going to take that day and any rewards for good behaviour you are going to work towards achieving. Later on in the day, right before you go to bed, write a quick summary of how the day went. How many calories you actually consumed, how much exercise you actually did, any extra stuff you did and whether or not you allowed yourself a 'reward' for what you achieved. 

Getting into the habit of morning and evening entries will help you to start the day with focus, remain accountable throughout the day, and take stock of everything later on. It will help you to see patterns emerge in your eating habits. You'll notice when you find yourself feeling more energetic, more tired, hungrier, suffering more cravings, moody, elevated etc. When you see how you react to certain days, you can also plan for those in advance. It forces you to connect with your Ana lifestyle choice and helps keep you on course. 

You'll also need to work out some food menu plans. I like to have about 10 possible diet plans on hand. I try to mix things up a bit and have a slightly higher number of calories on some days to avoid going into starvation mode, but for the most part keep as low as possible. I have menu plans ranging from 400 cals a day to 800 cals a day and they all have a number. It's easiest for me to say, start off on the first day of the month with menu plan number 1. The second day will have menu number 2 and so on until the tenth day when I will eat menu plan number 10. On the eleventh day I go back to the start and have menu plan number 1 again and so on and so forth. 

There might be an occasional element of choice incorporated into some days (maybe a choice of fruit, flavour of cup a soup, option of certain herbal tea, type of low cal cereal bar's not essential, but you might feel better if you have a small element of personal choice available to you. Some people work better when they don't have to think about it at all. It's up to you and what works for you. By knowing in advance what you're going to have to eat (and of course, making sure that you shop for these items and have them on hand) you will take away the 'danger zone' thinking where even the merest consideration as to what you 'could' 'might' or 'should' have to eat, throws you into a weird spiral of cravings and longings and ultimate disappointment. 

Make the decisions far in advance and then put it out of your mind. Eat only when you're scheduled to and even then see if you can leave a little bit behind (there's a bit of a psychological advantage to be gained by forcing yourself to always leave a small amount of every meal behind. By not giving in to your basic human desire for food and not succumbing to hunger, you're exerting control. Do this at every meal and you're not only strengthening your own resolve, but to the casual observer you look a lot less like some starving, famished ED-head when you 'easily' eat 'just' enough, but don't feel the need to clear your plate. 

Now you might have a partner (boy/girl friend) in your life who you need to spend time with. I know you can't be expected to slot seeing that person into one particular time every day with no flexibility. Not only will it not be convenient, but you're in danger of scaring them off as they think you're a nutty control-freak OR that you don't care enough about them to be available more often or with any degree of spontaneity. 

Instead, you should arrange your evenings into blocks of time. Say from 7pm - 12pm. These blocks are to be filled with varying activities, such as exercise, online blogging, thinspo collecting, watching uTube vids, reading (books like Wasted or Thin) and downloading music. Any of these can be swapped around when you need to incorporate time with your partner or friends or family into your day. Just make sure you still get your exercise and your journaling and your plans for the following day done too. 

You need to be spending quite a bit of time researching whilst being Ana. You should be setting aside blocks of a couple of hours a couple of times a week, trawling the internet for resources to help bolster your mission. You should hit places like Amazon and get hold of as many books as possible that have Ana themes to them. Amazon is great because you can pick up 2nd hand copies of books in great condition, from their Marketplace sellers, for as little as 1 cent / 1p (not including p&p). You'll all be more aware of other online bookstores close to you, but I use Amazon for their price and selection. By getting a hold of as many books as possible, you're making sure you always have something you can take with you that will keep your mind focused and that you might learn a thing or two from. We can all learn from each other and some of these books can be just the help we need to get our backsides in gear. 

You should also be checking out supplements from health food stores and sports nutritionists. Whether it's vitamins & minerals to make sure your skin, hair, teeth, nails and bones are in good condition, or if you're using diet pills like Maximum Lipotropics, Ephedrine, Phentermine or whatever, do your research. Find out what works. See where you can get hold of it. Scour other blogs for tips and tricks. Keep them in your journal planner. Use them too. Factor them into your daily schedule. 

Hunt through health food shops and supermarkets and specialist stores for more inventive, original and unusual very low calorie foodstuffs. Hoodia lollies, miso soup, Quorn bits, flavoured water...find them, buy them and work them into your plan. Are you creative? Maybe you can put together a thinspo video for uTube. If like me you're crap at that sort of stuff, just hunt through online channels to find all the good pro-Ana videos and programmes about eating disorders there are out there. Bookmark them and have them close to hand on your computer at all time so you know where to go to refer to the properly inspiring stuff when you most need it. 

When you know you're feeling low and craving bad stuff, sometimes it might just take a quick peek at that ‘Thin’ documentary on HBO. I also like some of the Dr Phil's. There's one called ‘Scary Skinny’ or something and there's a girl called Nicole and her teenage cousin on it. They're both slim and look lovely and their bone structure is awesome. They're great thinspo. Its also good to have reverse thinspo to hand too. (See that previous blog post for more info). Sometimes it takes a picture of someone and how awful they look to make you stop yourself reaching for that chip! 

It might also help you if you have parts of your body that you really hate. Take photos of these bits. Print them off and put them in your planner. Refer back to them whenever you're feeling a bit 'bleh'. You can also take it so that in a few months time you can take another and see the difference. Just keep sticking them in your plan. And that's what you need to be doing. 

