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Am I Bulimic?

The more YES answers you give to the following questions, the more likely you are suffering from bulimia or another eating disorder:

Looking at these questions and summarizing,  we’ve now identified three key features of bulimia

Please note that bulimia doesn’t always involve purging—Food can be physically eliminated from your body by throwing up or using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics.  If you are fasting, exercising to excess, or going on crash diets, this also qualifies as bulimia.

What is bulimia?

When you suffer from bulimia, you live life on a battleground.  You battle with yourself between the desire stay thin or lose weight and the overwhelming compulsion to binge eat. You do everything you can to stop your cravings, trying not to binge, because you will feel disgusted and ashamed afterwards—the urge to binge is all too great. You can’t stop thinking about food, and in the end, you give in.
You binge until you’re so stuffed you feel like you’re going to explode, often on anything you find. Then the panic starts, because you think about all the calories you’ve eaten. Terrified of gaining weight, you use drastic measures to “undo” the binge, purging, fasting, or exercising to get rid of the calories. And the whole time this cycle perpetuates, you feel increasingly out of control, and you feel as though you cannot get off the windmill.  This is bulimia in a nutshell.


The binge and purge cycle

Binge and Purge Cycle
When you are a bulimic, just being on a diet triggers the destructive cycle of binging and purging. The irony is that the more strict and rigid the diet is, especially when the diet is not balanced and a healthy diet, the more likely it is that you’ll become preoccupied, even obsessed, with food. Your body knows what is good for it and will even ask for needed nutrition. When you starve yourself, your body responds with cravings that are too hard to deny.
The compulsion to eat becomes almost impossible to resist as the tension, hunger, and feelings of deprivation build.  So, the dieter/bulimic eats a “forbidden” food  and breaks a dietary rule. Because the mindset of the Bulimic is all or nothing, any diet slip-up is seen as a total failure. So, just one bite of a cookie or ice cream may lead you to think that you’ve already blown it for the entire day, so, you might as well scrap the entire day and go ALL OUT!
So, you go on a binge. Incredibly, and so interestingly, this brings you some relief to the tension you usually carry around. Unfortunately however the relief that the binge brings is extremely short-lived as the binging is soon followed by guilt and self-loathing.
The next step you take to regain control is to purge.  You’ve now made the mistake thinking hat this purge will make up for the binging, and get you back to normal.
Unfortunately, purging only reinforces binge eating. Though you may tell yourself, as you launch into a new diet, that this is the last time, in the back of your mind there’s a voice telling you that you can always throw up or use laxatives if you lose control again. What you may not realize is that purging doesn’t come close to wiping the slate clean after a binge.
What is important for you to know is that, Purging does NOT prevent weight gain.  That’s because it isn’t effective at getting rid of calories. Most people suffering with bulimia end up gaining weight over time. Vomiting, even immediately after eating will eliminate at most, 50% of the calories consumed. Calorie absorption begins the moment you put food in the mouth. Laxatives and diuretics are even less effective at eliminating weight and/or calories. Laxatives get rid of only 10% of the calories eaten, and diuretics do nothing at all. Even if you weigh less after taking them the lower weight is due to water loss, not true weight loss.

Please note the dangers of ipecac syrup!

If you use ipecac syrup, which is a medicine used to induce vomiting, especially after a poison has been ingested, please be careful! Regular use of ipecac syrup can be deadly. Ipecac builds up in the body over time. Eventually it may lead to heart damage and sudden cardiac arrest; this is how singer Karen Carpenter died – from the build up of Ipecac Syrup.
The Risk of Being a Bulimic
Being a Bulimic is putting your life at Risk!  You are at danger, not just now, but for the rest of your life.  You need to seek out help..
The most dangerous side effect of bulimia is dehydration which is due to purging. Vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics can cause electrolyte imbalances, most commonly in the form of low potassium levels. Low potassium levels usually trigger a wide range of symptoms ranging from lethargy and cloudy thinking to irregular heartbeat and may lead to death.
Chronically low levels of potassium can also result in kidney failure. You are putting yourself at risk for diabetes, osteoporosis, heart problems, and other medical complications and adverse effects of bulimia including:

  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal pain, bloating
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness
  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes
  • Swollen cheeks and salivary glands
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Tooth decay and mouth sores
  • Acid reflux or ulcers
  • Ruptured stomach or esophagus
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Chronic constipation from laxative abuse


 Please seek out help now.  There is excellent help available.

Rika B.

NOTE/Disclaimer: Inclusion in our list of organizations, books, counselors, and other links and resources does not necessarily indicate a recommendation or endorsement. What is helpful for another survivor may not be right for you. As always, use your own judgment when contacting any of these organizations. Advice given at this website, or in conjunction with Joshua Childrens Foundation activities is not to be taken as a counseling or clinical relationship but only as suggestion based on the founders personal experience as a sex abuse victim resulting in bulimia eating disorder and the healing journey from that. Articles, links, or content contained on this website should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner, nor should it be inferred as such. Always check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about a specific condition. Joshua Childrens Foundation does not take any responsibility and is held harmless from any actions by anyone associated with the websites we link to.