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Chopra Center for Wellbeing
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Eating Disorders: Bulimia
As with anorexia, bulimia exists along a continuum. Some people who are so entrenched in the disease that they vomit after every meal. They have completely destroyed their digestive systems and have caused permanent damage to their bodies. Then there are people who occasionally make themselves vomit when they eat too much or become upset. And then there are people whose struggle with bulimia exists somewhere else along this continuum.
The sad thing is the people can easily convince themselves that they don't really have a problem. I only vomit after I have eaten way too much; I am not really bulimic.I don't vomit more than a few times a month, never more than once a week. I don't really have a problem. Or, my personal favorite: you convince yourself that vomiting is a reasonable way to manage overeating. Making myself vomit is much better than overeating and being too full. I know overeating is horrible for my body, so it is better if I make myself vomit.
The problem with all of this thinking is that it avoids the problem. Bulimia is not just about vomiting. Many people can eventually stop bulimic behaviors because they know that is the healthier choice. But do they address the underlying issues that caused the bulimic behaviors? Bulimia is an unhealthy way of dealing with pain and suffering. In order to truly heal from an eating disorder, begin to ask yourself the following questions:
How do you feel about yourself?
Do you feel safe in the world?
Do you feel loved?
Can you offer yourself compassion, love, and acceptance?
Are you looking for approval? Who from and why?
What will happen if you stop being bulimic?
The problem with eating disorders is that there is a part of us that wants to engage in the eating disorder behavior. There is a part of us that wants to be bulimic or anorexic. Sure, there is part of us that doesnâ€™t want to engage in these self-destructive behaviors.
But there is another part of us, the part of us controlled by the eating disorder, that willingly participates in self-destruction. We are caught between two voices: the one that tells us we should not treat ourselves with such contempt, and the other one that persuades us that this self-mutilation is actually the key to lasting peace and contentment.
In order to break free from bulimia or any eating disorder, you must come to a place where you are convinced that the eating disorder will not and cannot provide the key to lasting happiness. You must be convinced that there is a more effective way to deal with pain and that you are capable of healing. When you come to this place of knowing, you can discover powerful ways to heal yourself and begin to love the life of love that you deserve.