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Am I Bulimic? A Checklist About Binging and Purging

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/22/2011

Have you ever asked yourself honestly, "Am I bulimic?" The checklist in this article can help you answer whether the issues you've been noticing are actually red flags for bulimia.

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    Answering the Question

    To answer the question, "Am I bulimic?" you first have to zero in on the symptoms of bulimia. Most people think of bulimics as people who throw up all the time, but that is not necessarily true. The two main symptoms of bulimia are binging (overeating to an extreme degree) and purging (removing unwanted food from your body).

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    Binging

    If you think you are bulimic, you are probably familiar with the concept of binging. Binging means eating large amounts of food all at once, even beyond the point of satiety. But everyone has times that they overeat. Are your overeating moments really binges? Answer these questions to find out:

    • Does the food you take in during one of these periods have a lot of calories?
    • Do you eat until a bag or container is completely finished?
    • Do you continue eating even when your stomach is hurting and feels extremely full?
    • Do you tend to hide these eating periods from others, acting secretly about where you are going and what you are doing?
    • Do you feel sick or disgusted after these eating periods?
    • Do you feel that you cannot possibly stop during these eating periods? Do you feel like eating is out of your control?
    • Do you find yourself buying large quantities of food, "just in case you need it"?
    • Have you tried using techniques to stop compulsively overeating and found that they just don't cut it?
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    Purging

    When people think of purging, they usually think of vomiting. But there are other ways that you can remove unwanted calories from your body, which are symptomatic of bulimia as well. Do you fit any of these criteria?

    • Do you make yourself throw up after a binging spell?
    • Do you take laxatives, in pills or a liquid form, to force bowel movements to remove the food from your body?
    • Do you take diuretics (pills to pass more urine than normal)?
    • Do you use enemas to force your body to remove waste?
    • Do you take pills to prevent weight gain?
    • Do you force yourself to fast between binges to make up for your high calorie intake?
    • Do you exercise excessively in order to burn off calories from binges?
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    Related Issues

    Although binging and purging are the two main symptoms of bulimia, there are others.

    • Are you constantly thinking about the size or shape of your body?
    • Do you suffer from the symptoms of dehydration?
    • Do you have an irregular heartbeat?
    • Are your menstrual cycles irregular?
    • Do you suffer from depression or anxiety?

    A positive answer to several of the questions in the first section and at least one answer in the second section probably points to a problem with bulimia. You can use the answers to the questions in this last section to explain to yourself and to your doctor whether and how bulimia has affected the rest of your life. When you see these symptoms, take them as a message to ask yourself honestly, "Am I bulimic?" and to stop the binging and purging cycle.

    NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.

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    References

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bulimia/DS00607/DSECTION=symptoms

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/bulimia-nervosa.cfm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001381

What is Bulimia?

What is bulimia? The articles in this series will help you answer all of your questions about this eating disorder, as well as why people become bulimics.
  1. Am I Bulimic? A Checklist About Binging and Purging
  2. How to Tell If Someone is Bulimic
  3. Top Advice for Bulimics: Five Lessons to Take to Heart


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