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Working through bulimia triggers

by Jennifer
(Los Angeles)

Hi All -

Today I received a bag of chocolate candy as a holiday gift from a vendor.

The candy is wrapped in a clear holiday gift bag and when the office receptionist set it on my desk, I froze...

Every year when this type of situation happens I promise myself that I will not touch the candy (or cookies or whatever the "sweet" is) and hours later I will have eaten all of it, alone, secluded in a binge / purge session.

Today, I hesitated a moment, then picked up the phone and called my boyfriend. I recently shared the truth of my bulimia with him and I needed to tell someone that I just received a bomb in the form of holiday candy.

He listened and then he suggested that instead of restricting (which always triggers a binge) that I could work on allowing myself permission to enjoy a piece or two of candy.

I share this with you because the situation is a clear message to me that recovery from bulimia is possible with work, a lot of work (Shaye did it and she is recovered!).

Maybe next year I will receive a bag of candy during the holidays and it will hold no significance other then being a nice gesture by the person who gave it to me. However, that day is not today and I am being honest about it to myself, to my boyfriend and to you.

I am finding that honesty takes some of the power away from the disease. I also have a recovery notebook that I started which includes a journal, a list of things to do when the binge urge rears it's head and other tools. I left the recovery notebook in my car this morning and after I spoke with my boyfriend I went to my car and retrived the notebook. The notebook, the phone call to my boyfriend, posting on Shaye's website... each action represents hope and a future without bulimia.

I am 34 years old and I've lived with bulimia in various stages of severity since I was a kid. I do not want to live with it anymore. It no longer serves it's purpose of keeping me safe or handling my emotions.

All bulimia does is suck my self confidence dry and holds the joys of life just out of reach. I do not want it anymore.

I want to be the woman who receives a bag of candy as a gift, has one piece and does not give it another thought.

Thank you for letting me share with you.

Love - Jennifer

Shaye Says

Wow - Jennifer - You hit the nail on the head when you said restriction only causes binges... I learnt that as an absolute truth when I began my recovery...

Bulimia recovery is terrifying to a lot of people because they think they'll never be able to enjoy good food again... That is simply not true. You will be able to enjoy it - yes, it will be in smaller portions - but the enjoyment will be real.

For example, this morning I woke up and though.. You know what... I'm going to have this chocolate bar for breakfast... And - I did...

If I ate chocolate for breakfast every morning it would have some not-so-good side effects... But because I only do it every now and again - it's absolutely fine... And, I really enjoy it!

Wind back the clock 5 years - and even having a chocolate in my room would trigger a massive binge/purge.

Jennifer - you will be able to truly enjoy food again one day. I have no doubt that in the future you'll be that person who receives a bag of candy as a gift, has one piece and does not give it another thought.

Keep up your awesome recovery work... It's these little steps that make such a difference :)


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program