I've really only touched on the basics of how you make the plan work for you, but you get the picture. Basically, it's all about taking away those moments of decision / indecision from day to day life that can often go one way or the other. You start the day feeling ok but when faced with the choice of rice cakes or donuts, well....sometimes the damn rings are in your mouth before you've even had chance to mentally add up the calories! 

No. What you're doing is making sure that all those decisions have been made well in advance and all you're doing is following instructions. It really does work and can be quite liberating to not have to think about what you're going to have to eat. Get all your daily menu plans worked out in advance. Then work through them one after the other and then when you've had them all, start again. Get your whole day planned out in advance so you know where you're going to be and what you're going to be doing at all times. Have little activities that you can have on stand by to fill in your time whenever something falls through. Keep your body and your mind occupied and you're less likely to stray. 

And remember to write in your journal every morning and evening. Start you day with a opening statement and state how you think your day will go. End your day the same way with an entry to encompass your feelings as to how the day went. Record everything. Write it all down. List all the things you see that you like, list all the books you want to read, list all supplements you want to take, snip out excerpts from magazines, clip thinspo pics and stick them in too. STICK EVERYTHING IN THERE! 

As you can see, the idea is to be accountable for every aspect of your life. Plan everything, record everything and accept responsibility for everything. Understand that everything you do, eat, drink is a choice and when you plan for those choices and make them in advance, you're much more likely to make better choices and stick to them too. So what do you say? 

Are you up for getting with the 'plan'??

Monday, August 9, 2010

Been away for a bit

 Hi Ladies,

Sorry for the brief slip in posting - have managed to run myself into the ground with a combination of a ridiculously hectic work schedule and a shitty cold. On the plus side, I haven’t had much time to eat, so I’ve dropped a couple of kilos (it’s always nice to have a genuine reason to be able to tell people you’re not hungry, without them so much as batting an eyelid!) but I’m still in a total tiz, chasing my tail trying to get back on track and still don’t have a huge amount of time to post.

So I thought I’d include a few posts I’ve submitted to a couple of groups. Chances are, anyone reading this blog will have already seen the posts, but I don’t want y’all to think I’ve abandoned the blog and I’d also like to keep some of my posts for posterity. Just so as I’ve got all my little ramblings kept in the same place. 

And of course, if ever anyone stumbles upon this humble wee collection of jibber-jabber, they might find something they can use, refer to or maybe just nod in agreement with. 

First up are a few websites I came across and thought I’d share with anyone who might be interested: 



Whilst they're not exactly pro-ana in the purest sense of the word, they are great resources for anyone wanting to adopt a regime of calorie restriction. 

The top one is for the actual website of a 'movement' that has been gaining popularity in the western world, over the past 5 years. The idea is based around the premise that an overall restriction of calories (combined with optimum nutrition) not only keeps you super slim and fit, but prolongs youthfulness and longevity. The second one is a blog written by a woman called April who has kept fastidiously to this CR WOL for five years. Her husband is on it too and she writes up lots of recipes and menus for seriously restricted diets. The last one is just a feature on this lifestyle in the NY Mag, in which a reporter tries it out for a few months. Its a good starting point and gives an overall synopsis on what the idea entails. 

Now, I know it's not going to be up everyone's street to want to try and create superbalanced meal plans to live longer, but I think it could be a useful tool for a couple of reasons: 

1/ I don't know about you guys but I don't just want to be slim, but I want to be gorgeous too. And to maintain good skin, hair, nails and some energy levels, I know I need to get some nutrients into my body. These sites give loads of tips on how to create very low cal meals and snacks that will allow you to lose weight whilst looking good. 

2/ The second reason is a much more sneaky one! Basically, it's for all those who have nosey friends and family who are disapproving of our lifestyle choice. If you think they're giving you any stick for your choices, point them in the direction of these sites. Not only do they speak about this restrictive WOL as a tool for optimum health, but there are references to studies and research done CONFIRMING that calorie restriction will increase longevity and overall health. You might not want to follow it or maybe you just want to use some of it, but it's good to have as a resource and also as a kind of back up you can show to any concerned onlookers who may be a little worried about you and your new eating habits. 

Like I said, they're not strictly pro-ana in their ethos, but useful nonetheless.

Hope some of you find something useful there you can take and incorporate into your plans and whatnot.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Hunting High And Low

Good evening everyone,

Today was quite a good day for me. I managed to keep my appetite in check and didn't succumb to any of the terrible temptations that were dotted around the office.

I'm forever spending time hawking through shops, stores, supermarkets and stalls trying to find the lowest calorie, lowest fat, most unusual, convenient and nutritionally sound items out there. It's amazing what you discover when you actually take the time to trawl through every last nook and cranny in every square foot of floor space on the high street and beyond. I guess when you're not taking the time to watch every single little morsel you put into your mouth, you can afford to be cavalier with your shopping habits. Those of us with food allergies, intolerances and specific dietary needs however, need to go through shops with a fine toothed comb in order to procure the safest, tastiest, healthiest and most suitable food stuffs available.

And I suppose, when you think about it, those of us following the Pro-Ana Lifestyle DO have extremely special and specific dietary requirements. We aren't consuming anywhere near as many calories as the average person and each and every one of us has our own particular standards, tastes, controls, requirements, rules and levels of restriction. Whilst the general consensus amongst the general public is that anorectics despise food and don't want to have to put any real thought into the consumption of it, in reality this couldn't really be further from the truth.

