For almost all my adult life, I struggled with full-blown bulimia.
I started nourishing a destructive relationship with my own body at a very early age and quickly fell in the vicious cycle of eating disorders when I was 13. As I grew older, my issues grew with me, more and more serious.
I spent years of my life bingeing and purging every single day, sometimes several times per day, and at age 27, I eventually hit rock bottom. This is when I was left with no other choice than taking responsibility for my own health and find solutions to get out of this dark hole.
After more than a year in recovery and several years of total freedom, I am now able to look back and be grateful for this extreme life experience I went through. I am now able to see how bulimia has made me a nicer and better person and how this illness has been a gift wrapped in a shitty paper.
I am definitely one of this kind of person who has to learn the hard way and here are the best lessons I’ve ever learned, thanks to 15 years of struggles with full-blown bulimia:
The importance of tuning-in
If you want to create a peaceful relationship with food, your body needs to be your best ally. And for that, you have to learn to listen to it.
Listening and deconstructing your body signals is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone wanting a better relationship with food. Starting to live with your body’s flow instead of fighting against it is a huge step in making peace with food and your own body.
Being more present
Living with bulimia (or any type of eating issue) is living 99% of the time in its own head. All we can focus on is all our fears about food, weight and others’ judgments.
To me, it was definitely the exact same as losing my life by not being able to be present and enjoying it.
Today I am more present than I’ve ever been and when my monkey mind pops back, I am able to catch it quite quickly and do what I need to do to get back in the present moment such as spending more time alone, practicing yoga, meditation, or spending more time in nature.
This allows me to enjoy my life and the time shared with my loved ones fully. This is totally priceless.
Erasing negative self-talk
Eating issues are accompanied by very strong negative self-talk. To recover, I had no choice but changing my mind set and perception. I had to change the way my brain was processing information and erase this negative self-talk once and for all.
Today, not only negative self-talk, when it happens, make me laugh myself crazy but I am also able to teach other to do the same. Probably the most empowering thing anyone can do to start living a better and happier life! Catching negative thinking patterns when they arise, discarding them and moving on with all the goodness life has to offer is definitely one of the most empowering things you can do to improve your quality of life at no cost.
Respecting my own body even more
Ok, I admit I had to abuse my body quite a lot before being able to respect it. But at least, I became super aware and loving of the most wonderful gift I will ever get: my own amazing body.
So often, we don’t realize that our body is the best thing we’ll ever have in life. This is our vehicle to experiencing the best time on earth and feeling awesome. Respecting it, investing in it and loving it is like investing in your own life and happiness.
Setting up and respecting my own healthy boundaries
This step is so important to perform at your best. I don’t think anyone can be at their best if they don’t respect their own healthy boundaries. Being able to say ‘no’ and leave enough room for what nourishes and recharges you is essential if you want to be able to deal with everyday’s life. On my side, I now know that my mission on earth is to become the best human being I can be and respecting my own healthy boundaries is a non-negotiable to reach this goal!
Great knowledge about health & nutrition
By trying to understand how my body worked, I’ve learned incredible skills in health and nutrition. I now have all the keys I need to be and stay healthy, whatever happens. This actually changed my life so much that it allowed me to change career and help others do the same. Definitely, one of the best gifts bulimia has brought into my life.
About the Author:
Pauline Hanuise is a certified Holistic Recovery & Health Coach. Featured by Cosmopolitan as one of the top 5 healthy women you should know, she believes everyone deserves freedom over food, health & happiness. Having recovered from 15 years of struggles with full-blown bulimia, she is now dedicated to help people making peace with food and get a better life. She is the creator of the health and wellness website paulinehanuise.com and the Facebook community ‘Respect Yourself‘. She is also the founder of the “Make Peace With Food, Change Your Life” project, where she empowers women to live a better life. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram & Google+.