5 Self-Help Tips for Recovery from Bulimia

Coach Jen's picture

In order to make a full recovery from bulimia, most people need some form of help. Some enter inpatient treatment, others see an outpatient therapist, and some find support online.

If you are unable to afford help or are afraid to talk with someone, there are some effective self-help strategies you can use to recover on your own.

1. Become as Educated as Possible.

The more you understand about recovery and why you are even suffering in the first place, the more empowered you are to overcome it. The internet is full of information about eating disorders, but it can be confusing with all the different perspectives. Do your research to find a program that you agree with.

The coaches at Bulimia Help write articles to help motivate and inspire, but also to provide valuable insight about the process. Why not use someone else's success to benefit you as well?

For example, here's an article on ways to stop purging and another on self-love. Learning as much as you can is very important for anyone to recover, but especially for someone relying on self-help.

2. Make a Self Help Recovery Plan.

Becoming motivated to stop binging and purging a great first step, but it isn't enough. Without a solid plan, you will probably not be successful.

There are many treatments available out there. Be sure that after you've done your research, you have found one you believe will work. Once you've got a plan, commit to it.

Helpful Hint: Break your plan down into small, achievable goals. Think of each meal as a milestone, and every day as an opportunity to recover. The ultimate goal will come only after accomplishing many smaller goals along the way!

3. Seek Support.

Self-help doesn't mean doing this all on your own. Recovery is a long and very challenging journey. You will need some support along the way. If you are uncomfortable confiding in friends of family, seek help online. There are many people who are also struggling, so there's no need to feel like the only person suffering with bulimia. Isolating yourself from others will only worsen your self-esteem and make recovery even more difficult.

Bulimia is a very isolating eating disorder that can cause the sufferer to hide secrets, avoid going out with friends and even stop dating or end a relationship. Be sure you aren't cutting yourself off from friends and family out of fear of being 'found out.'

Keeping people around can be very helpful even if they don't know you are struggling.

Many people with bulimia attempt to recover on their own first before seeking help. Some are able to successfully recover independently, but most need the support of a professional, a mentor, a loved one or all three. Keep in mind that recovering without someone to confide in will be extremely difficult.

4. Stay Focused.

After you have committed to your plan, it is crucial to stay focused each day. There are many ways to stay in the recovery mindset. Here are some examples:

  • Read recovery blogs and continue your research.
  • Write your own blogs. This can help inspire others too!
  • Keep a recovery journal. Writing out your emotions is a very healthy activity, plus it helps you track progress and watch out for trigger patterns.
  • Set daily reminders do write in your journal, read a recovery book or practice your favorite relaxation technique.

5. Practice Patience.

Most people need about a year to make a full recovery. If you feel that you aren't making progress quickly enough, try to focus on the positive changes you have made. Stop and think of how far you've come since beginning the recovery journey.

Slow and steady changes are necessary for you to heal your body and mind from the damage caused by years of binging and purging. If you truly feel that you are making no progress, you may need to change your strategy and try something else. You could try finding an accountability buddy, teaming up with a recovery coach or confiding in someone you trust.

Your plan doesn't have to be rigid- be willing to adjust if things aren't working. Be patient with yourself though, it is a long and challenging journey.

Many people hold onto their eating disorder for fear of what recovery will require. I can't stress enough that you do not have to enter a treatment facility in order to overcome bulimia. Self-help strategies are very effective when paired with the proper support. For additional inspiration, you can listen to some success stories.

I now live a life free from bulimia, and you can too!

Don't wait any longer to stop binging and purging once and for all! The journey of recovery can start today.

You deserve to be happy and healthy.

For those who don't know me, my name is Jen Knaebel. I'm a recovery coach here at Bulimia Help. I've made a full recovery from bulimia and now spend my time coaching others through the process.

You can listen to my story or check out our coaching page if you're seeking support.



Anonymous426's picture
I need more help than online

I need more help than online - I need help - my life is slipping away and I need to get this under control.


Anonymous's picture
I understand we all

I understand we all understand. Hows the situation with your family and friends can yoube open about how you feel. Alot of the time the negative voice in my head is my eating disorder. .but my heart tells me I will succeed. What gets me motivated is surrounding myself with people who love me and not to hide away. Tackle a task thats achievable not tackling too much at once. Have you contacted your GP?

Do something to relax today yoga and meditation are great.....deep breathing

Xxx stay positive even if its just for today

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
These are all really great

These are all really great tips! Yes, yoga and meditation are great for stress-relief, which is very important in recovery! You are also spot-on about not tackling too much at once. The small steps add up! Thanks for your input!

Anonymous's picture
this is very encouraging!

this is very encouraging! Thank you!

