Dan Roberts is a therapist and wellbeing coach - each week he will be answering iVillagers’ questions on health and wellbeing. If you’re stressed, anxious or suffering from low mood, feeling generally stuck, frustrated, unhappy or unwell, Dan can help. Check in every week to read his latest words of wisdom.
This blog does not offer medical advice. If you feel you may be suffering from depression or have experienced suicidal thoughts, please contact your GP immediately
How can I beat bulimia?
Question: Dear Dan, this is really hard to write about but I have bulimia and have done since I was in school. I’m really ashamed of it and wish I could stop but it’s just too hard. I’ve always been worried about my weight and hated my body, even though people tell me it’s fine. I try very hard not to eat rubbish foods like biscuits and chocolate because I know they’re bad for me and make me fat. But then I get down or worried about something and find myself eating loads of them and then being sick. It’s horrible, so I really hope you can help. Kristen
I know it’s very hard to admit but I’m so glad you asked for help with this. Bulimia is a serious, potentially health-damaging problem and you definitely need to do something about it. It’s not easy to get under control, but with the right help and some effort on your part it is definitely possible to do so.
- First, please contact your GP. I will make some suggestions here, but this is not something you can tackle alone. Your GP will refer you to a specialist eating disorders team who will provide all the information, support and encouragement you need. You should receive a combination of practical help to get your eating back to a more normal pattern, and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which is proven to be the most effective way to tackle some of the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs associated with bulimia.
- You can also make a head start by reading Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques, by Peter Cooper. It’s an excellent, easy-to-read book that will help you understand your eating difficulties and how to tackle them. You can use the book alongside your treatment from the eating disorders team.
- Remember that you are far from alone, either from suffering from an eating disorder or being worried about your weight, eating habits and appearance. In a way, bulimia is just a more severe form of the worries and upset most women (and increasing numbers of men) have around food and their bodies. Many people with bulimia feel very ashamed of their behaviour and isolate themselves because they can’t face the outside world. Realising that this is an all-too-common problem will, hopefully, reduce that shame a little.
- And if there’s one point I could make to you it’s this: starving yourself, bingeing and then throwing up can potentially do a great deal of damage to your health. Changing your eating habits so you eat three meals a day, with healthy snacks in between, will not only make you much healthier – but you won’t be taking in any more calories than you do now, so you shouldn’t gain any weight. This is a crucial point to grasp as you start to make these vital changes – as is the fact that, with the right help and support, you can win this battle.
Best of luck with it,
If you’re worried about anything to do with your wellbeing, Dan can help - email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and have the answer published in Dan's blog. For expert advice see his website: www.danroberts.com