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"My Baffling Bulimia Contradiction"

by Angie

My bulimia started in the most typical time of my life - in my teen years. All of my life I felt fat and disgusting. I literally hated myself from as far back as I can remember. I was never what one would consider a "fat" child/teenager. But for whatever reason, each time I looked into the mirror all I could see was a disgusting blob of grossness.

My journey began at the age of 14. I was extremely active in dance, gymnastics and cheerleading. I was very strong. Slender, and muscular. My mother always joked that to spank my bottom only hurt HER, because my rear-end was so hard it would cause her hand to sting. But I still felt disgusting, and hated every inch of my being. After months of begging my mother, she finally agreed to let me go on NutriSystem (a commercial weight loss plan, and at that time it was a clinic as well...and they allowed children to eat their meals with parental approval and supervision.) I began eating NutriSystem meals alongside my typical active daily routine, and lost weight quickly.

At the time I joined NutriSystem, I was 14 and weighed-in at Xlbs. According to the clinic I only need to lose Xlbs to be perfectly on target, and beyond that they would not allow me to continue their program due to the health risks of becoming under weight. I lost those X lbs in easily a month, hence the program came to a screeching halt. I was left to maintain my weight using my OWN food, and plan. I was clueless - and began to gain weight once again.

I was sitting at home watching TV and stumbled upon a movie about a teenage girl who suffered from bulimia - she would throw up in jars and hide them in her closet. Something triggered in my mind, and a light bulb went on in my head. "If I watch every bite that I eat, then go purge it out, I should be able to lose this weight again! Even if I can't get it ALL out, at least I'm being careful what goes in...and I will get most of it out anyhow." That is when I began my (gross) diet of brown instant rice with a squirt of ranch and mustard for flavor and lube benefits. I would eat a large bowl of this, and even though it was remotely healthy, I would purge it out...once a day. The once, turned to twice. Twice turned to three, four, sometimes five times a day. Next thing I remember I was eating anything I wanted, and purging it out.

I am not sure how I consistently got by with this, seeings that my mother and father were in the room directly next to my bathroom, and seeings that I would take the sink stopper out and purge down my sink. I still to this day do not know HOW I managed to not clog my sink up and get busted. I kept this up for months...Months turned to years. My weight maintained at X lbs until after I graduated from high school.

Upon graduation, reality happened. I moved out on my own, got a real full-time job, paying bills...Life got busy. My childhood energy began to slow down as it was being replaced by 8 hour-a-day desk sitting. Eventually, my athletic activities completely stopped. I met a man, got married, and began eating meals at night as a married couple. Eating out at restaurants, grilling out, etc. I would still purge a lot, and he was either clueless or simply didn't care (not sure which). Without my physical daily activities, I noticed that even with purging, I was gaining weight. Not as fast, but it was slowly starting to creep back on.

I began taking days out of the week to fast. NO food, zero tolerance for cheating. I would drink gallons of water and starve. In the event I got nauseous or sick, I allowed ONE "emergency" pretzel to get me through it. I did this for a year and weight loss. It was like no matter what I did, purge or starve, I was gaining weight back. Finally, a year or so later I got pregnant with my son and had such a horrific fit getting pregnant, that I did anything in my power to keep a healthy pregnancy going for 9 months. I ate healthy, every meal, no soda or caffeine, no junk food....I simply ate RIGHT. Funny situation...because after 9 full months, I gave birth to a perfect and beautiful 10 pound baby boy.....and somehow during that 9 months, I LOST X pounds. That left me scratching my head.

