The bulimic mindset explained

Richard Kerr's picture

Evidence suggest a bulimic mindset develops from a diet!

Diets come with rules and regulations that must be followed in order for them to work. But, we can't possibly live a life by rules for what to eat and when, as eating is instinctive.

Rules will only keep breaking and when they do it results in a failed diet, with this more and more rules are made with each failed diet attempt. Rules like "I must try harder", "this time I will stay away from chocolate and sweets". "This time I will not eat such and such" etc...

Dietary restrictions can end up developing into a rigid and harmful way of thinking about food. This sparks the development of a 'bulimic mindset'.

So what happens?

As it grows it changes the way we view food. No longer is food just food, it now gets split into categories of 'good' or 'bad'. The way we see food gets distorted, misguided and unreasonable, then we are guaranteeing an unsatisfying and incredibly exhausting relationship with food.

Have you ever thought of food as 'bad' or 'forbidden'? You are not alone! Plenty of dieters and bulimics start to view food this way. After months or even years of trying to avoid certain foods it becomes even harder to refrain yourself from eating it.

You no longer think, "do I want a slice of cake?", instead it becomes "can I avoid eating a slice of cake?" or "can I resist the temptation/urge?"

The Bulimic mind set can lead to the internal question changing from "do I want X"? Instead it  becomes "can I resit X"?

Beliefs about what it fattening usually base around the latest fad diet or diet information published in magazines. This causes further harm to our thought patterns. It creates more diet rules to stick to. The more rules we have the better we become at breaking them.

Do you binge if you break a diet rule? Do you think you have failed, even if you only marginally overstepped your line?

The bulimic & diet thought process...

I personally think we have become a nation riddled with guilt after eating. It's not only people with eating disorders who experience guilt. Pressure surrounds non-dieters who also feel guilty after eating.

'Guilt' or no guilt' associations slapped on foods are common. In fact a whole routine of diet thoughts can start running rampant in our minds and continue in chaos for many years.

Do you have diet thoughts that surround you before and after eating? When was the last time you stopped to pay attention to these thoughts? Many have lived with them for so long they have forgot they are even there.

Did you know...?

In a random study involving 2,075 adults, 45% of these adults said they felt guilty after eating!

Most dieters are able to generate the same amount of guilt eating a small piece of chocolate cake as they would lying or stealing.

When eating a 'bad' food type, it's also common for dieters to experience feelings of instant failure of 'being bad' and guilty. This guilt is enough to generate a binge.


Typical diet thoughts & faulty beliefs!!

  • Sweets are bad
  • Fat is bad
  • I should not eat in the evening
  • Don’t eat lunch
  • I should skip breakfast
  • Dairy is bad
  • Bread is fatting
  • Salad is good
  • Must not eat carbs.

Dieters start to hold these thoughts in place until it becomes super-glued to the inside of their skull. Thoughts can become so ingrained that it can take ages to peal them off.

My diet thoughts used to criticize  my body every time I ate, this kept  food and my body at war".

Going on a diets causes mental and physical deprivation

Dieting means restricting food. When food is restricted your body becomes mentally and physically deprived.

Food deprivation leads to food obsession and food pre-occupation. Your mind and body start thinking it's missing out on something good or something it needs. So, it continually thinks about food... suddenly - bang!... you binge.

What happens when we binge? We start to punish ourselves even more through more purging or another bout of starvation. This leads to further binging and the viscous cycle continues.


No-one likes feeling guilty and no-one likes feeling deprived, put two and two together equals another binge.

It's your choice to 'break free' from bulimia!

Yes.. I am talking to you.  You have the choice to 'break' free from your bulimic mentality or allow it to continue...

Let's face it, no-one enjoys living with the continual burden of dieting, i.e. food thoughts swimming around upstairs, living in cycles of binging and purging. Everyone wants to 'be free' to eat what they want, when they want it. Eating this way is far more satisfying!

I understand... after years living with a diet mentality it can seem impossible to ditch or think about food in any other way. Perhaps you belief that your next diet will work. You need to ask yourself, what happens when it fails? For most people, when a diet fails they resort to binging & purging then embark on another diet.

Dieting and bulimia does not help weight loss, it does the exact opposite, It's causing weight gain. Not only this, it's causing food and body conflict up and down the country.

So what do I do about it?

It's time to make a start at becoming aware of all diet thoughts that run through your head. This is easy. Simply 'be aware' and take a mental note when it happens. An example: "I need to restrict my eating" - be aware if this thought - or thoughts like it and write them down.

SPOT THE THOUGHT AND BE AWARE IT EXISTS, that's all you have to do for the time being.

By doing this you are starting to train your mind. You will become your very own thought detective searching for all your diet thoughts that linger and lurk in the corner of your mind.

Summary of the problem

  • Diets are all the same, they are usually based on a set of rules that you have to follow to make them work
  • Sometimes these rules can be hidden behind being 'good' or 'healthy eating'
  • Foods tend to be broken into 'good' or 'bad' categories
  • Bulimia mindset means being stuck in an ‘all or nothing trap’ going continuously from one extreme to another
  • Rules are meant to be broken. Trying to stick to them always leads to disappointment
  • We tell ourselves that willpower is the key. However willpower will never work, no one has enough willpower to stick to a diet or maintenance plan forever
  • If you impose a set of rules you will be finding a way of breaking them
  • Deprivation and 'being good' are simply unattainable for a long-term goals and long-term eating plan
  • Diets trap us in endless yo-yoing of success and failure, losing pounds then gaining them again
  • Diets are impossible to follow, the diet mentality requires us to be perfect, but perfection does not work as a long term eating plan
  • Diet mentality means no slip ups are allowed. Slip ups will always happen, therefore disappointment and failure will always follow
  • By splitting foods into 'good' or 'bad' categories you are only feeding your next binge.

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.


Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.