Bulimia nervosa, commonly shortened to bulimia, is a compulsive eating disorder, which has its roots in low self-esteem. Bulimics, are mostly (but not always) female, and between the ages of 14 and 40. They go through periods of overeating or binge eating, after which they feel guilty and ashamed about their behaviour, and they create intense anxiety about putting on weight. As a result, they then attempt to rid themselves of the food or calories that they have consumed, normally through vomiting, but sometimes also through the use of enemas, laxatives or diuretics. Some sufferers go through a period of excessive exercise, or fasting, after a period of binging. Ironically perhaps, the most common reason for bulimics to consult for therapy is because they are ruining all their back teeth. Whenever they vomit, they are bringing up the very acidic contents of their stomach, and this stomach acid can be very difficult to remove from the mouth and teeth.
Although the actual act of making themselves sick is an instant-gratification behaviour, the continual brooding and worrying about what they eat, their weight, size or shape, is an obsessional thinking style, associated with the Brooder personality. Despite their obsessive side, bulimics find it difficult to focus on long-term goals, instead focusing on feeling good right now. The drive to obsess about their weight, size or shape stems from low self-esteem (possibly even self-loathing), and a perfectionist thinking style in relation to their body or ‘looks’. They may or may not exercise their perfectionist style in other areas of their life.
Bulimics may binge on junk food or comfort food that is pleasurable and rewarding to eat, which gives them a ‘boost’, albeit temporarily. They may also binge on foods that they do not even enjoy eating, which they eat to punish themselves. This then becomes a type of self-abuse. This makes them feel temporarily ‘better’ and provides some relief, much the same as self-harming does. Often the drive to overeat is a combination of these two factors. The person binges on nice junk food because it tastes good and makes them feel a bit better right now, but there is also an underlying desire to eat as a punishment because the person feels she (or he) deserves to be fat, ugly or unhealthy.
The connection between bulimia and self-esteem
For many people, their self-esteem hinges on how attractive they look and how slim they feel. They feel that by being in control of their weight they are more in control of how others perceive them, value them and like/love them. However, very often, feelings of low self-worth, feeling ugly, feeling ‘not good enough’ come from within; these feelings come from an inner unhappiness and dissatisfaction, but are being projected onto how they they look.
Bulimics often attribute how bad they feel on their weight, when really, the negative feelings are the result of low self-esteem generally and lots of negative self-talk. Of course, that is all exacerbated by binge eating. Although the symptoms of Bulimia and bingeing are about the control of food intake, the disorder is maintained by negative feelings and emotions. The binge eating is just an outlet, a release, that provides only very short term relief. The Thrive Programme will help you to overcome your bulimia – AND teach you how to thrive – in just a few weeks.
What is Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa)
Anorexia is an eating disorder where a person attempts to keep their body weight as low as possible. People do this by eating as little as possible, and exercising as much as possible.
People with Anorexia have a distorted image of themselves – they see themselves as fat, when in fact they are very thin – and this drives them to lose more and more weight. People can become so thin/light that they become very ill, in fact some die from this condition.
How does anorexia develop?
The condition often develops out of a person’s anxiety about their body shape, and how they think they look. Unsurprisingly – due to the amount of social pressure on young girls from the media – the vast majority of anorexics are female. As with almost all symptoms and problems that people suffer from, the causes can be found within the persons belief systems and styles of thinking: most anorexics brood and worry an awful lot, most have a very strong ‘perfectionist streak’, many have ‘black and white’ thinking, and – most significantly of all – most exert a tremendous amount of control over their emotions and their life. Because of these these thinking styles, many anorexics also suffer from anxiety and depression, some also have obsessive compulsive disorder and/or emetophobia.
Signs of anorexia
Some of the commons signs of anorexia include:
repeated weighing or ‘body checking’
leaving the table straight after eating (so they can go and vomit)
being obsessive about food (meal sizes, number of calories, fat content etc)
taking laxatives of appetite suppressants
as a common symptoms of anorexia is social anxiety, many sufferers go to great lengths to hide their problem from their friends and parents.
Both bulimia and anorexia respond really well to The Thrive Programme.
The Thrive Programme is a life-changing psychological training programme that empowers you with the skills, insights and resources in order to take control of your life, overcome any symptoms or problems you have, and thrive!
If you would like to find out more about how I can help you to complete the Thrive Programme CONTACT ME to arrange a FREE, confidential, initial consultation. You may also like to take a look at some video testimonials to see how other people have overcome their eating disorders and in doing so, learned to truly Thrive.