Hey everyone, I know many of you guys lost a lot of harm reduction tips and advice, so I would like to make a master post, especially for newcomers who come here. I’m going to section this into different eating disorders (so I have more advice, others less)- I know this isn’t an exhaustive lists of eating disorders. Feel free to add some more down below, and I’ll add them here to keep it compiled! This is crossposted from reddit, on the same account.
It is important that no matter what, you keep your electrolytes up. Whether you are fasting, purging, or going through cycles of restriction/purging/binging, these are crucial. Electrolytes include magnesium, sodium, potassium, or calcium, and help your muscles (and everything else) to keep functioning. You can get these in any sports drinks (even zero cal versions), bai, some water bottle brands have them added in (smartwater), supplement form, and other options like coconut water. I know many here are fans of almond milk, which has electrolytes as well.
Iron is also important for your red blood cells, so please ensure that you get a sufficient amount.
Some ways to get it include (non-supplement forms by the way): Beans and lentils, Tofu, Baked potatoes, Cashews, Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
Potassium and Sodium are vital for your vitals! Without them your heart cannot function properly. There's also the sodium-potassium pump in your cells that runs your body pretty much from the organelle levels upwards. These are critical for not passing out, having heart palpitations, etc.
Magnesium: helps keep your heart going, muscles working... if you get joint pain, Charlie horse's, or funky muscle twitches, the culprit may be magnesium deficiency. It's critical to muscle contraction and extension. Magnesium supplements may also help decrease anxiety! I take 2 tabs a day and it seems to help me, but it's mostly anecdotal.
Vitamin B12: great for energy. I'm not entirely sure of what it does, but it is immensely helpful to feeling okay and harm reduction.
Good ways to supplement these:
Sodium: Pickle juice, table salt, snake juice, powerade 0
Potassium: lite salt, snake juice, powerade 0
Magnesium: mg glycinate pills (be careful not to get mg oxide, as it doesnt absorb well and causes... uh... bathroom troubles)
B12: most drink flavorings with added electrolytes have this. You can also take a liquid b12 supplement from the pharmacy section of most grocery stores.
Link to website I used: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins
Vitamins are very important:
B12: mentioned above, can boost energy.
B1 (Thiamin) is for hair, nails, muscle, brain, conversion of food into energy. Found in:
Pork chops, brown rice, ham, soymilk, watermelons, acorn squash
B2 (Riboflavin) is for same things as B1. Found in:
Milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, meats, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and cereals
B3 (Niacin) is for same things as B1/B2 (much surprise). Found in:
Meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes, peanut butter.
There are some other ones like B5
C: For collagen (connective tissue), seratonin, and immune system. Found in:
Fruits and fruit juices, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts.
D: Very important- a lack of this can cause depressions or symptoms of it. You can get this naturally through exposure to the sun, in addition to foods or supplements that contain it. My favorite source of vitamin d is almond milk, although most milks are fortified with it. Some cereals are as well.
A: Important for bone growth, vision and immune system and it's found in: Shrimp, Dairy Products, Sweet potatoes, Carrots, Pumpkins, Squash, Spinach, Mangoes, Turnips Greens
Purging (of the vomiting type)
For those of my fellow redditors who purge, here are some tips I learned to help reduce damage done by purging. I in no way wish to encourage it.
Do not drink in between rounds of purges- aka purge, go back for water, then purge right away. This hurts electrolyte retention.
Care after is very important. Here are some steps to generally take after:
Begin by rinsing mouth with either mouthwash or water. If your teeth still feel gross, feel free to chew on some gum. BRUSH YOUR TEETH after 20-30 MIN; doing so any early can damage the weakened enamel.
Chew Tums after, especially if you get acid-reflux/heartburn often.
Drinking some milk around your mouth if you have nothing else can decrease the acidity in your mouth.
Again please be careful, especially if you are using an object that is not your finger to purge.
Purging (of the exercise type)- disclaimer, this isn’t something I’ve experienced, but what I noted from lurking here.
Stretch, your muscles may be sore, and over-exercising without warming up or cooling down properly can lead to awful injuries. You can also use a foam roller if you have one.
If you play a sport as well, especially one that involves twisting and pivoting, be careful- a lack of core muscles can lead to ACL tears and more if you aren’t strong enough.
Make sure to have protein.
If exercise is severely straining your body, maybe look into other, gentler forms- like yoga (although some can be intense). Exercising can help to release endorphins. Do not exercise on an injury.
