telling family / asking for support

(33 Posts)
runningLou Wed 09-Apr-14 11:34:21

Hi all I was just diagnosed yesterday with bulimia but my experiences are not as severe as some on this forum so I apologise if it's the wrong place to post. I have non-purging kind so alternate binges with severe calorie restriction and intensive exercise. I have not told anyone about the diagnosis. My sister has just been diagnosed with anorexia and is waiting for treatment. I am 34. DH is unaware, as are the rest of the family.
Who should I tell? What are the ways they can help me? Uncertain how to move forward from here.

Ok, in the interest of damage limitation, by which I mean your mental/emotional state rather than your weight smile whilst you are at your mum's (you could practice this week before you go)...could you first of all take charge of preparing breakfast each day? It's been proven that if people eat white carbs/sugar for breakfast then people crave more of the same all day-as cereal fulfils this definition perfectly choose a delicious and protein rich alternative. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with some wholegrain toast, Greek yoghurt with raw nuts and berries/banana, peanut butter and banana on wholegrain toast, buckwheat pancakes with fruit and full fat yoghurt, asparagus and dippy boiled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and baked beans, spinach and poached eggs on wholegrain toast....

Plan - yes plan - a 'binge' for each day. It sounds as if you are very aware that bingeing is inevitable so choose it and have it on standby for when you really feel you need it. By giving yourself permission to eat 'bad' food, to use it as you need to (because a binge does serve you in some way, it is a coping mechanism) you take away a lot of the food's 'power' - does that make any sense? So when you feel the impulse to eat, try and stop and think whether what you are feeling is hunger (in which case could you choose to eat something more nutritious than sugary carbs) or stress/something else (in which case could you take a walk, go for a run, rant on here, have a bath, paint your nails?) If you are at that place where you need the biscuits (or whatever) then have them, but try and slow right down, breathe, taste and enjoy them.

With all this, keep in mind that your coping mechanism of bingeing could be much worse-drugs, alcohol, gambling for instance do much more harm than food. And you, as you recognise, are in a place where you can relearn (though it will take time, practice and patience with yourself) better ways of coping and being in relationship with food and your body. Your sister isn't so lucky sad, she's much further along that road of control, I hope she gets better soon thanks

Wrt your knee, I sympathise, I love exercise and being injured is so frustrating. Is there a yoga class near you that you could try?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 13:37:56

TBH I've already been thinking about breakfast as I completely agree that a carby breakfast will set me up so badly for the day in terms of carb bingeing. I have been planning to bring some things with me from home - I normally eat 0% fat Greek yogurt with nuts, berries and oatbran. I will either bring these from home or buy when at mum's. The issue is the fact that there are other foods available - I find it so hard to resist the contents of my mum's bread bin / cupboards!
I find the idea of a 'planned' binge very strange and it will take some getting used to!! The problem is I could very well 'plan' to eat 2 biscuits when stressed, but find myself 20 mins later having scoffed half the packet!
I find yoga difficult as I have a dodgy shoulder that dislocates easily, but am doing pilates, swimming and cycling whilst I wait to see if my knees improve. One of the problems with this is - again - that these options are much more difficult at my mum's as I rely on going to the gym near my house. I will have to look into going for a swim at her local pool, or other possibilities. One of the things I love about running is that you only need to pack trainers and there you go, you carry a stress remedy around with you ... I know my legs need to rest but I find it such a dilemma when I want to run to burn calories and evacuate stress.

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 13:53:03

Ok I have just called a gym near my mum's and booked on for 3 x spinning classes next week, on the Tues, Weds and Thurs evenings. I could swim Friday, and I always run Sat mornings. Mon will have to be a rest day ...
Now I need to plan food for evening meals when I get back from the gym to prevent bingeing after. At least this will be a valid excuse not to eat with the rest of the family in the evening, which I hate! Lunches are not too bad I can generally be restrained.

That's great you agree about breakfast...could you use full fat yoghurt? Cutting down on the starchy carbs is a good thing, but you need fat - EFAs for proper healthy body and brain function but saturated fat (in meat and dairy) is good for keeping you feeling satisfied. The only fat I'd avoid are in takeaway/ready meals/ deep fried food.

Fantastic you like Pilates and have alternatives to running. Could you ponder looking at exercise as stress relief and enjoyment, rather than a way of burning calories? My whole approach is to get you being kind to yourself, allowing yourself to feel pleasure, learning to care for and respect your body, rather than hating it and punishing/depriving it?

Re the 'planned' binge-there are no limits on how many biscuits you can eat....but take two from a packet, put them on a plate, put the others on the cupboard. Eat and enjoy as slowly as possible...then if you want two more, go for it, as many times as you need. It seems counterintuitive I know...and it won't be easy, but keep practising smile

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 14:32:58

But what's the point of 'planning' that kind of binge? That's exactly the behaviour I want to avoid - I mean taking two more as many times as I need. That will be until I feel physically sick or someone notices what I'm doing!!

grin I know it sounds crazy! But to use some kind of analogy...imagine the binge food as a big scary dog that lives in your house...its on your mind a lot, you try all you can to avoid it, but often you just can't and you hate it when you are in the same room and then you sort of lose the plot...it's sort of stopping being scared of that dog. Staying calm, breathing, letting it closer, little by little so that gradually you become less scared, you can stroke it, let him lick your hand, then walk away happily, not traumatised....you realise that it isn't vicious, just over friendly....

By being curious about the way you are feeling when you binge, by eating slowly and mindfully you will (gradually) diminish the food's power. By not checking out mentally and dumping an entire pack of biscuits into your tummy in one go you will learn to recognise when you have eaten enough and naturally stop (so you will probably eat less than you think, but yes, the first few times, you may eat til you feel sick but it's a process and the more you slow down, taste the food and practice, the more you will recognise how you feel). By giving yourself permission to binge, making it 'right', acknowledging it is a coping mechanism for you and not something you should fight...you also remove the horrible feelings of guilt that follow.

Right now, before you have had any help/therapy, trying and having any expectation of successfully fighting your urge to binge for a whole week at your mum's, especially given the circumstances, sounds unrealistic to me. And you sound very stressed about it all. So compromise, take control, decide that there is one binge available each day if you need it, so you can relax slightly, know that you have the choice, the food isn't controlling you by being 'banned'. Have plenty of healthier, filling choices available to snack on too, if you want ideas just shout smile.

Beyond this you can start working on allowing yourself to feel and express the emotions you may be suppressing, or deal with the deeper issues that may be underlying your whole relationship with food and body and learn a healthier way of eating....but as I said, hopefully your therapist will do that deeper work with you. Part of that will no doubt involve telling your wider family about the issue but that's obviously hard right now. Here, I am trying to help you over the next couple of weeks, which sound as if they will be tough flowers.

Hi running, although I can't offer much advice. I'm always about to talk things through. uour post gave me the courage to talk to my mum a bit more about my condition. It was hard but actually she was really good about it. not as scary as I imagined.

Running I'm worried that I've completely blown your mind with the concept of a planned binge and scared you away. Please come back! If it's just too much to contemplate then don't do it, I thought it may give you a sense of control and less stress about eating constantly (and feeling out of control) at your mum's, if that isn't the case then don't try it smile. There's lots of support here for you as Fighting says - don't go away smile.

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