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Bulimia, strange side effects, calories, and recovery.

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Hi there, I'm about to talk your ears off! Haha, please offer any knowledge or insight you may have! 

I'm a recently relapsed bulimic with restricting habits. I first had my eating disorders when I was thirteen, but at 16 I was involved in a lengthy treatment process and had been recovered since. I'm now 19 and about 2 or 3 months ago I relapsed. I'm not sure how it happened or why now but it came back full force. I've always been petite around 107-112 and 5'3''. Right now I am around 100-101.

The past few weeks with the help of a wonderful boyfriend and good burgers, I've been eating quite a bit more. Sometimes 1200-1600 and last night 2000 (which may be bad but oh well). On days where I'm not with my boyfriend or anyone  else I probably eat 1000-1200. For a while I was doing a 400-800 calorie diet. 

I've noticed when I step on the scale week after week, although my calories have increased, There is really no weight gain, but I LOOK as though I've gained. I've noticed the side of my thighs when I sit down feel a little bit like jelly. It's weird because that was never there before. Also, the muscle on the inside of my thigh seems to have..grown? This is strange because I don't work out, I despise working out haha. I thought maybe it was water weight, but when i push in, no indent is left. Anyway, since I am petite, do you think I could be maintaining at 100-101?

Another strange thing is my stomach, it's huge! I do throw up a couple times a day, usually at night. The urge is so hard to resist. Even if I've just gotten back from a lovely dinner and I'm stuffed to the brim, I'll ransack my cabinets for things to purge. It's not even like I'm hungry. I throw up almost every day but not when my boyfriend is here, which is 1 to 2 nights a week. My stomach is hard and bloated and uncomfortable, especially today even though I did not throw up. It's hard as a rock and it almost looks like a baby bump (but trust me, it's not). To be honest, I'm a little constipated, but I can usually get a little something out every other day. Any solutions for this? I don't want to take a full blown laxative. 

I'm doing a lot better on calories, but still need help on my purging. I reached out to my family a couple days ago and confessed I'm having troubles again and I will be meeting with a therapist and specialist next week. Has anyone else ever had these troubling side effects? Any methods on relieving them? I drink a gatorade or two a day to keep my electrolytes up, is this a good idea?

Thanks everyone.

5 Replies (last)
Anyone..? :/

hmm... i've never really purged so i don't know the side effects from that however, the hard, bloated tummy is common in recovery from any type of restrictive eating disorder. i know you may want to stay the same weight but if you don't start eating normally (i dunno.... like 2000+ calories a day) then the weight won't redistribute because your body won't trust you enough to let go of that barrier around your vital organs (that's essentially what it is). that also means you're going to have to stop purging (you don't have to stop cold-turkey but if you can manage that then that'll definitely make things better faster). 

you may gain some weight but a lot will be water as well as some much needed fat as well as tissue and some other bodily goodies. 

don't take laxatives, again, the digestive system is still struggling due to the purging and restricting so it'll take some time to even out which will only happen if you eat enough consistently! 



Have you ever seen pictures of starving African children? They look like they have beer bellies. Stomach bloating is a common sign of starvation/malnutrition.

I think you should move in with your bf, since you mention being around him is the only time when you don't purge.


As for your legs looking more muscular - when you put on weight some of it will be put on as muscle, even if you don't lift.

As for water weight and no "indent" when you push in - who told you that's a way to check for water weight? That doesn't tell you anything.

Hello Reilah,

Thank you for being open! We are all here to help.  May I suggest a blog I have found beneficial for bulimia recovery?

Bulimia Help

Hey there,

I struggled with bulimia for so many years (I had ED for over 7 years) and you cannot check water weight from pushing in to your skin. Everyone goes through gaining "water weight" because of so many factors like sodium intake, exercise, etc.

To recover from bulimia, you are bound to have relapses here and there. You need to heal from the inside as well as the outside and support from your family, bf, and friends are important. It's normal to gain weight when you eat normally because your body is not sure of how you are going to feed it so it holds on to the calories. I also read somewhere too that about half of everything that you eat and purge are taken into account so even if you purge "everything" your body still retain some of the calorie content. That's why bulimics aren't always "skinny". When I was bulimic, I b/p 10x-20x on my worst days... I was 5'7" and I swing in between 120-135 lbs. My cheeks were always so swollen and so was my stomach.

Good news is that once you are on your road to recovery and you keep at it... those tell-tale signs of a bulimic would be gone gradually. No one could've suspect that I had such a miserable relationship with my body and food now, but I am glad I am over it.

All the best for your recovery. Talk to someone you trust about this... it will make you feel better.

5 Replies