What is Bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa is also characterized by shame and feelings of guilt when they eat. However those who suffer from bulimia end up vomiting, using laxatives or excessively exercising when they do consume food. They may restrict their food groups/caloric intake but they still do eat (in comparison with anorexia). This does not mean in any sense that bulimia is less dangerous. It is still just as dangerous as excessive vomiting can have serious impacts on the esophagus and heart. Bulimia is also fatal due to loss of electrolytes, low body weight and organ damage. Those who suffer from bulimia are also preoccupied with their weight, food and eating altogether. They desire an ideal thin body and have obsessive thoughts about how they should look, what they should eat and what they shouldn’t eat. Many bulimics have “safe” foods that they allow themselves to eat, and may not vomit. They also have a list of restrictions, or “unsafe foods” that they avoid. If they do eat a food that is restricted, they end up purging. Due to the heavy restrictions bulimics impose on themselves, many go through what is called a “binge-purge cycle”. A bulimic already has obsessive thoughts about food and weight. By not eating enough or all of the food groups, eventually the bulimics willpower diminishes. They feel as if they “given in” to their cravings and eat off their restricted foods list (usually junk food such as chocolate, chips, cookies, cake, Mcdonalds etc). Since they have deprived themselves for a long time of this food they are overwhelmed by the taste. They want more. Many bulimics feel as if they can’t stop eating and it becomes a sort of frenzy since they were previously in a malnourished/semi-starvation state. Once the “binge” is finished, the regret, guilt and shame begins to start. Then, due to these overwhelming feelings of regret (and loss of progress in the bulimic’s eyes) they will start to vomit everything they just ate. It should be noted that the regularity, frequency and how much vomited all depends on the individual and it varies greatly. After the purge, the bulimic continues their restrictive diet. It is called a cycle because usually the restrictive diet leads the individual to binge again (at some point in time, may be often may be extremely rare). Please note this is a general overview on bulimia and not every bulimic has the same schedule. You should not try to compare bulimia or set a certain standard, as it is very different for different people.