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bulimarexia

what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Ever wonder what it’s like to have an eating disorder? It’s sad. If the eating disorders don’t kill you, the loneliness will. As I stood there looking in the mirror, facing the truth of my anorexic reflection I realized that I hated what I saw. As long as I could remember, I had never liked what I saw staring back at me in the mirror. Sure, if I tried really hard I could find one thing that was tolerable. One thing that was passable as average, but mostly I disgusted myself. The eating disorders had taken hold of me and now I was down the rabbit hole and sinking faster and faster into some alternative universe where nothing made sense and everything was upside down.

Logically, I knew that the khaki’s that I wore to work were so big that I had started wearing long johns under my uniform just to appear larger than I was which was ironic because I was severely restricting what I ate in order to lose weight.

I know what its like to have an eating disorder. I knew I was anorexic. It wasn’t a secret to me.

On some level, I knew that I was severely underweight but I wasn’t going to admit it, not even to myself. Admitting that I was at an acceptable weight or below without feeling happy, complete with myself, meant failure; failure at keeping control of my life. I knew that if I lost the tiniest bit of control of the runaway train that was my life, the entire thing would derail.

It’s hard to go full on all the time. I was going to university full time, working full time, living in a large city away from all of my family and friends. I had bit off more than I could chew but I wasn’t ready to admit that I had eating disorders. I’d rather die than admit failure. Funny how I never knew what that statement truly meant before that very moment.

I’d left behind my entire life; my family, my friends, my boyfriend. I did all of this to run away from my life. I thought that if I got far enough away from it all, everything would work itself out but it didn’t. I felt out of control and overwhelmed. Nothing was working out the way I had planned it to be. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it all back on track so I restricted and micromanaged in the only place I still had complete control; my food. I clung to my eating disorders for dear life, ironic since they were killing me.

I had started restricting a couple years prior but I had been caught. I was embarrassed and I promised to stop but I never did. I couldn’t. If I would have let the chaos in for a second, my entire world have unraveled and it was pretty much held together by a stick of bubblegum and a prayer as it was so for 8 years, I hid what I was doing. I felt like a fraud.

It was the one secret that I couldn’t share with anyone because they’d try to save me from myself. I didn’t want to be saved. Or maybe I did but I wasn’t willing to turn my life over to someone else to save. I thought I had it under control. I didn’t.

I spent my days hiding the real me from everyone who cared about me.  This made me bitter and angry. Why couldn’t they just accept me as I was? Why would they try to change me? Why must they try to stop me? Didn’t they realize that this was the only thing that had gotten me through? I wore my thigh gap with hard-earned pride, why were they trying to take this small victory from me?

I needed to restrict to feel normal and the threat that someone would try to make me stop sent me into a personal seclusion. I became prone to crying inexplicably and blowing up for no apparent reason. I straddled between the reality of my disease and the delusion that it would all end up fine. I held on to that delusion like I was drowning and it was my flotation salvation.

To let reality in, to let anyone in, meant to face the fact that I had already lost all control. Then one day, when I was at my bottom, the delusion was sweeping me away and drowning me but reality kept whispering in my ear, “This will be the last time. This is your last chance to save yourself.” That’s when I knew the eating disorders had to end.

I relinquished control. It wasn’t taken from me. I gave it up. I had to give myself over to something bigger than myself to be honest and start fresh. Eating disorders are lonely and isolating. I just wanted to be free of the shackles of the lies. I wanted to live and love and grow old and that was not going to happen if I didn’t give up control of my runaway life. I had to embrace the chaos. None of that was going to happen if I was dead.

If you know someone who has eating disorders or suspect that your child might be headed down that road, I’ve written a checklist of warning signs that you might not have otherwise known to look for. Eating disorders no matter how inconsequential they may seem at first can quickly spiral out of control. Never ignore the signs because if you do, it may be too late to save your child.

This is just one day in the life of a girl with eating disorders, imagine how hard it is to live that life day after day with no end in sight?

This is what its like to have an eating disorder.

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A miracle has happened. I’d call it a Christmas miracle, but it happened after Christmas so I will call it my 2013 miracle. What a way to start the year.

After being diagnosed with a raging case of body dysmorphic disorder in my teens, I was told by my psychiatrist that I would never be able to believe what I saw in the mirror. She told me that I literally could never trust my own eyes when I look at myself. I have to admit; I thought she was the one who was crazy. I knew what I saw in the mirror. I have 20/20 vision.

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bulimarexia, eating disorder, weight, health

Here, I thought I needed to lose 30 more pounds

I saw a girl who always had to lose 5-10 more pounds. Yes, even when I was in the throes of the bulimarexia and weighed 107 pounds soaking wet. I can’t believe I just told you that. I’ve never admitted to anyone that my 5’7.5” frame ever weighed under 113 pounds. Anyways, I always saw myself as needing to lose 30 more pounds. I’d only ever say 5-10 pounds out loud because even though I knew what I was supposed to weigh and I was underweight for my height, I never felt satisfied. I felt like I should do more. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember. This may sound familiar to some of you.

