It is 8:00, and I have only just now finished my math homework. And by "finished", I mean "slogged through the step-by-step answers online and tried to understand what I was copying down. I'm hopeless at math. And the tedious process of going through hotmath.com served only one purpose: it was good practice in making myself do things not because I want to, but because I should.
For me, the hardest part of restricting is turning off my instincts-- instincts about what to eat, how much, and when-- and following rules, even when they don't make sense. I think that some people can get by without following rules, even basic, unwritten ones... there are people who treat others horribly and are still considered quite cool. There are people whose natural state of being is "ambitious", and they get further than people who are smarter and better but less competitive. I am not an exception to the rules, though. I break them, and bad things happen. If I follow them stringently, things are okay; I can't control cancer or car accidents, but I make good grades and fit into extra-smalls. Most of all, if someone gets angry with me (like my grandmother does, usually without solid evidence), I'm so used to ignoring my instincts and relying on facts and protocol that the criticism doesn't hurt as much.
I did the same thing with food today. I ate 600 calories. It's more than I ate the last time I was seriously restricting-- about twice as many, actually. But I followed the basic rules, which are:
1. Dry cereal for breakfast, fruit for lunch, and a vegetable for dinner.
2. Coffee and tea (black or with calorie-free sweetener) are both okay.
3. No food outside of those three meals.
I'm not sure how many calories I want to eventually include in my plan; 600 seems like a lot, but when I was eating 300 a day I was too tired to do anything but lay down by mid-afternoon. (And while my metabolism didn't crash very hard-- I only gained four pounds eating "normally" in the months that followed-- I don't think I lost weight any faster by restricting to 300. 500 might be a good medium.)