One only has to refer to the almost gospel memoirs Wasted - Marya Hornbacher and Thin - Grace Bowman to learn of how anorectics and bulimics actually LOVE food; they just don't love what happens when they put it into their bodies. And those of us living the Pro-Ana Lifestyle are different again to those who have let their own lifestyle choice become an unhealthy obsession: we aren't 'unable' to eat. Nor do we necessarily find it easy or simple to refuse food all the time. We too love food, regardless of our own particular idiosyncratic bette noir. We simply understand that it can simultaneously be our best friend/closest confidante and worst enemy. We know how much havoc can be wreaked on our bodies, our minds and our lives, simply by failing to take control of what we put in our mouths and THAT is why we do what we do.

It's not easy. But that's both the misery AND the bliss of it. As Anas, we strive for perfection in a world that wants us to fail; we struggle to adhere to self imposed rules in a society lacking in discipline. In short, we work damn hard at being the best we can be and sometimes, it's nice to find that little something that just makes life that little bit easier.

Please don't misconstrue my meaning here. I'm not trying to absolve myself of the trials and tribulations involved in this way of life. I'm not looking for an easy way out either; THAT goes against everything Ana stands for, everything we want to encompass and everything I work hard at maintaining every day. What I do try and do however, is invest a lot of time and effort working at constructing an eating plan that whilst being very low in calories and fat, still gives me the nutritional requirements I need to maintain my youthful good looks and vitality.

I guess I'm actually a little bit obsessive when it comes to food shopping. I tackle it with almost military precision and spend every lunchtime wandering around shops making that one hour as useful as possible. It has the added bonus of giving me an hour's exercise (nothing too strenuous that would see me heading back to my desk shrouded in sweat and glowing like a coal furnace, but enough to burn off a few calories!) and it keeps me from spending my break, sat at my desk, munching - which is how my arse got so fat in the first place.

The devil is in the detail so they say and I think that as Anas it's our strict attention to detail that decides whether or not we're going to be successful in our dietary discipline. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Being Pro-Ana is a difficult, stressful, tiring, time-consuming and can wreak havoc on our day to day lives. Relationships, careers, schoolwork, religious involvement, hobbies, habits and health, can all suffer as a result of this lifestyle choice we make and we should all know and understand this before embarking on the Pro-Ana way of life. What we are intending to do goes against every fibre of our being; we are choosing to deny ourselves the very thing our body craves, wants, desires and needs. We are putting ourselves up against the might of our hormones, our instincts, our internal body clocks and our own minds EVERY waking moment of EVERY single day. We're not making it easy on ourselves.

Which is why we need to equip ourselves as best we can.

I tell everyone who wants to change their eating habits that before they do ANYTHING else, they need to make a plan. And by plan I don't mean some intangible wish like "I plan to eat healthier and do more exercise so I can look good in my bikini." That's not a plan. Plans should be detailed, unambiguous and goal oriented. You should have a particular target you wish to reach and a step by step breakdown of what it is you plan to do in order to get there. It might sound a bit like boring old school-work, but I'm willing to bet that to the majority of us Anas, planning and preparation is something of a past-time and/or a challenge. I'm actually a complete stationery addict! I simply adore pens and notebooks and files and folders and stickers and envelopes and inks! I have a filing cabinet in my house full of journals and notebooks and pens and inks of all colours that I buy religiously despite not actually needing any more. Needless to say, I don't need ANY encouragement when it comes to spending a bit of time putting together menus, food diaries, exercise regimes, weight loss records, supplement schedules and charts - I just hope some/a lot of you share this little peccadillo with me, because it truly will make your Pro-Ana lifestyle much more organised and easier to stick to if you do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not holding myself up as some kind of perfect Ana who knows it all - far from it. I'm as fallible and prone to fuck-ups as the next person. I just know how much easier it makes my life when I've put in a bit of time and effort to figure out what it is I want, where I want to go and how I mean to get there. Which is why I'm so keen to get out to the shops, hunt about and procure as many suitable items as possible in my free time. I want to know that I've got everything I need, close to hand in order to be able to get through each day consuming as little as possible, whilst still paying attention to my overall health. I want to succeed and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I do.

Today I consumed 501.8 calories.

I think that's pretty good. I aim to consume about 500 per day. Here's the breakdown:

2 cans of Sugar Free Red Bull (250ml per can) - 20 cals
1 can Vitabiotics Wellwoman Drink (250ml) - 13.3 cals
1 cup of Clearspring Mellow White Miso Instant Soup with tofu - 29.5 cals
1 pack of 4 Belvita breakfast biscuits -  224 cals
1 greek olive and feta frittata topped with spinach and courgette - 170 cals
100g of steamed trimmed green beans - 25 cals
4 mugs of Pu-er tea - 20 cals

Two of the items from today's menu were things I found in my local Holland & Barrett health-food store. The Wellwoman drink and the Miso Soup.

I've included a bit of information on both of them here, in case any of you are interested:

Vitabiotics Wellwoman Drink

Per 250ml can.

13.3 kcal
0.08g protein
2.8g carb
trace fat

80mg - Guarana Extract
80mg - Green Tea Extract
50mg - Artichoke Extract
50mg - Grape Seed Extract
50mg - Elderberry Concentract

"Made with pomegranate and cranberry juice and contains 'botanical extracts, nutrients and Sucralose Sweetner

Wellwoman drink delivers nutrients for energy release, grape seed juice as a natural source of antioxidants plus artichoke extract which many aid digestive health."

