Created by Thomas Oakley
Wreck This Eating Disorder
Thomas Oakley (2016) All Rights Reserved
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or
This book is intended as a self-help journal for
people with eating disorders and incorporates
elements of mindfulness, cognitive behavioural
therapy and other general activities designed to
promote a healthy lifestyle.
Created by Thomas Oakley
This is your journal.
That means you keep it, you choose what
you write, and when you’re done with it, you’ll
be the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind work
There are about 30 activities in it, so should
last you about a month if you do one a day,
but you can do them at whatever pace you
The title is about eating disorders, but really
it’s so much more: anxiety, mood, health and
some things are just there because they’re
If you want to, personalise your journal: stick
things on it, colour it in and make it unique!
Note: Some activities require supplies, so
maybe have a flick through in advance so
you’re not caught off-guard!
This journal is going to be your friend for the next month
- so tell it a bit about yourself. (Also useful in case it gets lost!)
makes you, you)
What do you want
to do in the
If you were an
animal, which one
would you be, and
What is your
Plan Your Day
Often, when people are stressed they lose any sense of routine.
You find you lose your sense of purpose and direction and getting
a proper routine can help you get back on track.
Write a schedule for tomorrow. Make sure you include things like
personal hygiene, eating, socialising, and a good amount of sleep.
Take a deep breath
Deep breathing is a good way to relax when you’re anxious. Even
better, you can do it anywhere and people won’t even notice!
Breathing techniques are even a key part of Yoga known as
“Pranayama” - “prana” in Sanskrit means both "breath" and "spirit
Try to step out of the situation, and focus on your breathing.
Listen to the sound of your breathing and take slow deep breaths.
Here are three great techniques you can try in different
Before something stressful - Abdominal Breathing
Place one hand on your tummy and the other on your chest bone
and feel the movement of your body as you breathe in and out. If
you can, breathe from your abdomen rather than your chest and
take some slow deep breaths.
For an energy boost - Alternate Nostril Breathing
Some say this one gets both sides of your brain going. Start by
pinching your nose, block off your right nostril, and inhale through
your left nostril, now block off your left nostril and exhale through
your right nostril. Carry on the pattern, switching it by breathing in
with your right and out with your left nostril,
Before Bedtime - Equal Breathing
This one is as simple as breathing in, counting to four, then
exhaling and counting to four again. Breath through your nose as
this will slow down your breath and let you relax. You don't just
have to do it at bedtime either, this one can be done any time, any
Reasons to recover
Sometimes, you need a little reminder of the things that are
important to you. Before you get better, you need a reason to
recover. Maybe it’s so that you can spend more time with your
family, so that you feel healthier or so that you can go out with
your friends and manage to sit at a café with them. Try and list 10
reasons that make you want to recover.
Looking after yourself starts with the basics, so let’s get you
spick and span and smelling good. Now it doesn't matter if you’re a
bath person or a shower person as we’ve got ideas for both, with
a luscious bath bomb and a super shower scrub. So pick your
favourite or even give both a go! These make great gifts, or even
a fun thing to do with a friend.
• 1 cup Baking Soda
• 1/2 cup Epsom Salts
• 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
• 1/2 cup Citric Acid
• A mould for your bath bombs
e.g. a muffin tray
• Some vegetable oil
• 4-5 drops Essential Oils
e.g. Lavender (Optional)
• Food colouring (Optional)
• 1 cup of brown sugar
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons of
• 4-5 drops of coconut
extract/ essential oils
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl
2. Mix all wet ingredients in a
3. Slowly at the wet ingredients to
the dry ones, it may fizz a little but
4. Add a few drops of oil to each
mould and fill it with the mixture.
(Don’t fill to the top as the mix will
5. Leave at room temperature for
at least 3 hours and until hardened.
6. Enjoy your bath bomb in a nice
1. Mix all the ingredients
together in a bowl until
they are smooth.
2. Put it in a jar. (you
could decorate it with
ribbon if it’s a gift)
Once a week rub the
mixture on your skin
then wash it off!
Write down all the bad things your illness tells you on this page then
rip it up and destroy it! Flush it down the loo, scrunch it up, tear it
Your eating disorder has such a destructive impact on you, it’s
time to get your own back!
