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Bulimia holding me back from life and happiness

by Deonna

I'm 21 years old and I've been bulimic since about the 3rd grade.

I come from a family of not so thin people and I first I didn't even notice because nobody ever gave me a reason to feel different than anyone. Then one day I was jumping on the trampoline with my younger sister and cousin and my aunt made a comment about how I was making them fly high since I was heavier than them. I was a chubby kid and after that comment I started to look at myself more and notice how there were a lot of kids in my class that were slimmer than me...

That's when little 8 year old me starting counting calories and starting tae bo. I lost my chubbiness at a steady rate and in a pretty healthy manner.

Then when I started middle school I started to be very unsatisfied with how I looked and restricted my diet. I got to the point where I would eat nothing but lettuce all day and other days I would break a grahm cracker into fourths and each fourth would be a meal. I felt like absolute crap all the time and just one flight of stairs would make my legs burn and my vision went all white like I was going to pass out. Of course, this severe restriction lead me to huge binges...

I would ice cream and cookies until I was miserably uncomfortable and unable to eat an other bite. I felt so disgusting and guilty about what I had done. I knew that throwing up was bad for you and it and it seemed like and uncomfortable thing to go through. Instead, I managed to make myself run on the treadmill despite how full my stomach was. Sometimes I would end up puking from running while I was so full but I would keep running til I felt empty.

Eventually I couldn't function like that and got treatment when I was about 13. A psychologist put me on some anti depressants and I talked to a therapist. I learned some things and got more interested in being healthy. I made it through middle school and the start of high school eating plenty and exercising moderately.

Then my sophomore year in high school I started exercising all the time. I woke up early to work out before school, rode my bike to school, took extended gym, and work out after school until bedtime. I lost weight fast and eventually stopped my period for 4 months. I kept this up for a couple year but then I got too tired to do it anymore. So I gave up on life and kept to myself. I would have binges and then starve myself when I felt guilty about it. Then eventually my body wouldn't let me binge so easily anymore. Anytime I would eat my throat would tighten up and make it really hard to eat. I'd have to take a drink of water with every bite and it made eating very long and exhausted. I couldn't eat in public at all. Having this problem forced me to eat less and get full quickly. I still struggle with this issue yet not as severe. Anyways...

When I graduated high school I started working out again and eating relatively healthy. I lost the weight from brooding the last year and I half. Then I started to get obsessed with working out again. I'd get irritable when something would come up and get in the way of exercise. I'd rather exercise than socialize, hobbies, and especially doing any work. I'd get mean and hateful anytime I had to do anything besides exercise.

Then I started having knee pain. It didn't keep me from exercise and it eventually got worse and worse. I had a strict routine and I also had to account for binges so there would be add ons to the already strenuous routine. After a year of exercising with pain in my knee and not being able to stand at work I went to the doctor. X-rays showed that my bones were beginning to thin. Some blood work showed that my vitamin D levels were low and I'd been continuously having spells of low potassium. That was my wake up call.

I started going to physical therapy to work on strengthening my knee and met with a nutritionist. I didn't understand how I had deficiencies since I ate every day and took a multi-vitamin but meeting with the nutritionist brought to my attention how little I was eating. They gave me some charts and I'm slowly getting to the point where I can eat enough food to maintain my body. I only work out once a day 5 days a week and go on walks when I get anxious about how much I've ate.

I'm still in the recovery phase of bulimia and still struggle with night time binges due to anxiety about how my body is changing. I'm bloated a lot of the time and I've put on 15 pounds since I haven't been able to exercise excessively. The last couple weeks I've been pretty good about eating regularly but I still get really impatient with my body. I know it takes time to recover my metabolism and that's what keeps me eating without excessive exercise. I just want to know I'm not alone and have some hope that I can be a healthy person without thinking about it too much.

I want to be able to think about other things besides my weight. I want to be happy and start my life.

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

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