Thankfully I am recovered now, but I spent my teens, twenties and a goodly chunk of my thirties struggling with bulimia. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, during my formative years others missed the warning signs and I was able to slip through the net into full-blown bulimia. That is why I would like to share some of those signs with you in the hope that it will help you identify them in a loved one and take action before the disease can take grip.
Like any eating disorder, bulimia doesn't just happen over night. In fact years before I began my bulimic behaviors I had already become very insecure about my appearance. By the 4th grade I was weighing myself constantly. I would suck in my stomach whenever I felt self-conscious. I'd compare myself to the other girls in my class and assume they were much happier and more "worthy" than me because they were thinner.
By the age of 13 I no longer just fantasized about being thin, I had taken drastic action by binging and purging anywhere from 3-5 times a day. Yes, it took hold that quickly and I have talked to many other sufferers who fell into their full-blown disease just as dramatically. While it is not always the case that things spiral this quickly, my point is a simple one, you need to catch it as early as possible because dealing with a full-blow eating disorder after the fact is obviously that much harder.
So here are some things that I did as a pre-teen and young teen that you can look out for if you suspect someone is starting to struggle with bulimia:
A word of caution, if you do suspect that your child is displaying some of the warning signs of an eating disorder please, please, please take time first to educate yourself on the best way of approaching and talking to them. Don't charge straight in as this will likely result in the child withdrawing. I recommend you go to the National Eating Disorder Association site and access their parent toolkit first.
After a 25 yr battle with Bulimia I am recovered and dedicated to helping others also win their battles with Bulimia or other Eating Disorders. I have chronicled my struggle, as well as strategies for recovering, in two books and encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out to me confidentially