“Between 1 and 3 percent of teens suffer from bulimia each year in the United States”, cites Newport Academy.
To anyone facing eating disorders, bulimia is no joke. If you struggle with bulimia recovery yourself, or know someone in this situation, then read my long story short, which I hope you’ll benefit from.
I am now helping women from all over the world to successfully recover from eating issues and poor body image but it hasn’t always been the case.
During 15 years of my life, I’ve struggled with full-blown bulimia until I hit rock bottom and had to choose between totally destroying the poor health condition I had left or fighting to finally recover.
My First Encounter with Bulimia
It all started when I was 13. Like many young girls, I was not very self-confident and developed a fear of others’ judgment. I was afraid of not being good enough, of not being pretty enough and thus not being loved and accepted.
I was so scared that I would have done anything to make sure people would love me and I quickly realised that one of the only things I could control in my relation with others was the way I looked. So, I started to control my weight by restricting my food intake. I thought that if I could control my weight, I would be able to control my life and the way people will look at me.
I was clearly looking for love and happiness in the way I looked, in a number on a scale.
So I started to restrict a lot until I was just unable to keep depriving my body like that. Eventually, my body started to force me eating to compensate this famine and I quickly got stuck in this vicious cycle of bingeing and purging.
I guess it starts to become even more painful when you realise that you’ve lost control and can’t stop behaving like that, which creates strong sensations of guilt and shame. On top of that your health starts to deteriorate.
Bulimia Signs and Consequences
In my case, at age 24-25, I started to have serious health issues. My teeth were in a so bad state that they started to break. I couldn’t even eat an apple because it was too painful (and I said everyone this was because I didn’t like apples!).
I had anaemia and my nose bled heavily every single day (especially after purging). I also started to loose my hair very seriously and experienced paralysis in my face, hands and arms more and more frequently due to a lack of electrolytes.
I saw many doctors for these issues and none of them has ever asked me if I was eating properly. None of them were able to link my poor health condition to nutrition.
There was (and still is) an obvious lack of knowledge regarding these illnesses in the modern medicine. All I got was anti-depressants, iron tablets and a very expensive hair lotion that didn’t work…
I was clearly working on my own destruction day after day and it all started to look pretty bad.
However, at the bottom of my heart, I knew there was something better waiting for me.
I had to do something if I wasn’t willing to die like that
At 27, I hit rock bottom. I had to do something if I wasn’t willing to die like that. But external help was totally un-existing and people around me were unable to properly understand my issue and its impact. The only person I could rely on was myself and I quickly realized I had to gain a bit more strength if I wanted to do something.
That’s how I started my extraordinary bulimia recovery journey, which included learning about health and nutrition but also self-love and acceptance, yoga and body energy flows; most importantly, I had to learn how to reprogram my brain to change my deep-rooted destructive behaviours.
I’ve read everything I could find on the subject and learning about nutrition and superfoods did help a lot.
This allowed me to better understand my body and my compulsive behaviours.
Structured eating during the first months is totally essential to re-learn to eat regularly and retrain your body to digest food properly. I highly recommend it if you want to start recovery (you can learn more about structured eating here: http://paulinehanuise.com/vlog-structured-eating/).
Then, it’s important to switch to intuitive eating, to live in tune with your body signals.
That’s for the biologic aspect of the illness.
Regarding the other aspects, I work a lot with self-hypnosis, which helps to reprogram your subconscious, yoga, deep relaxation and self-love and acceptance. Dissociating the illness from our own personality and setting up healthy boundaries is vital to recover and this goes hand in hand with developing more self-love and self-confidence.
This was definitely not an easy thing but from far the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I am now able to see how these years of darkness and struggles have actually been a real gift.
Pauline Hanuise is a certified and passionate Holistic Health Coach. Having recovered from 15 years of struggles with eating disorders, she is now dedicated to help people to make peace with food and get the best life ever.
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