Unique Bulimia Recovery Strategies

Catherine Liberty's picture

This week I thought it would be a great idea for us to talk about some interesting and unique recovery strategies that members of Bulimia Help have developed on the spot.

These are spontaneous strategies that some of our members have found useful during challenging situations, or times when they hadn’t anticipated facing triggering situations.

This is a great opportunity to get a little insight into some spur of the moment strategies that have actually helped people to avoid episodes of relapse during bulimia recovery...

I really believe that reading about others experiences in recovery can be so invaluable because although all of our journeys can be very different, we often face many common challenges and we certainly share many common goals.

I know during my own recovery I was always eager to learn from others, especially when it came to “recovery strategies”.

Learning to strategize quickly is a valuable recovery skill

While it’s always better to plan your strategies ahead of time, it’s also useful to develop the ability to think up new and strange techniques that you can use in order to avoid relapse as you go along.

This is important because no matter how well prepared you are, there will always be times when you find yourself caught-out or triggered out of the blue. The decisions you make in those few moments really can mean the difference between staying on track and relapsing.

Now let’s get creative!

I got the idea for this week’s theme after stumbling across an old blog of mine from 2010 – I called it “strategy one million”.

In that blog I shared a unique strategy I had used in order to help me overcome the urge to binge and purge and I also asked other members if they had ever come up with different and random methods that had helped them to stop bingeing or purging.

I had written about how I was overwhelmed by the urge to overeat as my husband was about to leave leftovers on his plate and also leave me in the house alone with them.

In this case I had quickly strategized and actually ended up asking my husband to flush away his leftovers so there was absolutely no way I could eat them.

As I said in my blog, as hard as it can be to admit I didn’t even trust myself to not take the food back out of the bin so I knew I had to completely get it out of the house.

I felt so vulnerable at that stage I couldn’t even think about flushing his left overs myself so I had to face up to any embarrassment my request may have caused.

Potential embarrassment is a small price to pay if it helps you to avoid relapsing

After sharing what I thought was a unique and quite strange strategy I realized that people in recovery often come up with creative ways to make recovery-focused choices and decisions.

One member shared a very inventive thing that she used to make 100% sure she would not be tempted to overeat or binge on leftovers. She told me:

This may sound yucky, but I used to empty our cat's litter box right on top of the food in the trash. There was no way I would try to get it out then.


Another member also shared this unique strategy story with me:

I saw someone once squirt fairy liquid all over their food which makes it totally inedible…when she went into overdrive preparing food, once she calmed down from her frantic cooking she stopped in her tracks, realised what she was doing and quickly squirted fairy all over it.


One day in recovery I was so close to relapsing by bingeing on cakes that my friend had brought around that I took the remaining cakes, opened my front door and threw them right out into the snowy street.

My friend presumed they had all been eaten and no one questioned their disappearance. I felt horrible for doing that, but at the same time I felt proud that I was able to act quickly and put my recovery first.

This week, or the next time you find yourself feeling overly vulnerable don't be afraid to take somewhat drastic action to protect yourself from relapse

Know that even if you don’t have a plan or strategy, you might just be able to come up with something creative just in time to ward off a relapse.

If putting recovery first means acting a little strangely or doing things that you consider to be “weird” at best then know that’s okay too!

If you have any wacky or random strategies that you've used to avoid a relapse in recovery then we'd love to hear about them at Bulimia Help!


JulesQ's picture
Oh I love this!!! I've got

Oh I love this!!!
I've got some to help you not cave & buy those binge foods; I can't claim as my own, but I can thank my recovery buddies I met on Bulimia Help :-)

I was at the supermarket and realised that I had spent 45mins walking the isles petrified of putting anything in my basket because all I was looking at was binge food. I realised I was PLANNING TO BINGE!
I was frozen. I couldn't move. I knew I couldn't just leave the supermarket - my will power was not that strong & all sorts of binge urges were calling. So I text 'the girls' from Bulimia Help.

In 60 seconds I had everything I needed to plan an escape from the supermarket & go home binge food free.

