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Bulimia Recovery #26 - How To Reach Your Natural Weight & Beat Bulimia
March 25, 2012
How to Reach Your Natural Weight Without Bulimia!
When I was suffering from bulimia, I had no idea what my natural weight was. I thought that bulimia - or purging at least, was the only thing that kept me slim. Deep down I thought that if I stopped purging, my weight would balloon out of control.
When I finally achieved my first week without binging or purging, I thought this was confirmed. I gained what was for me back then - a terrifying amount of weight in just one week. Around 11 pounds! I could feel the blood draining from my face - I felt like I was going to feint. "11 pounds" I cursed over and over again "What the f***!"
I felt like I had to choose between bulimia and obesity! I imagined gaining 11 pounds each week indefinitely and this thought almost made me throw in the towel.
I had been dealing with eating disorders in some way or another since I was 8 years old, so I had no idea what my natural weight was. I thought that I had messed my digestive system up so badly that even if my natural weight was something I could accept - I'd probably never reach it because my metabolism was ruined.
Somehow through all these terrifying thoughts, I managed to push forward with my recovery. And I am SO glad that I did!
What I discovered is that our bodies are far more resilient than we give them credit for...
Treat your body with love and nourish it with enough food - and it will thank you in beautiful ways!
It took many months - close to a year - before I felt like my digestive system and metabolism had returned to normal. But a year was a tiny price to pay in the scheme of things :)
After that initial weight gain there was hardly any more - and quite quickly, I settled at my natural weight... Which I have remained at now for 6 years.
Am I happy with my natural set weight?
Yes - most days I am. Of course, occasionally I'll look in the mirror and wish away a few dimples or frown at my inner thighs...
But I also have days when I catch a glance of myself and think "Wow, you're sexy" - Now that's something I NEVER thought when I was 11 pounds lighter and stuck in bulimia!
That's the beauty of reaching your natural set weight... Your body has so much energy and you feel so healthy... This shines from the inside out and you can't help but be grateful for this wonderful 'vehicle' you've been given to experience life!
Reaching your natural weight is something to strive for and be excited about... Even if that means you might have to gain a few pounds.
The KEY part of reaching your natural set weight - Allowing yourself to eat!
Food obsession and dieting come hand in hand. It is only when you allow yourself to eat all foods without guilt, that you will be released form the prison of bulimia.
So long as you are telling yourself "this food is bad" or "this food is good" or "If I eat this, I HAVE to purge" - you will feel drawn to your forbidden foods like a moth to a lamp!
I know this to be true from my own life experiences...
When I was bulimic, a chocolate drink we get here in New Zealand called MILO was a "BAD" food on my list. When I was trying to diet, Milo was off-limits. When I began bingeing and purging uncontrollably, Milo was one of my favorite binge foods. I would always try and tell myself "NO, you can't have Milo" - but it never worked - I would binge on it over and over again...
In fact, my milo binges were so severe that at my high school job, a message was posted in the staff room accusing "One of the staff" of emptying milo tins into containers and stealing the milo! That never happened... I was the one who would eat it - secretively - when nobody was there. I would eat it in such huge quantities that a tin which should have lasted ALL of the staff a month would be gone in on day. I felt so ashamed of it - but my NEED for milo could not be satisfied!
As I worked on my recovery, I allowed myself to have a milo every night - if I wanted one... Which of course I did! However, I was not allowed to throw it up. Gradually, as time passed into recovery I got used to the idea that I was allowed milo whenever I wanted it. A year after that and I pretty much stopped drinking milo altogether - I simply didn't like it! Now, 6 years on, if I have one milo a year, it would be a lot! I genuinely do not like the taste of it... The only reason I used to binge on it was because my dieting mentality told me "You're not allowed it!"
The more we deprive ourselves of something, the more we want it.
The more we give ourselves total permission to eat whatever we want... The more we are able to listen to our bodies true needs and reach our natural set weight!
You might be thinking "Heck no, if I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted - I would never stop!"
Yes, I can totally see how you would feel this way - I used to think the same thing! And that is where structured eating is so helpful in early recovery. It gives you a structure to work around while adding in all the foods you have forbidden and then binged on in the past.
Honor your health AND your taste buds!
Of course eating nourishing foods full of vitamins and minerals is important for good health and energy. This is why I suggest you honor your health when you plan your structured meals...
What highly nourishing foods do you enjoy that you could add into your plan? Maybe it's fruit, maybe it's salads, maybe it's nuts and seeds. Maybe it's something else... But honor your health by planning to eat these foods every day.
Equally as important as honoring your health is honoring your taste buds! If you fail to honor these little lumps of flesh at the back of your throat, you'll feed deprived and binge urges may strike. If you please them at different times throughout the day, slowly but surely, the binge urges will leave you.
Normally I suggest adding in at least one, if not 2 foods per day that are really tasty. They can have no nutritional benefits at all... that's completely okay! They give you satisfaction, which is so important.
In my recovery, I added in a small chocolate bar every night after dinner. I would eat it slowly and savour it... I really loved this special time because, for so long, chocolate had been a 'bad' food! Now it was a food I was allowed and I was making sure I enjoyed it and got as much satisfaction out of it as possible. Of course at the beginning, I wasn't able to keep large quantities of these foods in the house as I'd feel the urges to eat them all at once... So I would buy single serve portions and allow myself to eat the whole thing.
As time went on, I was able to buy king size bars of chocolate and leave them in the fridge without thinking of them constantly... But after years of trying to deprive myself of these foods, of course this took time!
Be patient with yourself - it will happen...
And as it happens, you'll find yourself listening to your body and choosing what you truly want to eat - not what years of deprivation is telling you to eat!
This is when you'll settle at your natural set weight without any effort at all.
This is when you have escaped from the dieting mentality and you can live in total freedom!
Trusting your body will bring a beautiful peace into your life... A peace that is out-of-this-world awesome!
I have this peace now and I know, without the tiniest doubt in my mind... That you can have it too!
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P.S. A BIG hello and warm welcome to the latest recovery warriors in The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community... Kate, Jennifer, Nicole, Cate, Kmb, Felicity, Jodi, Laura and Deanna! It's SO awesome to have you girls as part of our community! I'm looking forward to walking this journey to recovery with you :)
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