Exercise Bulimia

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Kare
Kare's picture
Exercise Bulimia

I have been suffering from exercise bulimia for 10+ years. I will admit that I tried vomiting 3 or 4 times in the past many years but it was not something I could bring myself to do, so I stuck with over exercising and food restrictions followed by many dark days of bingeing.

I am looking for others who may have had or have a similar experience and would like to connect and support one another. If you are doing well in your recovery I would love to know what has been working for you.

Today is day 1 of not exercising for 30 days so that I can get my food on track. I am scared, but I know it is the first step to recovery. I need to get rid of my method of purging and stick to my structured meal plan.

xoKare

LeaLea
LeaLea's picture
Hi, I'm also guilty of over

Hi, I'm also guilty of over exercising and will often run 3 hours a day, as well as vomiting and laxatives, so I have a lot to work on, too.

I'm not sure I can be of too much help right now with tips and so on, since I'm at the very start of trying to kick all the bad habits, but I wanted you to know that you aren't alone in this. I'll do what I can to offer support in the future if I learn any tips that can help, but for now just think of me as just someone who wants you to get through this, in the same way I do.

Lea

Kare
Kare's picture
Thank you for your response

Thank you for your response Lea, you actually made my day. I have only been on this site for 1.5 days and I got no messages, nothing, I was beginning to feel alone in a room full of people who completely understand me, that was scary. Thank you again for responding. There is nothing harder for me than giving up exercise, it almost makes me want to binge more --not sure why. I am feeling a strong urge today, very strong urge. I wish you the best with your recovery and I am here for you, thank you for being here for me too.

xoKare

recovery2014
recovery2014's picture
I suffer with the same thing.

I suffer with the same thing. The thing I suggest the most is to keep your focus on recovery. Try to think of recovery as way more important than exercise today and so much more helpful for you than bingeing. Have you implemented structured eating? It really is a safety blanket for me in terms of urges because I never starve.
I know it's really hard sometimes. Something I found helpful was doing gentle stretches or having a shower. Just letting time pass in difficult moments is progress for me. (-:
Good luck!

"According to all known laws of aviation, there's no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to lift its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway - because bees don't care what humans think is impossible."

Kare
Kare's picture
Thank you recovery2014 for

Thank you recovery2014 for your response and quote :) I am on a structured eating plan and have not been exercising for a while now, I am definitely not lacking nutrients, but my urge is so strong today. I need to work on my mind urges...I always want to start tomorrow. It is driving me nuts. Today is difficult.

xoKare

LeaLea
LeaLea's picture
Kate, I think it's hard

Kate, I think it's hard because when you stop the exercising you suddenly have all this extra time to fill and that's why it's easier to fall into the binge and purge and self destruction. I've not managed to cut my exercising yet, but I have at least replaced a "planned" binge purge I had all set for yesterday with a trip to a new doctor and a request to see a dietician AND I managed to have a semi structure to my eating, all in one day!

I've been strong one day in twenty years, big whoopee for me!! I still purged, but less so. It's not all going to be perfect from day one, I think I can accept that a little more after this last week of trying, but I am aiming for anything better than I was when I was hospitalised with this, so I set my goals small and achievable. Perfection will be to be free of an ED, so that's the ultimate goal.

Keep me posted on how you do.

Lea

LeaLea
LeaLea's picture
Sorry, I typed Kare but it

Sorry, I typed Kare but it autocorrected to Kate! Sorry!

Lea

Kare
Kare's picture
LeaLea, Thank you for your

LeaLea,

Thank you for your response. You are right, extra time but also loads of extra energy. I absolutely love exercising daily, it makes me feel good mentally, physically, emotionally etc...I just put too much pressure on myself with how much I exercise and work out routines. I need to just take a break from thinking about all that and put more energy into not bingeing. Today I am sober. I am grateful. To be honest I am not sure how I overcame my urges today. One day at a time.

xoKare

granny goat
granny goat's picture
I don't have experience with

I don't have experience with exercise bulimia, but I did just finish reading the book, "Brain Over Binge." That was how she purged, through extreme exercise. Her book is fabulous for understanding what happened in our brains to cause us to want to binge in the first place and how to correct it and put bulimia behind us for good. I was able to identify completely with what she wrote, and I'm sure anyone who suffers from exercise bulimia would find it even more helpful.

I downloaded it from Amazon.com.

