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How to Help a Friend With Bulimia

Welcome beautiful, loving YOU.

Do you know that’s who you are?

You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t care for your friend and deep inside want them to be healthy and happy.  You are a wonderful human being that has the capacity to help other people learn to see themselves as beautiful.

An estimated 1 in 4 women in college have an eating disorder and up to 80% of women exhibit signs of an eating disorder at some stage of their life. For all of the women you meet in your life that are suffering with bulimia I want to share some important information with you.

It’s important that you learn how to recognize the warning signs of bulimia and understand what to do and what not to do as you try to help your friend or loved one suffering with bulimia.

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I’ll share a few ideas here, but if you’d like a lot more information, I encourage you to download my free How to Help a Friend or Loved One With Bulimia Guide.  That’s the best way to quickly understand bulimia and start helping your friend or loved one.

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia

Bulimia is a sort of secret addiction afflicting women with some unusual warning signs.  My Mom said that women with bulimia are “master actors” at hiding it.  She was right because I had many, many friends who never knew my secret.  Anorexia is usually easier to detect because the weight loss becomes pretty obvious.  However, bulimics generally maintain a normal weight.

I want to make one disclaimer before we get started.  Most bulimics I know would be horrified and deeply ashamed if their friends knew they had bulimia.  To be sure you don’t offend or upset them I recommend you better understand bulimia before you start asking questions.  I go into detail about what causes bulimia, the impacts and tips for starting the conversation in my guide.

Here are a few of the more commons signs of bulimia:

She eats like a pig

Bulimics eat a lot of food at one time and then secretly purge or work it off usually by over exercising or using laxatives.  If your friend never seems to gain weight, but eats a ton of high calorie “forbidden” food she might be bulimic.  If your friend is working out 3, 4 or more hours a day and isn’t training for Ironman, she probably has an eating disorder.

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Secretly disappearing food

Living with a bulimic it’s sometimes easier to see when binges occur. You may notice big quantities of food are suddenly missing after a night of secret binging.  Bulimics binge in secret and replace food hoping people will never notice.  If you wake up and a plate full of cookies or a tray of brownies are gone, you may be living with a bulimic.

Eating alone or anti-social

Social gatherings can be a problem for bulimics.  Because food can trigger their binge and purge cycles, they tend to avoid situations where they can’t trust themselves to eat normally around people. If your friend seems anti-social and doesn’t want to participate when you invite them to dinner or gatherings with food, you might know a bulimic.

These are just a few of the signs your friend or loved one might have bulimia.  For a more comprehensive list of warning signs, download my guide.

How Do I Help Her?

It’s completely normal to be concerned for your friend’s health because bulimia could eventually kill her. If you want to help it’s important you understand some of the things to and not do to when confronting someone about their eating disorder.

Unconditional love is a sign of respect

Bulimics live with a lot of shame about their eating disorder. To help her feel comfortable the best thing to do is to tell and show her you love her unconditionally.   Show her you accept her for who she is – just the way she is.  Help her understand that you believe in and love her without strings attached.  Whether she wants to cling to her eating disorder or take steps for recovery – you love her either way.

Avoid being the bathroom monitor or food police

Policing your friend or loved one will only make the situation worse.  She’s having a hard enough time around food and eating without you policing her.  Try to avoid saying things like “are you going to eat all that?” or “you need to finish everything on your plate” or “did you eat that bag of cookies?” If she’s binging and purging, it’s because she’s trying to avoid feeling something uncomfortable.  Asking politely if she’d like to talk about what’s bothering her will show you care.

She’s afraid to open up

We are all faced with challenging situations in life.  Your friend is binging because she has something that’s bothering her – maybe something recent or from a long time ago.  She hasn’t learned how to deal with her uncomfortable feelings and uses food to sooth herself and feel better.  She craves a compassionate listener, but needs to know she can trust you.  Show her you care just by just being a good listener and leave your judgments at the door.

These are just a few of the ways you can show your support to someone with bulimia.  If you’d like to understand bulimia more and tips for starting the conversation, download my guide now.

Be sure you join us for the free online workshop from Operation Beautiful & Get Busy Thriving called The 3 Keys to Beating Bulimia. This free workshop will take place Monday, July 23rd only. You won’t want to miss this inspiring event. Click here for details and to register today.