Since he has been born, I continued yo-yo'ing with my weight - between X and X... viscous cycle indeed. Starve, purge, binge, starve, purge, binge. Once again, my weight continued to creep up...and now my son is 8 years old....and I am at an all time high with my weight. I tip my scale now at X lbs. I finally joined a weight loss group online where you follow a set amount of calories/fat/sodium/etc, and every day you log your progress. You document every morsel of food you eat, every exercise, and every glass of water. You weigh-in every week and log that as well. I tried it binge/purge FREE and for 2 weeks I did an amazing job. The first week I lost X pounds, the next week I lost X pounds....Then ol' "ED" started whispering in my ear again. Even though I was days away from my weigh-in day, I went against my better judgement and got that stupid scale out of my closet. The scale is a HUGE trigger factor for me...I get on and off of that thing hundreds of times a day if I have it out and easily accessible. I weighed in on a Monday, rejoiced at my X pound loss...then low-and-behold, I stepped on that scale the very next day...somehow my weight went UP by X pounds. I thought I was going to scream. Instant panic...and I felt completely out of control. I instantly started purging ANYTHING that was not a small basic snack. If I eat 1 yogurt, I'll keep it in. If I eat a Lean Cuisine with a small side salad...PURGE city. WHY?! It's like I cannot stop even though I know I am not doing anything wrong diet-wise. But the scale tells me I need to purge because I am probably retaining water, and it appears that I am once again dieting and GAINING.

I had all of my levels checked with the doctor...ruled out thyroid, or other health issues that cause weight-gain. That only verified for me that it's my unnecessary addiction to food. Sweet, savory, salty... doesn't matter. I will eat it, LOVE it, and purge it. I tried discussing my issue with my fiance, but here was his reply, "I have told you what I think of that throwing up s*#t, and if I catch you doing that crap you know where the front door is. Your a** will be GONE." - How's that for support? I told him that by saying that he makes me feel as if I cannot talk to him about my relapses, and I also feel MORE of an urge to do it behind his back just to spite him.

He just doesn't get it. No one ever seems to "get it". I tell myself every day that I am NOT going to purge. I will eat healthy, walk on my treadmill, and hold in all of my dinner that night. The minute I get even a remotely "full" feeling in my stomach, I lose my mind and purge. Then proceed to drink as much liquid as I can in hopes to urinate enough to bring the scale number down the next day. In 2 weeks, I have gone from X pounds to X pounds...and again I am froze. I believe my body has gone into "survival mode" again thus causing me to retain my fat instead of shedding it. Happens to me every time. Instead of being bulimic and losing, I have been bulimic for over 20 years, and in those 20 years I have GAINED 140 pounds...yet I still continue because I just cannot live with the guilt of having a full stomach.

I am hoping that really soon I will stick to a healthy eating and exercise regimen and lose weight properly without the need to purge. Everyday is a constant struggle - my teeth are getting worse, my hair is falling out so badly that I can actually see a little balding area on the top of my head, my heart races and has irregular beats...and I'm gaining far more weight at one time than I ever have or ever will lose at one time. Yet I still do it. I simply do not understand why that voice is constantly in my head telling me to EAT IT, and purge it. I already envision myself tomorrow eating a medium pizza, and "getting rid" of WHY? I'm going to feel hungry right after purging, it will be SO hard to purge that out, I will have acid indigestion afterwards and will smell the vomit in my nostrils all day, I will swell up and bloat...yet I am still looking forward to that d*** pizza and purge. This is one evil and demented disease, and I hope that one day I can beat it....before it beats ME.

Shaye Says

Hi Angie!

I am so sorry that things are super tough for you at the moment. I can definitely get what you are talking about though, feeling as though bulimia is a demented disease! I remember screaming at myself saying "IT MAKES NO ****ing SENSE!" I was just so angry and myself for letting bulimia rule me...

As I journeyed into recovery and began helping others recover, it ALL began to make sense. Very clearly. There doesn't need to be a deep dark reason for bulimia... I was never abused or raped... I had a great family... Why did I get so deeply lost in bulimia? I answered this in my last newsletter... Which you can read here:

I hope you find this article answers some questions for you :)

Please never give up Angie, because I swear to God you can find peace and happiness!


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program