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Has anyone overcome bulimia (or other eating disorder)...and how did you do it?(16 Posts)
Not sure if this is the right place to post this but here goes...
I just don't know where to start to try to overcome this. I realised today that actually I am suffering from bulima, not just the odd bit of throwing up food, but proper binging and purging and lying about food and eating in secret...the whole shebang.
I had a baby (DC2) in September, and have since lost a lot of weight through a ridiculous diet where I cut out carbs and fat...tough, but it worked, and I have lost 3 stone, maybe a stone lighter than when I got pregnant, but a size 10, so not emaciated in any way. It has been VERY noticeable and lots of people have commented on it, which used to make me feel great but now I hate it.
I suppose this making myself sick has been a gradual thing, but I can see that it's getting out of hand now. I am especially worried as I have a DD who is 2.3 and on several occasions I have gorged on bread, cake, chocolate, anything, and taken both kids upstairs while I make myself sick. DS (8mo) in his cot with a toy and DD milling around in his room with some books. I feel absolutely awful doing this. Really ashamed. And I know it's just not on. But I feel so much better afterwards.
I really want to sort it out before DD somehow realises that I am not eating normally. I REALLY don't want to pass on my issues to her if I can possibly help it.
Has anyone actually managed to stop doing this? Or overcome their eating disorder?
I just can't think of anything worse than telling DH. He's wonderful, but I feel so ashamed, and things are really great for us right now and we have a great summer planned.
Any advice or personal stories would be really good to hear.
Yes, I have.
At one point I was bingeing and throwing up 10-20 times a day. And holding down a job, but not a lot else
I did it by firstlt getting heartily fed up and tired of the whole situation... and willing to get a bit fat while I sorted it (and actually I didn't put on more than 3 pounds, but you have to be willing to put on weight to sort it)
Then you just stop throwing up. No matter how much you've eaten... But you must still eat meals - never let yourself get hungry....then eventually because of this you stop bingeing as well.... and then later I also stopped over-exercising as well.
I do recommend you tell your DH though. And your GP.
I was recoving from anorexia when I fell PG with our DS1 last year. Whilst PG I did have days were I ate nowhere near enough to support the both of us and as a result was exhausted all the time. Anyway DS1 was born on April 29th so a little over a month old and I freaked out that I was not at pre PG weight size straight away, so I'm now on a "diet". In total after baby and his support systems I only have 7lbs to loose and am currently a size ten but still feel huge.
Eating Disorders are really hard to live with and do have an element of shame to them as deep down you know things are not "normal"
You should talk to your DH as he will be able to help you. I admire you for wanting to get well so your DD doesn't see things as normal.
If I can help let me know ED can leave you feeling very isolated.
Thanks Little and Yummy for your responses.
Yummy - congrats on your new baby and good luck with your continuing recovery.
I know I have to tell DH but I dread it. Usually I tell him everything, but I just can't seem to tell him about this.
Me too. I was anorexic for many, many years. Then bulimic for a while longer.
It's really hard, but it can be done. First, you have to tell someone. And seek help. I saw a psychiatrist for years, also a psychotherapist, and I attended a self help group. I'm not sure what worked. I also did a lot of work on myself.
Some moments of truth that were really helpful:
- first was realising that I couldn't try to get better AND maintain a low weight. I had to accept that I would probably gain weight, at least in the short term. This sounds obvious when I was dealing with the anorexia, but it's amazing how many anorexics believe that they should be able to get better without putting on weight.
- second was meeting a number of women with long-term eating disorders - I mean women who had been anorexic or bulimic for 30, 40 years. They were in a terrible state - looked 90. And their lives were just wreckage. I had by that stage pretty much accepted i was going to die, and that certainly seemed like the easiest way out, so it was shocking (and useful) to see how tenaciously the body clings to life, even a half-life.
- third, and most important, was getting to the point of just being so completely fed up with thinking about food all the bloody time. I was tired of dreaming about food, reading cookery books, obsessed with what I would be eating at the next meal and when that would be. I just wanted to be free.
By the time I became truly an ex-anorexic I had been battling eating disorders for 20 years. I cannot tell you how hard it was to move beyond that, or how wonderful the payoff is. I still have some food issues - I always will have - but I don't diet, I don't think obsessively about food, and I am healthy and happy. Life is good, and when I was in the grip of eating disorders I wasn't really alive, not properly.
Please seek some proper help with this Your GP, or local specialist unit, or beat (formerly the Eating Disorders Association). Very best of luck to you.
PS. Of COURSE you don't want to tell dh. Because you're ashamed - and buliimia is very embarrassing, let's acknowledge that. But also because it's your private place, it's your coping mechanism, it's where you can go to release the difficult feelings and sedate them and still be able to care for your family in the morning. Once you tell him, you'll start losing that place, and then where will you hide?
This is why you will probably need some counselling or therapeutic support, not just behaviour modification. You are bulimic for a reason, and you will need to find other ways of coping with the difficult feelings you are battling with. I do understand why you are reluctant to do that and disrupt the happiness and calm you have in your life right now, but OTOH it is a good idea to do this while your life is NOT in crisis.
I had a family member lock me down for hours after each meal and constant tabs on me. Yes, I did find ways round it at times and ended up going more towards the end of anorexia - but it is possible to push past it, it just takes a long time.
