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Dying to Be Thin (pg. 2)

American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee battled bulimia for five years, but seeked out help after nailing her AI audition.
Courtesy of Fox

Eating Disorders - What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves episodes of binge eating, followed by episodes of purging. Simply put, a bulimic rapidly eats huge amounts of food at one time (binging) and then rids it from the body (purging). A binge episode can involve eating up to 20,000 calories and usually involves "comfort foods." That's more than 10 times your daily caloric intake! To rid the body of food, bulimics resort to, one or any combination of, fasting, vomiting, compulsive exercising, abusing laxatives and/or diuretics (substances or drugs that make you go to the bathroom), and enemas (flushing out the bowels with fluid). Binging and purging is usually followed by intense feelings of guilt and shame. Despite this incredible physical abuse, and contrary to popular opinion, the bulimic may not be visibly underweight and may even be slightly overweight. Regardless, the bulimic - just like the anorexic - uses self-destructive eating behaviors to deal with psychological problems. Often these problems go much deeper than the obsession with food and weight.

Eating Disorders - Bulimia Warning Signs

Think you or someone you know is bulimic? There's more involved than just possible weight loss, weakness and exhaustion. Consider some of these danger signs.
  • Binging, or eating uncontrollably.
  • Attempting to lose weight by strict dieting, fasting, compulsive exercise, vomiting or abusing laxatives or diuretics.
  • Using the bathroom frequently; immediately after meals.
  • Obsessed with body weight.
  • Depression, mood swings, feeling out of control.
  • Swollen glands in face and neck.
  • Regularly experience reflux or heartburn.
  • Bloating.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Digestive problems such as constipation, indigestion, and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome.
  • Tooth decay caused by stomach acid from constant vomiting.
  • Sore throat caused by stomach acid.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Eating Disorders - Bulimia Can Kill

    Anything to look good may be the motto, but the price is way too high! Check out a few bulimia by-products. Yuck!
  • Dehydration.
  • Damage to the bowels, liver and kidneys.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Electrolyte imbalance, which leads to irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, cardiac arrest.
  • Cancer in the squamous cell lining of the throat, from years of chronic vomiting.
  • Eating Disorders - Facts to Chew On

  • Five percent of college women are bulimic.
  • Ten percent of bulimics will die from starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications from the disease or suicide.
  • Click here for an overview on Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Check out TeenOutReach for more information on eating disorders.
  • Have you suffered from an eating disorder? and we'll publish a collection of your experiences and thoughts on this subject.

    Related Stories:

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  • Losing Weight the Wrong Way
  • Eating Disorder Awareness Week
  • More Health and Body Info!
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    Comments

    JennyD

    JennyD wrote:

    u don't have to be thin
    commented: Sat Sep 14, 2013

    there are 1 more comments

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    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    heyitsangel
    heyitsangel posted in Style:
    Both
    reply about 1 hour
    InternetOwl
    What part of it are you scared of? Is it eating in public and around other people, or just eating in general?  What it might be, if it's eating in public you don't like, is social anxiety, or social phobia. You should ask your doctor to check, because if it is, they can offer you ways to help. For instance, they might recommend therapists or group sessions to help ease your fear.  Even if it's just a phobia or, in unlikelier circumstances, an eating disorder, you should still go to your doctor or a therapist so you can try to overcome it. Try doing things that calm you down before these situations as well, like exercise, reading or listening to music (I'm not sure what relaxes you but sometimes these help). Also, you should try to slowly get used to the situations. So don't force yourself to eat straight away when you're out, but slowly start doing so whenever your comfortable with doing so. Unlike your mum wants, you can't just "stop" being scared because that's not how it works.  But right now, please don't force yourself into any of these situations. It's not good for your mental health to be forced to face a phobia of yours often. 
    reply about 2 hours
    ElfyKathy
    Dear Dish-It, Within the last few years I have felt a bit sick and shaky when we go out to eat. It's not so bad when it's a carvery lunch or something at a pub, but settling down for a chocolate brownie and a milkshake shakes me up. Don't get me wrong, I love going out with Mum, but it's just sitting down and taking a bite. I want to chuck it in the bin. I love eating brownies and stuff at home and I'm pretty healthy. But I refuse to go to the town before lunch in fear. Mum told me I got to stop this or I'm going to develop a terrible phobia.  Please help! ElfyKathy, worried
    reply about 2 hours
    NianiNaturallyNerdy3
    She isn't jealous she is just dissappointed that you chose to get lessons when she did to get better . She had to get better to catch up to you so you can enjoyher as your best friend. Then you went ahead and got lessons as if you needed them. She is just upset that you showed off a talent that she didn't have. And she tried to get better to impress you but you got better as well. Which kept her at the stage she will always be at my best friend sings way betyer than me but I try. 
    reply about 3 hours
    NianiNaturallyNerdy3
    It may be hard but break it down to them we aren't friends but we can be associates. It may leave them a bit dissappointed but tell them we aren't in the same category to be as close as friends. 
    reply about 3 hours

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