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What Is A Typical Binge?

What Is A Typical Binge?

“Typical” depends entirely on the individual. The size and frequency can vary as well as the type of purge and the length of time between sessions. A binge is really whatever causes a person to feel guilty. Typical binges, however, share two characteristics—the consumption of an excessive amount of food and feelings of being out of control.

Many bulimics have said that they can “relate to” my binges, one of which I’ve described in the Introduction. Frequently I started a binge while in the course of eating what I thought to be a “good” or “safe” meal. For example, I may have gone to a salad bar and carefully allowed myself a moderate portion. As I ate the salad, I would begin to feel guilty about the calories in the salad dressing or the fact that I had taken croutons. At one point in the meal, I would decide I had eaten one bite too many. Rather than stop eating, I’d think, “What’s the difference. I’ve already gone too far. I’ll do a binge, and none of the calories will matter after I vomit.” It never occurred to me that there were “issues” driving this bizarre behavior.

If I had my choice, I would eat sweets and refined carbohydrates. A single binge might include: a quart of ice cream, a bag of cookies, a couple of batches of brownies, a dozen donuts, and a few candy bars. When I was desperate, though, I would binge on anything: oatmeal, cottage cheese, carrots, or day-old rolls that I fished out of the trash from what was to be my last-ever binge.

My stomach stretched so much that I looked pregnant, and I usually postponed vomiting for about 30 minutes of numbness.Then I’d stick my fingers down my throat until I had vomited everything that would come up. The whole episode lasted about an hour, and I often felt very weak and dizzy afterwards. I did not abuse laxatives, enemas, or diuretics, although some others with bulimia do.

Reprinted with permission from Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery
By Lindsey Hall and Leigh Cohn
To find out more about this helpful book click here.


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