4 steps towards self-love in bulimia recovery

Catherine Liberty's picture

Even when you’ve been on track with your bulimia recovery for some time, it often remains impossible to ever imagine the day when you will love and accept yourself fully. 

You may find yourself wondering if it is ever really possible to love yourself fully, when you’ve battled with self-loathing for such a long time. This is a question that played on my mind A LOT early on in recovery. 

But here I am today, completely liberated from all thoughts of self-hate. I look in the mirror and smile at the person looking back. I love myself, I respect myself and I value myself.

After receiving bulimia treatment online here at Bulimia Help I believe finding self-love was a natural progression, something that happens as a direct result of learning how to take care of yourself and how to respect your own needs.  

How I learned to love myself

Reflecting back on my own journey towards self-love I can identify many different elements that lead me to transform into a person who was capable of self-love, but four things in particular really stick out to me. 

1. I stopped asking “why”

Why don’t I love myself? Why can’t I appreciate myself? Why do I always focus on the things I hate about myself? Why do I hate those things in the first place?

The "why game" gets relentless and stopping it was one of my biggest breakthrough’s on my quest to discover self-love. 

I realized that even if I did discover the mysterious origins of my self-loathing, this answer would not magically teach me how to love myself now. So I stopped looking for the reasons why I hated myself and started to ask very different questions like – “What can I do to cultivate self-love now?” 

2. I learned the value of boundary setting

Like many bulimics, before recovery I was very much a “people pleaser.” I was obsessed with the idea of making others happy, even at the cost of my own happiness. But as I progressed in recovery I learned that setting boundaries was integral to self-love. 

Setting boundaries is all about valuing yourself as a person, respecting your own needs and fully embracing the fact that there is nothing wrong or selfish about putting yourself first. 

Of course learning to say no and setting other boundaries is a challenge to begin with, especially if it seems like you’ve spent your entire life bending over backwards to please people and rejecting your own needs. But in practicing boundary setting, and learning to identify and respect your own needs you really begin to foster self-love.   

3. I became inspired by people who already loved themselves

It gets depressing living in a society where self-hate is so accepted, and self-love is almost non-existent. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to hear someone say “I hate the way I look today” but somehow it’s unnatural to  hear someone say “I look amazing today.” 

Convinced there had to be some people who’d actually loved themselves, I went on a quest to discover the voices of those who were not afraid to proclaim their self-love. 

In doing so I discovered the most amazing internet blog called Embrace Self Love, and I would urge every single one of you to check it out, especially if you struggle with the idea of loving yourself after so many years of hating yourself! 

4. I allowed myself to believe in the possibility of change

We’ve all had those moments where we think “this it is, I’ll never change.” And I definitely appreciate the fact that you can’t just convince yourself that change is possible overnight. But what you can do is start to tap away at those deep rooted beliefs – for me that came in the form of daily positive affirmations.

I started to use positive affirmations and allowed myself to believe in the possibility of change, even though those changes were not evident straight away. 

In many ways adapting to change is really a battle with your subconscious mind. When your subconscious mind thinks you cannot cope with facing fears or making those big changes required in recovery, it does everything it can to resist change. 

But your subconscious mind is always eavesdropping on your conscious thoughts, so by thinking in different ways, and using positive affirmations (even if you don’t believe the words you’re saying immediately) you’re able to alter those deep rooted beliefs little by little. 

When you’re bulimic, dedicating yourself to recovery is your first step towards self-love...

Your own journey towards self-love won’t be easy, it will probably be confusing, and it will definitely take much longer than you’ve anticipated.

But by committing yourself to recovery, learning about your own needs, and then learning how to fulfil those needs, you’ll be taking a giant leap in the right direction.  Someday soon you’re going to look in the mirror and LOVE the person staring back at you. 


Pat Mary
Pat Mary's picture
thanks Catherine , you are so

thanks Catherine , you are so right I am such a people pleaser even when it hurts my own wellbeing.I have stsrted using the affirmations which I find fabulous,boundaries are my next challenge!


Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Pat Mary, I'm so happy

Hi Pat Mary,

I'm so happy that you've started to use positive affirmations and that they are already having a really positive effect on your recovery. Over time I really do think they are such powerful tools.

Boundary setting is absolutely terrifying when you first give it a try, but it does start to become more natural, especially when you're able to let go of the guilt associated with saying no, or putting your own needs before others.

Take care,
Catherine x

AuntieJuju's picture
Thanks Catherine for writing

Thanks Catherine for writing this article. I really struck home for me. After reading this I gave myself a hug and said I love you. I bookmarked this on my phone so I can refer to it often. Have a blessed day! Love, Juliette


Last Resort
Last Resort's picture
Thank you for this article!

Thank you for this article! Learning to truly love myself and let myself be happy is my biggest day to day challenge. I firmly believe as long as I keep moving forward it will all come together and your article and link helps a lot! :)

~Hoping to find Liberation from Desperation~

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