I double dare you!
It’s good to set goals, it gives you something to aim for and you
generally feel pretty good when you do something that you set out
to do. Dare yourself to do something and here’s some tips on how
to make it happen.
We quite often bite off more than we can chew or don’t know
how to go from dream to reality. Today, we're going to set some
goals to achieve by the end of the month but try to follow these
If you plan to go to the moon, unless you’re already an astronaut
it’s probably not going to happen! That’s not to say it’s bad to have
dreams or long term goals as long as they’re not all like this.
Choose something specific
Instead of something like trying to "sleep better", a more useful
way to goal set is to say "I want to go to sleep at 10pm tonight".
That way, you can say for sure that you’ve achieved your goal.
Remember to celebrate your achievements!
If you've done something really tough, then treat yourself! Now
everyone has different ways of doing that, but try and make sure
it’s something positive and healthy.
List your goal below, and when you want to do it by:
One step forward,
two steps back...
It's really good to make positive changes and try to recover but it
doesn't all happen straight way. Sometimes you can have hiccups
or things can even get worse!
Recognize when things haven't gone to plan
It’s okay to say to yourself “this isn’t working”. If you find yourself
in this position STOP, and take a moment to look at the situation.
Don't play the blame game
It doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, blaming people won’t make things
Make a plan and keep pushing yourself
Don’t give up, think about what set you back and come up with a
solution. Even better – come up with multiple solutions so if Plan A
doesn’t work, you have a Plan B and even a Plan C!
Try writing a problem down and see how many different solutions
you can think of:
Stick in a photo of yourself. Find 10 things you like about your
body and label them. Refer to this whenever you are lacking body
confidence. If you are struggling to do this alone, ask a friend what
they like about your body.
Why is body image important?
Our body image is how we feel about our bodies, including
your appearance and how you think other people see you.
Having a good body image doesn't mean you have to think
you're attractive or perfect, but it's being comfortable with
who you are. Society has some ridiculous expectations of
beauty which are often impossible especially in a world of
Photoshop and make-up.
Listing things that you (or others) like about yourself reminds
you that it is possible to be happy and healthy, and not to be
too tough on yourself.
Body image has a real effect on people, and can really knock
your confidence! Isn't it crazy that 1 in 6 people taking their
GCSEs have avoided going to school because they felt bad
about their appearance? Poor body image is also linked to
lower confidence, lower aspirations and people not joining in.
Believe in yourself and don't be afraid to dream! Also
remember to share the love, and tell other people if they look
good, that little compliment can make someone's day.
Did you know doodling is good for you?
It can focus your mind and relieve stress. Finish off this page and
colour it in!
Box of tricks
Think of all the things which help you to feel good. These should be
healthy things which can deal with stress. Think about music,
meditation or other activities you do. Write them down here, and
you'll have a little toolkit next time you're anxious, like if one of
your triggers sets you off.
Also, maybe specific people are good at helping you calm down,
you could always write their names down here and keep this page
with you so that people know what help to get in the future.
Close your eyes.
For a few minutes, sit and focus on everything going on around
you. Pick out all the sounds and sensations you usually miss. Be
aware of your body.
Why do I feel how I do?
People can feel down for several reasons: some of these include
• Having a negative view of yourself
• Interpreting things in a negative and biased way
• Having a negative view of the future
People don’t choose to think like this, often it’s out of habit. Also
there are other reasons people feel sad, but learning to think
differently and recognize bad thoughts can give you a boost.
Here's an example:
You fail an exam
Good: It’s okay, I’ll work hard and pass next time.
Bad: I’m useless, I can’t do anything
Good: You revise for the exam and pass!
Bad: You don’t feel like doing anything and struggle
Good: Positive, as I know next time I’ll be prepared.
Bad: Sad, unsure about the future.
Alternatives to self-harm
Sometimes when people feel down and don’t know how else to
cope they can self-harm. Obviously it’s not healthy, but people can
feel pretty desperate. If you ever feel like this, then these are
some safe alternatives to try instead.
