Inside Look

Looking Within: 14 Critical Aspects of Bulimia Nervosa

bulimia recovery Sep 29, 2023

The underlying issues of bulimia.


In this blog post, we'll dive into the 14 Critical Aspects of Bulimia, as outlined as the “Real Issues” in the book "8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder" by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Grabb. These facets are applicable to various eating disorders, shedding light on the underlying issues that need attention. Our primary focus is to equip you with insights on how to navigate the path toward recovery.


  1. Poor Self-Esteem: This aspect often manifests as feelings of inadequacy, such as "I'm not genuinely liked by anyone."


  1. A Need for Distraction: Many individuals turn to binging and purging as a means to avoid confronting other life challenges and thoughts.


  1. Filling Up Emptiness: It's common to use eating disorder behaviors to fill emotional gaps, like desiring a romantic relationship but feeling lonely, leading to a reliance on these behaviors.


  1. Belief in a Myth: Believing that thinness equates to attractiveness and desirability is a prevailing myth in our culture.


  1. Drive for Perfection: The relentless pursuit of perfection often results in thoughts like "I must excel in everything."


  1. High-Achievement Oriented: An internal pressure to constantly work hard and achieve sets the stage for high-achievement orientation.


  1. Desire to be Special/Unique: Attachment to the attention and care received due to eating disorder behaviors can create a desire to feel special or unique.


  1. The Need to be in Control: The need to maintain control over one's body and food to prevent chaos is a common theme.


  1. Desire for Power: Feelings of powerlessness in various life areas can lead to a desire for control over eating disorder behaviors.


  1. Desire for Admiration: Enjoying the attention, particularly related to restriction and exercise behaviors, can become enticing.


  1. Difficulty Expressing Feelings: Difficulty expressing emotions drives individuals to use their eating disorder as a coping mechanism.


  1. Lack of Coping Skills: When life gets tough, the absence of healthy coping skills may lead to turning to the eating disorder for relief.


  1. Lack of Trust in Self and/or Others: The struggle to trust one's own instincts or trust others can result in a reliance on rigid food rules.


  1. Intense Fear of Not Measuring Up: Comparing oneself to others can exacerbate the fear of not measuring up.


It's common to identify with several of these aspects, and that's entirely normal. To facilitate progress, consider pinpointing your "Three Majors" – the three most prominent issues for you. By addressing these primary concerns, you can indirectly make headway in mitigating others. For instance, if your "Three Majors" include High-Achievement Orientation, Belief in Unrealistic Ideals, and Difficulty Expressing Emotions, working on the first might naturally help improve the second, which is closely related. Understanding and addressing these aspects is a significant step toward achieving a healthier relationship with food and yourself.


With Love & Light,

Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee is a Certified Eating Disorder Recovery Coach with four professional certifications, including one from the esteemed Carolyn Costin Institute. Since 2016, she has run a private practice currently located in Dallas, TX, assisting clients globally along with mentoring newer recovery coaches.

Posted on September 29th, 2023.

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