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I am not sure if i have bulimia, someone help me?

by Aine

I'm not sure if I'm bulemic or not but my relationship with food is weird. I don't binge eat ever which is why I don't think I'm bulimic. I barely ever eat. I starve myself everyday. But when I do eat I take laxatives and drink lots and lots of water and force myself to throw up even if its the smallest thing like 1 chip.

If anything, slightly overweight, I'm obsessed with my weight and just want to be the same size as everybody else. I lie about my eating patters. I'm very secretive about my eating and no matter what anybody says I still think I'm fat.

Do I have an eating disorder? I don't know.

Am i bulimic? I don't know because i don't binge eat. But i do throw up all the small amounts of food i eat.

No matter how much i starve myself or make myself throw up. I'm not loosing any weight.

Somebody please help. Whats wrong with me?

Shaye Says

Hi Aine!

If you went and got a psychiatric assessment, you wouldn't be considered bulimic. To fall under the category of bulimia, you would need to be experiencing binge eating...

If your weight is normal, or slightly above normal, you wouldn't be considered anorexic either... Although, your relationship towards food is very similar to that of an anorexia sufferer...

A psychiatrist would probably 'diagnose' you with EDNOS - which stands for "eating disorder not otherwise specified"... Which really isn't very helpful...

BUT, I think I can give you some great advice - as I see my history being repeated in you - all those years ago...

In my early teens, I would restrict my food severely... If I ate anything, I would try to throw it up - and even take laxatives. I remember licking a chip once to get the flavor off it... and then I ate the chip by mistake... I was devastated - and threw it up in my hand in the car - then chucked it out the window... I was terrified of eating.

I was 'normal' weight too... Perhaps a slim normal... but, I thought I was slightly over normal... My ideas of my body were quite different to what other people thought of it...

As time went on, and I continued with this unnatural restriction of food, my weight dropped a bit, but then settled. I did lose weight originally, but not a significant amount considering my restriction... This sounds like you too...

So, you might be thinking "WHY? Surely if you restrict your calories, your body will lose weight? "

Nope... That often isn't the case...

You see our bodies are AMAZING pieces of machinery that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years... Of course, in that time, we've evolved to be very good at dealing with food shortages... FAMINES...

When you starve your body, it doesn't realize that there is actually food at every corner... It believes that there is a famine... And, it wants to be able to survive for as long as possible on the fat and muscle reserves you have - and the small amounts of food you're going to be eating... So, your metabolism slows right down... Your body adjusts... It does the same work, but on far less calories...

I have a friend who, because of his religion, fasts for one month each year... He's only allowed to eat one small meal a day... and, guess what... He ALWAYS gains a small amount of weight during this time!

This is the perfect example of how restricting calories can actually have the opposite effect on our weight to what we hope!

So how to get around this? Basically, you want to fuel your metabolism so that you can enjoy a natural amount of food - and remain at your natural and healthy weight. You can start this off by working on structured eating. basically, eating 3 meals and 3 snacks daily - 3 hours apart. Think of it as putting a log on your fire every 3 hours to keep it burning at maximum efficiency.

And, of course, building muscle through resistance exercise also helps to speed up your metabolism... But, not more than 1 hour a day 3 days a week - or else you'll actually damage your muscles, instead of develop them.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that there are far, far better ways of getting to your healthy and natural weight than starving yourself... In fact, starving yourself, as you're doing now, could likely lead to full blown bulimia... It did with me - and I had bulimia for 10 years... I hope you learn from my mistakes.

You are am amazing person - despite what you weight. You don't need a number on the scale to tell you how happy you can be! You are worth so much more than that!

I hope that you take this advice on board, and use it in the best way possible for you to work towards your recovery.

Stay strong.


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program