I was Bulimic for 5 Long Years!

I was bulimic all through high school.  For 5 years.  Yes, there were actually 5 years of high school back then.  Remember?

For those of you who are not aware, bulimia is a form of ‘dieting’ whereby the person gorges then purges on a regular basis.

I threw up at least once a day.  My daily plan was to try to not eat, at all, before nor during my school day.  I wouldn’t have any breakfast, and I would not take a lunch or eat anything at school.  It wasn’t easy.

Actually, it was pure hell.  Especially being around everyone else that was eating at lunch.  I don’t even remember how I explained to my friends that I wasn’t eating lunch every day.

But the second I got home around 4:30 from the long bus ride, I would EAT MY FACE OFF.  I would gorge like someone who has not had food in months.  I would eat anything and everything.  I was insatiable and completely and ravenously out of control.

It was actually quite scary.  I would probably have knifed anyone who came between me and my food at that point.  I’m not kidding!!

This is why I chose (??) bulimia over anorexia as my eating disorder of choice.  Because I loved food WAAAAY too much to just stop eating altogether.  That would have been just be a crazy thing to do.

Once home, I would wolf down multiple bowls of cereal (because it was very quick and satisfying), slices of bread with butter and brown sugar (don’t judge me), and I would go downstairs into the big chest freezer and eat some of the baked goodies that my mom had squirreled away down there.  Carbs.  Oh, the carbs.  All the carbs!!

 

Then I would eat dinner.  I would eat as much as I could handle.  Sometimes I would even get dizzy from eating too much too fast, so I would have to lay down.  As soon as I was physically able, I would eat some more.

All of this crazy gorging was highly time sensative.  That’s why I was in such an extreme hurry.  I had read that food starts to digest after 3 hours, so I had to eat as much as possible in as little time as possible so that it was still nice and undigested (eeewwwww) when I threw it all up again.

I always threw up at 7:00 PM, so I started drinking lots of water around 6:30 to make the 7:00 ‘toilet talk’ a little smoother.  Crazy!!

As I’m remembering all this and actually writing it down, I can’t believe I actually went through this for 5 years.  I also can’t believe I didn’t rot my teeth outa my head from all the stomach acid that I rinsed over them every day.

Interesting point, I was not overweight before I started bingeing.  I actually had an athletic and toned shape.

So why the eating disorder?

So many people think, of course, that eating disorders have to do with food and body image and that it’s something that heavier people would get involved in.  Not true!

Another misconception is that eating disorders are a teenage girl thing.  Again, not true!

According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, there are both psychological and interpersonal reasons that may lead someone to have an eating disorder.

Psychological

  • low self-esteem
  • feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • stress or loneliness                                                                                                           

Interpersonal

  • troubled personal relationships
  • difficulty expressing emotions and feelings
  • history of being teased or ridiculed based on size or weight
  • history of physical or sexual abuse

According to mayoclinic.org, if you have bulimia, you’re probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape. (Well, that’s kind of a no-brainer, ain’t it??!!)  You may judge yourself severely and harshly for self-perceived flaws.  Flaws that were often pointed out from an over-critical parent, in my case.

Because bulimia is related to self-image and not all about food, it can be quite hard to overcome.  Effective treatment can help you feel better about yourself, adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.

The website also cites media and societal pressures such as TV and fashion magazines that frequently feature a parade of skinny models and actors. These images seem to equate thinness with success and popularity. But whether the media merely reflect social values or actually drive them isn’t clear.

 

 

According to webmed.com, You may be more likely to have bulimia or other eating disorders if:

  • Other people in your family are obese or have an eating disorder.
  • You have a job or do a sport that stresses body size, such as ballet, modeling, or gymnastics.
  • You are often on a diet or you exercise too much in order to lose weight or change your body shape.
  • Have a poor body image, or feel that your body should be slim like many people in the media.
  • You are the type of person who tries to be perfect all the time, never feels good enough, or worries a lot.
  • You are dealing with stressful life events, such as divorce, moving to a new town or school, or losing a loved one.

While bulimia often starts in the teen years, it usually lasts into adulthood and is a long-term disorder.

By working with a counselor, a person with bulimia can learn to feel better about themselves. They can learn to eat normally again and to stop purging.

I’m not really sure exactly how I ‘cured’ my bulimia.  I know that it was a very long process.  Years!!  There were even times, many years later, that I would be disgusted and uncomfortable by how much I ate at a particular event or something.  I would come home and purge.

When I evaluate the reasons, above, that a person could have an eating disorder, it’s very clear to me why I had bulimia during my teenage years.  I suffered from low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, anger, stress and anxiety.  I had a very tense relationship with my mother, and I could never express my emotions or feelings without ridicule.

I know it’s not a coincidence that my road to improving my bulimia illness began when I moved away from home for University.  I would still purge after I left home, but it was more sporadic and not every single day.

I’m sure part of my ‘road to recovery’ also came from the fact that I didn’t have the same opportunity to throw up everyday when I was living away from home with students as I did when I was in my own house with my family.

I also have to credit my (then) boyfriend who I ended up marrying.  I met him early in University and he was wonderful for my self-esteem.  He never judged me or belittled me or criticized me.  He just loved me unconditionally and made me feel beautiful and special.

But we are all beautiful and special people.  Unfortunately, we are not always around the people or in the proper environment that bring that self-love out in us.

We can’t solve everyone’s issues, but we can do our very best to make the world a better place by making others feel beautiful and special.  It takes only a split second of our time and effort to compliment someone we know or a total stranger.  That warm feeling will stay with that other person for the rest of their day……and yours.

Yes, let’s all do more of that!  In the words of Burt Bacharach,

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. 

          It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.       

Kathleen Bolton

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