If you feel dizzy before or during exercise, you may want to take a breather for a few minutes at least to see if it clears, or possibly consider grabbing a bite.
For those doing OMAD, or restricting severely (or at all for that matter), consider planning food before exercise so you don’t cramp or faint.
Purging (using laxatives)
Laxatives will not help to lose weight, only to shed bloating or water weight. However, there are some awful side effects to this (as with everything else). Consider that this can lead to GI bleeds if overused, and weakening of the bowel muscles (aka don’t trust your farts).
If you do, please consider gentler, more natural methods. Or taking brands that are more sensitive.
Again, remain hydrated- this will constantly dehydrate you, so drink water and get those electrolytes.
Consider portioning things when you buy food. I am in no way suggesting restricting as a solution, but rather that you keep a “normal” calorie amount out, so that if you binge on that, you have the security of knowing it was a normal amount. Again, nothing I say should be taken as medical advice, just things I have found helpful.
Remember there is another day, and you don’t have to resort to other extreme methods. Again, not exactly a harm reduction tip, but something I feel people should know!
ECA Stacks (Have not done this, just from what I heard)
Consider reducing other caffeine intake, especially at the time of ingestion.
Not a medical professional, but not a good idea if you have any preexisting heart issues, or are at risk (many ED sufferers are).
Slowly increment your way up. I won’t put any dosages here, but please be on the safe side when starting. The ephedrine/caffeine combo can be deadly, that’s why (part of the reason) they were banned in the US in the first place. Do your research on this extensively before beginning. If it’s requested I’ll link to some websites on how to do safely take ECA (not encouraging but I want everyone to be as safe as possible if they decide to).
Check if you can tolerate aspirin, which is to help with the side effects of ephedrine and caffeine.
You may want to consider getting a blood pressure monitor to check your reaction to these stacks.
Combining [an ECA stack] with other stimulants is a very risky combo as you'll risk adrenergic shock (shock due to stimulation of the ephedrine, which causes a hypertensive crisis (high blood pressure), which can lead to a fatal cardiac event or a stroke.
You may be more at risk if you need to use other vasoconstrictors- these are medications that constrict (tighten) your blood vessels, ergo elevating blood pressure. Most often these are also bronchodilators, so they are most common with people with asthma, bronchitis, or other conditions were medications is used to reduce swelling of the airway (please check any meds you take!).
You may also be more at risk if you ever need to take Epinephrine due to an allergy, as an EpiPen is also a vasoconstrictor. It will also force your heart to work harder, so if you have a severe allergy, you may want to consider the risks with having allergy but having a greater danger using the EpiPen if you are stacking.
Again many things I have mentioned here above matter here as well, as there is often a lot of intersectionality. It is important to note that often the effects of chemicals are amplified on an empty stomachs.
Drinking: Alcohol tolerance will be lower normally, whether you view that as a bad or a good thing- Just be careful drinking!
Hunger cramps can be painful, and warmth can help relieve some of it (also good for period cramps too, by the way).
Heater blankets, rice filled bags (these can be microwaved), or even just taking a shower can help.
Caffeine can have a larger impact, and see the ECA stacking info for more on the impact of that.
Know it is normal to gain/drop 3-5 lbs in the span of a day. A huge percent of your body is water weight, so high sodium intake can increase temporarily your weight.
For those who are getting their period (or during the period), don't be alarmed if weight increases. Your body is trying to hold on to the water.
Always remember that tomorrow is a new day. Try to detach one day from another. I.e. do not blame yourself for what you did before.
We are always here for you, and feel free to PM me, I know this has been a rough time for everyone.
Many of us have other mental issues/diseases/disorders as well. If you have anxiety or depression, meditation may help (personal thing), and many psychiatrists and doctors can work with you to find a way to help without causing any weight gain. Additionally, do not be afraid to ask about this either!
Common terminology (will add to):
OMAD- One Meal A Day
AVC- Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
ECA stacks - Ephedrine, Caffeine, Aspirin combination to burn fat.
Whooshs- Losing a lot of weight in a short period of time
Co-morbidity- one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder (aka having two of them, like anxiety and an ED)
AN and BN- Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
OSFED- Previously known as EDNOS, it is Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders. Not to be considered a “lesser ED” (there is no such thing as a lesser ED)
Ana/mia- not used as often anymore but refers to anorexia/bullimia
MFP- My Fitness Pal, an app to log food
MPA- myproana, a website or mypancakeaddiction