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For over 10 years I went without any bulimia treatments. I put on a strong and confident face to the world - but on the inside I was a crumbling mess...
I had hidden my bulimia secret for over 1/2 my life and the effects were beginning to show...
Psychologically I was a wreck. When I let my guard down I was moody, depressed and angry. From all my unspoken secrets and shame I had developed a terrible temper... I would fly into a rage at the smallest comment, especially when it was about food!
Physically I was doing no better...
My teeth were crumbling away, I had constant sores on my mouth and probably worst of all - my heartbeat was irregular, resulting from electrolyte imbalances.
I knew that if I didn't find bulimia treatments that worked, I could die soon... And that terrified me...
I felt as though I hadn't had the chance to live yet!
It was in my second year of university that I began researching bulimia treatments online - late at night once everybody had gone to bed.
After many nights of nervously surfing the internet, I decided that all I could handle was sending a simple email to a counselor at my university. I was so ashamed of my secret habit that I couldn't face seeing her in person - I wanted to be treated online!
One week later and she had worked her persuasive magic... I was sitting in her office with a nervous sweat over my entire body. This was the first time in my life that I had spoken about my bulimia and it was terrifying...
Despite my fears, I am so glad that I found the courage to open up to my counselor that day...
Over the months that I saw her, I learnt one of the bulimia treatments that helped to save my life... CBT Therapy.
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it's been proven to be the most effective form of therapy for bulimia.
CBT is based on the idea that bulimia is maintained by both mental and behavioral factors...
Specific life experiences may cause you to have weight-related negative core beliefs... Let's say one of them is that 'You have to be thin to be accepted' (This was one of my main negative core beliefs when I was bulimic).
This negative belief then drives you to try and lose weight through dieting. Dieting is the behavioral part of the puzzle. When it fails (and that's all the time because dieting is just plain old crazy!) it leads to binge eating over and over again.
Your disgust at the food you consume during a binge and the core beliefs which make you fear gaining weight drive you to purge... This only chips further away at your self esteem and the vicious cycle continues.
You can see from the example above that it's both mental (core beliefs) and behavioral (dieting/purging) elements that are maintaining your bulimia.
CBT focuses on reducing the rigid thoughts of dieting and restraint (which lead to binge eating) and replacing them with more normal eating patterns.
To help maintain this new way of eating, in CBT you'll analyze your negative core beliefs and eventually replace them with healthy, life enhancing beliefs... Beliefs that promote self love and kindness :)
One of the biggest things I gained from CBT was realizing that dieting was central to the maintenance of my binge eating problem...
Despite the fact that I NEVER managed to last more than an hour on a diet - the thought of going on one drove me to eat everything I could get my hands on, over and over again!
Below are a few ways that you could learn CBT and use it to beat bulimia for good!
1) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Dummies (Paperback book)
Now I am definitely not saying that you are a Dummie! But this book explains CBT in a simple and easy to follow way. I skimmed through it recently and was impressed with what I saw. The only downside is that it's not written for bulimics specifically, so you will need to twist things to apply to your situation.
2) Go to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
This is a great option... having somebody to teach you CBT and to keep you motivated each week has to be a good thing! Most cognitive behavioral therapists are pretty pricey - but if it's something you can afford, I would say go for it!
3) The Bulimia Recovery Program
The Bulimia Recovery Program covers all the most important things you will need to know and learn in your recovery - this includes practical tips as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. The feedback is that I've created a program that is easy to follow and works.
Whichever bulimia treatments you decide are right for you - I wish you the very best! I know that recovery can seem like such a long and hard battle - but I swear to God that every challenge you fight is worth it a million times over...
Bulimia recovery is amazing and it's worth every tear along the way!
You have so much strength within you and I know you can push through this :)
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community