Phew. Heavy title I know. But absolutely necessary. I work with a lot of women with eating disorders, and specifically bulimia. Yours truly lived with it for 5 YEARS! It is a tough topic, but we can do this.
Bulimia is usually associated with binge eating and purging. It is an eating disorder revolving around emotions, control, and lack of control. It is also, unfortunately, pretty well hidden so loved ones have no idea. It is shameful and as I describe it, a black hole that feels impossible to get out of.
Living with bulimia:
Grocery shopping, going out to eat, cooking, plating the food, having dessert, and going to bed always seems to be a challenge. When battling with bulimia, every day and every meal is a battle with one's self. The thought of keeping food down leads to thoughts of weight gain and the spiking need of "getting rid of it quickly" so it does not impact your weight. However, because of the consant scarcity of food, lack of knowledge on portions, and emotional battle, binging is what usually kickstarts the bulimic episodes. This is where someone eats a high quantity amount of food (usually in a short period of time) until they feel overly full and sick. Then, it spikes the need to purge. If you are reading this and have never experienced this eating disorder, it may seem silly. But trust me, once started it is hard to undo and stop the cycle. What I DO know is that knowledge helped me. SO, here we go.
What you need to know in order to beat bulimia:
Binging and purging does not help you lose weight!
Binging usually puts people at a calorie intake of 4,000 and more! 1 lb. of fat = 3,500 calories. When someone intakes that many cals in one sitting, it is absorbed in the body and cannot be purged. This is why most bulimics do not lose weight and have a hard time shedding fat.
Bulimia can lead to serious diseases.
- Negative self-esteem and problems with relationships and social functioning
- Dehydration, which can lead to major medical problems, such as kidney failure
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat or heart failure
- Mini stroke or heart attack
- Severe tooth decay and gum disease
- Esophogeal cancer
- Absent or irregular periods in females
- Digestive problems
- Anxiety, depression, personality disorders or bipolar disorder
- Misuse of alcohol or drugs
- Self-injury, suicidal thoughts or suicide
Long lasting effects even after you stop binging/purging.
I have a client who has been bulimic for 15 years. She began with me and was on her 43rd day with no episode. We were discussing her progress and mental state which had approved. However, after back squatting in the first 30 minutes of our session, she had a mini stroke. Yes.
My 31 year old, strong, bada** client had a stroke while I was training her.
This was because her body had long term damage from bulimia and her heart has forever changed. She is okay, but ended up staying overnight in the hospital and now has to really watch herself and her lifestyle.
On top of that, she has very complicated issues with her digestion and bloating. This is because of deyhdration, inability for your gut to properly digest anymore, stress, and eating too fast.
Eating disorders are hereditary!
When it comes to understanding why you have an ED, it could come from your parents or grandparents. Don't feel like you are alone with this. People of all ages can battle with this and it is a lot more common than you may think.
This is also good to know if you have children and want to keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of an ED.
Confidence, self love, and positive body image will not be obtained from bulimia.
People who battle with bulimia often have a common motive: to obtain a body they will love and be proud of. However, when it comes to feeling confidence and loving your body, it will only be possible if your mental state improves. The thing is, everyone has insecurities and bodies do not stay the same. They are constantly changing, gaining weight, losing weight, experiencing inflammation, and so on. To truly be happy with your body means you need to find consistency in diet & exercise as well as learn to love yourself for more than just physical appearance.
Discover the characteristics and traits about yourself you are proud of. Work on goals and life milestones so you can gain that confidence in yourself and begin to realize you are more than a body.