Strategies to help you stop purging

Catherine Liberty's picture

So many of us remain trapped in destructive cycles of bulimia because we are convinced that purging helps us to lose - or at least “maintain” our weight.

If you’re already a member of Bulimia Help and have read through our extensive resource on bulimia and purging or if you have accessed our free week long bulimia recovery course then you should already have a better understanding of the reasons why purging just doesn’t work.

When I first joined Bulimia Help back in 2009, at my worst I was purging around 20 times a day.

Purging made me feel terrible but I continued to do it regardless…

I knew the reasons not to purge, I knew all of the purging side effects and I knew that purging made me feel dreadful - really dreadful. I’d sometimes wonder why I was so tired after purging, now the answer is obvious.

Lack of nutrients, dehydration, erratic blood sugar levels and then of course the emotional exhaustion that accompanies all of those factors.

A great thing about recovery is that you really have your eyes opened to the realities of bulimia for the very first time!

(Bulimia Recovery)

Five things I didn’t know about purging…

1. I didn’t know that no matter how quickly I purged my body would fight to hold onto calories.
2. I didn’t realise that no matter how much I restricted my body would fight to maintain my weight by slowing my metabolism and storing anything I did eat as fat.
3. I didn’t know that if I stopped purging my urge to binge would dramatically reduce.
4. I didn’t realise that purging was never and had never helped me to control my weight (even though it seems obvious now).
5. I didn’t realise it was very possible to stop purging. 

When you start to Realise that…

Purging does NOT work
Purging will NOT reduce your weight.
Purging ONLY encourages MORE bingeing

It can make it much easier to contemplate stopping.

Of course it’s not just as simple as saying “I will never purge again.” - In fact that’s something you should never say.

purging and bulimia

Here are some of my favourite purge-reduction strategies:

4 Strategies that will help you to stop purging

1. Create a new after meal routine
In other words when you finish eating find a way to distract yourself. Find an activity you can at least mildly occupy yourself with so that you won’t obsess over what you have just eaten or how full your stomach feels.

This could be anything at all, write in your journal, tidy your bedroom take the dog for a walk, call a friend - anything that can take your mind of purging!

It will feel difficult to impossible at first, but it does get easier with time.

2. Don’t drink too much during meal times
Of course it is essential that you keep yourself hydrated but you may wish to try avoiding drinking all together during meal times just until you are more comfortable with keeping food in your stomach again. This reduces the volume in your stomach and helps you to feel less full.

3. Don’t have any excuse to visit the bathroom after eating
Try to make sure that there is no reason for you to visit the bathroom for at least 30 minutes to an hour after your meal because sometimes just seeing the visual trigger of the toilet can push you over the edge.

4. Don’t say you’re never going to purge again
Absolute statements like that just add too much pressure onto your recovery. Of course it would be nice to just stop purging and never purge again but the reality of recovery is usually far from that.

It’s important to accept that no one recovers “perfectly” relapses will happen. (Bulimia Relapse)

1 comment

DOkkamjong's picture
Thank you Catherine. I

Thank you Catherine. I realized that visiting bathroom after eating is a powerful trigger... It is like the toilet itself is calling for me and I have this habit of looking into myself in the mirror and check how my stomache get bigger after I eat... I wont visit or check myself in the mirrors after eating again :))

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