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Battling Guilt

by AnneMousseau
(Portland, OR USA)

I fought bulimia for seven years - starting college, freshman year, when my grandfather pointed out my freshman fifteen by pinching my cheeks and calling me chubby. I was absolutely mortified and suddenly self conscience of my body.

And that's when I started to diet. And with the diet came the purging. I'd purge whenever I felt the guilt of having eaten what I considered in my mind as "too much", sometimes restricting my diet to less than x calories a day, all the while exercising at least an hour a day. I found that the more I restricted and the more that I exercised, the better I felt about myself.

The turning point came just when my obsession with binging and purging was at its peak. I had spent the prior year training for a half marathon and had welded my body into a lean runner's body. I was running on average 30 miles a week (I'd run 13 miles every Sat morning), going to an hour long advanced yoga session each day, and on top of all that, spending an hour at the gym each day. Yet, I was eating like a mouse. My body was craving nourishment (there were plenty of runs where my body was screaming in pain and fatigue), but I wouldn't listen because *apparently it made me feel better about myself to deprive my body of nourishment and energy*.

My bulimia spiraled out of control and my quality of life plummeted. My binges were lasting longer and I was starting to see definite signs of wear and tear on my body. Furthermore, I was an emotional . I reached out to my family and my boyfriend. But my mind was utterly obsessed with food and nothing I did could stop the addiction.

Then I decided I'd give counseling a try. I, like many out there, always classified myself as different than the typical bulimic and therefore I was above needing counseling since I'd be able to quit on my own. Yeah, that had worked. So I saw a therapist.

By this time, I had dwindled away to X lbs (5'9"). For once in my life, I looked in the mirror and was disgusted with how skinny I had gotten. I looked anorexic, not like a runner. My veins bulged, my joints protruded out awkwardly, my face looked jaunt and hollow. But try as I might, i couldn't keep enough food down to actually gain any more weight. That was how strong a grip guilt had on me.

In my second therapy appointment, my therapist delved into this guilt and asked me the toughest question I'd been asked: Why the guilt?

Yeah? Why DID I feel guilty when I ate a cookie or a bagel or a piece of toast, etc? Who was causing WHO to feel guilty???!! Yep, I was causing myself to feel guilty. This all came clear to me in a yoga class a week after that appt. It had gotten to the point where I could barely eat anything without it being tainted with guilt, and this was all because my mind had developed this skewed relationship between restricting food and heightened self-esteem. This realization resulted in me walking out of the studio a completely changed woman. I loved my body, X lbs or X lbs, it didn't matter. And my 7 year diet was over. Bulimia had been my crutch for the guilty conscience, but now that I no longer had the guilt, I no longer needed a crutch. And in that round-a-bout way, I FINALLY BEAT BULIMIA!

I now eat to fuel my life instead of having my life revolve around food. Life is fantastic without the burden of an eating disorder.

My advice to you is to properly fix the issue at hand, you need to learn to stop it at it's source.

Learn to love your body and your imperfections and move on with living life without guilt and without regrets!

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