Celebrating 100 days of recovery! Here's how I did it...

My name is Rochelle and I am 33 years old. Bulimia has been a part of my life for 15 years. Yikes.

I grew up in a loving home. No history of abuse. And yet, I developed an eating disorder. With ED in tow I somehow made it through nursing school, got married, and landed my dream job. I figured I was a functioning bulimic. I could have my cake and eat it too. In fact, make that three cakes, with a quart of ice cream with a sleeve of cookies. I thought I was cheating the system.

But alas, it was too good to be true. In reality, my life was falling apart. All my time and energy was devoted to binging and purging. I would start the cycle with breakfast and continue all day. I could easily spend $100 a week on binge food, and purge 5-10 times a day to rid myself of the calories. I was skinny, just like I wanted….so why did I hate myself?

I hated myself because nearly every word out of my mouth was a lie in an effort to keep my secret hidden. I had no close friends. I was a so-so nurse. My face was bloated, my gums were receding, my teeth were decaying, and my skin was dry. I was always freezing cold. When I stood up, I would nearly pass out. I was a moody bitch to my husband, and our marriage was deteriorating.

One January night, after yet another fight with my husband who was convinced I was cheating on him, I started to think I might have a problem.

With tears streaming down my face and a handful of snotty tissues, I feverishly typed away at my computer searching for an answer. Thank Google for Bulimia Help.  After reading through the content I figured the membership fee was a small price to pay if it really worked. So in January of 2011, I started my recovery journey.

Wow. The e-book blew my mind! It was full of evidence-based research. It was logical. There was no arguing with the facts. I wasn’t weak; I was in a constant state of distressed hunger. My body has been starving for 15 years!

I was so excited to start recovery, armed with this newfound knowledge. For once I had a step-by-step plan to rid myself of bulimia instead of relying on sheer willpower. Plus, I quickly found friends on the site that truly understood what I was going through, ready to answer questions and offer support.

I went nine days b/p-free, which was absolutely unheard of for me at the time. I was impressed with how well SE worked, but also disappointed when I slipped-up on day ten. I thought I should be able to quit cold turkey.

I had no idea how addicted I had become. Even when I had my physical hunger under control, I would battle emotional and boredom hunger for months to come. I still had so much to learn. I continued to struggle, never going longer than 19 days without a slip. I was becoming more and more frustrated with myself, thinking recovery was just not possible.

But here I am now, one year later.

And it’s a day for celebration!

100 days ago I took off my wedding ring and challenged myself to choose either my husband or my bulimia….FOR GOOD, because I can’t have both. I have had my wedding ring on for nearly 8 years, so I noticed when it was gone. It was a daily reminder of my goal.

Prior to this I had been in recovery for ten months, and though I had learned countless lessons, I lacked the motivation to keep a good streak going. I was still in love with binging.

Then two things happened:
(a) I had a horrible fight with my husband that opened my eyes to how my ED affected our marriage, and how close we were to divorce, and
(b) My friend from this site found out she was pregnant, and vowed to be b/p-free for 9 months.

That was the kick in the pants I needed to get serious. I didn’t want to lose my husband and I didn’t want to be left behind in recovery by my good friend. I couldn’t bear either of those things.

And it worked. I made it to my 100 day mark. Today I put my wedding ring is back on! Best of all, I have no plans to stop. I’m not fully recovered yet but I will be soon. This go-around feels different.

It feels natural and permanent. I’m armed with the knowledge of what works for me, and what doesn’t.  I’m settling into my set-point weight. I have healthy coping mechanisms.

No food is off limits. I’m in love with my bulimia-free life, and out of love with the binge, especially since purging is no longer an option.  

Look for me later under the heading: Fully Recovered!

But in the mean time, I do have some words of advice for those starting out, or maybe just those in need of some positive strength:

1.)  When in doubt, follow structured eating (SE).
Get your body out of the distressed hunger state! Hunger is a primal need and you can’t move on until you deal with it! I did well when I followed SE. I always went back to SE when I slipped-up. It works.

2.) The Bloat.
I got extreme bouts of gas in the first couple weeks of recovery. Not only was it embarrassing, but also painful. Gas-X did nothing! But a tall glass of water with every meal and walking did help. Eventually, the bloat will go away. I promise.

3.) Remember that every binge urge will peak, then fade.
What goes up must come down. Food follows the law of diminishing returns. The first bite is always the best and each subsequent bite will be less and less satisfying. So whenever I’m having a trigger food and I yearn to be able to eat 20 servings…I remember that if I just slow down and enjoy my portion, it will satisfy me.