They cost 99p in Holland & Barrett and they're not bad. I don't know how much good they're actually doing, but they're a hell of a lot better for me than Red Bull that's for sure (that said,  I'm not about to give up my caffeine fix any time soon!) They're very sweet and you can definitely taste the artificial sweetener in them, but it's not unpleasant. I like the fact that they're low calorie, sugar free, offer another alternative to regular soft drinks and could have added health benefits to boot. Am always on the lookout for anything that might improve digestive health, especially if I've had lunch with Mia.

An added bonus of being seen to have a drink like this in my house, in my desk, in my bag or in my hand, is that it is marketed as a health drink, by Vitabiotics, one of the biggest and well known/respected manufacturers of health food supplements. Anyone who sees you with one of these will instantly assume, however subconsciously that you are on a health kick and looking after yourself. It's a positive identifier that will look good to other people. I love finding stuff like that. Anything that can not only help you lose weight by filling you up a bit and not using up many calories that also has great nutritional value WHILST acting as a sort of decoy to keep people from discovering your Pro-Ana mission. Perfect. Because when you're not taking in a huge amount of food, you should always make the most of everything you do consume by choosing items with a multitude of benefits. 

The other thing I found on a shelf at the back of the Holland & Barrett store in my high street was:

Clearspring - Mellow White Miso Instant Soup with Tofu.

Per sachet

29.5 kcal
2.4g protein
2.2g carb (of which sugars 1.9g)
1.3g fat (of which saturates 0.2g)
0.8g fibre
0.9g sodium


Freeze dried miso (whole soya beans, rice, sea salt) - 89%, dried green onions, tofu, (soya beans, kuzu, nigari [coagulant] - 4%.

You basically put it in a cup or a bowl, add hot water and leave it for a minute. I will warn you though, for those of you who haven't tried it before, it smells a bit funky. Like wet dog covered in soy sauce! And it does look a bit mad. Kind of murky with bits in it, but bear with it!

Tastes....well it tastes of very little really. It's quite salty so you won't need to add any more, but I added a lot of pepper to it because I add a lot of pepper to EVERYTHING and instant soups tend to need it.Would be quite nice if you infused it with some herbs when you make it. I'm thinking that some chilli flakes and some smoked paprika would help bring it to life. Or you might prefer some tumeric, cumin, garam masala and a snatch of coriander in it. Basically, it's a very plain broth, despite the smattering of green onions and small pieces of tofu in it. Depending on what you want to get from it, you might want to jazz it up a little bit.

Is fairly filling, satisfying and at 30 cals a sachet, you would do well to try and incorporate it into your diet. It would be great for those occasions when you just can't skip your lunch, need something hot to warm you up or if you're not hungry and don't want to eat something but HAVE to, perhaps because your family, friends, partner or room-mates are hassling you. You can make it in a bowl and it looks just like a regular bowl of soup you might have for your lunch or supper. It also has the added bonus of being marketed as a vegetarian product (I know some Anas convert to vegetarianism as a way of legitimately cutting out highly calorific proteins and animal fats) and something that is known to promote good digestive health. People with IBS are often told to try and consume some, so you can always tell folks that you're suffering from a bit of a dodgy tummy but you're still hungry and 'need' to eat something. They'll be glad to see you've put a bit of thought into what you're consuming and maybe leave you alone. They don't need to know it only has 30 cals in it!

By now, you're probably beginning to realise just how much thought I put into each and every thing I put into my mouth. A good many of you will be thinking I'm a lot like you and in many ways I guess I probably am. Like I've said before, it takes a certain kind of person to do what we do. It takes strength and discipline and an inner resourcefulness that you just don't see in the majority of people these days. We Anas are set apart from the rest. Partly through our conscious choice and decision not to affiliate ourselves with our weaker, less disciplined counterparts and partly down to our inherent subconscious psychological make up that deems us different, special and strange.

Being Ana sets us apart from the rest, yet being separate from the rest is what makes us truly Ana. It's a cycle of psychological behaviour and reasoning that feeds into itself and creates that which it requires.

And on that rather baffling note, I do believe I shall call it a day. I hope your day was as good as mine was, feel free to drop me a line or a comment and share how you're feeling right now. We're in this together ladies.

Stay Strong

Ana Catch The Bus

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Ana Means To Me

Good afternoon ladies,

Apologies for not having posted anything yesterday. I was pretty busy with some group stuff for the most part and spent a huge amount of time talking about What Ana Means To Me in the Pro-Ana Lifestyle Choice group I'm a member of. 

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm going to copy and paste one of posts from yesterday. It's not that I don't have anything new and original to say, I just felt that I actually managed to sum up the way I think and feel about being Pro-Ana really succinctly in this post and wanted to bring it here for posterity.

If you've already read this, I apologise for the repetition, but being as how this is a Pro-Ana Blog in a community where we all read each other's blogs for support, advice, knowledge and reassurance, I thought it might be of some use to someone in the future who might come across these ramblings and like what they read. So without further ado, here are questions I put to the group and the answers I myself came up with:

Q/ What does being/walking with Ana or Mia mean to you?

A/ Walking with Ana and embracing all that this lifestyle entails, to me means being prepared to go above and beyond what the majority of people would be prepared to do, in order to become more than what the majority of people could ever hope to be. I think it is something that sets us apart from the rest of society, our ability and willingness to push ourselves further, to deny ourselves the very thing that is supposed to nourish us and the desire to have total control over our instincts and desires. “Quod me nutrit me destruit.”