1. Stomp around as loud as you can.
2. Draw funny faces on the photos in a magazine.
3. Hit a pillow against the wall as hard as you can.
4. Pop some bubble wrap. (Most people love this so you can
even do it with a friend!)
5. Jump on some drinks cans and crush them (with shoes on).
6. Hold ice against your skin/ run cold water on your hands.
7. Find somewhere you can shout as loud as you like.
8. Draw on your skin with a marker
Try the Butterfly Project: draw a butterfly where you want
to self-harm, and if the butterfly stays until the marker
fades then it lived and flown away!
9. Cut up some fruit instead (and make a fruit salad!)
10. Kiss the place you want to harm or have a wound to remind
yourself that you care about your body
Remember, if you do self-harm – you should tell
someone so that you can get any injuries sorted
When you're feeling down you often don't feel like doing anything.
Have you thought about it the other way round though?
Maybe you're down, because you’re not doing
anything. Exercise is a great way to help your mood
and prevent anxiety - there's a load of science behind
it and aerobic exercise is the best for this. Here
are some fun suggestions to get you up and
This is awesome to do with friends and really creative. Put on your
favourite music and make up some routines or just shake your
body and jump! Games like Just Dance are also quite good to
show you what to do and can add some competition into the mix.
This is the easiest exercise you can do, take your feet, put one in
front of the other and then choose where to go. Make sure
someone knows where you're going, go in a group. If there’s a
park nearby you can even get a bit closer to nature.
This doesn’t seem like exercise, but gardening can get you really
active! Digging, weeding and pruning can make you stretch, and if
you’re a fan of flowers there’s nothing better. If you're
adventurous you could try growing your own fruit and vegetables.
Remember, exercise is something to keep you fit and healthy.
Make sure not to over-exercise; if you’re doing more, you need to
make sure you give your body more energy. If you are currently
seeing a clinician, it’s always a good idea to seek their advice on
the right amount. If exercising becomes a duty and not something
you enjoy, or it gets in the way of your every-day life, then you’re
probably doing too much!
You may have heard of people "looking through rose-tinted
glasses" when people always see things in a positive way. Well
sometimes the opposite can happen!
Your brain doesn’t always see things how they actually are, it
distorts what you see and it’s tricky to know what the truth is.
Maybe you have some glasses that make you see the worst in
things. Below are some ways of thinking that people sometimes fall
into. Tick the ones that you sometimes think, if you find yourself
ticking quite a few, then trying to change how you think might
really help you.
Things always go wrong for me.
I’ll never be able to do anything right.
I should be a better person.
I’m useless and no good.
I always mess things up.
I’m a fraud.
Things need to be perfect.
I’m a failure.
He/she didn’t say hello; I must be boring.
Nobody likes me.
If it’s not right, there’s no point doing it at all. □
It’s a common saying that breakfast is the most important meal of
the day, but why? Does it really matter if you skip breakfast, I
mean sometimes we’re all busy, right?
Apart from just giving you the fuel you need to kick ass
throughout the day, a healthy breakfast gives you nutrients the
body needs. People who make time for breakfast often have a
healthier diet overall! Here are some recipes to make breakfast a
bit more fun.
• 1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
• 250 grams rolled oats (not instant)
• 75 grams shredded coconut
• 100 grams dried cranberries
• 125 grams mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
• 125 grams natural unsalted peanuts
1. Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark ½/250ºF, and oil a
23 x 33 x 4cm / 9 x 13 inch baking tin, or use a
throwaway foil one.
2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.
3. Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then
add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or
wooden spatula to fold and distribute.
4. Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with the
spatula or, better still, your hands (wearing disposable
vinyl gloves to stop you sticking), to even the surface.
5. Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after
about 15 minutes, cut into four across, and four down to
make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.
• Ripe Avocado
• 1/2 lemon juice
• 2 slices of bread
• Olive Oil
• Egg (Optional)
1. Cut avocado, remove pip and scoop flesh into bowl
2. Add lemon juice and salt to taste
3. Mash with fork to the texture you want
4. Spread onto toast, drizzle with oil and season
(Add one or two eggs to your toast for an extra bit of protein!)
