With proper a proper treatment plan, there is hope for those who suffer from bulimia nervosa. The National Eating Disorders Association considers bulimia nervosa as an “eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting.” (1) Bulimia nervosa symptoms are very serious and can be life-threatening. Bulimia causes vary widely. They may include poor body image, low self-esteem, a history of family problems and abuse, stress, major life changes, restrictive dieting and personality traits that favor perfectionism. (2) Bulimia natural treatment methods can help those who struggle with bulimia symptoms finally break the cycle.
- Cycles of consuming very large amounts of food, often followed by purging
- Intense feelings of chronic stress and feeling out of control when binge eating
- Self-esteem that is highly dependent on body weight and image
- Constant fluctuations in weight
- Broken blood vessels within the eyes
- Enlarges glands in the neck and under the jaw line
- Chronic dehydration
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Oral trauma, such as lacerations in the lining of the mouth and throat
- Lack of control when eating
- Possible wearing of baggy or over-sized clothes. This could be to hide their drop in weight, or to hide their self-perceived physical flaws.
- Frequent use of the bathroom immediately after meals
Bulimia Natural Treatments
1. Seek Professional Help
Getting professional help is the first step to recovering from an eating disorder and getting your health back on track. A therapist, doctor and nutritionist may all be part of a treatment plan to address body dysmorphia, anxiety, guilt and other issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing thought patterns, may be especially helpful to those suffering from an eating disorder. (3)
There are many resources available to get you the help you need. Don’t be afraid to speak up the next time you visit your doctor. He or she can refer you to the specialists necessary to help you restore your health. And remember, there is no shame in seeking help from a mental health counselor. Rather, it’s an act of bravery and strength, to admit that the proper kind of guidance is what you need to help you through this time.
2. Stop Dieting
This is easier said than done. Furthermore, it often requires help from professionals in order to see true success. For most people with bulimia nervosa symptoms, purging does not actually result in weight loss. The purging process is more of a mental diet. People purge because in their mind, they are offsetting the calories they consumed.
Restrictive dieting is one of the biggest causes of binge eating. Restricting food causes the body to respond with cravings and increased hunger. In order to overcome an eating disorder, it’s important to stop mentally dieting and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. (4) This may entail taking the steps necessary to cause a shift in mindset. The new mindset, then, would possibly include seeing food as a source of energy and nourishment, to help the body be the best it can be. It means switching from one perspective that food is a bad thing, to the perspective that food is a good thing.
3. Focus On Happiness and Health
Eating disorder patients often believe that losing weight equals happiness. Exploring other ways to be happy that aren’t related to body weight is an important part of bulimia natural treatment. The main emphasis in recovery is feeling better, getting healthier, becoming more relaxed around food and putting forth energy into things that truly matter, like hobbies, spirituality, relationships and career goals. It’s crucial to understand that while food offers us nutrition and is life-sustaining, life itself is more than food. Family, friends, traveling, nature, beloved pets, beautiful thoughts, and well-crafted pieces of literature or art are all wonderful parts of life. Focusing on areas such as these may help to broaden the definition of happiness.
4. Support Those Who Are Struggling
You may know someone who is struggling with bulimia nervosa. This may be a close friend or family member, which can be heartbreaking to witness. You want to help them and see their health restored, but you may feel powerless or not know what you can do to help. Indeed, finding the right ways to support someone who has an eating disorder can be difficult. (5) However, there are tips you can keep in mind that will help your loved one continue on the road to recovery.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Try to be judgement-free, even if you don’t understand. Be there to listen as your friend or family member deals with a roller coaster of emotions related to their illness and the recovery process.
- Avoid commenting on their weight. Do not praise weight gain or make comments about any weight changes. This is counterproductive to the goal of shifting the mindset off of matters of weight and onto more healthy notions.
- Set a good example by showing your friend or family member what a healthy relationship with food and exercise looks like. Don’t shove it in their face, however. Instead, go about your day and be subtle about your healthy habits. Manage your stress levels and take care of your body to set a good example. Talk about what you enjoy doing and the positive things this activity does for your well-being. For example, you might say “I really love painting. It helps me appreciate all the beauty life has to offer.”
- Furthermore, be mindful about how you talk about your own body, especially if the person in question is younger or looks up to you. This includes how you look at yourself in the mirror. Don’t cringe or make despairing remarks about your own physique. Additionally, avoid making comments about your physical appearance. Instead, try to comment on your overall health. For example, instead of saying “I really love how my body looks!” you might say “I really love how healthy and strong I look and feel!” Changing the way you speak about your body can help not only your loved one with bulimia, but also can help to give you a more positive outlook regarding your own body.