Being Ana - to me - isn’t just about vanity and the sole pursuit of thin-ness. It is a huge part of this lifestyle choice, but there are other factors. I think being Ana is about elevating oneself to a state of higher achievement and awareness. It is about being able to have complete control over every aspect of our lives and about always managing to maintain perfect grace and composure when all around us are flailing in panic. It is about setting goals and working towards achieving them. It’s about never allowing ourselves to quit in moments of weakness or hopelessness. It’s about being strong.

I also believe in this Pro-Ana group because I want us all as a secret community of like-minded individuals to aspire to be and work together to become, the beautiful, intelligent, controlled, composed, powerful strong elite we should be.

Q/ What are you hoping to gain most from this lifestyle?

A/ Lots of things. From a purely aesthetical perspective, I want to be beautiful. I know I was blessed with good looks, I just seem to have chosen to shroud these attributes in a fat suit for the past 25 years. I want Ana to help me bring about enough changes in my mindset, my attitude to food/self control/pride/composure, my interaction with other people and my whole life really.

I want to draw strength from times of hardship and difficulty. I want to develop my resourcefulness, my resilience and my ability to succeed. I want to set targets and consistently smash them. I want to be great.

I want other people to look at me and see a slim, beautiful, immaculately dressed, perfectly made up, graceful, intelligent, charming, fierce yet utterly adorable young woman and wish desperately that they could be half as good as me. I want to be referred to as ‘the beautiful, intelligent and successful one.’ I want lesser individuals with zero self control to be envious of me and what I represent. I want them to hate me and admire in equal parts.

I want to be everything they’re not.

Q/ What have you found hardest about it so far?

A/ Keeping it a secret from other people has been difficult. My partner knows I’m on a diet and whilst he’s supportive of me embracing a new eating plan in order to feel better about myself, I don’t think he’d be too happy to find out I’m walking with Ana (and sometimes Mia - some tips on more successful lunch dates with Mia further down in this post!). I don’t think I could make him understand the way in which I’m using this way of life to make me a better person. In being Ana I’m developing my self control. That newly acquired self control and strength will in turn have an almost circular knock on affect of being able to take a controlled approach to adopting this Ana lifestyle and not let it take control of me. Those who allow this way of life to become an eating disorder that controls them are completely missing the point and not being an Ana in the greatest sense of the word.

Q/ What have you found the easiest?

A/ Dealing with hunger. Maybe my stomach is shrinking through eating gradually smaller amounts, maybe it’s the appetite suppressing properties of the Chromium and Gymnema Sylvestre in the Maximum Lipotropics I’ve been taking or maybe perhaps it has something to do with the endless cups of Pu-er, oolong, green and slimming teas I’ve been sipping. I don’t know. I do know that I’ve been feeling less hungry and when I am hungry I’m able to almost embrace the feeling and instead of falling victim to cravings, I actually find myself feeling proud of my ability to not succumb to the basest of instincts.

Q/ What has surprised you the most?

A/ Er, how much I enjoy living this way and how well I have learned to restrict. I’ve also loved getting to be a part of this group and getting to chat with fellow minded ladies. As a rule I tend not to befriend too many women out here in the real world. But I like having this secret community of Ana sisters to chat with, learn from and just generally sound of around. I’m surprised at how much I have begun immersing myself in this whole lifestyle.

Q/ What things do you consider 'lifesavers' that help you get by each day? Foodstuffs, websites, exercises, music, distractions, drinks....

A/ Oh lots of things. Here are just a few:

  • Special K bars and bites - These are in my desk at work and are what I turn to when the prevalence of cakes & biscuits and the temptation to consume some, become a little overwhelming.

  • Sugar free flavoured Volvic - It can sometimes be hard to drink enough plain water, so a slightly flavoured alternative is a welcome addition to my day. By staying hydrated I don’t find myself mistaking a thirst for a hunger and I keep my stomach full, my hands occupied and my skin that little bit clearer),

  • Batchelors Cup-a-Soup and their Slim-a-Soup counterparts - In the US and Canada the product is manufactured and marketed by Unilever's Lipton brand; these are what I usually have for lunch at work. They are easy to store in my desk, easy to carry around in my bag, easy to prepare and come in loads of flavours - although whilst they taste pretty good, they do need a little salt and pepper in them to truly bring them to life!

  • Chewing Gum - I chew Mentos Sugar-Free with Green Tea extract in spearmint. Great tasting, long lasting and very breath freshening. Good to have on hand after lunches with Mia too!

  • Sugar Free Red Bull - We all need a good caffeine injection from time to time but regular Red Bull (and other subsequent high caffeine/taurine based energy drinks) is FULL of sugar! Having a few cans of the sugar free variety is always good for when I’m feeling sleepy or sluggish and the caffeine also keeps the metabolism ticking over too - bonus!

  • Fruit - I always have a couple of bananas, some apples and some grapefruit in my drawer and I’ve got clementines, grapes, melon, pineapple and peaches at home. The great thing about fruit is that we’re all supposed to eat more of it so telling folks you’re ‘just trying to get the 5-a-day’ into you isn’t going to draw too much attention to your diet. You can also tell them that you’re trying to improve your skin by eating more vitamin containing fruits or that you’re trying to up your fibre intake for good bowel health. Add to that the low calorie benefits and as long as you’re not going overboard with it, fruit is one of the best things you can keep to hand. Not to mention the fact that it TASTES great!

