Renegotiating Binge Foods in Bulimia Recovery

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by recurrent binging and purging behaviors. While the individual who struggles with bulimia may vary in terms of how frequently they purge and the types of purging behaviors used, there is a chaos that parallels the vicious cycle of binging and purging.

Eating disorders, such as bulimia, are severe psychiatric illnesses of complex origins. Research has demonstrated that many factors contribute to the development of eating disorders, including genetic predisposition, neurobiology, environmental stressors and more.

Co-Occuring Mental Illnesses may Trigger Bulimia

An individual with bulimia may also have co-occurring mental illnesses that further trigger this eating disorder, such as underlying anxiety or depression. The binging and purging behaviors are often coping responses to overwhelming situations or emotions or a maladaptive way of dealing with transition.

For recovery from bulimia to occur, a person must effectively deal with any of these underlying issues to help better manage and decrease binging and purging behaviors. This may involve psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, medical nutrition therapy, pharmacotherapy and more. Taking a interdisciplinary approach towards recovery is essential for healing from bulimia.

Identify Foods that Trigger ED Behaviors

Homemade Chocolate Cupcake with chocolate frostingMany people with bulimia may feel triggered by a certain food or food groups. For example, a person who struggles with bulimia may binge on certain types of foods, such as desserts or fast food, intending on purging afterward.

As one recovers from bulimia, it is important to identify these types of foods and understand ways to neutralize the triggers associated with them. This can occur by gradually incorporating these binge foods as part of a normal diet and regular meal plan.

This process occurs as part of medical nutrition therapy, which is overseen by a registered dietitian in eating disorder recovery.

If you have been dealing with bulimia and feel overwhelmed by eating or unsure how to approach foods that you previously only binged on, reach out for professional support and guidance. You do not have to do this alone!

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are helpful resources for overcoming fear of binge foods in bulimia recovery?

Crystal Headshot 2Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 24, 2016
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