Author | Nicole Arias
The first thing is always to lock the door. With a big family, you run the risk of anyone walking in without knocking—no sense of privacy whatsoever. Next, you’ll need some sort of noise filter. If anyone walks by, the last thing you want is for them to hear you. They’ll know exactly what you’re doing and they’ll try to stop you. Even with the door locked, that kind of interruption can ruin everything.
I suggest you go right before bathing. That way, you can turn on the shower head and let its noise drown out yours. It’s really the most practical thing to do in these situations.
There’s a myth about how to make it happen. I don’t know where it started but I do know that it was popularized in most forms of fictional media, so I must be very clear. You don’t need to stick anything in there. If you just close your eyes and picture it, then tighten your throat like it’s already happening, it’ll just come out. You’ll have a few fake gags at first, but then the real one will come and after that it’s just a matter of letting the momentum take over.
It’s ok if you can’t get the hang of it at first. Like most things, mastery takes practice. So if you must, go ahead and use your fingers, or perhaps a toothbrush, to trigger it. You don’t have to go very far, you just need to apply a little bit of pressure near the end of your tongue and that usually does the trick. Make sure you’re already in proper position because if you don’t, jerking around could send it back and then we’re where we started once again.
Still not able to do it? Maybe you need a little reminder of why it’s so important. Turn to the mirror. Look at yourself. Do you look happy? Does that look right to you? Something isn’t working and you know what it is. It’s you. But everyone is capable of change. All it takes is self-control.
Get over your fears and just go for it. Close your eyes and think about something else. Before you know it, you’ll be doing it like a champ.
If the acid burns your throat, that’s ok too. It’s normal. Nobody said this would feel good, it’s the after that’s rewarding. Go ahead and flush it down the toilet when you’re gone. You can brush your teeth now or wait until later if you want, but once you’re ready, take your clothes off and get into that shower once and for all.
Doesn’t it feel great?
Don’t you feel so much lighter?
If you don’t feel that different yet, don’t worry. It’s ok, trust me. After a few more times, you’ll notice the change. For now, it’s just about learning.
You should do this at least once a day, but if you can get away long enough, try to do it after every meal. After all, letting the food sit in for very long will give it the chance to make its way permanently into parts of your body other than your stomach, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
But first you must get through the meal. Unfortunately, so many people just don’t get it. So you have to pretend, keep going with the motions, subject yourself to their standards. But it’s actually very easy to get through it. They never really pay attention.
Always try to serve your own plate. There are times when that just isn’t possible, but if you have access to this, you can choose your own serving. Make it light, spread it around. And there. As long as it covers the same surface area as the other plates, the actual amount won’t matter. Nobody is paying that close attention.
Keep everyone distracted. Make them laugh. If they have a good time, that’s all they’ll care about. When you’re listening, chew. It doesn’t matter that nothing is in there, just chew. Up, down, up, down, side to side, swallow your spit. Comment on how delicious that food is. That’s what they want to hear. Poke it, move it around with your utensils. Go on, don’t leave them waiting. But don’t ever put it in your mouth. It’s repulsive. But you’re not. So avoid it.
Have you ever played around with a water bottle? When you turn it on its side, the water looks different. It doesn’t even look like there’s the same amount in it. See, liquids take the shape of its containers. If you turn it around, the shape changes. But it’s still the same amount of water in there.
It’s the same with solids when nobody’s really paying attention.
After some time, you should have managed to move your serving all to one side of the plate. See how much different it looks like? It’s left its disgusting stains all over the plate, like there was something there that’s now in your mouth, but it’s all just concentrated in a different part of the plate. Clever, isn’t it?
If you ever do put any in your mouth, don’t panic. Just pretend to be cleaning the corner of your mouths, gently dabbing here and there, and then spit it into the napkin. Roll the napkin off your face and bunch up the food. Stick it under the edges of your plate. Wait until later to throw it all away. Nobody will notice.
Try to be one of the last ones to get away. I know it’s hard to bear it, but if you can get through their eating, you can get through this entire process. Just be patient. An alternative is to be the first to leave, but only do this if you have a good excuse. Maybe you’re running late. Maybe you just remembered work that’s due soon. Whatever it is, make it a reasonable way to get out of there fast without anyone stopping you. When you’re done, throw out everything in your plate. Then your napkin over it. Don’t dump it all out in the same spot in the trash can, or someone could see. Spread it out. Nobody will notice.
Once you’re done with that, you can go do other things to better yourself. Exercise helps but I know it’s not everyone’s ideal. Still, it won’t hurt to go for a jog. It can actually give you a bit of a rush to do it. They say it’s because of the chemicals your body releases when you work out. But I think it’s because your brain is signaling you that you’re doing right by your body. You’re making it perfect, working towards the best version of you. That adrenaline is a reward for your dedication.
And there’s an added bonus to working out. If you notice you’re getting a bit lightheaded, don’t freak out. It’s normal. In fact, it’s going to help you. You might start to feel hungry but that’s only because your body is so accustomed to being fed often and that’s a habit you should want to get out of. Resist the urge to eat. And instead cave to your body’s exhaustion. Sleep away the hunger. If your body aches when you lie down, grab a heating pack. It’ll warm up your stomach long enough for you to pass out, if the exercise hasn’t already gotten you to that point.
Always have tic tacs with you. Not only are they helpful when you’ve just spent some time cleansing and have to get rid of the bitter taste, but they can also be a great way to energize if you’re feeling weak. You’ll notice after a few days, or perhaps weeks if you relapsed at any point, your body hurts less. Didn’t I tell you to trust me? You can get used to anything if you do it long enough.