I stopped vomiting and I stopped restricting because I wanted to live but I’ve always felt like I had failed. I guess the only weigh I could have truly succeeded, in my warped mind, was to have died. Sounds crazy right? I’ve been in recovery for 15 years (I will be for the rest of my life) and yet you are never truly “well”. It’s a way of thinking; a belief system. It isn’t about beauty or thinness really, it becomes about controlling your life. I think mine has a lot to do with feeling so helpless and out of control as a child. I needed to be in charge of my life in some way.

Something truly miraculous happened for me the other night. My daughter took a candid shot of my dog sitting behind me as I knelt on the floor. Most normal people saw the dog and thought what a cute dog. Me, I saw the photo and was immediately struck by how average my ass looked in the photo. It didn’t look like the broad side of the Titanic that I was convinced it was. There it sat, my ass, not as fat and distorted, as I once was convinced it was. I felt almost prideful. Was this progress? Is the disorder finally losing its grip on me?

I don’t feel skinny by any means. I know I need to lose about 80 pounds. But my ass is nowhere near the size I had suspected all these years. It caused a revelation.

There will be no resolutions to loose a hundred pounds this year.

I lived through 8 years of eating disorders and my metabolism is screwed up. I’ve tried a lot of diets and weight loss programs and I never get past the initial 20-25 pounds  of weight loss.

I’ve decided that it’s time to commit to loving myself unconditionally. I want to feel sexy again. I want to say, “YES, HELL YES I will take a shower with you” the next time my husband asks me rather than ignoring him and hoping he will forget because I feel so unattractive in my own body.

I am going to go the Hospital’s weight management center. I’m going to honestly tell them my whole entire sorted past with food. I’m going to give them my diagnosis. I am going to purge my soul and then I am going to let them help me, help myself. My butt is nowhere as big as I have imagined it to be for all these years and the fact that I can see that and recognize that, is a miracle for me.

I’m turning my life over to something larger than myself. I want to be honest and open and the only resolution I have is to get rid of the god damned yoga pants once and for all and I’d love for my thighs not to rub together anymore. Everything else is going to be gravy.

2013 is the year I get my life back form me. My Dysmorphia has been holding me hostage and I am breaking free. I am fighting my way out from underneath all of this weight.

My goal for this year is to not be held back by anything; not weight, fear, circumstances or condition. My goal is just to be happy with who I am.

Happiest of New Years and may you all be filled with contentment and satisfaction in who you are. May you see yourself the way your children see you, perfect and beautiful because you are.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Throat Punch Thursday will not be executed this Thursday. I wrote a very powerful piece about an issue that is very dear to my heart, earlier this week and would really prefer that you just take a look at that post and please share it. That being said, I am a little emotionally spent after sharing such a personal piece here and am not in the mood to Throat Punch anything or anyone, though I am sure there are many that deserve it. Facing demons is hard work:)

So in lieu of that, please check out my post about my battle with Bulimarexia and stumble it, comment, discuss, pin, Tweet, FB,like, share with anyone that you think might benefit from having this information. We need to change the world for our children. No child deserves to live in a world where we base our worth on our weight, a number on a scale. No child deserves to be put on a diet or suffer shame and ridicule for being overweight. No child should ever feel less than enough. We need to raise awareness. We need to change the world. It starts here. It starts today. It starts with us.

In the meantime, love yourselves, love one another and remember to just breathe.XOXO

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anorexia, bulimarexia, eating disorders, national eating disorders week

Bulimarexia is an eating disorder distinguished by a combination of the symptoms prevalent in both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa; develops primarily in teenage and young adult females. It is hard to treat because of having symptoms of both diseases.

Patients with bulimarexia usually have poor self-esteem and a distorted body image. Women are more likely to develop this condition. The patient engages in an aggressive campaign designed to generate weight loss and falls into a cyclical pattern of disordered eating. This can include prolonged fasting accompanied with the use of medications like diuretics to try and lose weight, followed by a binging and purging cycle where the patient eats large amounts of food and vomits.

Health risks with bulimarexia are considerable. Patients can develop organ damage as a result of the extreme stress on the body along with issues like damage to the enamel on the teeth and reduction in bone mass leading to an increased susceptibility to fractures. Comorbidities like depression can be observed and patients may overexercise, putting additional strain on the body. Patients with bulimarexia can lose weight precipitously and will still report dissatisfaction with their appearance.

Bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, restriting, body image

The photo above is what it feels like to have an eating disorder diagnosis. You feel alone, sad, your life feels hazy and you become a slave to your disease. You are hungry and unsatisfied. Unsatisfied with your body and there is a hunger within that is never fulfilled. Your disease becomes all consuming.

I hear people throw around the term anorexic and bulimic with no weight. These are two very serious diseases. They are more than simply not eating or binging and purging. They are punishment for a crime we didn’t commit. We punish ourselves for eating; the very thing that is needed to sustain us. It’s self-loathing. Can you imagine how that feels? Can you imagine hating the skin you are in so much, wanting to be in control of your body so badly, that you are willing to go to any lengths and risk any consequence to have that feeling of just being normal?

I do. I had what is now referred to as Bulimarexia for 8 years. I started off like most teen girls, hypersensitive to the criticism of others because of the already established need to be perfect set forth by magazines and television. My dad made a comment in passing that I needed to “run more”. He is an avid runner. This went into my ears, entered my brain and got twisted into ” You are fat. You are not good enough. If you were thinner, you would be better. I could love you more. YOU.NEED.TO.RUN!”

I went on my first diet at 12. I think it was about 5 minutes after my dad made his comment.

This went on for about 6 years. Me fighting my body to keep my curves from becoming too pronounced. By the way, I was 5’7″ and a size 8-10 in high school. I think at my absolute heaviest in high school was about 130 pounds. I thought I was huge.

Then before I left for college, everyone I encountered reminded me of the freshman fifteen (I was too young and naive to realize that the fifteen was caused by alcohol intake, not food) and every girl we knew left thin and by Thanksgiving returned, at least fifteen pounds heavier. This scared me to death.

Aside from leaving my family for the first time ever, leaving my boyfriend, 20 poundmy friends, my hometown and going to a new city, living on my own and being completely out of my comfort zone; I felt out of control. There was no way that I was letting my weight get out of control. I had to control it. I had to control something. I restricted my calories to about 600 calories a day (max)  and proceeded to throw up everything I took in (including water) and exercise for at least 2 hours a day. I remember heading down to the dorm gym in the basement at 10 pm, alone, and not returning to my room until midnight. I did a lot of things alone in those days. This started the fall I turned 18.

This is Bulimarexia

This continued for 8 years.

I was caught by a friend of mine once the first year. My parents found out. All the baggy sweatshirts and loose jeans can’t20-poundweight loss on an already average sized body. I had to return home from school mid-semester.

Even after I was caught, I never quit the bulimarexia. By that point, it was my trusted friend. I relied upon it. It was my routine. It was my safety. I didn’t care about the ramifications. I was in too deep to stop.

I got sneakier. I learned to pretend to eat and move my food around on my plate, eat off of smaller plates. I learned how to vomit silently and hide the evidence. I learned what was easier to digest and what tasted better coming up, what got hung in your throat and what did not. I learned a lot of ways to do this that I won’t share here because it would be irresponsible for me to share the intricacies of bulimarexia with you here. I don’t know who could be reading this and I refuse to give detailed instruction on how to kill yourself.

Eventually, I allowed myself to eat more and vomit more. It became the norm for me to vomit 5 times a day; some days as many times as 10 but usually no less than 5.  I never really ever binge ate. Binging, to me, was weak. It lacked self-control. I remember being tired a lot, cold ( bad circulation and no meat on my bones), hungry (always hungry), puffy (my face would look puffy from constantly throwing up) and having scars on my hands from involuntarily biting down in the middle of a purge. Honestly, I’m surprised I have any enamel left on my teeth at all.

I remember people constantly trying to feed me and telling me that I looked sick. Most people had no idea that I had bulimarexia. I knew how to keep a secret. Every single time they said “you look like you are sick”, I felt validation..someone thought I was skinny. A concerned boyfriend once told me that I was getting too thin. I accused him of cheating. I preferred to give up the relationship with him than give up the bulimarexia. This was a serious relationship, not a casual boyfriend. It didn’t matter.

I stopped the behavior when I was 25. I will write about that in another post.

Bulimarexia makes you defensive. Starvation makes you mean. You’ll do anything to protect the disease. You take comfort in the control. I can tell you about this now because I am not that same girl. I am trying to not let my number on the scale rule my life. I’ve not starved or purged in almost 15 years. In fact, it will be 15 years this fall. I still have times when I consider it for a moment, but then I look at my daughters and I know I want to live. I want to be a good example for them and I can’t do that with disordered eating. I’m sharing this so you can understand that eating disorders are more than someone simply choosing to be skinny. They are not terms to be thrown around lightly because the weight and price of eating disorders is death. I was lucky, I survived my bulimarexia others do not.

Bulimarexia the Consequence of Impossible Standards

bulimarexia,anorexia,bulimia, eating disorders
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