National Eating Disorders Association

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Weight Gain: Bulimia Recovery & Stopping/Starting Exercise

Hello, this is my first post. I have suffered from bulimia for approx ten years. I finally decided to do something about it at the start of last year, coming to terms with the fact that there would be weight gain etc, however I fell off the wagon perhaps 6 months in, which I now realise was because I wasn't allowing myself to 'eat freely' (everything I ate was still very healthy and perhaps not enough) and in frustration of being on the heavier side despite all my 'healthy eating intentions' reverted back to binging and purging with a 'whats the point' attitude. This time round I am 4 months into recovery, however the difference between now and last year, is last year I was eating really healthily, not realising the need to eat freely and to eat over X calories. Which I am now doing this year.However, I only discovered in the last 2 weeks that exercise affects your recovery and have read to not do any at all- which I find quite disconcerting as I do circuit and weight training every week. My gym contract finishes this week and I don't plan to renew it and just to fully commit to recovery. I have spent 4 months eating freely (all different food groups, foods I originally saw as bad, until I am full and sometimes uncomfortably full), have had the joy of all the symptoms of bulimia and am the heaviest weight I have been, which I am praying is just from the water retention (I have overshot by quite a bit). My question is, how long shall I not do exercise and if I were to take up something like hot yoga would that still classify as exercise and affect my recovery? I would love anyone to share their own bulimia recovery month by month (I know everyone is different) but I feel like it would give me hope or things to work towards as right now I feel quite unsexy (which I presume will only get worse once I stop exercising!). Would it be safe to start exercising say by the end of February? How do you know when its ok to start again, especially when you have already over shot your weight. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

ps ideally looking for those who have had a bulimia history because I think I will be able to relate more to it, I hope that is ok to say :)

Hi, I have anorexia not

Hi, I have anorexia not bulimia but I did have a problem with compulsive exercise. Once I was in treatment, I had to stop altogether, but now that I’ve been in recovery for several months (with some slips) my dietician allows me to have an exercise contract. Certain types of exercise, for a set amount of time and a certain number of days during the week. Do you have a dietician you would be able to bring it up with? Good luck with your recovery, it sounds like you’re really committed!

Thanks for your message!

Thanks for your message! Sadly no dietician - just LOTS of online reading. The reason I am keen to know is I don't want exercise to encourage my body to hold onto the weight I have gained and the ongoing bloating (which is so uncomfortable). Anything that can speed up the process of getting to my set point weight I am willing to do! Its a bit of a catch 22- exercise is potentially making me stay as I am but then when do I gradually bring it back in? Its so confusing to tell. Also exercise makes you feel good in general...I am now starting month 5, so I am going to hold off exercise perhaps until end of Jan- by which point I will be keen to do something as I will be at the end of month 7. Unless anyone can share their own exercise/set point experience- would be super grateful!

Hi! I’m going through a very

Hi! I’m going through a very very similar situation as you are describing and I was wondering if you had discovered anything or figured things out since you’ve last posted? I was unaware that exercise could affect recovery, is it beneficial to cut out?

Welcome to the forums

Dear butterfly145, Your post has been slightly edited to adhere to the community guidelines. Users are discouraged from posting specific numbers, symptoms or physical descriptions of the body to ensure we maintain a safe environment. For more information on the community guidelines check here: Cheers


I keep bingeing on a certain food at night. I try eating healthy all day then feel the need to have it. I think i have bulmia but not sure, how did you develop bulmia, what triggers it. and what has helped.

Hi chocolateaddict,  Your

Hi chocolateaddict,  Your post has been edited slightly, as we do not allow mention of specific foods here on the forum. Doing so may be triggering to other users. You can review our full community guidelines here: Thanks!

Hey! What’s your update with

Hey! What’s your update with this? I just made a similar post and saw yours. I’d love to connect and chat more. I feel like what you wrote is my words haha

Always freaking out about

Always freaking out about exercise. So get from where you're coming. Hard balance to know what's allowed and what's not. Hard balance to know what's considered safe and healthy and what's too much and excessive. I don't have bulimia, did have anorexia, now just dealing with a non specified e.d. but i totally get what you feel. Post again about your progress.

You're doing great! So impressive!

Hi! I have a history with bulimia including bingeing and purging and compulsive overexercise...

First of all, congratulations for choosing recovery! Four months is a long time! I know weight gain can feel super discouraging. Your body needs time to adjust to new way you're treating it, and that period of time is unique for everyone. The weight gain can often feel like more than it actually is, but try to stay strong even if the weight gain is more significant- this way you're rewiring your brain to separate your weight/body image from your eating habits which actually strengthens your recovery.

There are two types of reasons that recovering bulimics are advised to avoid exercise: physical and mental. Physically, your body needs time to recover from the stress it was under from the bulimia. This period of time can be different for everyone, depending on factors like how long you've had bulimia, how long you've been abstinent, your age, etc. You should ask your doctor for guidance here.

Mentally, some people with bulimia exercise compulsively in efforts to actually purge the calories they've eaten or to feel like they deserve to eat later, so the relationship you have with exercise can become unhealthy. This one reason medical professionals sometimes advise bulimics to cut exercise out entirely. This is a really hard aspect of recovery for me, personally, because I love to exercise. It makes me feel strong and confident when I exercise in a healthy way. However, there have been times when I've overexercised past the point of injury and times when I've felt a compulsion to exercise so that I could feel okay about eating later that day. It sounds like exercise is really valuable for you. Being honest with yourself and consulting with your therapist (if you have one) are great ways to figure out when it's safe to reintroduce exercise. In my experience, adding exercise back into my routine slowly but surely (instead of all at once) is the best move.

I hope this helped answer your questions... Great work!

The main method of treatment

The main method of treatment of bulimia today is cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, interpersonal therapy and cognitive-emotional therapy show good results. Accordingly, it would be best if you discussed all these problems with your psychotherapist and possibly a nutritionist. It is also very effective at this stage to use supplements to increase muscle mass It will allow you to feel more confident without exercise, and soon you will be able to return to normal life.