Anonymous's picture
Im having a very hard time as

Im having a very hard time as well, but reading this is very encouraging. Im glad to be able to come on this site and to really gain some extra tools!. iv been in 2 treatment centers and they both failed. The last one i left and they told me i wont ever recover from my eating disorder without that treatment facility. So im glad to read that i can overcome without a facility and i feel confident even though i have been really struggling. I thank you for sharing this!

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
Thanks for your feedback! I'm

Thanks for your feedback! I'm so glad it is helpful to you. I was also told by a therapist that people with eating disorders struggle for the rest of their lives. I was told I would always be at risk for a relapse, but I don't believe that at all now! I have fully recovered, without a doubt. You can do it too! Some people respond well to inpatient treatment, but others just go back to their eating disorders once they 'graduate' the program. It is important to find a true lifelong solution without relying on willpower to recover. 

Anonymous's picture
I have struggled with an

I have struggled with an eating disorder now for about 8 years. I have tried various methods in my attempts to recover. I've tried psychotherapy, naturopathy, and general counselling. I've seen a psychiatrist, gone through the induction stages of in-patient care (at which point I felt that the 'policing' tactics went against the grain for me, and that I needed a more understanding and compassionate method). Once, I even drove 9 hours to see a specialist who agreed that after our initial meeting, we could continue therapy via Skype. And again, I allowed my hopes to rise, even ever so slightly. Unfortunately, the specialist didn't seem to understand my situation, and it didn't work out. I am now trying again, seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist and an occupational therapist weekly. But again, I am wondering if these things are going to work. I don't have money. I am seeing both of the therapists mentioned above, through a government funded organisation. Neither of them are specialised with eating disorders, but both are trying to help me none- the-less. I often feel very depressed and get bad anxiety at times. My life is passing me by - my youth is disappearing. And I feel immense pressure. I don't want to look back and regret all the lost opportunities. I am already doing this. I am so attached to staying small. I'm practically terrified of being bigger and losing my 'identity'. I worry also, because I am freaked out about making the necessary changes and trying recover, but at the same time, I want to live a happier life. I once was social and outgoing, but have grown rigid in routines, and isolated in many ways. I don't really know for what reason I'm writing all this here, but I just have, so I guess I'll go with it.


Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
I am really sorry to hear

I am really sorry to hear that you are struggling so much after all these  attempts at recovery. Try viewing it a new way: YOU didn't fail the recovery methods, THEY failed you! Recovery requires a program that you truly believe in and that works for you. If you just haven't found it yet, keep searching! I fully believe that everyone can recover once they find the right tools. You see, what you need to recover lies within you. It takes the right person/people and the right method to help you recover. Remember, you are the one recovering, not your therapist or counselor. They can only do so much, and you have to be empowered to do the rest! That is really the goal of our coaching program: to empower others and help them recover. It is self-driven. That's why we're called 'coaches'. Trust me, I also went through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have studied many other intervention techniques as I completed my master's degree. From my experience and education, the best programs are self-directed and empowering. I hope you can make progress with the new therapy you are trying. You can recover, never give up!

Anonymous's picture
I am a parent of a young

I am a parent of a young woman who has just opened up about her struggles with bulimia and I feel helpless. Do you have suggestions for me to assist her in her recovery? Thanks

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
It is very overwhelming to

It is very overwhelming to learn that a loved one, especially your child, is suffering. Searching for help online is a good start. The more you understand about bulimia, the more equipped you are to provide support. When searching for external support, be informed about who the counselor or coach is. Because I went through recovery myself, I highly advise that you find support specializing in bulimia recovery.

Some people have a difficult time finding that type of support and try other types of therapy which are not as helpful. Support at home and from a professional will be the best combination of help. 

Please feel free to contact me at jen@bulimiahelp.org if you feel that she would be a good candidate for coaching or if you would like more info. Here is a blog written by Catherine, also a Bulimia Help Coach, about helping someone you love who has bulimia: http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/how-do-you-help-someone-bulimia

Thank you for reaching out and for reading this article. We both want your daughter to make a full recovery as quickly as possible. Feel free to contact me for any additional information.

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
Believe it or not, I can

Believe it or not, I can relate to your eating patterns right now. I had also forgotten how to eat for several years and was terrified of food. I hated food and eating. I used to go as long as I could without eating too, then binge and purge. I took diet pills, diuretics and fiber suppliments, along with all kinds of other suppliments designed to help reduce weight. However, I was constantly bloated and my weigth fluctuated unpredictably until I became an intuitive eater in recovery. So my point in telling you that is so that you won't feel so alone and isolated. You may not feel like a 'typical bulimic' but most people do not fit the diagnosis exactly. 

