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Food in my tummy-from the night before...

by Kay

Hello! I have no experience with this type of thing. I am nervous and shaking as I write. I am a prideful person, so living with bulimia is as humbling an experience as I will possibly ever know (hopefully!). It's also pure hell. And I've done it to myself. I think that the bloating is the reason I began to restrict in the first place. When I look back on my life and eating patterns, I realize I have been taking in under X cals for most of my life and considering that an accomplishment. Because I was doing that, I periodically bloated up and could not understand why. I began running to 'lose weight' which I now realize was bloat due to an empty stomach. I didn't lose weight and went to doctor after doctor who tested me for thyroid issues, gluten intolerance, allergies, you name it-I got a test for it. I probably spent over $5000 on medical testing alone. Nothing. I then took matters into my own hands. Having always been a very competitive swimmer throughout my life, I was burnt out on exercise. I dreaded it, yet I couldn't go a day without doing it. I decided in order to be 'able' to stop exercising as much, I'd just eat less. My bloating problems grew more and more pronounced. I began eating
1 chewy bar
1 hot dog
1 fiber bar
1 banana

This was my food intake every day. For dinner I'd have cereal. My friends laughed and said I was 'addicted' to cereal. The truth is that I wouldn't allow myself to eat anything besides cereal for dinner. I was avoidant of social 'eating' and I tried very hard to stay on a structured eating schedule, to the point where if I did not eat to the minute on my 'schedule' I'd paninc. I'd become angry, rude, and snappy. Looking back, I suppose that my diagnosis of OCD was always a wing man to my ED. And boy did my ED allow my OCD to flourish. I had to have all my food in the same colors, brands, even had to grab the third one back on every shelf. Grocery shopping was both fun and a nightmare. My boyfriend just believed I was a 'finicky' eater. He laughed. One day, after eating what I perceived to be an 'out of routine' food, I decided to purge. What a great feeling! I felt slim and willowy. It was amazing. I decided to go run a mile, just because! I thought wow, I can hide this from everyone, and the dividens in the beginning were AMAZING. I felt on the outside I was the best I'd ever been. I even had a six pack after some hard work each night (about 2 hours of exercise each day). On the inside however, I felt a terrible pull, the empty feeling I felt was both pleasure and intense pain. The most intense emotional pain I've ever experienced. Both of my parents have cancer and this is something I can accept much more easily than the secret shame I hide because of my bulimia. As my bulimia spiraled out of control, it turned into anorexia. I was diagnosed in the late summer of 2012, weighing in at X lbs. I am 5'5. My family and friends were so worried, they cried everytime they saw me. In my ED mind, I saw this as an accomplishment. If they had said nothing when they saw me, I'd punish myself by working out even harder the next day. Saying nothing meant that they didn't notice. That I was fat. That I was like everyone else.
I have now been trying to recover for almost a year. I am continually set back by bloat and swelling. It leads me to binge and purge over and over and over. I cannot get past it. Buying bigger clothes seems ideal, but at the same time, it's something that triggers me. I'm taking in about X cals on average for the day until 4pm. I exercise (tabata and HIIT training) for nearly an hour each day. I'm still not getting enough calories but when I try, I get so bloated I give up. I am feeling weak, depressed, and disheartened. Anyone been here? It's a sad space to live in. I have so much to be thankful for and I'm flushing it down the toilet. Literally....

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program