Men and women with bulimia are usually normal weight or slightly overweight. Being underweight while purging might indicate a purging type of anorexia. Frequent fluctuations in weight, by 10 pounds or more due to alternating bingeing and purging. There is no single cause of bulimia. While low self-esteem and concerns about weight and body image play major roles, there are many other contributing factors.
You may have trouble managing your emotions in a healthy way and use eating as an emotional release, bingeing and purging when you feel angry, depressed, stressed, or anxious. Low self-esteem, often stemming from depression , perfectionism, or a critical home environment. Stressful life changes , such as a breakup, going away to college, starting a new job, or going through puberty.
History of trauma or abuse. This includes things such as sexual assault, childhood neglect or abuse, troubled family relationships, or the death of a loved one. When you are living with bulimia, you are putting your body—and even your life—at risk. The most dangerous side effect of bulimia is dehydration due to purging.
Vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics can cause electrolyte imbalances in the body, most commonly in the form of low potassium levels.
Low potassium levels trigger a wide range of symptoms ranging from lethargy and cloudy thinking to irregular heartbeat and death. Chronically low levels of potassium can also result in kidney failure. Using ipecac syrup is also very dangerous, and can cause sudden death.
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Admit you have a problem. The first step in bulimia recovery is admitting that your relationship to food is distorted and out of control. Talk to someone. You may be ashamed, ambivalent, or afraid of what others will think. Find a good listener—someone who will support you as you try to get better. Stay away from people, places, and activities that trigger the temptation to binge or purge.
You may also need to be careful when it comes to meal planning and cooking magazines and shows. Address any underlying mood disorder. Getting help for co-existing conditions is vital to your bulimia recovery. Seek professional help. The advice and support of trained eating disorder professionals can help you regain your health, learn to eat normally again, and develop healthier attitudes about food and your body.
In the U. In other countries, see Where to turn for help below for helplines in your area. The first step in bulimia recovery is stopping the vicious cycle of bingeing and purging.
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When you starve yourself, your body responds with powerful cravings—its way of asking for needed nutrition. With an all-or-nothing mindset, you feel any diet slip-up is a total failure. Unfortunately, the relief that bingeing brings is extremely short-lived.
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Soon after, guilt and self-loathing set in. And so you purge to make up for bingeing to regain control. But purging only reinforces binge eating. This is because calorie absorption begins the moment you put food in the mouth. Laxatives and diuretics are even less effective.
You may weigh less after taking them, but that lower number on the scale is due to water loss, not true weight loss. Once you stop trying to restrict calories and follow strict dietary rules, you will no longer be overwhelmed with cravings and thoughts of food. By eating normally, you can break the binge-and-purge cycle and still reach a healthy, attractive weight. Pay attention to your hunger. This only leads to overeating!
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Eat regularly. Try not to let over 4 hours pass without a meal or snack. When something is off limits, it becomes more tempting. Instead of eating mindlessly, be a mindful eater. Slow down and savor the textures and flavors. While bingeing is often triggered by overly strict dieting that backfires, it can also be a way to control or numb unpleasant moods or feelings. Are you eating to calm down, comfort yourself, or to relieve boredom? Is it anxiety? Avoidance and resistance only make negative emotions stronger. Dig deeper. Where do you feel the emotion in your body?
What kinds of thoughts are going through your head? Distance yourself. Realize that you are NOT your feelings. Emotions are passing events, like clouds moving across the sky. Sitting with your feelings may feel extremely uncomfortable at first. Maybe even impossible. Even emotions that feel intolerable are only temporary. You can choose how to respond. The bingeing and purging of bulimia is often fueled by dysfunctional, self-sabotaging ways of thinking that undermine your confidence, color everything in an unrealistically negative light, and make you feel helpless, inadequate, and ashamed.
But you can learn to put a stop to these unhealthy mental habits. All-or-nothing thinking. You have a hard time seeing shades of gray, at least when it comes to yourself. Emotional reasoning. You believe if you feel a certain way, it must be true. Musts, must-nots, and have-tos. You call yourself names based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings.
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You jump to the worst-case scenario. In , in the wake of New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany , the mayor of Cologne Henriette Reker came under heavy criticism, as her response appeared to blame the victims. She called for women to follow a " code of conduct ," including staying at an "arm's length" from strangers.
Coverage of the Murder of Ashley Ann Olsen , an American murdered in Italy during a sexual encounter with a Senegalese immigrant, focused on the victim blaming in cross-cultural encounters.
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In a case that attracted worldwide coverage, when a woman was raped and killed in Delhi in December , some Indian government officials and political leaders blamed the victim for various things, mostly based on conjecture. Many of the people involved later apologized. In August , the hashtag AintNoCinderella trended on social media India, in response to a high-profile instance of victim-blaming.
After Varnika Kundu was stalked and harassed by two men on her way home late at night, Bharatiya Janata Party Vice President Ramveer Bhatti addressed the incident with a claim that Kundu was somehow at fault for being out late by herself. Social media users took to Twitter and Instagram to challenge the claim that women should not be out late at night, and if they are, they are somehow "asking for it".
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