An RD Confesses: "I Had Bulimia"
Fear of Failure
In college, I quickly realized that achieving a 4.0 grade average was unlikely. But during my sophomore year, I stumbled on a new pathway to perfection: achieving an ideal body. I had gained the freshman 15, so during winter vacation, I tried a drastic diet I'd invented based on severely restricting calories -- and lost it all. When I got back to school, my dorm mates actually gave me an impromptu award recognizing my "dramatic diminution." The praise and admiration were almost unbearable.
I loved being successful, but I didn't love that others were keeping tabs on my weight. It meant that regaining was not an option. I didn't dare eat anything "fattening" in front of my friends. However, like many people with an eating disorder, I would sneak into the kitchen after everyone else had gone to bed and wolf down everything I had denied myself.The Bingeing Cycle
To a bulimic, avoiding food all day means "being good." But a starving body will eventually revolt, inducing an out-of-control binge. The shame that follows makes a disordered eater promise to "do better" the next day, starting the whole cycle over again. Clearly, I thought, I couldn't be trusted around food, so I vowed to be even more careful at meals. Still, my weight began to creep up -- more "proof" that I needed to double my efforts. Desperate for a way to drop the pounds, I registered for Nutrition 101 -- and aced it. Every A paper justified my obsession with food; after all, the more I studied about eating and calories and dieting, the better my grades were.
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