Breakfast Fruit Parfait
• 2 cups plain yogurt
• 2 cups your favorite granola
• 2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
(hulled and sliced), and/or other fruit such as bananas or
mangos, peeled and sliced
• 4 tablespoons honey
1. Line up 4 parfait, white wine, or other tall glasses.
2. Spoon 2 tablespoons of yogurt into each glass and
3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of granola overtop and smooth
4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of fruit overtop and smooth
Repeat the process, adding a bit of honey here and there, to
So maybe you've already touched on what you’re like when
already in a bad mood or feeling down, but have you thought of
what makes you feel that way? Maybe it's people talking about a
certain topic or if you have an argument with someone.
It's time to think about triggers, things that set you off. Write them
down here, and if you've done other pages, you can make a little
kit which says what triggers you, signs that you're stressed, and
coping strategies to help you deal with it before it becomes a
Things that trigger me:
has a silver lining
Take a few things that have happened that seem negative and try
and find a positive way to think about it. If you're having trouble,
then ask a friend!
Of course, you can't turn everything into a positive, and it’s
definitely important to recognize the sadness when something bad
Example: My day was awful, I was late to meet my friends and we
missed the film we were going to see.
Seeing the positive: I'm glad my friends waited for me, even though
we didn't see the film, we went to the park instead and had a great
Seeing the positive:
Seeing the positive:
Seeing the positive:
Jekyll and Hyde
Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s as if there’s two
versions of yourself? The good-you, who’s great to be around
and generally in a good mood, then the evil twin where everything
goes a bit pear-shaped.
Draw and write about two copies of you, one when you're feeling
well and one when you're grumpy and need some support, what's
different between the two? Maybe the other-you doesn't join in
activities or might get snappy at people.
Of course there aren’t really two versions of you, but maybe by
drawing it out, you'll notice signs that things aren't quite right so
that you can talk to someone about how you're feeling before you
turn into a bit of a monster!
When I’m happy
When I feel down
A good night’s sleep can make the world a much better place.
Sometimes though, no matter what you just can’t get to sleep.
There are some things you can do, known as ‘sleep hygiene’ which
can get you ready for a proper sleep and have you feeling shipshape.
1. Avoid things that stimulate you.
The main one is caffeine, so avoid coffee and cola for at
least four hours before bed time. The same thing applies
2. Don’t work in your bedroom!
If you have to study, don’t do it in your room. That way your
body know your bedroom is a place for relaxing.
3. Have a routine.
Routines were mentioned earlier in this journal, but a set
routine like, having a shower and reading a book for half an
hour can give your body the signs that it’s almost bed-time.
Similarly, be consistent and try to go to bed at the same
4. Avoid artificial light
Try not to look at your phone, or computers in the hour
before bed-time. The light can affect your brain and stop
you getting to sleep.
5. Have a bath and a hot drink
If you can, have a bath – the hot water is so relaxing. See
the bath bomb recipes to make it extra special. A hot drink
like warm milk or hot chocolate will also help you to nod off.
Do or dye
Have you got an old white top somewhere at the back of your
closet? Of course you have! Time to give it a new lease of life with
some tie-dye. It’s different every time, and you can get some great
results. You can even dye clothes and give them to your friends.
What you need:
• Several types of fabric dye
• Rubber bands
• Rubber gloves
• A Bucket
• Some clothes to dye!
1. Get the dye ready in the bucket, according to the
instructions on the packet. Make sure you wear gloves as
the dye can irritate your skin.
2. Tie your clothes using the rubber bands and marbles:
different techniques give different effects.
sunburst stripes circles
3. Place in the dye for at least 15-20 minutes (the longer you
leave it, the stronger the colour)
4. Rinse out the clothes according to the instructions on the
dye and dry them out.
This is a time machine...
Imagine you find a time machine and it takes you 10 years into the
future. What’s changed? What do you think you’ll be doing? Write
here what you think it’ll be like: describe the sights and sensations
then maybe look back in the future and see if it’s like you imagined!
Core beliefs are really important, often lots of other thoughts
stem from them and if they’re negative then it can affect how you
think about everything.
They’re hard to identify and harder to challenge but here's a way
to try and work it all out. You just have to be a bit of a detective
and find the clues.
