Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Anorexics

I've been trying to lose weight lately. When I try to drop pounds, I generally find myself obsessing about every aspect of my health, which leads me to think about anorexics. Say what you want about them, but you have to admit that anorexics have an encyclopedic knowledge of weight loss, not to mention a lot of willpower. Their ability to resist food so completely amazes me, particularly when I am so easily tempted by the sesame chicken at the local Chinese joint.

Last year, I read Branded by Alyssa Quart (it's a terrible book--don't waste your time). In it, she looks into Pro-Ana websites, which offer tips on eating disorders and support for "extreme dieters." At the same time, I read the results of a recent study showing that a constant state of low-grade hunger actually helps people live longer.

So, as Pro-Ana movements collide with studies validating hunger, I think we'll see more and more Ana-envy, or jealousy toward people who have the willpower to starve themselves. In a crass, blatant attempt to get in on the ground floor of this trend, I offer the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Anorexics, tools that people can use to improve their lives and get ahead in business.

1. Cut Your Problems Into Smaller Pieces:
As any Anorexic will tell you, you can't eat a whole apple. Hell, nobody can eat a whole apple, except for maybe, you know, Meg Ryan or someone like that (I'd kill for that bitch's metabolism!). Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, nobody can eat a whole apple. However, if you cut it into smaller pieces--voila! problem solved. Best of all, 1/156th of an apple has, like, almost no calories at all. Oh...this works for other things, too.

2. Attack From Multiple Angles:
Of course, you can starve yourself. Then again, everybody starves themselves. However, if you really want to bring out the bones, you need to get serious. Run twelve miles a day on a 300-calorie diet. Keep your house freezing cold--shivering helps you burn fat when you're sitting still. Remember, your problems, like your buttocks, won't disappear on their own. In the workplace, you can use this technique when you find yourself competing with colleagues. Simpletons just do their own jobs well; anorexic thinkers go the extra mile--they sabatoge their coworkers and sleep with the boss.

3. Inspiration:
Nobody gets to the top on their own. We all need a little inspiration from our heroes, which is why pictures of Callista Flockheart, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Mahatma Gandhi so often grace the refrigerators of Anorexics. Who's on your refrigerator? Let your hero inspire you every day.

4. Warnings:
Heroes only get us so far; villains take us the rest of the way. Every anorexic knows that if Calista's not doing it for you, try Roseanne. Something about seeing the swollen face of total dietary surrender makes it easier to feel full on three skittles and a half cup of crushed ice. In the office, use the image of your enemy to remind you of your goals, help keep you on track, or improve your aim at the urinal.

5. Willpower:
Willpower can accomplish anything, from building the pyramids to helping you rid yourself of those irritating problems like menstruation. What do you use your willpower for? Just remember, wishing won't do it; willpower is the only thing that will get you into a children's size nine or the corner office.

6. Creativity:
Stuck in rehab with no scale in sight? Try trading clothes to discover who's the heifer! As every anorexic knows, there are plenty of ways to skin a cat. The difference between being number one and feeling like number two lies in finding the hidden solution to your problem, no matter what that problem is!

7. Obsession:
There's no substitute for single-mindedness. If you want to reach the top, you can't focus on minor concerns like family, ethics, thinning hair, or longevity. Pain, misery, the failure of your relationships, and the destruction of your body are mere distractions, drawing your attention away from the things that really matter. Let the losers worry about the details; you've got a job to do!

So there you have it. Seven simple steps that will help you halve the distance between yourself and your goals. Don't thank me--thank an advertising industry that has taught young girls to divert all their power, skill, and intelligence into self-destruction.


  • As a recovering anorexic (1.5 years, thankyouverymuch), I feel I have something to add here.

    Never swallow toothpaste.

    Don't lick postage stamps.

    Try watching the Food Network instead of actually eating a meal.

    Fidget, fidget, fidget. It burns calories.

    By Blogger mist1, At October 26, 2006 at 3:24 PM  

  • Mist-
    1.5 years--awesomeness!

    I got these other tips from a friend who's recovering from anorexia; thanks for further extending my knowledge.

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 26, 2006 at 8:27 PM  

  • This is who's on my refridgerator. I think I'm screwed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 26, 2006 at 10:52 PM  

  • snort...

    lee... I do believe you're an egghead... :)

    By Blogger misanthropster, At October 26, 2006 at 11:14 PM  

  • Lee, I can't decide if you're hard-boiled, coddled, or scrambled.

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 26, 2006 at 11:52 PM  

  • All of the above.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 27, 2006 at 7:36 AM  

  • You sound like a good egg.

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 28, 2006 at 1:30 PM  

  • Great blog! "The swollen face of total dietary surrender"-well put indeed. Yeah, I actually just did as huge research project on the advertising industry's vision of beauty, and how it damages 13-16 year olds. It made me conclude that Dove is amazing for their "Real Beauty" Ads. But yeah, awesome blog!

    By Blogger nordicbitch and texass, At October 28, 2006 at 7:46 PM  

  • This is an important and well-written post! The entertainment and beauty industries push their unrealistic standards on us so that young women who are actually normal and healthy feel inadequate. And the fashion industry adjusts sizes so women can feel good about wearing a size 0 instead of a humongous 2 or 4, or whatever. It's sick. There is still far too much emphasis on female appearance and not enough on the intelligence, creativity, talents and humanity of women. This needs to change.

    Thank you for addressing it.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At October 28, 2006 at 9:37 PM  

  • Hearts-
    Thanks for looking past the sick humor. And thank the Madrid fashion show for injecting a note of reality into this whole mess.

    Also, it's good to see you again!

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 28, 2006 at 10:41 PM  

  • Nordicbitch and Texass-
    Back at you. And let's hear it for Dove!

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 28, 2006 at 10:47 PM  

  • Since "shivering helps you burn fat when you're sitting still," I plan to not turn my heat on this winter. That way I will emerge toothpick-thin next spring, just in time for bathing suit season. ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 30, 2006 at 11:50 AM  

  • Best of all, if you turn off the heat, you don't have to pay for food, or water, or cable, or electricity. Of course, funerals cost a lot...

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 30, 2006 at 12:22 PM  

  • I was actually obsessed with cooking for others when I was going through anorexic hell. Oh, to glean nutrition vicariously through others! There's nothing quite like savoring three slices of deli turkey with a slice of melted fat free cheese while your pals eat the 3-course dinner you prepared for them.

    By Blogger SabilaK, At October 30, 2006 at 11:04 PM  

  • Sabilak-
    Strangely, I can't help but admire that level of dedication and will-power. Of course, the fact that I admire it disturbs me!

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 31, 2006 at 12:38 AM  

  • Bring out the bones? Hahaha... If Jeremy Piven's "Versace salesman" character from Rush Hour 2 were a diet guru, he'd have to strain to come up with a better line.

    - Ian

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 29, 2006 at 6:50 PM  

  • I love it when I think I'm going too far and someone tells me to go further. Thanks, Ian!

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 30, 2006 at 9:31 PM  

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