Kare
Kare's picture
Thank you Granny Goat! I will

Thank you Granny Goat! I will certainly put that on my list of books to read. :)

xoKare

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
I'm so glad you brought up

I'm so glad you brought up this topic! We so often think of bulimia only in terms of binging and throwing up, but there are so many other forms of purging that don't get as much attention.

I also suffered with exercise bulimia. That is how my whole ED started- extreme exercise and restriction. Then gradually I was using diet pills and throwing up, not to mention all the weird cleanses and stuff.

Here's an article I wrote a while back on exercise bulimia: http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/what-exercise-bulimia-and-how-can-i-recover

Maybe you'll find some helpful points in there! Good luck with your journey and keep us posted how things are going!

LeaLea
LeaLea's picture
Thank you for the link, Jen.

Thank you for the link, Jen. I've found it hard knowing how to cut down without feeling guilty. It's definitely a big battle ahead, but the article helps put things in perspective.

Lea

rainbowsandunicorns
rainbowsandunicorns's picture
Wow I just realized I had

Wow I just realized I had exercise/restriction bulimia a few years ago! Then it evolved into restriction/orthorexia/ a light version of anorexia and now I'm here. That's a pretty messed up thing to find out! At the time I didn't realize this was extremely disordered behaviour.. but then I look back.. wow! It was so exhausting! But thanks to this site and the lovely people on here, I'm really positive now :D This whole experience makes me appreciate my body's ability to restore itself after everything I've done to it.

Stay strong everyone! x

LeaLea
LeaLea's picture
Thank you,

Thank you, rainbowsandunicorns! It's great to hear some positive hope from someone who's lived through the same pain, yet come out the other end with such drive and optimism! Thank you, thank you to everyone here for their shared experiences and words!

Lea

Kare
Kare's picture
Hey Jen, Thank you so much

Hey Jen,

Thank you so much for sharing that article with me. I actually feel like I am very minor with the exercise than I used to be. I think the first 2-3 years of binge eating after being anorexic are when I was obsessive with exercise. I am glad I read that article because it reminded me that exercise is important for overall health and the 30 mins I do a day is not too much at all :)

Kare

xoKare

Jemima
Jemima's picture
Hi Kare, I hope you don't

Hi Kare,

I hope you don't feel alone! I have this problem too, and feel really guilty if I don't exercise hard. It's so easy to get caught up in all the hype at the gym with people over exercising and encouraging you to do 2-3 exercise classes in a row and I feel lazy not doing it. I still exercise (more than the average jo) because I really love it (when I'm not putting pressure on myself to exercise to the extreme) and it helps to manage my sleep, moods and energy levels and gives me something to do instead of eating and purging. I can definetly relate to wanting to binge when I can't exercise. It's that "all or nothing" mentality! I just try to put it into perspective, that I'm not going to get skinny from one workout, and I'm not going to get fat from missing one workout.

I think it is still important to exercise if you really do love it, but to limit it and don't put pressure on yourself with exercise to burn a certain amount of calories or go really hard. Maybe just try to think of it as a stress reliever and focus on breathing and being present.

I hope that helps somewhat!

Jemima xx

Jemima

Kare
Kare's picture
Hey Jemima, You said it! ---

Hey Jemima,

You said it! --- "All or none" that has defined me for years. I realize it will be lots of work to find balance in life, but I am willing to work hard and try my best, never to give up.

I also find exercising to be incredible for my mind, body and soul. Instead of freaking out if I miss my exact 'routine'/planned exercise I should relax knowing that it is also healthy to give my body a break and as long as I am not binging then I should have nothing to worry about.

Ahhh good old worry, what a waste!

xoKare

Angel333
Angel333's picture
I don't think I have exercise

I don't think I have exercise Bulimia although I do think I may have exercise addiction.
Im very structured with my routine. I have my set days, workouts, classes and times all sorted and I just can't miss a workout unless I physically have to. Gym comes first then other plans come second. If I have to miss a class for any reason, then I will make up for it by doing a workout on my day off or a double workout the next day.
I don't use it as a form of purging. I do however use it as in my head I feel if I don't work out im going to lose all my fitness and toneness levels that I have spent years building up.
I may have a slight problem and it wasn't until I joined this site that I realised that.
Or is it Exercise Bulimia?? Im really not too sure now after reading this blog!
xxx

'We are each of us angels with only one wing, so we can only fly by embracing each other'

Kare
Kare's picture
Hi Angel333, Thank you for

Hi Angel333,

Thank you for sharing about yourself.

