National Eating Disorders Association

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BeachLivin12
Non-purging bulimia

I think I may be struggling with an eating disorder, possibly non-purging bulimia. I am stuck in this vicious cycle of binge, exercise, exercise, exercise, then severely restrict what I eat for a few days, and repeat. I'm obsessed with counting calories and every time I binge, I constantly think how many calories I have to burn in order to make sure I don't gain weight. Although I have never thrown up, the thought recently crossed my mind - which has made me realize this is getting out of control.

I guess I'm just looking for some advice on dealing with this or to talk with others who struggle with this. A few months ago I started binging weekly, sometimes for days in a row. Like many others, my triggers are boredom, stress, etc. I'm frustrated because I know what triggers my binges, but I just cannot control myself.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

sj728
Hi BeachLivin12,

Hi BeachLivin12,

Welcome to these forums and thanks for posting! I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with your eating and exercise behavior. The good thing is that you seem to recognize that what you're doing is not healthy-admitting a problem is the first step to recovery. I strongly encourage you to seek the care of an Eating Disorder specialist, who will be better equipped at diagnosing you, and can give you appropriate treatment. Therapists are also a great way of talking through your eating patterns, behaviors, and body image thoughts. This website can assist you in finding treatment: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment
The NEDA helpline is also available, and is completely confidential. It can be reached at: 1-800-931-2237
I hope these forums will be able to provide you with the encouragement and support you need. Please let us know if there's anything we can do for you, and keep us updated. Stay strong!
-sj728, NEDA volunteer

hannahgrace
Eating is out of control

I've had abnormal eating habits for about 2 years now and It's getting to the point now where it consumes my every thought and it's extremely tiring and I want answers more than anything. I'm stuck in this cycle of starving and binging and no matter what I do, I just can't seem to escape it. I've been doing it for a while, but it's gotten so much worse lately, and the worst part is, I don't even think that what I'm doing is qualified as an eating disorder, but I don't know what it is or what to do. I don't know what's wrong with me.My thoughts are constantly consumed with weight loss. I can't pay attention in school because I find my thoughts drifting to the combinations of food I can eat and still eat very litle. I freak out if I don't know the exact calorie count of what I'm consuming and despite my broken foot not fully healed yet, I just want to exercise all the time and burn more than I eat. But this only lasts so long before I can't take it anymore and I binge and eat everything in sight and it feels amazing, sometimes it lasts multiple days, until afterwards and the feelings of shame and guilt are overpowering and it makes me want to crawl in a hole and die. After binging, I starve myself, to compensate,( I've thought about purging and have even tried to out of desperation, but I physically can't make myself do it)I just don't want to eat, I don't deserve it, I don't deserve the food. I won't eat much or anything for days sometimes and exercise obsessively, and then I'll slowly introduce food again, telling myself that this time it'll be different, but it never is, it always turns back to the same malicious cycle. And to be completely honest, I'm not even sure if I'm going to post this, because I feel stupid for doing this, I know it isn't normal, but I feel as if it isn't a problem big enough to get help for, like anorexia or bulimia. But I just can't stop, and I'm so sick of letting this control my every thought and move, but I just don't know what to do. I try to break the cycle, but I always come back to the same vulnerable spot, where it starts all over again. I'm sick of the grip food has on me and how my mind has been warped into thinking like this.. yet I'm not even sick enough to get help... but I need to know if this is normal, and if not, how on earth can I get to a normal place? I just want to be able to not care about food again..

healthymindandbody
Excessive Exercise

Hello Beachlivin,

I completely understand as I used excessive exercise to burn calories. I would exercise in proportion to the number of calories consumed. So if I were to eat a bit more, I would exercise more and if I were to not exercise I would skip a meal. Because I exercised daily, without rest or proper nutrition, my body began to break down. I tore my Achilles tendon exercising. I'd never experienced major injury before and continued to attempt to workout. Eventually I could no longer walk so I switched the type of exercises I was doing. I sprained a muscle in my back and continued to workout the point where I couldn't do that either. I now have extreme joint pain in my ankles, wrists, knees, back, shoulders, and neck. It's painful to go for a short walk. Looking back, I realize now that the eating disorder forced me to continue to exercise. It had complete control over me and forced me to exercise to burn calories, no matter the pain.

I'm now recovering and doing no exercise as it is too painful to do so. I'm refeeding and am hopeful that, in time, the joint pain will heal. I offer this story as a warning! Go seek help now before the injuries set in! Having gone through this I can tell you now, it's not worth it.

Best of luck to you.

beingpreventive
Obsession

Hanna, it doesn't have to fit the full criteria for anorexia or bulimia to be an eating disorder. A constant obsession interfering with life warrants talking to some professional about it. You recognize that the obsession is related to eating and dieting, and eating disorder specialists deal with that sort of thing. You are struggling, so it's worth seeking support.

oyster
ED

To me, it sounds as though you certainly do have a full-fledged eating disorder that's causing you great distress. Can you seek treatment from a nutritionist, therapist, maybe a group?

You need help right now. We usually can't do this on our own. I am glad you posted here - it's a huge first step towards recovery.

What you're experiencing is "normal" for someone with an eating disorder.

Are you in school. If so, is there a counselor you trust? If ;you can, go to your doctor and explain, and don't be ashamed to do that. Eating disorders are so common these days.

