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I used to think beating bulimia was impossible. I thought I'd be an old lady - 80 years old, bending down by the toilet to throw up (That's if I made it to 80!). I felt like I was an unstoppable eating machine - designed to locate food and devour it in record speed.
If I'm being entirely honest, I felt crazy. In my moments of bingeing and purging, I didn't feel like I was really 'with it'.
I thought that if beating bulimia was a reality for me, I'd have to be locked up... Away from all food, away from any temptation.
When I first began dabbling in bulimia, I managed to restrict my food, with just the occasional slip up of binge eating and purging.
But as the years of my bulimia went on, it strengthened... Like a weed in my garden, it's roots growing deeper and stronger.
Beating bulimia was the only thing on my mind as I went to bed at night. As I closed my tired eyes, I'd promise myself "Tomorrow will be different".
I felt trapped, I felt lost, I felt confused.
And I felt scared. Terrified that I'd have to live with bulimia forever.
Have you heard the equation where "Discomfort + Action = Change"? Well it's that equation that helped pull me out of bulimia and into a life which is beautiful and free!
My bulimia had become so bad that I could not face living another year - let alone another day lost in it's darkness. For the first time in my life, I decided to reach out and ask for help. I emailed my university counselor... It was the beginning of my recovery journey.
Looking back on my bulimia journey now, I can see so clearly why my early recovery attempts failed - and why my final attempt lead me to peace and freedom.
Here are two life changing tips I learnt from my journey to recovery...
All my early attempts at beating bulimia had taken place in the isolation of my mind. I was so ashamed about my bulimia that I hid it from everybody. I tried to recover by myself with nobody to support me or to ask me "How's it going Shaye?".
Sometimes I just needed somebody there to tell me that everything was going to be okay. Sometimes I just needed somebody there to tell about my progress or my plans. Sometimes, I just needed to be heard.
If nobody knows about your bulimia, you can't do this. Opening up and talking is such an important step in your recovery journey...
And I know it can be such a scary step too!
I was so ashamed of my bulimia that I had to email the counselor telling her about it - I couldn't bring myself to make the call. Now that I have recovered, I can see that bulimia is nothing to be ashamed of...
Bulimia does not define you - it's simply a challenge you have been given to overcome.
Choose your recovery team carefully. Don't pick a friend who is not a good listener, or somebody who is not very sensitive or understanding. If you don't feel like there is anybody suitable in your life right now, then maybe consider talking to a counselor... Or checking out the supportive online recovery community in The Bulimia Recovery Program.
This was a key part of my recovery and I swear to God, it will be key to yours too...
What I found was when I was not practicing self love enough, or making time to nurture myself... I would turn on my body...
I would say "I need to be perfect, this body is not good enough, if I put on weight I am a failure"
Then those weight related thoughts would trigger dieting thoughts, binge urges, slips, purging... More self abuse... You name it!
Self kindness and unconditional love eventually pulled me through... But it took a long time because I didn't understand what I was dealing with. I'm here to tell you, self kindness is SO healing...
Whenever you say anything unkind to yourself... Hold your heart and apologize... Say "I am sorry, I love you, right now, I accept you exactly the way you are" To add even more power to it - look in the mirror and say it to yourself.
I know the whole self love thing can sound cheesy - even self indulgent... But it's anything but that. It's a beautiful thing... When we love ourselves unconditionally - the amount of love we can offer the world expands 10 fold.
And, beating bulimia becomes much easier!
It is hard for bulimia to exist when your heart is full of love and light :)
It's as one of the wonderful members of The Bulimia Recovery Program posted the other day..
"Since accepting myself, Im much more socially confident, Im not afraid of who I am and I don't compare myself to others. Once you accept yourself, you accept those around you. You accept the World."
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community