I would say that I was more of an exercise bulimic 9 years ago, perhaps for a few years. In those days I would binge and then work out for hours. I did that for a few years but the way you described yourself is exactly how I was the past few years. I was obsessed about being able to follow my exercise routine perfectly and for me, if it was not perfect, I would binge. It was an 'all or none' mentality and unfortunately I dragged exercise into it. For the past few years I actually have not been over exercising (although some days I would go for many walks after a binge - so the exercise as a purge has still been with me) I have been doing the healthy amount such as 30 mins a day. I know I mentioned in my post above that I am not working out for 30 days, I do not think that is healthy for my mind in the long run. What is important to me is that I find the middle ground with food and exercise. No more overdoing things or under doing things. Food will be much trickier, but exercise should not be too difficult. I have thrown my exercise routine out the window. I am healing my body, mind and spirit by making sure I take a few days off a week and do some positive affirmations around body image. It is hard to let go of how I am used to doing things, but if I do not make changes I will not change. It is time for me to change, to live, to be free of this disorder.

All the best to you and your recovery.

xoKare

lunadelun
lunadelun's picture
I suffer from this too and it

I suffer from this too and it is only recently that my body has decided it cannot keep up and now I have very little ways of purging after binges. I'm hoping this program works. I really want to get better.

Kare
Kare's picture
Hey Lunadelun, This program

Hey Lunadelun,

This program does work! Since reading the handbook and putting the program into practice I have progressed so much in my recovery. It started with my thoughts, they changed, they became more hopeful and positive and that has had a huge impact on my actions. I trust the program, I follow the structured eating plan. My binges have gotten smaller, less frequent and my exercise is limited to 30mins a day. I feel great. I have relapsed since being on this site, but I have accepted it as a part of recovery and that acceptance has allowed me to progress further. Wishing you a peaceful day in recovery :)

xoKare

sanjogkaur
sanjogkaur's picture
This is so helpful! I notice

This is so helpful!
I notice this thread is a little old, but in so glad I found it. I recently set a new recovery goal to reduce my exercise time. Exercise has being a crazy purging method for me. At one point in my life I used to exercise four to five hours a day to burn out every single calorie in my body. Then I stopped because I had no energy but i gained so much weight (te hinges continued happening) and returned to that and other forms of purging.
I've being running for an hour every day for a while and a few months ago I replaced that for walking...but two hours which is still too much!
Now I've set myself to walk only ine hoe and a half a day and hopefully get that down to 40 minutes in the future.
I find very useful to think that our bodies are always working and burning calories, that we don't need to force that into our bodies because we do that naturally. Jen explained to me that even when we sleep our body is working in so many things, and it needs energy for that. It's wonderful to think that way.
I love to move and sweat and I discovering that that is one of the reasons I like to exercise...so little by little I'm trying to find activities that help me move and sweat as opposed to simply "burn food".
Also, it helps me to recognize when I've forced my body too much. I know because I feel exhausted and in pain. From the recognition of that, it took me a while to actually decide to make a change...haha but hey! Recognition and acceptance is always the first step. So for a while I would still exercise a lot and always repeat to myself: I over exercised...this is something I want to change! And as strange as it sounds...after repeating that for weeks after exercising, I managed to decrease my exercise session by half hour!!
Anyway...recovery can be such a creative process...
Love to all!

Natalia

Kare
Kare's picture
Hey Natalia, Thank you for

Hey Natalia,

Thank you for sharing.

The tricky thing is that exercise is so good for us. So cutting it out for a few days for me was not good. I just need to focus on moderation. Now I only do 30 minutes a day and things have been much better. I am still tempted to exercise after some meals but I know I need to stop purging if I want to break the bulimia cycle. I now focus on my goal which is recovery, not the size of my body.

It is great that you have cut down on excessive exercise. Good for you! Progress rocks!

xoKare

lunadelun
lunadelun's picture
I'm eating plenty now to not

I'm eating plenty now to not binge out of physical needs and have also gone back to vegetarianism from veganism because I went into veganism in the depths of my ED. It's helpful to have more "options" for food and not feel deprived (some guilt there about the animals). But stress and anxiety trigger me quite a bit. I had a "controlled" binge last night and I just binged 15 minutes ago.

I really don't know if I can recover from this. It feels so ingrained now. I just. I don't know.

I'm thinking of taking it one meal at a time (of slow, mindful eating) but being around food is triggering right now since I just relapsed. Sigh...

This is such a terrible way to live. EDs and all. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Kare
Kare's picture
Dear Lunadelun, Thank you for

Dear Lunadelun,
Thank you for your comment, I am going to write you a message on your wall to make sure you get it :)

xoKare

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