50 per cent of recovering anorexics will go on to become bulimic. What do you think are the reasons for this? Is it that you have to relearn how to manage appetite? That your body is trying to ‘right’ itself? Or (given that we’re whole people), both physical and emotional hungers surfacing in an overwhelming way?
This is something I’ve struggled with myself and I guess it’s one of the things I have to keep working on. You’d think in some ways that bingeing would be anathema to someone who feeds on self-control – and it is. But what I’ve discovered is that, where in the past I’d starve myself to feel better and in control, now the opposite can be true. Instead of skipping a meal, if I feel bad, I’ll often eat twice. Or much more. Where food was the enemy, now it’s the solution – to everything!
I think that’s one consequence of seeing only the physical side of the disorder – if gaining or losing weight is the issue, then you’ll use food as a way of being good and coping. It becomes an extension of, ‘be a good girl and finish your plate’. The danger here is that, although you’re maybe physically in a better place (and that counts for a lot), you’re still using food as a mechanism for self-expression and coping with life.
It turns out I can’t really address my issues with food and weight by focusing on food and weight. Something (or rather someOne) else needs to capture my heart.