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my bulimia recovery tummy hurts

Hi Shaye

First I must say what an inspiration you and this website are to, I guess, hundreds of people. Knowing that someone has come through to the other side (and offers help and advice) is such a priceless and amazing thing.

I have struggled with bulimia for the last three years and, even though I have visited therapists, nothing has helped. I am now bigger than I 'should' be and my eating is everywhere. I have bought books to help me, and they say to start a regular eating pattern of three meals and snacks. But whenever I try this, it hurts so so much and I often give up because of the pain. I feel like I'm eating food upon food, meal upon meal, and my body doesn't digest it so I put on weight. It certainly has been the case so far, but I'm also aware the frequent binges have affected my weight too.

Can you give me any advive? Do I just have to continue with three 'proper' meals and snacks in between? Or is there an easier way on my body?

Thanks for listening, P

Shaye Says

Hi there P :)

I know exactly what you mean! When I was recovering and trying to eat in this structured way I thought that it felt like I would surely keep ganging and gaining and gaining more and more weight! It also hurt me... My tummy wasn't used to having anything in it - and it would react by getting very painful and gassy. If I pressed it hard, it felt like there was a balloon, stretched to popping point! Not fun at all - BUT, definitely temporary...

I promise you, the pain and bloating goes away. It took one month before mine began to improve... Then, randomly for about a year after that I would on the occasion get the tummy pain back... But, it became less and less frequent...

Also, I gained 5 kg's in the first week of my recovery! I was shocked - and I was certain that I was eating WAY too much food... Even though it was in line - or a little less - than what my sisters and uni mates ate. I just couldn't believe how much food was 'normal'... I thought surely I was 'different' and the weight would keep piling on... It was VERY hard to push through in these first weeks - as I had nobody to tell me that what was happening to my body was completely normal - and my weight would settle - even drop a little once my metabolism sped up and my body stopped retaining so much water...

I did eat slightly less food in the first month of recovery to help with my tummy pain and bloating... This is okay - as long as you are doing it to help your recovery - and not help weight-loss - if you know what I mean. It is important that you don't let yourself go hungry though - and that you do still eat every 3 hours or so. If you need to make these meals slightly smaller for now, that's okay.

Your fears and discomforts are just as mine were... And, I'm here, on the other side, telling you it's normal - and pushing through it will be the best decision of your life :)

Keep in touch!

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program