A person with bulimia eats lots and lots of food in a short amount of time, like 2 hours (bingeing) and then tries to stop themselves from gaining weight by making themselves throw up, and/or making themselves poo a great deal by taking laxatives (medicines that make you poo) . People who do this have an eating problem and usually feel that their eating is totally out of their control.
It often starts when you try to diet and you put strict rules on yourself. Then when can’t stick to those rules because they are too strict, and you always feel hungry, you have to break them like eating a biscuit or piece of chocolate. Once you start eating you can’t stop and have a HUGE great binge.
Then you feel fat and bloated and make yourself sick to try and get rid of all the calories you took in on your binge. But however much you vomit, you can only get rid of 50% of the calories that you have taken in – so people who have bulimia tend not to lose much weight. People with bulimia are usually normal or slightly overweight.
Reasons for compulsively eating include:
- Trying to get thin, starting on a strict diet and then failing
- Hiding your emotions
- Because you are unhappy
- Helping to cope with the stresses and problems of your everyday life
- Punishing yourself for something
- Feeling down and a bit depressed
What to do if you think that you are bulimic:
- Ease up on the diet , try and eat regular meals so you don’t get so hungry – include a snack between meals.
- Keep a detailed diary of all you eat and drink.
- Weigh yourself only once a week as normal weight varies from day to day.
- Find alternatives to bingeing like going for a walk, ringing a friend or some other distraction.
- Make a list of foods that that you think that you should never eat, and try eating a little of them.
Doing this on your own can be quite difficult so if you have a problem get some help from your school nurse or your doctor as early as possible. This type of self help is called ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’ and aims to change the abnormal way you think about food and your weight.
Meanwhile there is a very good book called ‘Overcoming Binge Eating’ by someone called Chris Fairbairn who is an expert. It explains all about ‘binge eating’ – why you do it and how to stop.