Bulimia started with an idea, Hey! If I only eat one meal a day, and then throw up that one meal, I’ll get super skinny and fast! I did lose weight at first.
I was in high school when this all started and at first, the feeling of loose jeans, a concave stomach and a tiny waist thrilled me to no end. I was high as a kite on that feeling. I really believed my whole life would change, that things would come easier to me, people would like me more, boys would be attracted to me and all the ugly, desperate feelings of ‘not fitting in’ would just disappear. I was thin, after all.
Bulimia has a way of growing, though. It gets larger and larger and more consuming, until it takes over your every waking day. Because I was starving, I soon began to obsess about food. So much energy went into thinking about food. Writing down what I ate, calculating calories, throwing it up, binging some more, throwing it up, eating laxatives, getting sick all the next day. No wonder by the time I was 23, I felt more like 100.
Bulimia took a terrible toll on my spirit, my self esteem, my relationships and of course, my physical body. My teeth needed scales of dental work, to repair what I had done. My skin looked dull and I had puffy cheeks and bloodshot eyes. My hair lay limp and dry against my head. I had no energy.
My stomach and esophagus felt burnt and raw. I had a raspy voice. My stomach was always bloated from the constant abuse. So much for a tiny waist! And worst of all, I no longer was losing weight. Instead, I was gaining and couldn’t seem to stop. Soon, I’d put on all the original weight I’d lost, plus an additional 25 pounds. I looked and felt terrible. And, I wasn’t even 25 years old.
It took me years to get back to health. I finally got up the courage to start therapy. I did both individual and group. I also joined a support group, and read tons of books, and journaled as if my life depended on it.
I took vitamins. I exercised, but not to excessively. I ate fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, chicken, nuts, beans and whatever else seemed healthy. I also started studying nutrition and went on to get my advanced degree. I stopped throwing up for good. I figured I’d just have to let my body settle at it’s ‘normal’ weight and that was that.
Well, at first I did keep gaining. Then it leveled off. Then once my body realized I wasn’t starving it anymore, it started to go back down to its ‘true’ normal weight, which is about a size 6.
I can say, for the past 15 years, I have been free of bulimic behavior. It was a long road, but it was well worth it. I am amazed at the healing capacity of the human spirit and body.
Today, I look and feel better than I did in my early 20’s. To anyone who is suffering from this disease, I can only say that recovery is possible. You must never give up.