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I wish that my family and friends had known the signs of bulimia. I wish that they had caught me when I was in my early teens.
Having them intervene would have saved me years of hell.
But they didn't know the true signs of bulimia - and that wasn't their fault. They didn't know how skilled bulimics can be at hiding their illness...
People say 'look out for them going to the toilet after eating'... Yea, sure that might work - if that person throws up in the toilet! But, what happens if they throw up in the shower, or into the tupperware under their bed? Or out their bedroom window into the bushes... What then?
They get away with it... And they suffer for years on end. Sometimes for the rest of their lives.
You see, bulimics are terrified of getting caught. I know I was. It was my worst nightmare.
You avoid it at all costs....
But, deep down... You know that it needs to happen. You know you need help. But... You're so ashamed of yourself that you never seek it.
Bulimia Kills - Knowing and sharing the signs of this illness will help prevent people from suffering and even dying.
You can click on the signs of bulimia below to skip down the page.
Bulimics are very good at hiding the signs of bulimia. Often people suffering from bulimia will eat alone - or when other people are showering, out walking etc. They will offer to clean up the kitchen and eat lots of left over's whilst cleaning up.
So, keep an eye open for signs that binges have taken place. Keep a tab on the food that's in the house - so you can see how much goes missing. If you notice that large amounts keep disappearing, this is a sign of bulimia. Just like the time I ate 28 of Tom's protein bars to satisfy my bulimia binge and bulimia purge.
This is one of the major signs of bulimia. Bulimics are so ashamed of their food addiction that they hide it at all costs. Often bulimics will hide food in their rooms, or leave the house to eat. They might stay up later than everyone else so that they have the kitchen to themselves.
Here are some things you can do to notice that secret binges have taken place...
One of the very common signs of bulimia is when somebody eats large quantities of food... but doesn't put on weight.
They might even make excuses for the large quantities they're eating...
I remember one of my excuses for eating huge amounts at dinner time was "I'm so hungry, this is the first proper meal I've had today"
This could fool you into thinking that they are in fact under-eating... when the truth is actually very different.
Bulimics often disappear after meals. They might hold off for up to an hour... but eventually they'll need to go. The disgust at food being in their stomach will win. People say to watch out for them going to the toilet... but this is not the only place bulimics will throw up.
When I was bulimic, I would:
As you can see - don't just watch out for someone going to the toilet - keep an eye out on 'disappearing' in general. This is one of the most significant signs of bulimia.
Having an enema isn't one of the most common signs of bulimia... especially in young people still living at home... But, it does happen - so be aware of it!
Using laxatives and diuretics is much more common. This is a difficult bulimia sign to notice... but just keep an eye out for empty pill containers in the rubbish bins. Also, be aware of the persons bowel motions... Push your ear against the toilet door or wall to hear if they're tummy is running.
Laxative abuse has serious dangers associated to it, and contributed to the death of legendary singer and drummer Karen Carpenter. Her signs of bulimia and anorexia weren't acted upon until it was too late.
Although it is less common, exercise bulimia does exist. Exercise Bulimics will binge on food and then purge by exercising. So be aware of how often the person you're concerned about exercises. Is it normal? Does it seem excessive?
Often bulimics will mix both throwing up and exercising as a their way of purging.
For bulimics, the topic of food is as nerve racking and shameful as a teenagers first 'sex-talk'!
Even simple comments about your eating make you fly off the wall. You constantly feel as though people are having a go at you. Defensive and angry reactions related to 'food comments' are strong signs of bulimia.
I remember once, we had just finished dinner - and dad caught me picking in the kitchen. Light heartedly he commented on it. I flew off the handle big time. I ran out the house, slammed the door crying - and went and threw up under the bridge down the road.
No wonder my family thought I was a nut case!
Anorexia and Bulimia contain similar characteristics such as restricting the food they digest (either by starving themselves, or purging) and excessive exercise. Sufferers of both disorders are also obsessed with their weight and body shape.
If the person has a history of anorexia, or any other eating disorders... It is likely that their disorder could have developed into bulimia.
Approximately 50% of anorexia sufferers will develop bulimia.
