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Learn to love your body. It's an amazing and wonderful gift from God.

by Jess

Growing up in a house full of brothers wasn't easy. It was the continuous bullying, teasing, isolation that began the spiral of negative thoughts and lack of self-worth. When I was 14/15 I found myself developing into a young lady and the teasing about my body shape and lack of consideration from my siblings drove me to consider dieting. I'm not sure if I was obsessed with the idea of being 'beautiful' or with the idea of being slightly rebellious but I invented a rigorous programme of intensive exercise and low calorie foods. This got so severe that eventually I couldn't sleep at night before doing a minimum of 30 mins of floor exercises..and afterwards I would carefully examine my body for any slight sign of toning or slimming. My diet became unusually dry and 'boring' with bowls of plain rice, bread with nothing on it, undressed salad..and that's at best. I used to try slimming teas and natural laxatives to flatten my tummy after a pea-sized meal.

Like most bulimia nervosa victims my weight fluctuated from size X to a healthy size X, regularly. I was over-sensitive to comments about my weight but I tried to hide my response. Instead the comments would trigger a more rigid cycle. I found myself growing intensely hungry and always craving for food. This began my binges. I started consuming huge amounts of food and purge by drinking water and flushing my tummy after eating. I felt so guilty for 'raiding' the family cupboards and I would never admit to stealing items of food, even when I was completely suspect. This great hunger never left me. I attended university and done 2 degrees. People always commented on my strong sense of motivation, my talent and eventually my success as a young professional. I have had two boyfriends over the years at university but I didn't trust them enough to share my heart and so my bulimia remained a secret. A big part of it was to do with my pride. Admitting my bulimic addition would have been like admitting I was weak, insecure and 'damaged'. Honestly, I do believe I WAS and that was what triggered and sustained such behaviour in the first case, but as I matured I find myself addicted to the habit and I often binged due to boredom and for comfort. I have tried twice to give it up, but both times negative experiences in my life made me decide to go back. Thinking that I could give this up for good is like a dream to me. I can imagine the complete freedom I would have. Eating a meal might keep me going most of day that way instead of only satisfying me for a few minutes before purging.

I love my body. Sometimes I cry at how I'm hurting myself. I might waken in the night and lie there thinking about it before asking God to forgive me for being so selfish. At times of sincere reflection my condition seems so surreal. I have wasted so much money and time over the years?!

So here I am. 28 years, going on 29. A perfectly lovely & normal girl. People warm to me. I find myself to be genuine, generous and loving toward other people, and I do go the extra mile to help my friends and people I've come into contact along the way. I have been blessed with so many creative talents and I have an amazing & caring family. (Note: my crazy brothers grew up and turned out to be more protective and caring for me, which makes up for all the hard years growing up).

As yet I'VE TOLD NOBODY!!! Over the past year I found God to be more real in my life than ever before. I've discovered a true and wonderful sense of wellbeing with a deep gratitude for little things in life. Warm slippers and the radiator after coming in from the cold, spicy winder drinks and good movies, love from people around me, driving with good music playing....and the most valuable thing to me, is TIME. Time to make a change & time to make up for the 12 years I sacrificed to bulimia and vomiting. Time to rebuild relationships and renew my perspective on love relationships. Knowing a God who loves and provides me with continued presence from day to day; A FRIEND WHO HAS INSTILLED WITHIN ME A NEW SENSE OF GRATITUDE AND LOVE FOR MY OWN BODY, for the wellbeing of my mind and appreciation for the remaining time I have still got ahead of me to serve and help others.

I am still fighting a vicious cycle of binge and purge eating... but I have HOPE! I know I can do this & I know I'm not alone in this world. I am too ashamed to admit my problem, which is sad and I admit, very lonely. But I have fully accepted and acknowledged my situation and THIS TIME I'm prepared to abandon this destructive habit. I've stared eating meals again & I have some healthy exercise in my week. As I continue to eat meals the cravings are subsiding. I have found such an inner strength from knowing God and experiencing this beautiful spiritual healing.

If anyone out there is reading my story now I invite to you to turn to God for the strength to get through your problem. In time I will find the right person to confide in, but meantime I believe I have found the secret to my eventual recovery. The truest source of real living, a renewed purpose, divine love and most of all, peace in my soul...knowing God.

All my love to the readers and people in 'my shoes'

Jess x

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program