You know how when you’re getting vaccines or blood drawn, it helps for someone to talk to you? It’s a similar concept. If you’re doing other things, you won’t think about food. Read a book, watch a movie, go hang out with people—in places that won’t require you to eat, of course. If your mind is busy there will be very little room in there for you to think about your hunger. And with time, it’ll pass. The longer you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Then you’ll reach a point where you won’t even want it anymore.
I believe that food addiction is a big issue. I mean, have you seen the numbers on obesity lately? We’re a country obsessed with food but just because the rest of the nation is like this doesn’t mean you should be. You’re stronger. You’re better.
You’re in control.
When a cocaine addict wants to kick the addiction, the first thing to do is get rid of it. If you live with other people, that’s not so easy, but once you get it out of your system, you’ve already taken the first step. Cleansing the body of everything that’s bad for it.
A cocaine addict has to separate himself from the world. I read about a guy who had his family lock him in a bedroom—no windows, doors only open from the outside. And he had to pee in a jar. All so that when he was going through withdrawal he wouldn’t try to take the easy way out and return to the drug. That’s strength. That’s dedication.
And do you see how this is no different? You’ve been forced into habitual eating from a young age; it’s going to take even more to kick this addiction. That is why I need you to focus. Are you still with me? You haven’t changed your mind, have you? Just think about the results. You’ll finally be the you that makes you happy. Isn’t that what you want? To be happy? I can guarantee it if you just do as I say. Just trust me. You’ll get to be happy.
You look so much skinnier. You’re all bones now!
Did you hear that? Feel grateful. That means it’s working. But because it’s happening so quickly, people will ask questions, so hide your glory for a while. Wear baggier shirts. Sweatshirts keep you warm. Accessorize as much as you can. Weigh yourself down. Don’t touch anyone with your hands. Those will start to get cold. But don’t worry. It’s normal.
You don’t want people to know. Humans, you see, dislike anything that breaks from tradition. When something is different, they don’t like it. They want to force labels on it and make it a problem, when it isn’t. Just think about it. It’s happened to every group throughout history. This is just your time in history. They’re so brainwashed into thinking they need huge portions that they won’t get it. They won’t get you. But I get you. I am you.
Did someone notice? Did they dare say what you’re doing isn’t normal? Don’t give any power to that world. Just keep calm and keep going. Don’t let their doubt derail your progress, even when they’re watching your every move. There are ways to get out of it. Like I said before, accessorizing can go a long way. If you are ever asked to weight yourself, wear heavy shoes. Heavy shirts. Heavy jewelry. Hide some in your pocket, too. There are weights that wrap around your upper arm. You can increase your number to satisfy them while keeping the body that satisfies you.
If they try to force you to eat bigger meals, tell them you’re full but store the leftovers for later. Only when later comes, you have to throw it out. Don’t even think about it for even a second.
Ask to eat in your room. Keep a small bag there, so you can dump out the food and then return with an empty plate. But don’t throw that bag out in the house. They’ll start to check for that. But the bag inside a gym bag or a backpack and then throw it out later when you get the chance to leave.
When they get smart, you have to get smarter. This is all about evolution and the fittest survive.
If you can’t find a way to leave the table and eyes are on you, you’ll have to force the food into your stomach but don’t worry. You can always get rid of it later. But it means you’ll have to work even harder. And don’t get used to it. Just because you can recover from a binge doesn’t mean you can recover from twenty.
Binging and purging is weakness. It’s taking one step forward and then ten steps back. You won’t make any progress that way.
If it provides any motivation, it took me months to get it right. I was almost caught a dozen times. But you know what? I never gave up. I had a goal and I went after it. I took control of my life. Of my body. Of myself. And that’s what made it so worth it. There were nights of pain, yes. The body’s withdrawal from excessive eating. But pushing past that got me to where I am now. I’m happy. And you can be happy too.
Are you getting it now? I see the way your hands are shaking. You’re doing well but you need to take control. Get in touch with your body. When you can make the trembling stop, you’ve reached the point.
Think about something else. It doesn’t have to be how beautiful you’re going to be. Or how pleased. You can think about almost anything. Think about color. Think about how pretty the world looks when it’s fading. Think about the sunlight.
Get in the shower. Sit down there, feel the water as it falls sharply on your skin. Isn’t it great? To feel something?
When I start to slip into weakness, when there’s a stabbing pain in my chest or abdomen, that’s what gets me through it. The knowledge that at least I’m feeling something. And then it becomes a suddenly pleasant surprise. Because when you’re not happy, you don’t feel. Anything. Ever.
So that pain is a sign that you’re capable of happy. If you can feel it, you can feel anything. Don’t shy away from the pain. Don’t work your way around it. Work through it.
Go for another run. You’re too weak for that? Is your body fighting you? Regain control of it. Turn on the TV. Lie down. Stretch out your body. Let the blood rush through. Close your eyes. Where are you? Is it bright there?
A pain? Good. Don’t move. Don’t run. Stay right there and localize it. Does it hurt so much it feels like the pain is sucking up all the oxygen? Do you find it hard to breathe now? Is it exhilarating? I know it is.
If it isn’t, you aren’t doing it right. Push yourself. You can’t? I don’t believe you. You can go further. You have all the time in the world to perfect this. To gain full control.
Tic tac. Tic tac.
Open your eyes. See? You’re still alive. You’re perfectly fine. Didn’t I tell you to trust me? Don’t turn away from me now.
Control it. I’m here to help. Don’t you trust me?
I can make you perfect. I can make you happy.
Nobody else is paying attention. Nobody else is going to care.
It’s only me.
Let me control it for you.
About the Author | Nicole Arias is a Mexican-American student, soon to graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in Radio-Television-Film. She enjoys all forms of writing, from television to poetry. She is an insomniac, and when sleep therapy didn't work, she turned to writing to fill those sleepless nights instead. It's all worked out so far.