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The Paula Abdul Bulimia Battle. This brave woman's story...


paula abdul bulimia

The Paula Abdul bulimia battle lasted nearly two decaded...

You probably know Paula Abdul as a judge on the hit TV series American Idol. Before Paula's idol days, she was a dancer, choreographer and pop star. She was most famous in the 90's and has many number. 1 hits to her name.

Paula Abdul was the Taylor Swift of her day.

The Paula Abdul bulimia battle lasted for a long time. She opened up about her bulimia in the mid 1990's after suffering from the illness for over 15 years.

“Battling bulimia has been like war on my body. Me and my body have been on two separate sides. We’ve never, until recently, been on the same side.”


Why Did Paula Abdul become bulimic?

Paula Abdul started dancing at a young age. She said that she never felt as though she was thin enough or tall enough compared to the other girls.

“I learned at a very early age I didn't fit in physically. I learned through years of rejections from auditions…. I would ask myself, “Why can’t I be tall and skinny like the other dancers?”

At the age of 15 Paula went to a dance camp. This is where she learnt how her dance friends were keeping themselves so thin. They would make themselves vomit after they ate. At the age of 16 Paula began to use this unhealthy tactic as a way of controlling her weight. This was the start of her 17 years in the hell of bulimia.


paula abdul bulimia

Fame and Bulimia

When Paula Abdul's dance and singing talents were discovered, she was thrown into the world of celebrity. With so much fame Paula felt like she had to stay thin.

"I felt nervous and out of control, and all I could think about was food. Food numbered the fear and anxiety. I'd eat and then run to the bathroom"

Paula's weight was strongly liked with her self worth. To outsiders she looked like she was living the American dream... But on the inside, Paula was suffering terribly.

Celebrities with bulimia feel pressure to hide their illness so that they don't disappointing their fans. Paula was no different...

“I thought `God I’m not perfect. I’m going to disappoint people. That’s what I thought.”


What treatment did Paula use to recover?

In 1994 Paula Abdul had had enough. She couldn't stand the bulimia any more...

“It became a living hell for me. I wanted to get help. I want to be free from weighing myself on the scales”

Paula got help from professionals and went through a month long bulimia treatment program. Finally, her 17 year battle began to come to an end.

Through therapy Paula realized that her bulimia was a way of suppressing her feelings. Dealing with her neglected emotions helped her to recover.

"Whether I was sticking my head in the toilet or exercising for hours a day, I was spitting out the food – and the feelings."

The Paula Abdul bulimia battle finally came to an end because Paula was brave enough to get help. Therapy helped Paula make peace with her body.


To learn about other famous people with bulimia, click here.





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

The Bulimia Recovery Program