Inside Look

Nourishing Nutrition: Overcoming Bulimia and Orthorexia

bulimia recovery Oct 17, 2023

Nourishing Nutrition


In the journey to conquer Bulimia and foster a nourishing relationship with food, the concept of nutrition plays a pivotal role. However, it's important to understand that "nourishing" and "nutrition" are not one and the same. They encompass a broader, holistic perspective on well-being that goes beyond just the food we consume. In this comprehensive blog, we will delve deep into the idea of nourishing nutrition, with a particular focus on Bulimia recovery. Additionally, we'll address the emerging concern of Orthorexia, shedding light on how it can intersect with Bulimia.

What is Nourishing Nutrition?

To grasp the essence of nourishing nutrition, we need to differentiate between the words "nourishing" and "nutrition." On the surface, they might appear synonymous, but a closer look reveals the distinction.

  1. Nourishing - This word implies providing substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. However, nourishment isn't confined to just physical aspects; it extends to our minds, hearts, and souls. Nourishing encompasses the full experience of being well-nurtured.
  2. Nutrition - This term refers to the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth, emphasizing the scientific and physiological aspects of food.

The Power of Language

Language is a powerful tool, shaping our thoughts and actions. Understanding the nuances between nourishing and nutrition allows us to appreciate that nourishing nutrition is more than just a dietary plan – it's an encompassing experience that nourishes our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls.

Balancing the Nutritional and Nourishing Aspects

When it comes to dealing with Bulimia, some individuals tend to approach food purely from a nutritional perspective. While considering the micros (vitamins and minerals) and macros (protein, fat, carbs, and water) is crucial, an exclusive focus on these elements can lead to missing out on the nourishing experience of food.

In many cases, individuals battling Bulimia have picked up strict dietary rules that revolve around "eating right" and "eating healthy." These rigid guidelines often lead to neglecting the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of nourishment. Achieving a balanced relationship with food means nourishing not just the body but also the mind, heart, and soul.

Bulimia and Orthorexia: A Troubling Connection

In the journey towards recovery from Bulimia, it's essential to address another concerning issue – Orthorexia. Although Orthorexia isn't yet classified as an official eating disorder, it's gaining recognition as an unhealthy preoccupation with eating healthily.

Orthorexia is characterized by an obsession with nutrition to the extent that it negatively impacts overall well-being. Those struggling with Orthorexia often experience stress and anxiety when faced with social gatherings, holidays, or eating out. They may choose "clean" foods over convenience options, even when convenience is necessary for a balanced life. In essence, Orthorexia is when the pursuit of health becomes unhealthy.

The Essence of a Nourishing Relationship with Food

A nourishing relationship with food extends beyond dietary considerations. It's about finding balance and joy in what you eat. In this perspective, nourishment means acknowledging the needs of your body while also seeking pleasure and enjoyment.

Consider this journal prompt: "If you had only one week to live, how would your relationship to food and your body change?"

This question invites deep reflection. The answers can serve as a guide to venture down the path of nourishing nutrition, helping you understand what truly matters in your relationship with food.

The Role of Nourishing Nutrition in Bulimia Recovery

For individuals on the path to recovery from Bulimia, nourishing nutrition plays a pivotal role. It's not just about the absence of bingeing and purging but also about fostering a positive and balanced relationship with food.

Here are some key principles that can guide you on your journey:

  1. Mindful Eating: Nourishing nutrition begins with mindfulness. It involves being present in the moment while eating, savoring each bite, and appreciating the nourishment your meal provides. This mindful approach can help break the cycle of binge eating and purging.
  2. Balance: Strive for balance in your diet. Instead of restrictive diets or extreme food rules, focus on incorporating a variety of foods that provide essential nutrients. Avoiding extremes can help you nourish both your body and mind.
  3. Seek Professional Guidance: Recovery from Bulimia often requires professional help. Nutritionists, therapists, and support groups can provide valuable insights and support on your journey.
  4. Emotional Nourishment: Nourishing nutrition also involves addressing the emotional aspects of eating. Recognize the triggers and emotions that lead to binge and purge episodes. Developing healthy coping mechanisms is crucial.

Orthorexia: A Hidden Challenge in Bulimia Recovery

As mentioned earlier, Orthorexia can sometimes accompany Bulimia or even evolve from it. To overcome the challenges posed by Orthorexia, consider the following steps:

  1. Self-awareness: Recognize the signs of Orthorexia in your behavior. Are you obsessively focused on eating "clean" to the detriment of your overall well-being? Self-awareness is the first step towards change.
  2. Seek Support: Just as with Bulimia recovery, seeking professional support is crucial in dealing with Orthorexia. A therapist or counselor can help you address the underlying issues and develop a healthier relationship with food.
  3. Embrace Flexibility: Learn to be flexible with your dietary choices. Understand that occasional indulgences or deviations from a strict "clean eating" regimen won't harm your overall health.
  4. Focus on the Experience: Shift your perspective from rigid dietary rules to the experience of eating. Food should bring joy and pleasure, not anxiety and fear.

In the journey towards nourishing nutrition, we've explored the delicate balance between nourishment and nutrition, unraveling the intricate relationship between our physical and emotional well-being. This path, especially for those on the road to Bulimia recovery, is not merely about correcting dietary habits; it's a profound transformation that encompasses every facet of our lives.

While this article aimed to provide guidance and insight, it's important to remember that recovery is a unique journey for each individual. The principles of mindful eating, balance, and addressing emotional nourishment can be your compass, but the path you carve will be uniquely yours.

As you navigate this journey, bear in mind that you are not alone. Seek support, whether it's from professionals, support groups, or loved ones. Your recovery is a testament to your strength and resilience, and you deserve all the nourishment, in every sense of the word, that life has to offer.

In closing, let us remember that nourishing nutrition extends beyond the plate. It's a holistic experience that touches not only the body but also the mind, heart, and soul. May your path be one of self-discovery, healing, and a newfound joy in the nourishing embrace of life itself.


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 October 17th, 2023.

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