I was clueless about how to stop bulimia and those powerful binge urges.
As soon as an urge would strike, I felt powerless to the voices inside my head that said... "EAT!"
I even looked up how to stop bulimia on some random doctors website... The advice I got was poor to say the least... "Cut out all triggering foods"... Well, I tried that and the urges came screaming at me even louder!
When I reached 20 years old, I was bingeing and purging pretty much constantly. Bulimia ruled my life... I would lie, cheat and steal to get food. I knew I was a good person, but bulimia made me do the craziest things...
I even used to binge on the train ride home form uni and throw up into my chocolate milk bottle (No toilets on the train!) I hope to God that nobody ever saw me. Throwing up had become so 'normal' that I could do it in public relatively unnoticeably.
My bulimia had become so severe and I couldn't handle living with it for any longer. Nearly 12 years after my first purge, I decided that I did not know how to stop bulimia on my own - I asked for help...
This was the beginning of my recovery journey.
In my journey, I learnt how to stop bulimia and to train my mind back into the habits of normal eating. Here's one of the tips I learnt...
Firstly, nothing will stop your binge urges if you are still restricting or trying to diet...
Dieting triggers binge eating - end of story. In recovery, it's 100% essential that you work on feeding yourself regularly. 3 meals and 3 snacks a day is reasonable...
If you are confused about what you should be eating, I have plenty of meal plans available in The Bulimia Recovery Program.
So, lets say you're working on eating frequently and trying to hold it down... Now you'll need a few strategies to help prevent acting on the binge urges which do pop up in the first few months of recovery...
Being in the grips of the binge and purge cycle is like being lost in a food-fog. I didn't feel 'there' when I was in this fog... I felt like a crazy animal, in search of food.
One minute I'd be checking my emails and the next I'd be plowing through any food that was available in the kitchen... Followed by the inevitable trip to the toilet, burning eyes and throat on fire.
After I had taken the first few bites of food - I was gone. Switched off. I had turned into that pre-programmed eating machine. I felt powerless and didn't know how to stop bulimia - as if I had no conscious thought.
In every binge and purge cycle that I ever had, I did actually make conscious decisions...
EG: When I would slip into a binge and purge cycle, my conscious decisions followed a process a bit like this one...
1) Stand up from my chair
2) Call out to see if anybody was in the house
3) Walk to the pantry
4) Open it
5) Grab the box of cereal
6) Grab a cereal bowl
7) Grab some milk
8) Fill up my bowl
9) Pour in some sugar
10) Eat cereal
11) Fill up my bowl again
12) Eat cereal again
13) Put bowl in dishwasher
14) Walk to the toilet
15) Kneel by the toilet
16) Throw up
17) Have a drink of water
18) throw up again
So you can see from the example above, that there were 18 incidents where I was aware of the decisions I was making. When I was bingeing, I felt mindless - automatic - but at phases throughout the cycle I came back 'to it'.
Now it is at these phases, when you make conscious decisions... That you have the power to challenge bulimia! You have the power to choose recovery!
It's at these moments that you can shout out loud "I choose recovery!"
At any conscious stage, you can stop the binge and purge cycle from continuing. You can choose to love yourself and to treat yourself with the kindness and care that you deserve :)
When I first started learning how to stop bulimia, I'd repeat the first 4 phases of the cycle over and over and over! I'd get up, walk to the fridge, open it and then yell "Recovery!" - time and time again. It was a real challenge...
But a challenge I am SO happy that I persevered with.
I have now completely eliminated the habit of bingeing and purging from my life. I've been free for nearly 7 years and am probably one of the most normal and natural eaters that I know. You can be the same :)
Remember... You can choose recovery at any phase in the cycle... the 1st, 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th - or even the 17th!
Just because you start something doesn't mean you need to finish it (Contrary to what you've heard before ;) You deserve better than that...
You deserve health, happiness and FREEDOM!
Every time you consciously shift your focus and energy to recovery - you are re-wiring the pathways of your brain closer to a healthy and normal relationship with food.
You have all the strength you need within you, so dig deep, give yourself a hug and choose recovery :)
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community