Tips & Tricks

Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat and anything else you feel might be helpful to know. This will allow you to measure progress and track patterns over time.

Set yourself rules regarding food. Pick ones that you know you can follow and stick with them. Then, keeping these, gradually add on more rules until your eating is entirely under control. It's hard to restrict yourself all the way at once, and more effective to do it in increments. The idea here is to sort of sneak up on yourself in tiny little stages, adapting to each new rule before making another.

Reward yourself, don't punish. Punishment is not effective and will do more emotional harm than physical good. Calculate how much money you're saving by not eating and add this up until you have enough to buy something you like (but not food). Or, put a penny (dollar, marble) in a jar for every small goal you keep and treat yourself with something (not food) once you reach a certain amount. Remember that these rewards will last longer and give more pleasure than food you would just eat, process, and discard.

Eat slowly, in small bites. Cut your food up into small pieces. Pause while eating to drink water or whatever other liquid you enjoy. It takes a while for "full" signals to get from our stomach to our brain. Also, if you eat over a longer period of time and add more liquids, it can trick your mind into thinking you've eaten more.

Take out only the amount of food you plan on eating. Wrap everything securely up before you start eating and put it away. Don't go back for seconds. Don't nibble while preparing food, either. Those bites and crumbles add up staggeringly fast.

Think about food before and while you eat it. Think about where it came from and exactly what happened to it before it reached you. This works particularly well with meat, dairy, and egg products.

Food associations. Find something that makes you feel vaguely ill or unpleasant, get a picture of it, and put the picture beside your food. Switch pictures frequently and make sure to look at the pictures while you eat. After a while you may began to associate food itself with unpleasantness, which will make you less inclined to eat.

Give yourself permission before eating. Stop and think about it, consider if you really want to eat whatever-it-is. If your answer is yes, then say (or think) something like "I'm allowed to eat this" or "I have permission to eat this".

Plan your meals in advance, for the day or week or whatever. Decide what you are allowed to eat each day. If you know that you will be eating, it may help you avoid eating other things.

If you feel yourself starting to lose control while you're eating, stop. Set your food down, take a long drink of water or some other cool liquid, and take a deep breath before resuming eating. This can help interrupt a slide into binge-mode. Remember to remind yourself that you are still going to finish your food and that you aren't stopping, just pausing for a moment.

Sabotage your food. Make it with too much water, too little sugar, an ingredient you don't care for. Add too much salt or pepper before you eat. You will eat less of it if it tastes bad.

Pick apart your food cravings. If you eat food in separate parts instead of all mixed into one, it feels like you've eaten more and you don't get extra stuff you don't really need. For example, if you're really craving pizza, think about what it contains. Bread, tomato sauce, cheese. Drink a can of V8 or eat a tomato. If you still want pizza, have a rice cake or a few crackers or some other starch. If you still want pizza, have a piece of cheese. Or if you're craving peanut butter, have a handful of peanuts and avoid the added sugar and oil contained in most commercial peanut butter. If that doesn't work, eat a spoonful of honey for the sweetness overload. Same net effect, fewer total calories, no wasted empty added crap.

Purging & Laxatives

No diuretics or water pills. There's no point. They don't make you lose any real weight, only water, and water loss does not count as weight loss. Dehydration can kill; you want more water, not less. A water-starved body will be more hungry as well and will hold onto everything you do put into it. If you're retaining water, drink more water and a little caffeine. It will go away eventually on its own.

laxatives are habit-forming in that after a period of time your digestive system will not function without them. Overdoses of laxatives can dehydrate you to the point of death, or rupture your intestines. If your digestive system isn't behaving right, go for fiber supplements like Metamucil instead, they're good for you instead of bad.

Avoid throwing up whenever possible. Stomach acid is vicious. It eats away teeth and makes them ugly. It eats away at your esophagus and sphincter valves. Over a period of time, throwing up will disable your upper digestive system as thoroughly as laxatives will disable your lower digestive system. It also puts terrible strain on heart and head, and can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalances.

Avoid punishing a binge with an immediate fast. If your body expects large amounts of food, then depriving it cold turkey may cause even more hunger and binging. It's a cycle... binge, fast, binge, fast. Don't start. Regulate your food instead and be gradual with changes in how much you eat.

Remember that exercise in itself doesn't really burn off all that many calories and is pretty useless for burning the results of a binge. However, exercise raises metabolism and builds muscle, and the added muscle raises your metabolism even more, so you burn more calories all the time. Design yourself a steady exercise program and follow it consistently instead of sporadically overworking and hurting yourself.

Keep a box of baking soda, a cup, some water. Rinse your mouth with baking soda dissolved in water after purging. This helps neutralize acids and spares your teeth and mouth somewhat.

If you use laxatives, make very sure to be well-hydrated beforehand. Drink extra water and take potassium. It really helps against cramping, pain, and dizziness.

Drink a ton of water while binging. Say, a full glass of water between every couple units of food you're eating. Not only does this fill you up faster with fewer total calories, while still letting you get the taste of the food you want, it makes purging a hell of a lot easier and more effective. Be sure to drink water before a binge, or right at the start of one, and then space the water throughout so it mixes with all the food instead of just sitting on top of it.

Eat the healthy stuff first. Fruit or veggies or a salad or something fairly low-cal that you wouldn't mind digesting as much. Since it's hard to get everything up, and since food comes up roughly in reverse order to how it went down, cushion the bad high-cal junk with safer foods.