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My Bulimia Story

by Wendy
(Ambler, PA)

That's me, now :)

That's me, now :)

My name is Wendy, from This is my bulimia story.

As far back as I can remember, I was fat. Or at least I thought I was. My mom put me on my first diet when I was in first grade. It was humiliating. I had to take my lunch, and in it were these reusable containers with cut up fruit and vegetables. I couldn't throw the containers away, so I had to carry them out to recess. I felt like everyone was starring at me - the girl with her lunch bag out at recess.

When I was 9, I remember my mom putting me on the scale when we were down the shore in front of my brother, my two cousins and my aunt. She was horrified when she saw I weighed 119 pounds! Onto another diet I went.

I was 13 the first time I threw up. I had some pizza with friends down the shore and someone made a comment about how much I'd eaten. So I went into the bathroom and stuck my finger down my throat. While it was a good feeling at the time, it was also painful. So as far as I can recall, I didn't do it much over the next 6 years.

Through those years I had my bouts of compulsive overexercising, restricting, binging ... and I was always on a diet. When I was 15, I ballooned to 150 pounds. I remember going away to acting camp for 5 weeks. I decided I was going to lose weight, no matter what. So I only ate a salad for dinner, with vinegar on it as dressing. I didn't even use the oil. When I got home, back on the scale I went and my mother's comments when she saw I'd lost 15 pounds was, "Is that all you lost?" By the time I graduated high school, I was back up to 150 pounds. At 5'6" I suppose that wasn't too awful. But I thought it was.

Then I got to college. The "freshman 15" was more like 20 for me. Then towards the end of my sophomore year, I got sick. I got a stomach virus that had me puking for days. When I finally got over it, or so I thought, I was out to dinner with a bunch of my sorority sisters. I had a tuna fish sandwich. I remember sitting at the table and turning green. I ran back to my dorm, went into the bathroom, bent over the toilet and puked. It just came out of me - no work involved. I simply thought about puking and I did it.

When I was finished I thought, "Wow, what a great way to lose weight! I can eat anything I want, puke it up and not gain any weight!" And so it started.

Over the next 3 months, I lost 60 pounds. I remember setting goal weights. "If only I can get to 133. Then I'll stop." When I got there, suddenly it wasn't good enough. "If only I can get to 122, then I'll stop." "If only I can get to 117 ...." "If only I can get to 110 ...."

That summer was awful. I had convinced my parents to let me go live with my boyfriend in a suburb of Boston. I got a job, but all I could do was binge and purge. I remember days of agonizing, waiting for all our housemates to leave for work. I would run to the store, buy a bunch of food and spend the day binging and purging. It was like I couldn't get enough.

It was expensive. There were times I'd steal food from grocery stores because I couldn't afford my awful habit.

By the time I was 22, I reached an anorexic weight. I binged and purged multiple times a day, every day. I made sure to have a huge episode right before bed - it was like I couldn't sleep without it.

I think that was the year I went into inpatient treatment for the first time. But it didn't last long. I was rooming with a girl who was suicidal. I wasn't, and her being that way freaked me out. So I left AMA. A year later, after multiple daily binge/purges, I went into another eating disorder treatment center. That time I stayed for a month.

For a short time after being at Renfrew, I didn't purge at all. One time I remember going to Taco Bell and getting 3 soft tacos, which I ate and actually kept down. I was so excited I called my mom to tell her. Her response? "How come you ate so many?" Back to purging I went.

After 4 years of being anorexic and not having my period, somehow I managed to get pregnant. I'd been living with the guy for 4+ years, so it wasn't such a bad thing. But unfortunately, it took me 21 weeks to find out I was pregnant (4 negative pregnancy tests in the first 2 1/2 months). The day I found out I was pregnant, I ate my first meal and didn't throw it up. I hadn't done that in years.

My pregnancy was complicated, but somehow my son managed to survive and thrive. He was born a healthy weight, which I was thrilled about because truthfully, I had no idea if he'd be okay or not. He is truly a miracle!

At my 6 week post-delivery checkup, I got on the scale and weighed one pound less than I had the day I delivered. Back to binging and purging.

A year later I went back into Renfrew to learn how to eat again. I stayed for 11 days - until I felt comfortable that I was okay with food again.

Things got better after that. My bulimia symptoms were much better and I returned to a normal weight.

Today I am still a normal weight. I have my fat days, but I think many people have them. I don't care what I eat, and I don't obsess over food. It's amazing how much brain space bulimia takes up. I have so much more time to do what I want and need to do, unlike all those years when being bulimic was all I could think about or do.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
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