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Let’s start with something very important: There are a lot of misconceptions about eating disorders, including bulimia. Myth #1: Bulimia is a behavior (in other words, something you can control)—specifically vomiting and laxative abuse. Myth #2: People with bulimia are “healthy” again once they stop purging. In reality, bulimia is much, much more complicated than that. While it is an eating disorder—and many people who have bulimia have an unhealthy relationship with food and their bodies—it’s also a complex, potentially life-threatening mental disorder. First of all, not all people with bulimia purge. There are actually two subtypes: purging and non-purging. Similar to binge-eating disorder, those who have bulimia engage in cycles of excessive eating. Afterwards, they seek to undo it all, either by forced vomiting or other potentially dangerous behaviors, such as misusing laxatives or diuretics, starving themselves, or exercising excessively. Underlying all these symptoms of the disorder are emotional pain, shame, and stigma; nearly half of people with bulimia also deal with a mood disorder, more than half suffer from anxiety, and nearly 1 in 10 have a substance abuse problem. Bulimia takes a huge physical toll, depriving the body of necessary nutrients and putting someone with this eating disorder at risk for dehydration, dental problems, damage to the esophagus, and GI issues related to repeated exposure to stomach acid. In extreme cases, bulimia can lead to heart and other organ problems and even death. People with bulimia are better at hiding their condition than those with anorexia because they don’t always lose weight. As a result, it’s not always possible for family and friends to notice what’s going on or to intervene until the person is at risk for serious health problems. All of this information can feel scary and may be upsetting. But here’s the crucial thing to know: Bulimia is treatable. Many find permanent relief with professional help and nonjudgmental support from friends and family. (We’re serious about that nonjudgmental part—that’s really key!) As a first step, it may be helpful to find a local 12-step program like Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous (ABA) or Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA). Being part of a 12-step program that has helped others to recover is a hopeful act. Studies have found that both drug therapy, especially tricyclic antidepressants, and psychotherapy can help. If you have bulimia, there’s a lot you can do to take care of yourself as you strive for recovery. First, banish any social accounts or media that show underweight, objectified bodies—you don’t need that in your life (in fact, none of us do!). Avoid all weight-loss diets and commit to eating healthy, nutritious meals—meals that don’t trigger the urge to purge, but also don’t leave you hungry—on a regular schedule. Do your best to keep stress (which is a trigger) to a low simmer. If you’re coping with an addiction—to food, booze, or drugs—seek help for that too. Some people who have successfully recovered from bulimia say it helped to work with an integrative nutritionist and incorporate supplements, though there’s no actual research to say this approach works. Last thought: Lean on your WanaFam for advice and encouragement. Bulimia is an illness, and having people to lean on—people who get it—can make a huge difference in your recovery.

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Books about Bulimia


The Overcoming Bulimia Workbook: Your Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide to Recovery (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

Severe dieting often results in periods of reactive binge eating, a phenomenon experienced by one in twenty American women. Responses to these periods may include prolonged fasting, self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives and diuretics, and obsessive exercise: all symptoms of bulimia. This workbook contains tools to help bulimics break the cycle of bingeing and reacting, allowing them to take control of their lives and make positive behavior changes. Practical advice and real-life examples reinforce attitudes and offer encouragement. Discover that it is possible to overcome the disorder and live a happier, more fulfilling life. Through their cutting-edge research at the internationally renowned Toronto Hospital Eating Disorders Program, the authors of The Overcoming Bulimia Workbook have developed a step-by-step program for recovery whose efficacy has been proven in clinical trials. The authors empower bulimia suffers to take control of their lives, not only by providing information and advice, but by giving them a personalized format with which they can put these new behavior changes into practice - a process that is critically important for lasting recovery. This comprehensive guide covers everything from bulimia's symptoms, causes, and risks to how to normalize eating, shift eating-disordered thoughts, build on personal strengths, improve self-esteem, deal with underlying issues, prevent relapse, and understand what medications can help. With many real-life examples, this book also helps readers learn through the experiences of other sufferers how to overcome their disorder and live a happier, more fulfilled life.


The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia: Using DBT to Break the Cycle and Regain Control of Your Life (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

At the root of bulimia is a need to feel in control. While purging is a strategy for controlling weight, bingeing is an attempt to calm depression, stress, shame, and even boredom. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia offers new and healthy ways to overcome the distressing feelings and negative body-image beliefs that keep you trapped in this cycle. In this powerful program used by therapists, you'll learn four key skill sets-mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness-and begin using them right away to manage bulimic urges. The book includes worksheets and exercises designed to help you take charge of your emotions and end your dependence on bulimia. You'll also learn how to stay motivated and committed to ending bulimia instead of reverting to old behaviors. Used together, the skills presented in this workbook will help you begin to cope with uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways, empower you to feel good about nourishing your body, and finally gain true control over your life. This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.


Never Binge Again: How Thousands of People Have Stopped Overeating and Binge Eating - and Stuck to the Diet of Their Choice! (By Reprogramming Themselves to Think Differently About Food.)

If you struggle with binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, or if you repeatedly manage to lose weight only to gain it all back, you may be approaching things with the wrong mindset. Most contemporary thought on overeating and bingeing focuses on healing and self-love. But people who've overcome food addiction and weight issues often report it was more like capturing and caging a rabid dog than learning to love their inner child... Open the cage even an inch—or show that dog an ounce of fear—and it'll quickly burst out to shred your healthy eating plans, undoing all your progress in a heartbeat. From his perspective as a formerly food-obsessed psychologist—and previous consultant to major food manufacturers—Dr. Livingston shares specific techniques for isolating and permanently dis-empowering your “fat thinking self.” He reveals much of his own personal journey in the process. If despite your best intentions you find yourself in one or more of the following situations then this book is for you... You've tried diet after diet with no permanent success... You constantly think about food and/or your weight... You feel driven to eat when you're not hungry (emotional overeating)... You sometimes feel you can't stop eating even though you're full... You sometimes feel guilty or ashamed of what you've eaten... You behave differently with food in private than you do when you're with other people... You feel the need to fast and/or severely restrict your food to “make up” for serious bouts of overeating... Never Binge Again can help you: Dramatically improve your ability to stick to ANY healthy food plan so you can achieve your weight loss and/or fitness goals... Quickly recover from mistakes without self judgement or unnecessary guilt... Free yourself from the prison of food obsession so you can enjoy a satisfying, delicious, and healthy diet for the rest of your life!

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