4.) Find a support buddy.
This site is full of other people who know exactly what you’re going through. Yes, family and friends are important, but they will never understand like a bulimic will. I became close friends with a woman here. We write or text nearly every day. We listen, give advice, and support each other unconditionally. I even got to meet her in person over New Years vacation. She has become a crucial part of my recovery and I could not have gotten this far without her. Nearly everyone is open to friend requests. Look through profiles and find someone you connect with.

5.)  Find a hobby!
I cannot stress this enough! B/Ping takes up a lot of time, so when you rid yourself of that ritual you will need to fill the extra time with something healthy. I use running, writing, and knitting as time fillers. Running gives me a physical release, writing helps me sort through my feelings, and knitting relaxes my mind. Some girls meditate. Some do yoga. Some sing or dance. Whatever you choose, make sure you love it, because you’ll be doing a lot of it 

6.) Learn from mistakes.
Slip-ups are likely to happen at some point during your recovery. Analyze what happened, learn from it, and move on as quickly as possible. The pull of the b/p cycle is strong and gets harder to resist with additional slips. Don’t give yourself a freebie for the rest of the day when you slip. Remember that change starts now!

I learned I needed a physical re-set in order to get back on track. This meant getting out of my routine. Going out of town worked great, but obviously that’s not always feasible. Sometimes just a long run would do the trick. Physical activity seemed to work best. Find what works for you.

7.) One of my biggest struggles was staying motivated.
The facts were there: bulimia sucks the life out of you and you will be better without it. So why was it so hard to stay 100% committed? It took me a long time to finally let go of wanting to binge. Afterall, it had been a hobby of mine for 15 years. I just needed time to say good-bye. When I finally did, the rest of recovery became easy.

8.) Know your triggers.
Write them down. Think about them, analyze them, and figure out how to deal with them in a healthy manner. Anticipation goes hand-in-hand with prevention. Recovery is a personal journey where you get to figure out who you are and how you operate. Be self aware and embrace YOU.

Finally, I have been asked countless times what ONE thing has helped me the most. But I’ve realized it's not about finding one thing that works...it's putting everything you learn together. It's making progress, brick by brick, to build a wall to shut out ED completely.

Your first brick comes when you realize bulimia is not your friend and you drop it right on his toes! Then you learn SE, and you get another brick. You snatch up another when you learn to listen to your hunger cues.

You grab a few more bricks when learning healthy coping mechanisms, instead of using B/Ps to numb your feelings. Incorporating fun foods adds bricks too! When you get sick and tired of recovery and you want to take a brick off your wall to sit on, your friends here offer a hand to help support you, and an empathetic ear to listen while you rest and vent.

Pretty soon you look up, and you see this beautiful brick wall blocking your view of the dark side. A wall you built with hard work and dedication.

I’ll see you on the other side when my wall’s finished!

Happy Recovery!

Rochelle
 

17 comments

Clare23
Clare23's picture
Congratulations! Your such an

Congratulations! Your such an inspiration to us all.
Thank you for sharing your story.

Richard Kerr
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Joined: 3 Dec 2008
Rochelle suffered for over 15

Rochelle suffered for over 15 years.
I think this really helps to show that recovery is possible no matter how long you may have suffered for.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

Kell
Clare23's picture
So wonderful! Keep up the

So wonderful! Keep up the great work! I can't wait until I am there with
You

JoBlogs
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Joined: 14 Mar 2010
Also we need to be kind &

Also we need to be kind & forgiving towards ourselves as well, without this it is difficult to get over the slip ups.
Thank you for sharing xxx

Jo
xxx

Strength and Pr...
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Joined: 6 Jan 2012
Hi Rochelle.. I just got

Hi Rochelle.. I just got through reading your story and brought tears to my eyes.. How similar it is to mine.. I am 35 and have been living with bulimia since I was 15.. October 3 2009.. I overcame it cold turkey for 11/2 with such strength .. Then .. 6-7 months ago .. I slowly came back into my life.. Slowly slowly till back to normal.. Well .. U know what I mean.. This time around however.. My hair starting thinning out significantly! And I know this is why.. Went through another month of b/p free then bam.. What's wrong with me !! I keep saying .. I figured my relationship with the Lord would help me with this the same way it did in 2009.. But I guess I needed to go through this horrible relapse ro learn a bit more.. Then I found bulimia help.. I've been reading the book and listening to the meditation audio.. Perhaps having someone to talk to would be helpful .. I have reached out and tell people I know.. But don't have anybody who can relate .. Anyhow... So much more I could say about this... But I dont want to type a novel! I would love to talk with u or IM or text ..not sure what is best .. Please let me know .. I am a little nervous about opening up like this!! I mean.. I am.. But I'm not.. Does that make sense? Thankyou for sharing your story.. Jaime

