|BULIMIA, ANOREXIA AND OVER-EATING
Bulimia is characterised by a pattern of
binge-eating and then induced vomiting. Apart from
the mental stress of bulimic behaviour, it can have
severe effects on the teeth, stomach lining and the
oesophagus. Bulimia is often a mechanism for getting
rid of bad feelings but sufferers rarely feel good
for long and need to binge-eat again and vomit when
the feelings build up again.
Anorexia is characterised by a pattern of rigid
weight control, often to the point of starvation.
Sufferers very often feel out of control in their
own lives and get a strong feeling of control over
the one thing that no-one else can interfere with -
what food enters their bodies. They are often
actually obsessed and fascinated by weighing and
eating food and can have an altered body image where
they see themselves as fat and ungainly even when
they are skeletal in appearance.
Overeating is characterised by a need to eat until
the sufferer feels better but usually this is
impossible. Sufferers feel they have a huge hole to
fill inside themselves and that their hunger is
unassuagable. The need to fill themselves with
nourishment is difficult to satisfy and can often
mean that either they are missing out on emotional
nourishment somewhere else or that they
subconsciously feel they need a layer of fat, the
bigger the better, between them and the world. Fat
is seen as a protection, perhaps against feeling
small and weak or maybe a protection against being
recognised as a sexually available person.
If you know that you are using bulimic or anorexic
behaviour or that you are over-eating to make
yourself feel better, there are a few guidelines on
normal eating that might help if you follow them.
- Try to eat three times a day
- Eat foods that you enjoy the taste of and
that satisfy your mouth
- Don’t feel bad if you over-eat or under-eat
- Eat good or bad foods without feeling guilty
- Eat socially in a similar manner to others
- Be aware that eating is not the most
important thing except for your good health
Recognise anxiety, tension or unpleasant feelings
prior to eating
Re-organise your lifestyle to avoid your particular
triggers ie loneliness, boredom and tension
- Try to recognise genuine hunger signals
- STOP dividing foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’
- Learn that dieting is unnecessary and makes
- Realise that most foods can be eaten in
moderate amounts without dramatic weight gain
- Understand that the urge to binge may take
many months to go completely
- Try to decrease your preoccupation with food
For anorexics only
- Are any other family members collaborating
with your behaviour, whether they are aware of
it or not?
- What other feelings are you avoiding by
being preoccupied with food?
- Do people expect as much from a thin person?
Are the expectations of you too great?
For bulimics only
- Write down your feelings before you vomit
and ten minutes afterwards. Has it helped?
- Do you like to keep this secret? What would
happen if people found out?
- What other situations make you feel like
- Do you feel safer being fat?
- Write down how you feel when you eat
- Write down your feelings when you eat too
much to be comfortable