Devora - thank you so much for those posts. It is really helpful to have someone acknowledge those things and write them down.
Schrodingers - thanks for sharing too.
I've got to get to bed now as my 8mo is teething and will be up in the night.
How are you today?
Just to add I had anorexia for many years which morphed in bulimia - and I have known people go from bulimia to anorexia, or bulimia to alcoholism. Please get help or you end up swapping one thing for another - very easy to do...
I found this website most helpful to me www.something-fishy.org/
Hi Little, ok today although have binged and thrown up twice.
Thanks for the website recommendation, will have a look later tonight. I've also been looking at beat.com which I have heard is good.
Twice is not too bad
Tip: Don't clean your teeth straight after throwing up - you will wear the enamel away. Have a swill of water only....
Thanks for mentioning the toothbrushing tip - I thought I had heard it somewhere before but wasn't sure.
Also, have just had a quick look on that something fishy website. Am supposed to be working, but it looks really good.
I was anorexic and then bulimic for over 20 years. It started when I was about 14 and I didn't get a grip on it until I was well into my 30s and had 4 kids.
I think that the way that I overcame it was basically accepting that I was completely fed up with the whole thing, that my health was really suffering and I was, basically, so ashamed and embarrassed because I knew that it wasn't "normal".
I didn't get any professional help, I just kind of battled along on my own, but I wouldn't recommend doing that, tbh. I still have a lot of issues around food, for instance, I won't eat in public or in company other than immediate family, which makes life really awkward.
What I did was realise that I had to stop throwing up but I still had to eat. I did put on weight. I am overweight now. I hate it, but it's better than weighing 5 stone and being really ill, or even than being 6 stone and addicted to vomiting and exercise.
You have to accept that you will put on weight but that is part of getting better. You really need to fight the urge to weigh yourself all the time. And you need to make sure that you eat. I started by just eating a small amount regularly, so that I was never hungry and then, eventually, moving towards normal meals. it was really hard and took a long time, but at least now, I don't expect to die of food related issues in the immediate future and my kids have a more balanced example to follow.
I really think that you should tell your husband. I know that you don't want to and I understand why, but he will be able to help and support you. also see your GP who can arrange counselling for you to understand the underlying issues that you might have.
and absolutely don't clean your teeth after you have thrown up. it just compounds the damage that vomiting causes to your teeth. My teeth are wrecked and are almost see through in places because the enamel is so thin.
I'm recoverED from bulimia. It started aged 18 at uni after a diet triggered it too and it carried on until I was 26/27 when I finally sought help after being fed up of losing evenings and whole weekends in bingeing and purging. Things started to get really bad, I was holding down a 'good' job but going into the toilets at work, living on the financial edge and just had enough - I felt that I was on the verge of being in a very, very dark place. I just felt exhausted and sordid.
I told my GP and was referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Painful as it was, I opted for group therapy to get into the system quicker - best thing I've ever done. I managed to do this in secret without friends or family knowing but would recommend you get support as it is hard and there comes a time when you have to learn to live without your usual coping mechanism. It DOES get easier with hard work and committment to change.
In therapy, weekly 1 hour sessions, we worked using a number of books - one was Overcoming Binge Eating by C Fairburn and also bulimia nervosa by cooper, todd and wells. They both have exercises you could work through at home but I'd recommend the binge eating book firt of all to help tackle the eating before looking at the reasons why you have the problems which the cooper, todd and wells book does. in therapy, we worked to tackle the binge eating first of all - the theory being if you stop or reduce the binge-purge cycle, you then feel stronger and more stable physically nd emotionally to start looking at why you have the thinking patterns that led to such behaviours and can then work to break or replace the negative thoughts that make you purge. A critical thing in this first stage that helped me immensely was keeping a food diary of thoughts and foods so I could recognise my patterns and then introducing a regular eating patterns of 3 meals and 3 snacks to stop hunger triggering binges. They were initially very small items from my 'safe' food list but became bigger and more varied as time went on. For example, chocolate was a dager food so I would start by having one square as a 'pkanned' snack to help me feel more comfortable with eating it again and reduce it decending into a purge. Maybe this might be helpful to you? I found I could resist a binge knowing I'd be getting some food soon. I also identified danger times and situations and started to put things in place to manage times when I knew the urge would build eg going out for a walk after dinner ( a time I would just start eating and not stop), for example. This might be hard with kids etc so having your husband support you would really make a difference.
You can improve. It might not feel like it now but the things that stop you seeking help now like being afraid of putting on weight really start to not matter as you journey to recovery. I was considered to have severe bulimia but just a few years later I've repaid all my debts, have a wonderful DP, have just had a baby :-) Of course the baby weight has triggered some thoughts again but I have tools to overcome these. Yoga helped me a lot too. Took the stress out of my body and helped me think of my body in a more positive way.
Feel free to PM me or ask on here if I can help with any questions or just support
ps sorry for the appalling typos and the stream of consciousness. My baby is small and I'm sleep deprived
Hi. I read your post on Dr Chris Fairburns book. I wonder if you would give me some advice. I notice this post was a while ago but I am hoping my message gets through to you. Thanks Dorie
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