Take a negative thought you often have, and trace it back to get
to the core belief. To trace it back, ask yourself "If this were true,
what does this mean about me?"
“My friend didn’t want to
(What does this mean?)
(What does this mean?)
(What does this mean?)
(What does this mean?)
“Nobody likes me”
(What does this mean?)
(What does this mean?)
(What does this mean?)
To the core
Hopefully you managed to track your thoughts back
to the negative core beliefs behind them. It’s difficult to challenge
these thoughts especially when you've spent most of your time
focusing on things that makes you believe them.
Write down the core belief, and then try and find evidence that
proves it wrong. So the example in the last page was that the
person thinks they are worthless. Asking a friend for evidence, or
keeping a diary of things helps stop you forgetting them, otherwise
you’ll only remember the negatives.
(e.g. ‘I’m worthless’)
Evidence it’s not true: (e.g. ‘Sophie said she wants to meet up’)
Face your fears!
The best way to get over what scares you is to deal with it head
on - otherwise you just try to avoid it and you find it ruins your life.
Remember your fears are often much worse than things really
are – often build up to something scary feels much worse than
actually doing it.
Start off slow, with something that you can manage, then do it
again but this time push yourself a little bit further. Before you do
it, try to calm yourself down – look at the breathing exercises
earlier in the journal. Accept things may not go perfectly (there’s a
section on setbacks as well in the journal.)
Make a list of what you are scared of, then make a fear ladder
here. Put the least scary thing at the bottom, and the most scary
thing at the top. An example here is eating in around other people.
Eating a meal in a
Having a snack in a café
Having a drink in a café
Eating in front of a
Having a drink with a
Talking to someone while
they are eating
House of mirrors
Have you ever been into a room full of mirrors where everything
is distorted? Your body looks out of proportion and it can be quite
scary! Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, creates a similar
effect when you look in and ordinary mirror. Typically, you can
appear to be a lot bigger when you see yourself in the mirror than
you actually are.
Do you find yourself constantly checking your appearance in the
mirror? Or do you avoid them completely? Try to count the
number of times you look at your reflection as an experimentinclude
looking in window reflections and any other reflective
If you check your appearance more than 15-20 times, challenge
yourself to do this less as preoccupation with body image can fuel
BDD. On the other hand, if you find you are actively avoiding
looking in the mirror, this could be down to feelings of shame
towards your appearance. Instead, challenge yourself to look in
the mirror and pick out things about yourself that you do like.
It is very important to remember that while how we look may feel
very important, despite being cliché it really is who you are inside
that matters. Not only that, but if you compare what you see in the
mirror to the bodies of celebrities in magazines, you’re aiming for
something completely impossible! If you have access to the
internet, just take a look at before and after pictures of celebrities
who have been photo shopped!
When people talk about baking, most people think of cakes.
Not this time though – you’re going to learn how to make bread.
This can be pretty satisfying as you need to really put some effort
into kneading it all together. Perfect if you want to de-stress!
• 500g white bread flour
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 7g yeast (1 sachet)
• 300ml lukewarm water
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl.
2. Add the oil and water and mix everything together
3. Put some flour on a work surface, and tip the mixture on it
4. Knead the dough, stretching it between both hands until it is
really smooth and springy, then place it in an oiled bowl with
some cling film on top and leave for at least an hour until it
has doubled in size.
5. Line a tray with some baking parchment
6. Heat the oven to 220ºC (200ºC for a fan oven)/ gas mark 7
7. Take your dough and knock the air out of it, form it into a
ball and place it on the tray
8. Slash the top of the bread and bake in the oven for 25-30
minutes until golden brown
9. Allow to cool on a wire rack
Maybe you could toast it and try the avocado breakfast recipe!
A letter to...
You’re at the end of this journal, and it’s time to say goodbye.... to
your eating disorder.
It’s something very personal, so here’s your chance to say
farewell. Hopefully you’ve learnt things along the way to get you
ready for this big step. Think about how it has made you feel, the
ways in which it’s affected your life. You can do it in this book, or
find a piece of paper. Try and get it all down, this is your chance to