One sent:
"Head to the sanitary isle. Read the back of all the different tampon and panty liner boxes. It will break your chain of thought & what you read won't make you want those binge foods!"

Another sent:
"If you can break your thoughts somehow (*see above!*), exit the supermarket and don't feel obliged to talk or make eye contact with anyone, just get out of there quickly & quietly. Leave the car & use the walk home to calm down so that when you get home, you'll not rush to binge on what's in the freezer"

A third recovery buddy sent:
"Call me when you start approaching the exit. I'll talk too much to keep your thoughts focused on buying anything at the checkout."
We ended up talking whilst I walked home. We both had a laugh, a bit of a cry, and a laugh again.

I can't thank Bulimia Help enough for introducing me to my recovery buddies. I know EXACTLY where that night would have gone if I had been left to my own devices!
Spontaneous strategies rock!!!
JQ, xx

somethings are more important than fear

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Jules! Oh these are great,

Hi Jules!

Oh these are great, thank you so much for sharing them here :)

freetofly's picture
I have to have a plan ahead

I have to have a plan ahead of time or else I make excuses to just have "one bite". Sugar is like a drug for me. The insulin rush, the intense desire to eat more of it and faster, and then this flooding of my brain with seratonin (a reaction from eating sugar and refined carbs). After I have thrown it up, I feel a relaxed calm followed by guilt and shame. I read in an article once to soak your binge food in water. Just throw it in the sink and make it mush. If you have a garbage disposal-- even better. Shove that food down there!

Free to Fly

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Adriene, what a great tip

Hi Adriene, what a great tip about putting binge food in water, I never thought about that, thank you so much for sharing!

I completely understand the "just one bite" mentality. Sometimes it's fine, but if you know you're not at a stage to trust yourself not to binge then it can be dangerous to move away from your structured eating plan like that.

I think these kinds of strategies are great for times when you hear yourself saying "just one bite" or when those binge urges first awaken. I know as I learned to become more mindful of my actions and feelings in recovery I realized there was a tiny window, maybe just a few seconds inbetween those feelings where I could take action to avoid slipping up - like flushing food, or throwing it out into the snow and so on.

:) x x

scarlet dahlia
scarlet dahlia's picture
Here are my tops: 1) Baking

Here are my tops:

1) Baking soda. I would dump it all over food I was about to binge on.
2) Soap it.
3) Compost it. Yuck. I CANNOT eat food that has just been placed on decomposing matter.
4) With ice cream, many times, I threw it in the sink and rinsed it down the drain. I would do this very rapidly before even thinking. Not great for your drains, but better than eating it and purging! Liquid foods and mushy foods can often be "drained," too.
5) Give it away to someone else. Once I gave away my restaurant leftovers to a homeless man who needed food. He was so happy he froze there and stared at me with blissful disbelief. I'll give things to friends or coworkers or strangers before thinking about it. Then I enjoy the pleasure of giving.
6)Trashing something in a trash that's far from where I live or unreachable. I'm way too unwilling to go all the way back to get it, especially if it's in a disgusting dumpster (gross and unsanitary!).
7) Flush it (before eating it, not after, obviously) if it's flushable.

It is the animate earth that speaks. Human speech is but a part of that vaster discourse. --David Abram, "Spell of the Sensuous"

kbdelia's picture
these are all really helpful

these are all really helpful guys, im going to check this article frequently for sure.

"I have held many things in my hands and lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -- Martin Luther

scarrollanton's picture
I have done many of the

I have done many of the methods mentioned and it often helped. I'm not good at calling people and most likely never would. I never ask for anyone's help except my husbands when I'm really desperate.the ten minute rule is also helpful. Lamby

scarrollanton's picture
Have tried most of these

Have tried most of these strategies with much success. Why isn't Lamby posted as my name?

DOkkamjong's picture
Loved this!!! We always have

Loved this!!! We always have some leftovers in the fridge. It must be because of our belief that it is wasting if we put them into bin. But like you said ''RECOVERY FIRST!'' I am going to throw them before eating if I sense it will be a trigger after :))) OMG I am so happy :)))

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