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My choice - Jennifers bulimia recovery journey

by Jennifer
(Los Angeles)

Hi Shaye,

Bulimia effects my immune system and when I binge and purge everyday I seem to catch every cold or flu that is in the air. I am down and out with the flu today and I realized that my bulimia is a choice, MY choice. There is an empowering feeling that comes with this discovery.

It is my choice to continue living an eating disordered life (starving, bingeing, purging, lying, stealing food, weighing my body every day, counting calories, etc.). I initially chose bulimia to help me deal with feelings when I was a child. As a child I was not capable of speaking up for myself or capable of creating a safe environment that protected me from abuse. Bulimia (along with drugs and alcohol) served it's purpose in helping me stuff / numb emotions that were not safe for me to feel at the time.

As I matured into adulthood I had to let go of drugs and alcohol because of their complete debilitating side effects. Being drunk or high at work was not an option - but obsessing about my weight, counting my calories and being bulimic was an emotional crutch that I could still lean on while simultaneously excelling at work.

Now that I have matured into mid-adulthood (34) I realize bulimia's debilitating side effects are very low self-esteem, poor health and ultimately a life full of fear (fear of my feelings, fear of my body gaining weight, fear of rejection, etc).

I have been working on my recovery and building interests that have no association with physical appearance. I found that I have a passion for helping animals. I'm in the process of getting approved to volunteer at my local animal shelter and I've joined a kitten foster program. About a week ago I was given a little 1 pound kitten to foster. Having the opportunity to care for her and integrate her with my 6 month old cat has been a fulfilling experience. I think it's been really healing to me that this experience is NOT focused in any way on body image, weight etc.

I realize that I can add more life enriching moments to my days when I make recovery choices instead of bulimia choices. Although I am sick today and on the couch I have the option of taking care of myself or binging and purging. It is my choice to abstain from bulimia, not an easy choice at all, but it is MY choice. Knowing this, reminding myself of my personal power, feels good. If I decide to binge and purge today I know if is my choice. Somehow knowing this demystifies the power of my bulimia.

Thank you again for all of your work on this site and for your support!


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program