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Advice #1: Redefine Your Relationship With Food
The first piece of advice for bulimics is to think about the relationship that most people have with food. "Normal" eaters, or those who do not suffer from eating disorders, eat when they are hungry, choose healthy foods that they enjoy, stop eating when they are full, and savor each bite in between. It's just food, not an emotional crutch that they use when they're feeling down. In order to truly overcome bulimia, you need to make peace with the "enemy" that you call food. When you catch yourself thinking of food as evil, stop and reevaluate the situation. Remind yourself that food is just, well, food.
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Advice #2: Realize the Difference Between Weight and Health
In today's society, it's easy to equate "thin" with "successful." People are constantly comparing themselves to television stars and magazine models. Instead, realize that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and much of the way a person looks is defined by genetics. Rather than focusing on your weight, focus on staying as healthy as possible. That means getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from a variety of food, and eating enough so that you feel energized and able to tackle whatever the day may throw at you. Remember that the right weight for you is one at which you are eating the right amount for your body, feeling good, and have a balanced metabolism. Focus on health, not on weight.
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Advice #3: Therapy Is Not For Losers
Some people are afraid of therapy. After all, only "losers" go to a shrink, right?
Therapy is a way to learn about yourself and your disorder. Make sure to choose a therapist who specializes in eating disorders so that you can feel comfortable with the fact that you are in good hands. A therapist may be anything from a psychiatrist to a social worker or counselor, but it must be someone who you feel comfortable with and who has plenty of experience with bulimia.
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Advice #4: Give Yourself a Goal
People with bulimia are used to having food and weight as their goals -- lose five pounds by next month, eat less high-fat foods today than yesterday, and so on. When you begin to fight bulimia, you may find yourself feeling like you've lost a huge part of who you are, of what makes you successful. Replace the unhealthy goals of bulimia with other productive goals. These might be anything from improving a specific interpersonal relationship, to volunteering with disadvantaged kids. Think about what would make you feel truly successful, and take steps to reach your goal.
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Advice #5: Find a Support Group
Overcoming bulimia is tough, but joining a support group can help. You'll be able to talk to people in the same position as you, those who are at varying stages of overcoming their bulimia. Try to open up so that the group meets are most helpful for you.
This advice for bulimics is just that -- advice. You may find one or two of the sections that speaks most to you. Focus on those, and journey on your way to recovery.
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References"Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery," by Lindsey Hall and Leigh Cohn.
Bulimia.com. "Advice for Loved Ones Suffering from Bulimia." http://www.bulimia.com/client/client_pages/advice_for_loved_ones.cfm
Top Advice for Bulimics: Five Lessons to Take to Heart
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.