    N.B. Whilst bananas are considered to be a little to high in calories for us Ana ladies to consume, please think again. A large banana contains about 130 cals (give or take). It ALSO contains a LOT of potassium. One of the deficiencies most documented with those who suffer an anorexic eating disorder, is potassium deficiency. Without enough potassium your heart will suffer and that kind of problem is enough to get you frog marched to your nearest eating disorder clinic. I recommend eating one for breakfast. I have one first thing and try to take my vitamins at the same time.

    I take a Wellwoman multivitamin and mineral supplement, two Osteocare caplets (another great Vitabiotics supplement which can improve bone density and health - another area Ana can be deficient in!), EFA, Starflower Oil, Cod Liver Oil and Kelp extract. I also have a Berocca most days and a soluble Echinacea drink supplement from Tesco.) Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble vitamins, so I try to take them with a banana as it contains a small amount of fat, but also at the same time as my Starflower and fish oil supplements too. There really is no point taking them if your body can’t utilise them!

  • Fat free yoghurts - at about 70 cals a pot, these are a great source of calcium and are very convenient. I like Danone Activia. These are supposed to be good for digestive health, which again is something you can point out to ‘concerned’ friends or family members. Some of them come with extra fibre in them which is supposed to fill you up for longer too.

  • Lollipops - Just your everyday, regular, run of the mill lollipop. Doesn’t have to be a Hoodia one (the jury is still out on whether these actually work) or a sugar free one, just a bog standard 15p lollipop from your newsagent or drugstore is fine. I keep these on hand for a few reasons: sometimes I NEED to have something sweet, sometimes I need to have something to occupy my hands, sometimes I need to just feel the sensation of having something in my mouth and sometimes I like to have them ready in case I’m going to be in a situation when someone might offer me something. If I’m eating a lolly I’m not going to want a bit of whatever they have. Nor do I need to order something for myself. It also gives the impression of me actually eating something that isn’t particularly healthy which can fool folks into thinking I’m eating normally.

  • Vicks Vapour Rub - Smear a little under your nose and just inside your nostrils and food smells will be less powerful and seductive to you. Great if you’re going to a cafĂ© or restaurant or somewhere with an alluring smell. The great thing about this is that people generally assume you have a bit of a cold when you use this stuff, so you have the perfect excuse for being ‘off your food!’

  • Hard work/heavy schedule - Sounds silly, but hear me out. One of the easiest ways to avoid having to eat is by either working through your lunch break (diligence is generally looked upon favourably, especially when it pays off) or quite simply by telling folks you need to shoot off into town during your dinner break or run a few errands as you’re ‘so busy’ with everything else right now, you just don’t have the time. People don’t question this and if you occasionally come back with an empty wrapper, you’ll throw them completely off the scent!

  • Andrews Salts - This one is for those of us who occasionally meet with Mia for lunch or dinner. Those who don’t should just skip this one. Those of you who want a little advice on how to lunch with Mia more safely and effectively, read on.

    The problem I think many of us encounter with these little ‘lunch dates’ are twofold: 

    Firstly, they generally come about as the result of a hastily consumed binge of whatever foodstuffs we have to hand, thus resulting in a chaotic, unrestrained period of gorging. 

    Secondly, they can bring about damage to the oesophagus and teeth by repeatedly exposing said areas to the harsh hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. Both of these problems can make dinner with Mia unpleasant and dangerous; I however have the answer to this! 

    Vomiting in itself, is not an altogether bad thing. The human body is able to do it for a reason and this usually is to help evacuate the stomach of any contents unsuitable for consumption and digestion. When you have food poisoning, what does your body do? It expels the very thing you have contaminated it with, generally from both ends. So we know that this is a function the body is able to carry out quite simply. I also ask you to think about pregnant women. They suffer morning sickness for anything from a few weeks to the entire duration of their pregnancy. Whilst it is unpleasant it is not (except in the cases where the woman in question is unable to keep ANY nutrients in her body) a life threatening condition and is something the human body is somewhat programmed to do. I would also like to bring your attention to the Romans. Thought of as one of the most civilised, intelligent, hedonistic and enlightened of people, the ancient Romans used to voluntarily purge after great feasts in order to allow themselves more room to consume.

    (N.B. Whilst the practice of vomiting after a meal was quite commonplace in ancient Rome, do not be lulled into the belief in a specifically designed vomitorium. A vomitorium is merely an architectural term used for the areas in which crowds could ‘spew out’ from an amphitheatre or stadium - the conflation of the two terms is a connection made fairly recently.)

    Now, please do not misunderstand these references as being a testament to the 100% safe and effectiveness of binge-purging. I’m not. I am acutely aware of all the problems it entails, all the health risks, the discomfort, the inconvenience and the disgust. I know that vomiting is actually pretty gross. But I also know that in order to maintain this strict path of self control, I will on occasion need to employ it as a means of restricting how many calories are used by my body.

    The trick to using purging in a much more safe and less destructive way, is through planning. Planning will actually make it a less painful, embarrassing and self destructive act that you get caught in cycles of. I know it’s not the kind of thing you’re used to hearing about but trust me, this works.

    When the majority of us get caught up in a binge-purge moment, what has usually happened is something we failed to plan for or take control of. We might have skipped way too many calories that day and our brain has switched us into overdrive. We may have worked out a little harder and as a result find ourselves desperately needing to replenish our systems. We might have argued with our parents/partners/teachers/employers/friends/colleagues and in panic, turned to the one thing we used to rely on to comfort us, only to have to get rid of it when we realise what we’ve done.