My advice to you would be to begin structured eating as quickly as possible. From there, you will be able to regulate your eating and regain some of your focus and concentration. 

Keep in mind that you are not alone! Others have been through this and recovered, you can do it too!

Anonymous's picture
I had anorexia and bulimia

I had anorexia and bulimia for over 30 years. I tried everything included inpatient treatment. Nothing helped me . I joined bulimia help method on 28th of april. Please do not hesitate to do it. Of course i am scared to say i am free from bulimia as it is only just over 2 month but what i can say since that day i havent binged and purged i have followed all the steps, i feel free to eat all sort of food, i have 6 small meals a day or 3 main meals and 2 snacks. I enjoy my food and i am happy. For the first time i love myself and i am able to face all the life obstacles using my energy, mystrenght my selfconfidence. It is only 2 months so i found difficult to believe that it is going extremely well sometimes i think it is a miracle. I am sure the journey is long so far no relapse but i am prepared to face it if it should happen. Please try the method, follow it, read all the articles experiences blogs etc linked to the method. I wish all of you the same success i have experienced so far and i will be grateful to all the staff for ever. Thank youxxx

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
This is so wonderful to hear!

This is so wonderful to hear! Thank you for sharing your amazing progress! Just keep up the excellent recovery. Like you said, 2 months seems a bit early to celebrate, but why not? You are feeling better, eating more freely and enjoying your freedom from bulimia. I say, go ahead and celebrate! While the Bulimia Help Method is very effective, you're the one who has done the work. You should be very proud of yourself and your progress. Just keep moving forward toward a lifelong recovery.

cmdp's picture
Hi Jen. Thanks for sharing

Hi Jen.
Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad you are bulimia free today and can live your life til the fullest!
I found this site about 1-2 months ago and really believe that SE is the way for my recovery. Though it is really hard for me to incorporate small steps and make a plan because I know I cant eat what ever I feel like right now due to anxiety of eating. My biggest problem is that Im about 35-40 lbs overweight from my natural set point (Before getting an eating disorder I was at least 40 lbs less than now) so I am actually overweight which I know is caused by my eating since I binge more than I purge.
Do you have any advice how I can get on the road to recovery feeling OK to do SE with an aim that I also can get back in a healthy weight range again over time? Im moving to my boyfriend soon for 2-3 months. He lives in another country and my main goal with that is that I know I wont be binging like I do when living by myself. My fear is therefore also that I will use the months to eat as little as possible with only thing in my mind to lose weight. I usually do this on vacations because when being with others I dont feel the urge to binge and have enough willpower not to eat so much. But this way is also not a good way to recovery so how can I do SE with my big weight problem in mind? I hope you dont just say that I have to forget about the weight loss because that is too big a step for me right now.

Thank you a lot.


Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
Hi CMDP, It sounds like you


It sounds like you have a big adventure ahead! I do hope you can stop and enjoy it without the burden of bulimia hanging around. The more quickly you can commit to structured eating, the more freedom you will have while you travel. Your body can begin to rebalance itself and your mind can think of other things besides food and weight.

I know exactly how difficult it is to forget about your weight and size, especially with an active eating disorder pulling your mind in that direction. My advice is to really set a recovery plan. Give yourself permission to be at whatever weight your body needs to be in order to recover. Trust that you will reach your set point weight after you've recovered. You can't diet or try to lose weight while you recover. It will only hold you back. So, you don't have to forget entirely about weight loss, but do your best to focus on being healthy now. Getting back to normal eating will allow you to naturally return to your set point weight without restriction, no purging and no discomfort. You will comfortably and naturally find yourself at that weight in recovery. 

The more quickly you can achieve a healthy relationship with food, the more quickly your weight will return to its set-point. Thoughts of dieting and restriction only lead to more binge eating, which in turn leads to weight gain. Best of luck to you, and thanks for your comment!

cherry5000's picture
Just wanted to say. Ive tried

Just wanted to say. Ive tried so many times to break up with bulimia. It took over my life little by little and once a week turned into twice then daily then twice a day. I dont know when or how it took over but 12 years fly by and everything I took in would be scheduled to come right back out with in a couple min. About two years ago I accepted that it was the boss not me and any other way was not worth the time. Or somehow I deserved to suffer. It always won in my mind and I wanted it to win. Last year I tried to stop on my own. Couldnt do it. And really believed inpatient was going to be my only way out. All year I searched on and off. And this Feb I finally gave up and searched hours and hours to find this structure. This personal yet comfortable and private place. I really really love everything here. Thanks so much you guys are doing an awesome job

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