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How expensive is this whole thing? I am just supposed to let myself eat anything, anytime, anywhere? How can I afford this? Will I spend all my money out at restaurants? Or will I have to make everything at home?! How do I grocery shop now that nothing is off limits? How will I know what I’m going to crave in a few days?

Woa! Calm down! First of all, there is nothing more expensive than being on a diet. Diet food and low-calorie food is often marked up to be way more expensive than normal food (when most normal food is more filling because it usually has more calories).

But yes, staying alive on enough food costs money. And you’ll need to prioritize that if you want to heal. Frugality is sometimes a necessity but beware of the irrational fear of spending money on food. I’ve known people who had that as part of their disordered eating. Someone I knew in college refused to eat any food unless it was free and they didn’t have to pay for it. It was an eating disorder, but they were able to formally call it a financial decision.

Everyone on TFID will be in totally different financial situations, so, like all things, it will need to be tailored to what you can access and afford.

And when I say eat whatever you want, in any quantities, I don’t mean that if you crave a lobster feast and strawberry shortcake at 11 am in the middle of winter, that you need to go get that for yourself. I mean… you can, but you also can and should satiate your hunger and cravings with what’s around, and what you can afford. Maybe you can compromise with some lemony, buttery seafood for dinner, with some sort of cake or cookie and fruit.

If you have never grocery shopped for what you want, as opposed to what is on your diet, there is going to be a learning curve. You are going to have to try things out. Get things you think you’ll like. And next week, edit your choices depending on what you learned, what you liked, didn’t like, what you wanna try and have around this week. Or try going food shopping more often. If you’re looking for cheap ways to make sure you get in lots of calories, look to build meals around rice and potatoes, bread and peanut butter and cheese. See? Can’t do that on your diet.

It’s that simple. But I get it, I am a terrible grocery shopper, and also a really basic cook. But my first two years of The Fuck It Diet included a lot of sourdough bread and cheese, avocado toast, and granola and ice cream. So much ice cream that my original secret Fuck It Diet pen name was Caroline Haagen (as in Haagen Dasz ice cream brand). Now I sometimes make elaborate vegetable stews from scratch.

If you are like most people and can’t afford to eat your favorite foods out at restaurants all the time, welcome to the world. You need to learn to cook the things you like and save eating out for special occasions. Or just eat sourdough sharp cheddar grilled cheeses for a year like me. If you’re cooking for a family, navigating your cravings with your kids and partner will probably always be hard, but maybe now that you can eat Macaroni and Cheese, some nights will get easier.

And you may not always have what you crave in your pantry, so you’ll either go out and get it, or make do with what you do have. If you can make grilled cheese, you can do this. I believe in you.

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