    Whatever our reasons, the majority of us binge and purge without intending to. And THAT is the problem. When the urge to binge hits us and we’re WAY beyond the point of reason/talking ourselves down, we make really poor choices. In zombie like fashion we cram fistful upon fistful of gloriously indulgent foods into our disgustingly fat mouths - and sometimes it’s not even a case of eating something particularly nice or enticing; sometimes we ‘come-to’ after a binge, only to find ourselves standing in the middle of the kitchen and strewn around us, the remnants of weird and somewhat unappealing foodstuffs like cold tins of beans, entire packets of ham, boxes of weetabix, frozen pizzas (I know some of you will have been there!!), loaves of bread, cartons of soup, wedges of pate…anything we were able to get our grubby little mitts on!

    And then we need to get rid of it.

    Purging is, by its very nature, a fairly unpleasant experience. At least when you’re ill it’s automatic and you don’t have to put any real effort into it. You’ll also be aware of that thing your mouth and throat does before you automatically throw up: it starts to produce a bucket load of saliva to kind of help lubricate the forthcoming vomitus. When you purge intentionally you don’t have that added bonus.

    When you’ve binged without planning, you haven’t had the time or the inclination to try and figure out which foods are going to be easier to bring back up again. Some of us will sometimes be more aware of this and as a result will try to hone in on the more easily purged foodstuffs, but a lot of the time, when you’re in the grip of a binge, it’s all you can to do remember to breathe in between mouthfuls and it’s only afterwards that you truly realise what you’ve just consumed. As some of you will already know, there are some pretty awkward things out there to try and get back out once you’ve binged on them: bread, pastry, heavier cakes and biscuits, chunks of meat, anything dry and lumpy and fairly solid. And sometimes all the water in the world won’t help once it’s all started to coagulate and solidify in your gut.

    So what are you supposed to do? And what the hell has ‘Andrews Salts’ got to do with it? Well, let me share with you a couple of tips and tricks. One of the problems with purging is the acid. Purging brings up the pretty strong, damaging hydrochloric acid from the stomach cavity (where a thick mucus protects it from being burned through/destroyed) to the unprotected oesophagus, throat and mouth. Repeated purging as you all know can result in a raw, burned throat & mouth and the erosion of tooth enamel leading to decay and tooth loss. That is where the Andrews Salts come in. I’m not sure what they’re called/marketed as/referred to in your respective countries, but over here it’s a kind of stomach settler that helps to reduce nausea, alleviate acid reflux, relieve constipation and the consequences of overindulgence.

    But that’s not all they do. One of the reasons listed on the pack was to help alleviate acid reflux and heartburn. It does this by helping to neutralise the acid in your stomach a lot like Gaviscon or Rennie does. Can you see where I’m going with this? Basically, you need to have some of this stuff ready to hand whenever you’re going to binge/purge. It’s a fairly innocuous product to have lying about as no one really thinks twice about indigestion remedies (the upshot of this is also that if people think you suffer from indigestion, you have another excuse as to why you’re not eating any rich, creamy stuff. Bonus!)

    What you need to do BEFORE you start to binge, is make up two glasses of the stuff - each containing 3 spoonfuls of powder diluted with water (it says to use 2 spoonfuls on the directions, but you’re not going to be keeping all this in your system!) Chug back most of the first glass before you even start to eat and drink the rest of it and the second one in between mouthfuls of your binge. What you’re basically doing is a/ stopping the acid in your stomach from starting to break down and absorb any of the stuff in the food, b/ keeping lots of moisture in the food to make it softer and easier to purge, c/ using something that is slightly carbonated to help mobilise the food and d/ neutralising the acid in your stomach so that when you bring it back up again it won’t be as harsh on your oesophagus, throat and teeth.

    This is a method I’ve been using for a while now and I can definitely feel the difference. My throat isn’t raw and my teeth aren’t rotting! However, to complete this controlled purging process, you really MUST follow it up with the consumption of one of a those very low cal, fat free probiotic drinks (again this makes you look to the casual observer like someone who cares about their health!) to allow your stomach to return to it’s natural state. It is also advisable to use a mouthwash straight afterwards too. DON’T brush your teeth or you will be allowing any remaining acid to be scrubbed into the enamel of your teeth. Using a mouthwash however, will continue to neutralise, freshen your breath and make you feel a lot cleaner. Chew some gum too - you can clean your teeth an hour or so later. And don't forget to stay hydrated by drinking water and herbal teas for the remainder of the day. If you ever find yourself getting into a bad cycle of binge-purging (and sometimes we all have an off day) it's worth have a box of rehydration sachets on hand to keep your electrolyte balance in check. If you don't you won't be able to stay hydrated, you will suffer leg cramps and restlessness and your body will retain water which will show up on the scales as extra weight. Ongoing imbalances can cause heart problems too so you do not want an electrolyte imbalance!

    Simple huh? But VERY effective. However, I know a few of you will be wondering, how, if you’re in the middle of one of those all-consuming, autopilot binges, when you’re past the point of being able to steer yourself away from the whole binge/purge process, how are you going to have the presence of mind to be able to prepare two glasses of Andrews Salts?

