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love/hate relationship with food

My bulimia was "triggered" about 3 years ago. I have celiac sprue and colitis. As if the restrictiveness of celiac was not enough, the colitis flares drove me insane because there is no real way to stop them (short of steroids, surgery, etc.). Being diagnosed first as a celiac I thought that if I eliminated gluten then the misery would go away. After a year of misery not going away I was diagnosed with colitis which has a mind of its own, with little to really control it. Yet my mind clings stubbornly to the idea that I can control my symptoms with diet (yet I can't!). So I ended up with a very odd relationship with food.

I was really sick one day, but starving because my body couldn't handle food. So I said screw it and ate a peanut butter sandwich. I knew it would wreak havoc on my intestines and I would regret it so I threw it up. Then it slowly morphed into a way of dealing with life. I am an endurance athlete and was able to hide my weight loss behind that (from both the illness and the bulimia).

I quit purging pretty much cold turkey about 6 months ago when I met an amazing guy. That old saying "you can never truly love someone else unless you love yourself" finally kicked in. I wanted to love myself so badly - not just for the guy. Sadly, although I don't purge, and I don't binge in the "traditional" sense, I still turn to food. And I still beat myself up over it - old habits are hard to break. And of course I have gained weight, which is hard for the perfectionist in me. I wish I could access my emotions... at all. Right now things are often just this big confusing morph of urges and drives and I can't sort it out.

I am in therapy, and have been for the past 6 months. I am not expecting over night changes. I am struggling at the moment because there are things going on in my life that make me feel threatened and afraid. But I know that it will change. Nothing ever stays the same anyway, right? One foot in front of the other is about all I can hope for...

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program