Causes of bulimia

When I first started reading about bulimia and then subsequently going to counseling and in-patient treatment, I've always been told that bulimia is NOT about weight its about some deep dark underlying condition or situation in your past...

Well I was never able to figure how what alleged underlying condition (i.e. abuse, incest, etc.). I truly think my bulimia is a result of the fear of being overweight coupled with obsession with food.

Does anyone else feel this way about bulimia?


I think I did at first. Then, many years after my treatment, I fessed up to someone that I had been date raped at 14. Never brought it up in all my years of therapy for ED. Pretty stupid of me. In hindsight I think that was a big emotional turning point that evolved into my ed. I don't think I brought it up because I thought it was my own fault. I was drunk, etc.
And also, because at the time, I really didn't think it was relevant to my ED.

Think on your life experiences. There may not be something in your past that is tragic by textbook standards, but perhaps there is something that FELT tragic or traumatizing to you.

I think part of my onset of an eating disorder was cause of becoming overweight...I mean, how can you not be afraid with all the information the media bombards you with daily?
It certainly could have been one of the causes, but maybe not the most significant.
For me, I don't think it was one situation, but many different ones.
My mom was always self-conscious of her body and often complained to me about it...sometimes even crying in the change room when things didn't fit. I remember one time when I was getting an afternoon snack of cereal, her saying to look at the nutritional recommendations. She made me try putting in the recommended amount of milk instead of what I WANTED, and I did not enjoy my cereal.
As I started into puberty I became more unhappy with my own body. Having "bad" days where I would spend an hour going through clothes trying to find something that didn't make me look f-- (I hate that word). I remember asking her one time in tears as I was leaving for school if I was pretty. She said I was, but not in that drop-dead gorgeous way that some girls are. A beauty not as noticed instantly....It hurt.
Then our family started having horrible financial difficulties. My dad got fired and my mom wasn't working because she suffers from fibromyalgia. It was stressful and my parents fought a lot.
I also had frustrations with boys. No boy had really showed an interest in me, and as I looked around at girls with boyfriends I was jealous, and compared them to me. I thought I needed to be skinny, and started exercising and dieting.
I became anorexic.

My bulimia didn't start until sometime last year, when I began binging at night in hopes to regain and get my calories in. It became something I looked forward to for I enjoyed all the rich, sweet foods I consumed in secret of others. But after a while I noticed my body getting larger, my stomach constantly bloated and uncomfortable. I hated going to bed feeling like I was going to I tried purging. It worked and I saw it as the perfect solution for my binges, and didn't tell anyone.
Then, I finally found a boy interested in me, but he lived hours away. We tried long distance, but it didn't work. He dumped me and the binging and purging got worse. And when school started the b/p became a distraction from homework. An avoidance of something I didn't want to do.

And that's why I usually find myself binging in the first place. I'm avoiding something I know I need to do. Then the purging thoughts come from guilt.
Sometimes I still find myself wanting to avoid things...but I have at least found other ways of procrastinating that does not hurt my body.

Are you avoiding anything?

Paige xoxo

Hmmm... I don't think that can be the only reason to bring on an eating disorder. For me what finally snapped me was a friend who suddenly freaked out on me and called me selfish and other not so kind words. Not wanting to be that or anything else I took away my basic needs.

But honestly, my whole life has been about weight. Just like you Paige! My entire family struggles with weight. Most of them have been classified as obese at one point in their lives. My parents would try new diets and involve me in them!!! I specifically remember my my on weight watcher like 2 times and she wanted me to do it with her! I was 10 and 12. They always told me what they lost or gained that morning and that would normally determine their mood. Not to mention I grew up on diet foods.

When I was 7 the kids across the street said I had a big stomach. I really think that had a big root to my eating disorder as well. The statement was completely false, I was actually underweight as a child. It caused me to not wear a two piece bathing suit until I was 14.

Also, my parents both got weight loss surgery right before my eating disorder took over. So I really think that left an impression on me. And for about 2 years prior to that my mother was in a case study for a new type of weight loss surgery and had meeting and such and I would go with her to these meeting where people talked about how much they hate their bodies. I thought that was completely normal. My moms lap band makes food get stuck all the time as well and makes herself throw up sometimes. I always said if she can do it, why cant I?

So you see there may be many underlying causes to an eating disorder that may not be as clear or as big a sign as rape or something but its most likely still there. It may take a while to see, but hopefully through therapy and such maybe youll figure out the root to your eating disorder.


yes, there are multiple reasons one can get ED. it really can be something dark, deep inside of you that you are to afraid to look into alone. something tragic that happened, something you couldnt control, abuse, heartache--the media as paige said, can make you get ED. it really is multi layered. if you solve one aspect of it--there maybe other things you may need to look into. that is why therapy helps alieviate your subconscious of why you might be harming your body..or why you need to punish yourself. a lot of eating disorders stem from self hate--and athough media does a lot of damage to womens self esteem, there could be something deeper causeing your ED. EDs always have underlying issues....

hope this helped,

These are some truly heart breaking stories! Allee, your story seems like it would inevitably lead to you having an eating disorder! Almost like you didn't stand a chance!

Paige, what happens if you follow through with the thoughts you wrote? What would happen, in your mind, if became fat? The fear is not fat itself, but the "result" of being fat. Would it mean for you your mother was right? That you are not "drop dead gorgeous"? And if you are not "drop dead gorgeous", what does that mean for you? For example, if I was fat, I would no longer be sexually desirable. Since my horrible sexual experience at 14, I have been unconsciously trying to fix my sexual being. I certainly don't think the line of questioning I propose is truthful, but it might help to understand your unconscious better. When my therapist had me do that, everything started to make sense for me!