    By planning. Your binges that is. I know some of you will already be in the mindset where you pick and choose a day in advance where you can look forward to a binge, but most of us just end up losing the plot and having random feeding-frenzies when we least expect/want them. And that’s the problem. Ill conceived binges that you haven’t planned will hurt more and be more dangerous to you in the long run.

    If like me, you KNOW that you will have those wonky moments where you just NEED to binge, then you need to plan for it. I have a binging box. In my bedroom I have a filing cabinet. It’s lockable and the key is on my keychain in my handbag that is normally in the living room. In it I have some of those items I love, miss and tend to want to eat more when I’m binging: Kit-Kats, chocolate brownies, Mini-Cheddars, FUDGE, Dairy Milk, walnuts, Nutella, cinder toffee, pork rinds, Haribo, Pringles and peanut butter. I like to have my own secret stash tucked away where I know it is, ready to be brought out when needed.

    I actually like to plan a binge in advance so that I can think about all the other mundane stuff that makes it easier. If the other half is at home, I take my lap top or journal or a good book into the bedroom as he gets involved in one of his Xbox games. The good thing about this is, the games are fairly noisy which are a good blocker of sound and he’s usually so absorbed in them anyway, I could walk naked through the house wearing nothing but a feather boa and he wouldn’t even notice! It’s also great because there is nothing odd about hearing someone move from the bedroom to the toilet - hearing someone go from munching in the kitchen to running to the bathroom however, might raise a few eyebrows after a few incidences.

    I pick an evening or the weekend, well in advance and might go out to the supermarket to choose a few additions to the box on one of the days leading up to my binge. The weird thing is, by doing this, I’m basically telling myself I can have ANYTHING I want. I’m not banning anything. By knowing that it’s coming, looking forward to it and even just being aware that the food is in the box, does actually lead to me forgoing the planned binges a lot of the time. Binging happens when you repeatedly deny yourself. But the psychological offshoot of having that stuff there ready so you AREN’T totally denying yourself is actually quite effective at staving off the urge to binge and purge!

    However, I do indulge in them every so often and I really look forward to them. I keep a tub of the salts in the bedroom and another in the kitchen. I grab a glass of water before heading to the bedroom and make up a giant glass of the stuff (2 glass equivalent) right before I binge and work my way through the food and the drink. I also take off any make-up I’m wearing (runny eye make up anyone?) change into something comfy and tie my hair up. Then, when I’m done pigging out, I carefully, take all the wrappers and lock them back up in the filing cabinet (to be retrieved and disposed of later when I’m having a ‘quick tidy’ of the place) before heading to the bathroom to purge.

    I’ve almost perfected the art of purging quietly and to be honest, it’s a lot easier when you’ve had those two glasses of the Andrews Salts beforehand. Like I said though, pick a moment when you’re not going to be disturbed and if you’re on your own all the better!

    Finally I grab the probiotic, swish my mouth with mouthwash and scrub my hands clean. I also like to quickly use a face scrub on my face and apply a face mask too. This is good because a/ if anyone is about it can explain why you’ve been in the bathroom so long, b/ if your face is a bit swollen and puffy you can disguise it and c/ we’re in this to be beautiful so why the heck not?
I hope I didn’t offend anyone with those tips and tricks on lunching with Mia there - I know it can be a bit gross to talk about it out loud, but I wanted to be honest with y’all and also maybe get the whole idea of a conscious, concerted effort at planning a safer way of binging and purging out there to help anyone caught in the b/p cylcle. I think us Anas can be a little too hard on Mias. Sometimes it’s Mia who can make the difference between completely breaking a fast and just temporarily utilising your gastrointestinal tract!! LOL!

Let’s be honest here. As much as we don’t like to admit it, most of us purge. Not always, not often and certainly not intentionally. I know there are a few who won’t/don’t and that’s great. But in this lifestyle we will come across Mia from time to time and rather than let her take hold of us and insidiously worm her way into every aspect of our lives, why not use her to our advantage? Why not take that special, resourceful strength and ability to plan, to our advantage and have Mia over to dinner every so often, completely on our terms. It’s another extension of our self control if we’re planning these bouts in advance and if we’re diffusing the dangers of it by addressing some of the issues like neutralising acids. Use your ability to make informed choices and control what you do, to take control of your binges. This will help you stay the path, avert suspicion and even binge/purge less.

Q/ What do you think would help you?

A/ I think that blogging, posting here and just generally being accountable for everything I eat, drink, binge, purge, think, do and say will give me insight and make me a stronger Ana. I also think that having you guys here to chat you and learn from and just have to sound off at will be a great release. I love the secrecy involved in this lifestyle but sometimes you really just need to blurt it all out. And I’m grateful to you guys for allowing me that.

Q/ What is your 'plan'?

A/ Well, as you’ve probably all already gleaned from this ridiculously long post, I’m all about planning. So far I plan to keep myself to a very low number of calories on most days with an occasional switch up to a higher number every so often to trick my body into thinking I’m not starving it.

The plan is to starve this fat ass of mine into submission, whilst developing a sense of grace and elegance, poise and determination. I want to address all of my shortcomings and issues of self esteem, using the Pro-Ana Lifestyle to help keep me focused, disciplined and on the path.

Above all I want to use self control as a means to self improvement. I want to be perfect and I know that I can be.

It's gonna happen ladies.

The group I'm referring to is It's not my group but I know that we could always do with new Anas to contribute their tips, tricks, advice, musings, menus, problems, perspectives and support.

That's all for now, but I'll be back to post more later on.

Stay strong ladies

Ana Catch The Bus