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Because my boyfriend wanted me to look "different"...

by J.

I won't write a story that is worse than any other story here. I'm not bulimia-victim any way more than any other person here. But as everyone who decides to tell their story, I also need to share it just to feel better. To have some visible starting point for my recovery. I just want to write down every bad memory of my beginnings bulimia that sits inside my head. Give it a way to go away and never come back...

I have had problems with food since I was a child. As every child I loved sweets and I have had tendencies to eat way too much. As a child I didn’t care that much. While being teenager I have had those moments when I felt a bit ashamed, but in general I was happy. I’ve tried a lot of diets with no results, but my friends loved me anyway.

At the age of 20 I’ve reached the point in my life when I was ready to do something about myself seriously. To take little steps instead of restrictive diets that always fails. I was doing fine, the difference was not already visible but I felt like I was heading into the right direction. Until one day...

I remember lying on the bed with my boyfriend. He always was a little bit strange. He was obsessed with healthy lifestyle and making every moment of his life REALLY meaningful. He did not accept wasting time on just doing things for fun. He always wanted to be perfect and, as it occurred, he expected me to be perfect as well. That day he was acting even stranger than usual. “I wanted to tell you that some time ago...” – he said when I asked if everything was fine – “I just... would like my girlfriend to look a little bit... you know... different”. I don’t remember how I figured out that “different” meant “super-skinny”. But I remember crying over that for a very long time saying that I was actually trying to do something about that, but no effects were visible at that point. He told me that he WILL TRY to accept me the way I was, but HE NEEDS TIME. I panicked. I continued that conversation online when I came back home. I started sending him pictures of anorexic girls asking whether he would like me to look like that. In response he... sent me a picture of super-skinny jeans saying that he would like me to be able to wear them. I still have no idea why I was with him for another 5 months. But I was relieved when he had finally broken up with me. But the same time I was afraid that I will be alone forever it I won’t change. So I pushed my dieting forward.

I have lost so much weight thanks to restrictive diet and a lot of exercises. The day of my first-cycle studies graduation I have worn brand new clothes that were a few sizes smaller than I used to wear a year earlier, but the second I looked into mirror I have started crying telling my mom that I was still extremely fat. Over next few months I was able to lose even more weight, but then I reached the point when I couldn’t lose more. I already was eating almost only veggies and when I couldn’t see any further weight loss, something pushed me to try to throw up those veggies... It was just a few times until I realized that I need help. When I saw a picture that my brother made me accidentally with his cell phone I also realized that the way I see myself in the mirror and the way I actually look are completely different. So I went to dietitian saying that I am afraid of eating most of things, because I don’t want to gain my weight back. And that I want to eat normally. I made a horrible mistake telling her that I wanted to maintain my weight even though deep inside me I still wanted to lose some (NO IDEA WHY). Maybe she would be able to change my thinking. Instead of that I paid her for really great diet plan with five meals a day and modified it by myself by removing over half sources of carbohydrates. I was eating quite a lot anyway and losing weight (due to a lot of protein that my dietitian put into my diet plan for the beginning, because I had to fill protein-gaps in my diet), which was really great for me.

When I weighted something about X kilograms I was really happy. I could wear all the smallest clothes and I looked really good. I was happy when my old friend called me proposing a meeting after a few years. She was shocked by my new look. We were celebrating our reunion with wine and ice cream. We loved that evening that much that it became our routine. A few times every month we were having our girls’ night with wine and ice cream.

One day she baked a cake. I knew it would be rude not to at least try it. It was the first time I have eaten a cake for a few months. She had to leave for a while after that. That was the first time that I’ve experienced binge urge. So I have eaten whole cake she left at fridge... And then I threw it up... I promised myself it was only one time that I did it, but...

After breakup with a guy that started all that, I have kind of isolated myself from other people. Reunion with my friend allowed me to open again. I tried to ask out that nice guy who works in cafe that I visit every morning on my way to work. He agreed but he couldn’t say which day he will be free, because of his working hours. I took it as excuse and believed that he didn’t actually want to meet me. So I became insistent and destroyed everything. And I blamed myself for that thinking that I’m still not good enough. I was looking good, but it was not enough so I started eating more again, because it seemed to make no difference if I am slim or not. Then I felt guilty so I threw up. That’s how it all started.

At first it was just eating way too much ice cream or a whole box of cookies or chocolate. But it became so easy that it became my routine. I have free Fridays every week, because I was working only 4 days a week that time. I was spending that day home alone. I started planning what will I bake that day, eat it and throw it up. Then I was going on with my day like nothing happened. I didn’t feel like binge&purge any other day of week.

After some time it became harder to stay “clean” other days, but “fortunately” on Wednesdays my parents were coming home a few hours later than me so I included those days into my routine. I thought that I was controlling it some way, but then one of my binge/purge days was destroyed because my mom stayed home. I freaked out. I decided to... take the day after off at my work so I could “catch up”! Since that day I started to use any occasion that I was home alone to binge and purge. Just in case something would change my plans.

The rest of the story is the same as for everyone. Obsession with food became a nightmare. I could do it all the time if I had a chance.

Happily for me I discovered my need for recovery quite fast. So many people here say about years of bulimia. For me it’s not even a year already. I also did not develop any ways to hide my binge&purge from my family. Right now they are spending a lot time home with me so I do freak out but I don’t have that many possibilities to spend time alone with my bulimia. It’s in my head only most of the time. Sometimes I experience binges with no possibilities to purge, which leaded me to gain a little bit of weight which motivated me to stop it at first. I have experienced some side-effects like bloody vessels and sore feet. Red eye destroyed my New Year’s Eve this year. I have spent whole day photoshoping my pictures so I could send them to my friends after party. I didn’t even know it was result of my bulimia then. I found out a few weeks later.

Right now I am able to be binge/purge-free for a few days in a row. It still comes back, but I feel like a lot is changing in my mind. My bulimia-free periods are longer every time. I tried to open about that to some of my friends but it didn’t came up right so far, because I didn’t know how to tell them the whole truth. The only person that I decided to tell almost everything, at first made things even worse because he didn’t know how to handle this and then completely backed off. Until I wrote all those words I felt completely alone with that. Now when I’m finishing my story I feel way better.

One of the biggest steps for me was to acknowledge the fact that my look does not affect my relationships with people around me. It was my belief that it did which was affecting them. I allow people around me to like me for me. Or don’t like me if I’m not that kind of person that they would like to spend time with. I don’t try to force anyone to like me. I let my relationships to go their own way. I’ve met a few people including that sweet guy which looks like a prince charming for me. The old me would never believe that guy like that would like to go out with me. New me is going to graduation party with him, which makes all my girlfriends sooo jealous :)

This time I didn’t allow myself to let any person make me think badly about myself. This time I focused on people that actually want me in their lives and I found motivation to fight. Because the moment I win, I will have people around me that I would be able to enjoy my new life with.

I want people to be the most important part of my life. I want to enjoy food with them and enjoy moments with them when there is no food. I want someone who will love me no matter what. And what I know for sure is that I never will allow anyone to let me think badly about myself. Including myself.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program