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Renae, in The Bulimia Recovery Program's Community sent me a message the other day with a few excellent questions about her bulimia recovery. I knew her questions and my answers would be super helpful for anybody who is bulimic, so I asked her permission to post my replies here... She said yes :)
"I had breakfast, lunch and a snack...the snack is uncomfortable. I'm still having a hard time realizing what is the right amount of food. How many calories I need etc. I have been putting it in on this one website, it offers me a little comfort to know i am still barely over X calories so I am ok! I don't need to puke but after having my yogurt and berries I just feel uncomfortable. Then I watched your movie and (here's the bulimic in me talking) I saw how thin you looked! and I was like omg there's no way she eats normally. But I know you would never lie about this but that's just what my head is telling me. its the comparison game we all do so well. But DO you really eat quite a bit of food? Did you lose weight at any point? Because I don't want to get fat, and I DO feel like I've gained weight and I know you talked about weight and bloating a lot in your packet but I just need some reassurance or something."
Renae thank you for your honest thoughts - it's so great to talk about how you are feeling during bulimia recovery and not hold it inside! I will go through your questions one at a time below :)
Q: "Then I watched your movie and (here's the bulimic in me talking) I saw how thin you looked! and I was like omg there's no way she eats normally. But I know you would never lie about this but that's just what my head is telling me. its the comparison game we all do so well. But DO you really eat quite a bit of food?"
A: When I was suffering from bulimia, I could not walk down the street without comparing myself to other women... Whether I was thinking I was fatter, thinner, had smaller boobs, a bigger bum, more pimples, was prettier, uglier... You name it... I played this exhausting game non stop. Bulimia had made me more insecure about myself than I had ever been before... So I can completely understand this feeling of yours... I am glad you decided to ask me about it...
Yes, I do eat quite a lot of food now... Someday's I eat more than my fiance, Tom! Other days I don't eat as much. My body tells me what and when to eat... It's great to be able to listen to it so effortlessly. That's why when anybody suggests that you can't fully recover from bulimia, I think it's total garbage! In fact, I KNOW it's total garbage! I recovered fully and so can you! I eat as much or more than most of my friends who have never suffered from bulimia and my weight never fluctuates more than a kg or 2. I am at my natural weight... It's a little more than when I was bulimic, but I can not even explain what a good trade that was! I believe I am the most normal eater I know - which is crazy considering there was a time when I binged and purged more than 15 times a day, everyday.
Q: Did you lose weight at any point? Because I don't want to get fat, and I DO feel like I've gained weight and I know you talked about weight and bloating a lot in your packet but I just need some reassurance or something.
A: I'll be completely honest Renae - My weight has never been as low as it was when I was bulimic. However, I believe this is a good thing - I am now fully hydrated and there is a lot more fluid in my body... which I think accounts for most of the weight I gained in recovery. I also have more muscle, which is awesome as this speeds up my metabolism and gives me extra energy to enjoy life!
In the first week being binge and purge free, I gained a lot of weight... A scary amount of weight. 11 pounds in 1 week! Can you imagine my shock horror when I got on the scales? I remember feeling the blood drain out of my face and I actually swore "What the ****" - I was so confused! I had eaten well and exercised a lot... What was going on?
I can now see that so much of the weight I gained was fluid... I was hydrated and I was also retaining a bit of extra water. I also had food sitting in my tummy for the first time in years! All this adds to the weight on the scale and can easily add up to 5 kg's or more. I remember feeling quite swollen from the water I was retaining... Throw the bloating into the mix and physically, I felt bloody awful... Just as you are feeling now. I can promise you from the bottom of my heart that the bloating is temporary and it will go away! It will make you feel full and fat for a while, but the only way out is through! The only way to heal your tummy is to push through this... Which you are totally capable of doing :) Probiotics can help with the bloating too, so I'd get a few courses of them!
I hope these answers help you realize that what you are going through in bulimia recovery is completely normal Renae :) And anybody else who comes across this page... I hope you have found the questions and answers helpful for your bulimia recovery too!
Keep pushing forward and you will make a complete bulimia recovery!
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community