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Temptation, treats and guilt foods in bulimia recovery

by Val

Hi Shaye.

So I'm here on my 13th day of binge/purge free and doing very well! (I'm the one who had this for 25 years)

My daily food plan is helping a lot, I don't skip meals or snacks - and only have healthy foods on my plan. I don't allow myself any of the foods that I used to eat when I binged and purged - I call them "guilt foods". And I never eat on the run, I always sit down and think about every bite and take time to enjoy it. I actually look forward to my meals and enjoy eating them and never once felt guilty or desire to purge. And I have no craving for those guilt foods at all.

So, I guess my question is: Is this normal?

I don't know why I am questioning or doubting myself, to be honest. Maybe I'm questioning it because I read somewhere that depriving yourself of the occasional treat can lead to failure. That scares me. But right now, having a treat scares me.

How will I know when I am ready and comfortable with having a treat? (if I want one). I don't even know if you can answer that, sorry If I put you on the spot.

And PS: your website is wonderful and inspiring.


Shaye Says

Hi Val!

Day 13 - that is so exciting! I am so happy for you because I know what a wonderful journey you have started on! Don't get me wrong - tough times are likely - but overriding all of that is the knowledge that you are working towards recovery :)

Your question is actually such an important one - and interestingly enough, it's what I'm writing about for the newsletter I'm going to send out later today...

Firstly, I think what your doing with a daily food plan is fantastic... It is SO important not to under-eat or 'diet' during your recovery - or ever for that matter! 3 meals and 3 snacks is perfect.

I think that the mentality of 'guilt foods' is still the bulimic part of your mind speaking. Which, of course, is natural early on in recovery. But, it would be helpful in the overall scheme of things to try and look at these foods in a different light... Perhaps as every now and then foods... Try not to label them as good or bad, or guilt. When you feel confident enough, try to add one of the 'every now and then' foods into your daily food plan... perhaps as a snack. Remember that you can have anything in moderation :)

I remember in the early stages of my new binge and purge free life - I allowed myself small amounts of chocolate from time to time. I tried to eat them very slowly and enjoy each and every bite. I think knowing that I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted - just in smaller amounts - helped me to avoid throwing in the towel...

You could always try adding in an 'every-now-and-then' food and see how you handle it. Remember, if you do slip up, you don't have to start back at the beginning... It doesn't mean that you're back to square 1. It simply means that you've taken 13 steps forward, and one step back... And, as long as you learn from that step back... Then nothing is lost :)

You could always try to work your way up to the every now and then foods... Try adding in a snack that slightly challenges the 'guilt-foods' mentality... Then, when your comfortable with that, you could add in a snack that used to be out of bounds.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you think this will work.

Thank you so much for the comments and support that you have been giving to others on my site too - I know you are an inspiration for many women in the early stages of recovery :)

Have a fantastic day!


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program