1. Tell the truth.
Be brutally honest in your food logs. Write big black x’s through all the meals you skipped at home and turn them in to your nutritionist without shame. In fact, not only are you not ashamed — you are proud, disgustingly proud of good you are at starving yourself. Of course you’re proud; you’ve been honing this skill over the past 10 years. Is someone impressed yet?
2. Flaunt your blatant disregard for the rules.
Wear a tank top that says “feed me & tell me i’m pretty” to group just to get a rise out of the therapists. On weigh-in day, wear an extra-large, extra-heavy men’s sweater with just a bra underneath, so the male nutritionist cannot force you to remove it and reveal your weight loss. Keep that line graph looking straight; they can’t get rid of you that easily.
3. Refuse to engage in their activities.
When they ask how your meal experience was, say the same thing every time: “This meal was okay for me. The taste was good. I am working on my pacing. I don’t have a lot to say about it.” That’s bullshit. You could talk about that meal for hours, much longer than it took you to eat it. Sure, you’re going to eat the Pop-Tarts they gave you for breakfast. But you have plenty of thoughts on the idea that they at all constitute a balanced healthy breakfast and also are painfully aware that each one has 200 calories and you always used to want them as a child but would never eat them and you’re never going to eat them again and you hate that flavor and how could you have to waste a meal on a flavor you don’t even like and why can’t you eat oatmeal what’s so wrong with eating oatmeal every single day anyway? Say none of that.
4. On that note, practice your ability to maintain silence for long periods of time.
During check-in group, say absolutely nothing. Sit quietly, sinking into the couch and clutching a pillow to your chest. Don’t even say anything the day the head therapist sits in your seat to force you out of your comfort zone. Throw a fit and give her the satisfaction? As if.
5. Make friends.
Get lectured about how you’ve fallen in with the wrong crowd and how it will negatively affect your recovery. Scoff at them; complain to the other girls in the bathroom how ridiculous that is. Then go to lunch keenly aware of how embarrassing it is to eat faster than other girls. Listen to them in the group room (before the therapists arrive) compare war stories about other treatment centers, and feel left out of conversation. A year later, you are the one telling the war stories, and you feel like you belong.
6. Hate yourself.
Become entirely consumed by this. Write a full page in your journal about how disgusting your upper arms are. How can other people even stand to look at you? Go out to dinner with your friends and ignore conversation to instead think only of how your legs look in those pants. If only you were thin. They write songs about this, you know. Looking skinny like a model with your eyes all painted black. This could be you if you tried harder, you pig.
7. Give up.
Be 100% certain that recovery is not in the cards for you. They will see this in your eyes, hear it in rare moments of vulnerability that slip out, and try to make a last-ditch effort to save you. After a full year of various levels of treatment, therapists become awfully invested in trying to fix someone. But you’re almost there — don’t give yourself the chance to change. Lounge about in your self-inflicted suffering, loud enough for all the world to see. You are the bad influence now, and they need you to leave. Why waste your own time, they ask. You can always come back if you change your mind. They aren’t going anywhere — and, now, neither are you.