It's critical to figure out if somebody is suffering from bulimia. This is a disease that gets worse if given time. It's important to get help asap.
I hope that reading the signs of bulimia above helps you to figure out if a loved one is suffering.
Knowing the signs of bulimia to look out for could save their life.
From laxative abuse, secrecy around eating and "Bulimia Teeth", there are many different signs to watch out for. If you have noticed odd behaviour in someone you love, it could be due to bulimia. Share the bulimia signs you have noticed here...
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
scars on hands
I often disappear after meals and force myself to throw up,i'd put my hands in my mouth and bite on them,i now have bad scars there and they look terrible,people …
It's not good.
Tooth aches, headaches, very bad cramps, dizziness, lack of sleep, I noticed weight loss, been more depressed.
While purging nose bleeds are fairly common. This happens from the amount of pressure causing vessels to break
Always arriving late to appointments that are related to having lunch, dinner, etc !
Always arriving late to appointments that are related to having lunch, dinner, etc! Then, eating a lot and very fast, and going to the toilet afterwards …
I think I'm still fat but at the same time I workout to lose weight instead of eating and vomiting I eat healthy I use to take Ritalin as a child for …
I don't know why, but after binging and purging my skin goes really red and puffy, and the next day, I have even more pimples as the day before.
using noise to hide sounds of purging
i can say from my own experience,i live with my boyfriend in a two bedroom apartment, he knew about my problem, and always would keep an ear out when i …
If you're teen is falling asleep in class or lacking energy in general
I know that when I would throw up repeatedly day after day, I would feel so exhausted and fatigued afterwards, I could hardly walk. I'm not even joking. …
I myself am bulimic. A sign of someone being bulimic is their lower stomach is quite larger than around their rid cage. Another sign is mood swings, you …
Cold and Swollen
I am cold all the time, even when it was 100 degrees this summer. My face and hands also puff up really bad right after.
Drinking lots of water.
They would chug down a glass of water after and before every meal then disappearing upstairs and later on come downstairs 10-20 minutes later.
Leisons Inside the Mouth and Extremely Bad Morning Breath
I notice when i have purged on a day, the next morning i will wake up and have extremely bad breath. When i wake up i tend to notice that there are lesions …
Calluses on top of hands - a sign of bulimia
I was very good at hiding my bulimia for a long time, and due to repeated purging day in and day out for years I developed a callous on the top of my knuckles …
Nail Biting, Large glasses of liquids, Acne, and Chapped lips - all signs of bulimia
Three signs that are related to bulimia - coming from a bulimic. Nail biting: Not only is nail biting a sign of possible anxiety it is also done to …
Change in hair color
Hair color changed from dark brunette to light orange and became thin and brittle due to malabsorption.
Caring for others- especially with food...
I was severely bulimic for over a year, until I finally confided in a cousin who told the family, who staged an intervention.. not the highlight of my …
Mood swings can be a sign of bulimia
If somebody you suspect is bulimic suffers from big mood swings - this could be a sign of bulimia. Bulimics are always on a knifes edge as they have …
A sign of Bulimia - Thinking you're fat when you're thin
A sign of bulimia is definitely thinking you're fat when you're not... Or even focusing on areas you think are too fat - even if it isn't your …
Crumbling or rotten teeth is a sign of bulimia
Yes, it sure is. Most bulimics suffer from bad teeth... I am no exception. Even though I recovered from bulimia many years ago - my teeth still …
A Sign of Bulimia - The sound of nose-blowing in the bathroom
Although bulimics can vomit quietly, our noses tend to run while so doing, though this can vary from person to person. Especially in the beginning, …
Acid Reflex & Ulcers
The bulimic might complain of a bloated stomach or say it feels like there stomach is on fire. This is a sign of bulimia. Laxative abuse will create …
Bulimia Icons and Pictures
Bulimics will often visit pro-bulimia sites. Or make an Eating Disorder Myspace or Facebook. They will sometimes have Icons or Pictures of bulimic people …
Bulimics often have painful Mouth Ulcers
I know that bulimics often have painful mouth ulcers. It's a side effect of bulimia. I know that when I go through phases of bulimia - they come as …
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community