Christa Lee
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Joined: 16 Jun 2010
I am glad you found your

I am glad you found your spirit Rochelle. Thank you for sharing. When I read your profile, it was like I was reading about my life. I also struggled with bulimia for 15 years, am a nurse, wife.....and the same "fight" with my husband happened. I pray my ending or should I say beginning....is just as wonderful as yours. I will find my spirit too.

lj
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Joined: 1 Aug 2011
can we talk... i need some

can we talk... i need some inspirations and someone to talk to. i have a few questions to ask you...

JackiMM
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Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Love this.

Love this.

Jacki

vickie
Clare23's picture
i am very proud of you, i

i am very proud of you, i have struggle for years with bulimia it started with anorexia, and i had a few suicide attempts after the last suicide attempt witch left me with neuropathy, i realize, it wasnt worth, i made a effort to get better, i am not 100 percent, but i am sooo much better than before. i realized that i not only was destroying my life i was also destroying the lives of the people around me. and it wasnt making the problems i was hiding from go away. because i did realize, i was trying to hide from my problems. i am very proud of you keep up the good work and always remember to ask for help and to believe in yourself, your worth it.

Catherine Liberty
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Joined: 4 Jul 2009
Absolutely amazing Rochelle,

Absolutely amazing Rochelle, I am so proud of you :) x x

brittaH20
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Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Thank you everyone for the

Thank you everyone for the comments! I send strength and smiles to all of you :-)

No binge tastes as good as HEALTHY FEELS!

kat1210
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Joined: 3 Jul 2011
Inspirational!!!

Inspirational!!! ............thank you for sharing your story x

christie-bell
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Joined: 8 Dec 2011
Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story! Congratulations on your huge achievement, this gives me so much hope and motivation for the future. :)

Tania
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Joined: 19 Jul 2011
I found the website and the

I found the website and the e-book in July last year. After years of doctors, different therapeutic approaches, excitment and failures, I was immediately shocked by how simple and just right was:. For the first time ever in the last 16 years I felt that I am not a hopeless addicted to food, but that I just don't feed my body, my brain and my sould as they need!
However, it took me 7 months to get started. Yesterday was day 1, today is day 2 (pretty obvious, I know, and I know I should not count them, but I feel so excited by SE!). I just want to let you know that I eventually found the strenght to get started by reading your story. Yes. I received the newsletter with your story and when I read that "functional bulimic" I was just paralized. I am the same, I am a perfectly (if I can say so..) functioning bulimic. I spent more than half of my time trying to keep everything together, doing all possible efforts to have a successful, 'normal' life and at the same time binge and purge every, EVERY single day. Not even 1 day of rest. Not when I was sick, or on holiday, or was travelling.
Your post has englighten me. I thought: she has such similar story and pattern to mine, if she made it, I can make it too.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ROCHELLE (I will say it even in my Italian: GRAZIE GRAZIE GRAZIE) for sharing your story. Thanks to you, I am on day 2. I am eventually committed to become a bulimia-free Tanja. I can see that and it's thanks to you.
I wish you all the very very best for the continuation of your journey. May be sparkling, full of colors and of all the wishes and ambitions you have for your life.
Big virtual hug XXX

purdy
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
I too enjoyed reading your

I too enjoyed reading your article about your recovery. Every time I read a story about someone who has long struggled with bulimia and is now recovered, I feel hopeful that I too can accomplish my own recovery from bulimia.

maryrose1
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Joined: 11 Mar 2010
wow.. thanks so much for

wow.. thanks so much for sharing your story.. you are a true inspiration to everyone on this site. when i think of sharing my story i am like .. god where do i begin.. its been anorexia bulima drugs alcohol.. its all a haze.. but seeing how you were able to write it all out gave me inspiration ... maybe one day too i can write my journey..
best wishes

JustDoIt
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Joined: 17 Mar 2012
beautiful writing and very

beautiful writing and very proud of you! loved this! keep up the good work, Rochelle!

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