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Bulimia FAQ’s (aka Polly’s Ranting)

This post is about a reply I emailed to one of my newsletter subscribers when she asked some of the more common bulimia recovery FAQ’s I receive (or see online in forums).  I am basically cutting and pasting the email I sent to her. It sounds like I’m ranting (to me), but I felt pretty strongly after I said all of it so I knew there was some important stuff in what came out. Just thought someone else could benefit, so I’m sharing it here on my bulimia recovery blog, too.

The woman who contacted me is in her first month of recovery (on her own, no therapist or treatment center from what I can tell). Here are some of her original comments/questions to me that prompted my response (not all of her story to keep her anonymity):

I’ve had a few weeks of peace with my food.  The past two days where my cravings for food and indulging seem to have come back to haunt me and I have given-in not by purging but eating a little more than I should let’s say and felt guilty about it. (She went on to talk about craving and eating food early in the morning – not cleaning out the fridge or anything, but over indulging.)

I feel guilty now (after that early morning overeating session) and thought to myself:  “how could I balance my day, not continuing to feel guilty and ending up binging and purging later on?”

When you swore to yourself that you’d never go back to be a bulimic again, did you go through something similar? Did you feel like you were about to loose control again but at the same time felt so strong which did not actually make you go “all the way” (purging)?

My MAJOR concerns are (1) fear of gaining weight and (2) knowing what is the right diet/lifestyle to maintain the body I want.It’s like I need someone to write out what is a normal way to eat throughout the day. Sounds silly after having had years of reading health and fitness magazines and articles, it’s like I know too much now and am confused. The subject of health and nutrition is all so controversial! So now I’m wondering am I eating enough? Am I eating too much? and that creates a lot of anxiety for me because I am concerned and want to do this the right way.

I wish I had addressed the second part of her major concerns better, but I really wanted to hit home the part about learning to trust yourself.  Now that I look back and her questions, I would add some about regaining balance in your diet and nutritional state through some structured eating/meal programs or working with a nutritionist.  Anhew, here’s my response to her message…

Well, I can tell you I STILL face the questions you’re asking and the weird urges and then guilt and concern and body image/weight gain fears.  I think for some people it goes away completely like they wrap it up in a box and ship it off to a different planet.  I haven’t looked at my recovery quite like that and I see myself as an ever-evolving sculpture I’m molding or student who’s always learning.  What I am is conscious about my choices, my emotions, my actions, my interactions and especially my self-talk.  Consciousness is key to lasting when you hit tough patches.

I like being in the question of who I am and what I’m about. I can tell from your tone and the questions you’re a little afraid that the wrong slip could slip you all the way back.  I don’t think you’re on that slippery slope.  I look at it like not going to the gym when you promised yourself you’d get into shape.  Along the way to our goals our humanity or life gets in the way and we get off track for a moment or a day or whatever.  I think as long as you can keep from picking up the stick (or whip) and beating yourself up with guilt and shame about it, you’re that much quicker to getting back on track.

I see people get off the course in a ditch along the way because they’re hung up on a mistake and obsessively start self-flogging.  They say things like “I can’t believe I let myself slip like that”, they feel so awful about it, they have no will power, they’re a bad person and on and on it goes.  I eat too many cookies or an extra scoop of ice cream here or there and I just acknowledge I did it and move on.  Ta da!  I lose my power if I make too big a deal about it.

As for the gaining weight/what to eat.  That’s a big ‘ol ball of questions right there, my friend.  I weight the exact same every month, every year – somehow it just regulates itself.  I can send you in circles reading countless books about the subject, but it sounds like you’ve done a lot of the reading I’m talking about already and it’s only created more confusion.  Well, sorry to say but welcome to that club.  I hung out there for awhile, too.  It’ll drive you nuts.

My 2 cents about ALL of this and everything you’re asking about I can sum up with this…

The answers you seek lie within.

When you can start tuning in to the voice inside that loves and adores you (your Source, spirit, God or whatever) and not the one that’s always criticizing and telling you you’ll get fat, you will have the answers right at your finger tips.  Never listen to the inner critic – it will always drive you towards fear, shame, weakness, doubt, etc.  Listen to the quiet, super quiet, voice that whispers encouragement, love, praise, applause at you.  That’s the voice you want to begin to trust.  Shut up everything else.  Including me.  Other gurus or teachers or so called experts.  I promise you my words are not what you want to be trusting or using to guide your life.  It’s your own heart, your inner knowing that has the answers.

I feel I could do a much better job of explaining myself by phone. If you’d ever like to talk, just let me know and we could talk about things.  I hope what I’ve said helped you in some way.  If nothing else sticks please keep in mind you don’t need to look outside for your answers – you just need to get better at listening to your Self.  For someone who’s been practicing that for 7 years now it still takes practice, but I’m a hell of a lot better at it than I was at day 1 of recovery.

I hope this bulimia FAQ’s response was helpful. If you have a question you’d like me to answer, either share it below or email it to me and I can reply to you personally or post it here on my blog.  Thanks for listening to my rant! :)

To your joyous recovery and thriving life,