Can you recover from bulimia?

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When you have bulimia you can feel so trapped and helpless that it can be impossible to ever imagine breaking free. Some people may find it hard to remember a time when they didn’t have bulimia or at least some form of disordered eating.

When you’ve lived most of your life having a very unhealthy relationship with food the prospect of recovery can be seriously overwhelming.

Others may be of the mind-set that “no one ever really recovers from bulimia” or at least recovery “only happens for other people”.

Bulimia creates such a sense of hopelessness that suffers can be lead to believe that recovery is not even an option for them but -  that is just not true!

Everyone has the ability to recover from bulimia, no matter how long they have suffered for


So to answer the question “Does full recovery from bulimia really exist?” – YES, it truly does!

We can ALL make a 100% recovery! (Bulimia Help Member, 2011)

To help you understand the realities of recovery a little better let's first explore some of the "recovery confusion" that is often responsible for warping people’s perceptions of what true recovery looks like.

Recovery confusion...

Despite the fact that so many people are making full and life-long recoveries from bulimia and other eating disorders, a lot of confusion in regards to the actualities of recovery still remains.

This confusion can come from many different places:

  1. People who don’t really understand how to recover from bulimia may tell others that it is too hard or impossible to recover but this is just because they don’t understand the steps that need to be taken.
  2. People who don’t understand that recovery is a gradual process that takes AT LEAST 6-12 months may feel like recovery is something they will need to work at forever. But this is just because they need to give it a little more time first.
  3. People who don’t understand that relapse is a normal part of recovery may fuel this confusion. Relapses can happen at any stage of recovery and it’s still quite common to experience them even after the 6 month mark. But this is just because it takes time for binge urges to be beaten forever. 
  4. People who believe they have recovered when they actually still have a little way to go can talk about still struggling with poor body image or occasional binge urges. This can give others the wrong impression of full recovery.

Let’s clear this up right now...

Recovery IS hard.
Recovery is a gradual process and DOES take time.
Recovery comes with a lot of ups and downs.


Recovery is NOT a life-long battle.

With enough dedication and perseverance every single person has the ability to fully recover – FOR LIFE.

Why do some people continually say recovery is "too hard" or "impossible?"

One of the main reasons is that a lot of people don't understand the recovery process and try to beat bulimia using willpower alone.

When you just rely on willpower you are not working to remove the urges and desires to binge and purge you are simply fighting against them.

Try using willpower to stop breathing - It is impossible; eventually your body will override it. 

During recovery if you never learn how to remove those compulsions and urges then of course you could be under the impression that recovery would be something you needed to work at every day. 

At Bulimia Help we teach our members the practical steps that they need to take in order to completely overcome those urges and remove bulimia from their lives forever.

The way I see it is if you take an active part in your recovery and commit 100% then you will achieve a full recovery. period. The tools are right here and this program works. (Bulimia Help Member, 2011)

How long does recovery take?

We ask our members to give recovery least 6 months because when you’ve been living in a constant state of distressed hunger it takes time for your body to re-balance.

However, it can for some take up to a year or more for people to build confidence around food and to deeply believe that their bulimia is fully gone, forever.  

That may see like a very long time but remember:

  • This is not about quick fixes.
  • This is about recovery for life!

Try to not feel disheartened by the amount of time it may take to fully recover by keeping the bigger picture in mind. 

You DO start to notice the benefits of recovery almost immediately.

At the start it felt like recovery was taking forever. Two years on I am completely recovered from bulimia and I can tell you it was worth every second. I’d do it 100 times over if I had to, I can’t even put into words how mind-blowingly incredible recovery is. (Bulimia Help Member, 2011)


What does it mean to be fully recovered?

Full recovery means complete freedom from all of the behaviours, compulsions, thoughts and feelings that you associate with bulimia.

When you are fully recovered from bulimia you “no longer crave, desire or want to binge”; you never feel the urge to purge and you are able to truly love and appreciate your body and yourself.

When you are fully recovered you are finally the one who is in control – you are not simply a slave to your bulimia.

Being fully recovered means you don’t have to give food or weight or size or any of those things a second thought because they don’t rule your life anymore. Food is food and nothing more.

I didn’t have to worry about trying to guess when I was fully recovered anymore because when it happened I knew it – you will too! It was undeniable freedom, it’s the point when you realise that living bulimia-free is the most natural thing in the world. It’s the real moment where you realise you don’t have to work hard to recover anymore because you have recovered. (Bulimia Help Member, 2011)


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.


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