Don't know how to cope with "side effects" of recovery

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LeaLea's picture
Don't know how to cope with "side effects" of recovery

Hi, my name is Lea and I've had eating disorders for 20 years. I'm now almost 37. Over half of my life wasted. I'm tired, frustrated and sick of it. I was hospitalised last year for anorexia and have since had bulimia to cope with "appearing normal". I hate myself. I wNt to get rid of bulimia, but bloating, weight gain and puffiness all stop me within days of trying. I only have to eat fruit to be bloated. How do I keep going when I feel so bad to start with?


Shmeltron's picture
Lea, I am so glad you found


I am so glad you found your way to this site. We are all going through this together, we may just be at different stages, but we ALL started out feeling how you are feeling. It SUCKS, but I promise it gets better. It gets better quickly, too! I saw so much change within the first week, it was amazing. Now I am almost a month in and I can't believe how different I look. I know exactly how frustrated and angry you feel with the timeframe for recovery. BUT, if you chose to start NOW, then you nly have one bad week or two to get through. Think about the damage you are reversing on your body. Some swelling now sure beats dying of an esophageal tear or cancer. Give yourself a bit of tough love and avoid the mirror. Try to read or distract yourself by writing here. I know you can do it!


Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
Kelly is absolutely right!

Kelly is absolutely right! The very worst part of recovery is so often the beginning stage where your body feels bloated and uncomfortable. I know for me, this part was very miserable too, but it does go away! Some tips I've got are to 1. Get plenty of sleep   2. Stay hydrated but don't drink too much during meals. Maybe try a glass of water between meals and snacks   3. Be active but don't over exercise. If you go for a nice walk or do some easy yoga, it can help you get back in touch with your body and help you overcome that bloating feeling. Too much exercise only makes you feel really hungry and tired, more likely to binge.

No matter what, stay with recovery! I know its not easy, but you can do this! You will be so glad that you didn't give up when things got difficult.

LeaLea's picture
Thank you, Kelly and Jen. You

Thank you, Kelly and Jen. You are both terrific for replying so quickly and giving me encouragement. I feel torn between giving in and going on. I get halted by the thought of seeing people, especially at work and stop trying to recover. It's easier to present to people without feeling bloated and fat.

How do you cope with things like going to work or going out in public? I have the most amazing boyfriend who has a lot of lovely friends, but I turn down going out with them, even things I know I'll enjoy because I can't stand them to see me. Did you just carry on with day to day stuff like work and going out when you felt bloated and fat? Sorry for being blunt and probably sounding nosy, too, I don't mean to pry, so don't feel you have to share the personal stuff.


granny goat
granny goat's picture
Hi Lea, I hope you don't mind

Hi Lea,

I hope you don't mind if I put in my two cents worth (or whatever that amounts to in your currency).

The words that popped out to me in your post were "feeling bloated and fat." That is all inside you. Chances are no one else would ever perceive you as bloated and fat. When we are young, we waste a lot of time worrying about what others are thinking of us. When we get older, we discover that 99% of the time no one was thinking of us at all, at least not in the way you are talking about.

Because I long ago lost the ability to empty my stomach completely, my bingeing has caused me to be quite overweight. But I came to a point where I decided that I was not going to let my feelings about my weight stop me from doing anything. I looked around and saw other overweight women who did not seem bothered by it, who dressed well and interacted well with other people and generally enjoyed life. I decided to just be my best self, to take care of my face and hair and dress well and appropriately and enjoy being with other people.

If you think about it, what attracts us to people deeply is their personality and attitudes, not their looks. Granted, there is an initial interest if someone is very good looking, but if they act in an ugly way, that interest turns to avoidance. After making one's self look the best one can, it is best to focus on the kind of person one wants to be.

People are drawn to a loving, kind, empathetic person, one who is interested in learning about others--their likes and dislikes, their family, their background, their occupation and hobbies, their plans for the future, what they are proudest of. If you can forget about yourself and how you feel about yourself and focus on others in this way, you will enjoy your associations far more and people will enjoy you as well.

Even if you really are a little bloated and fat (and don't just feel that you are), that won't matter to other people. It takes effort at first to be less self-conscious and more conscious of others, but you will enjoy life a lot more.

LeaLea's picture
Thank you, granny goat. I

Thank you, granny goat. I read one of your posts a day or two ago about being the oldest bulimic and I wanted to respond, but felt too new and with not enough "experience" in actual recovery, just the long, hard sickness of it. But, I'm inclined to think you are kind, giving and big hearted, with lots of love in you. I'm very grateful for your encouraging words and wish you the best in your recovery, too. I hope you have many happy years of bulimia free life.


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