Although technically, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder and regarded as such, the tendency to binge and then throw up is more of an emotional urge. Hence, it’d be apt to consider bulimia as a psychological disorder rather than being a somatic affliction as bulimics find it impossible to break free from the vicious bingeing-purging cycle. Bulimic individuals gorge through their meal because they find the activity (bingeing) solacing-a means to tide over feelings of low self-worth and cope with depression or anxiety attacks.
As we progressed from the false assertion that genes cause eating disorders, to there possibly being a genetic link based on a series of potential genes and traits, the field of eating disorders began to explore biologic determinants contributing to causation. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
However, bulimics will be relieved to know that the bingeing and purging phase that seems to go on and on, can be broken by adhering to some simple but practical steps. A bulimic will be able to follow the steps smoothly as they do not run counter to any treatment program that the individual might be undergoing.
Steps to Control Bingeing
- Eat with others and enjoy the meal
Bulimics while bingeing make sure that there is nobody around and prefer to take their meals all by themselves. Since the manner in which they gorge may appear repulsive to others, they take their meals alone. If you’re bulimic, you can take the first step of breaking away from the phase by committing yourself to taking meals with your family.
And instead of rushing through your repasts, take time to chew every morsel, and savor whatever you are eating. Appreciate the flavor, texture, and aroma of the food items and enjoy your meals.
- Drink two glasses of water only after the meal and not in between
You might be in the habit of drinking water frequently in between your meals in order to speed up the passing of food through the esophagus. Taking water along with morsels of foods interferes with digestion. If you have to take water while you’re eating then take a few sips.
Once you’re done with your meal, drink at least two full glasses of water that will give you a feeling of fullness and also discourage you from rushing to the bathroom for purging.
In the case of bingeing, food bills go up, food is often hidden, empty wrappers are found in unlikely places, and food keeps disappearing from the pantry. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
- Identify what triggers the bingeing episodes and then try to contain them.
For most bulimics, there is always something that triggers or stimulates them to indulge in bingeing. For instance, it could be their reminiscing about time spent with someone who was very close to them but is no more or it could be the image of a delicatessen that flashes in their mind. Or it could be that you are plain bored or feeling lonely.
Whenever you’re triggered to open the refrigerator door, pinch yourself, and try to dissuade yourself by rushing out of the room or doing something that keeps your mind off of food.
- Make the most of the distractions to keep triggers at bay
There are so many activities that you can indulge in so as to prevent yourself from getting distracted, including going for a walk, talking to a friend or playing with your kids.
- Plan well in advance
Take time out to prepare a grocery list comprising of nutritious and fresh food items. Also, take more meals at home and prepare them yourself in order to stop focusing on binge-eating.
Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
- Look after yourself
Instead of always being preoccupied with weight loss and your looks, try to lead a more disciplined life. Consult with a dietician for preparing a daily nutrition chart, sleep and get up at the same fixed times every day and be active.
- Get all the support you can
Get all the support you need from your near and dear ones who can help you out with tackling bingeing and/or purging.
Steps to overcome purging
- Understand that weight loss cannot be achieved through purging
- Eat only those foods that do not stimulate regurgitation
- Maintain a diary to note down your feelings
Understanding and realizing the long-term effects of bulimia will better encourage you to follow the aforementioned steps as far as breaking the bingeing/purging cycle is concerned.