You're not alone, thanks for reaching out, and with the right help, you can recover and go on to live a free, happy life.

nyk454
I encourage you in the same way beingpreventive mentioned,

I also think that getting professional help is the best course of action. You do not need to be underweight or overweight, if you are struggling with food, eating, and/or exercise, it is something that you deserve to get treatment for. You deserve to be happy and supported. You deserve to get treatment. I hope that these words provide some comfort and encouragement to you. Also, please remember to reach out to the helpline if you need help in getting resources!

Mady1012
Hi Hannahgrace

Help is available for everyone whether they meet diagnosis for a mental illness or not, help will still be provided and is still extremely useful. That is very strong of you to come to terms and admit you think something is wrong. Admitting there is a problem is really hard to do. There are several more classified eating disorders besides anorexia and bulimia, but as with all eating disorders, talking to a professional should be done to receive the correct classification and treatment for what you're struggling with. I encourage you to contact the NEDA Helpline as they can guide you to resources in your area, and they can be reached M-Th 9AM-9PM F 9AM-5PM EST at 1-800-931-2237. Hang in there hannahgrace, we are here for you, and I hope you decide to seek someone to talk to. Best wishes.
Mady

ihavenoidea
I'm not sure...

I'm not sure if I have an eating disorder or not. I tend to have a couple days a week where I get WAY to much unhealthy food and eat it in secret and I hate myself for it. I have a back injury that prevents me from working out regularly but before I had it I would work out aggressively before sleeping to try to work it off, and I've been skipping breakfast for the last four months. My packed lunches are small and I tend to be generous and share them (AKA I try to get less food.) I feel really hungry but I've learned to ignore it. I've lost some weight in the last month, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm split 50/50. Half of me is determined to love my body the way I am (I'm a varsity soccer player, I know I'm not overweight and I've always been muscular, but I have an obsession with being in shape. TIP-TOP SHAPE. Could that be affecting it?) because I know I logistically have no reason to loose weight and I should love myself the way I am like all of those inspiring commercials, but the other half of me looks at the hundreds of other girls at school and thinks that I'm definitely not good enough. I'm way not as pretty as her. She's not even in sports and she looks so fit! How come I work so hard and I don't look any better?
I don't know what to do. I know that restricting my eating or not eating meals at all isn't healthy, and I definitely know that binge eating junk food isn't healthy either, but no matter what I try I always fall back into that same pattern. It usually happens when I'm more down (I suffer from depression and anxiety disorders as well as ADD/ADHD)and stressed, so I'm not honestly sure. Please help...

lovetowrite81
Ihavenoidea

Hello!
Welcome to the forums. So glad that you reached out for support. (Side note: I recommend maybe making a separate thread as more people may be likely to see it). I am so sorry you're struggling. None of us are medical professionals so are not able to diagnose anything, but it definitely seems like you are experiencing a lot of distress that it would be wise to seek professional help. How do you feel about reaching out to a doctor or therapist to discuss your concerns with them? Have you been able to confide in anyone about what you have been going through?
I definitely understand how you feel about being trapped in that vicious cycle-- I struggled with both restrictive eating and binge eating at different seasons in my life. Other mental health disorders such as depression/anxiety definitely have a large sway on disordered eating behaviors. It is so difficult. No matter how hopeless you are feeling, I just want you to know that there is always hope.
The NEDA Helpline is a good resource for support and resources: 1-800-931-2237.
Keep us posted on how you're doing, I hope to hear from you soon <3 Know that we are here and care about you.

Wishin_on_a_scar
Non-purging bulimia

I’m not sure if I have an eating disorder or not but if I do it’s probably non-purging type bulimia. I have no doubt that I binge. What I don’t know is if I purge... I do try to skip meals and excerise MORE THAN USUAL as well but I find that the fact I must eat with other people means that I can not fully skip meals as that would be suspicious... but once I eat a little bit I want to eat more. If I don’t try foods then I will skip a meal. However, my excercise mostly consists of doing sit-ups + push-ups after a binge and I’m not sure if that’s excessive? Mostly, when I hear people describe excessive I hear hours of excercise which I don’t do. I do feel like my eating is a concern as once when I was purging I was trying to just eat a few bites and stop but I ended up eating the entire meal. Throughout the entire day I counted how many times I ‘failed’ to complete the purge and used that number to determine a ‘punishment’. I also dreaded thinking about how much I ate at lunch but I realized it was only a small slice of pizza... so is this a concern? And do my exercise habits count as excessive? If I fail to pull through with my purges, is it still a purge?

justgina
Hi Wishing_on_a_scar!

Hi Wishing_on_a_scar!

I'm glad you found us - this forum is a great place for support from people who understand. :) I'm not a medical professional and can't diagnose you, but I will say from personal experience that I dealt with similar behaviors when I struggled with anorexia - punishments, skipping meals, excessive exercise/"earning" food, etc. I'd guess that you have some level of concern for these behaviors and don't necessarily want to be engaging in them, or you wouldn't have felt you should reach out, right? I think that, regardless of specific behaviors, the relationship you have with food and exercise is extremely telling of whether or not there could be an eating disorder at play, and it sounds like yours may not be the healthiest. A good place to start could be NEDA's screening tool: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool.

If you find that you'd like to take it a step further, NEDA also has a helpline at 800-931-2237 (or you can text NEDA to 741741) that can provide you with resources to help you make some changes. Please be well, and continue to post and let us know how you're doing!

justgina