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.
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!
"I have been a member of Bulimia Help for over a year now. I have had tremendous success with it. I truly cannot express how much of a lifesaver the program has been for me".
"I have never looked back. I have been free from bulimia and all food issues ever since. So now I have to help others do the same!".
"I cant stop smiling :) I laugh more, at stupid things. You know when your by yourself and think of something stupid... and you cant help but laugh/smile and you feel totally retarded but its so awesome". Read more
"I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who is suffering from the awful effects of bulimia and believes they deserve a better life".
"The first step I took to getting my eating under control was to ensure I was eating regularly throughout the day".
"I’m writing to you all with the biggest smile on my face - seriously, my face is starting to hurt from all the happiness and excitement. Today is my two year “recovery anniversary".
"In the last few months I feel like I have gained hours of my day and the freedom to just relax and be a fully participating member of my life again!! I had forgotten what it felt like".
"Instead of having to spend my time whenever I am alone bingeing and purging I do a lot of other things. I paint, play with my dog, go hiking, play basketball".
"It still amazes me that I am no longer bulimic and have been that way for almost 11 months".
The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.
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