Inside Look

5 Tips for a Safe Summer Vacation in Bulimia Recovery

bulimia recovery Jul 09, 2024

Summertime can be a lot for a lot of different reasons. With each passing year, it gets hotter and hotter outside, which can be overstimulating and physically taxing for a multitude of reasons. The light might feel too bright, the air too heavy, and the heat unescapable.


As the temperature rises, so does the need to dress appropriately for the weather. This creates a whole new difficulty to overcome, especially when you’re in bulimia recovery. 


Navigating the summer in bulimia recovery is a challenge, but there are tips and ways to manage those uncomfortable feelings that may arise. This will help you to cope with the yearly oncoming season and resist the urge to relapse. 


Let’s get into the tips to help you grow more resilient against summer struggles in bulimia recovery. Be proud; you’ll be grateful to yourself for putting your recovery first. 


Tips for a Safe Summer Vacation in Bulimia Recovery


Tip #1: Drink multiple electrolyte drinks a day


It may seem obvious, but this is crucial to stay safe while in bulimia recovery. The nature of eating disorders means your body is already prone to physical weakness, lethargy, and low energy. Add on a layer of thick summer heat and you’ve just created a dangerous combination that can drive your body into overexertion and exhaustion.  


As mentioned in my earlier article about the importance of electrolytes in recovery, electrolytes play a role in stabilizing the body. When someone has bulimia, vomiting and other types of purging adversely affect the functioning of their internal system. 


Critical essential electrolytes like potassium are also thrown out of balance by purging over time. When levels of potassium drop too low for instance, it can lead to complications like muscle weakness, fatigue, cramping, irregular heartbeat, and even cardiac arrest. 


With these already heightened risks being compounded by higher temperatures, taking your health and safety seriously matters. Being in recovery from these bulimia behaviors will help build up your tolerance to heat and the added stress, but it’s still important to know your body may still be in its early stages of healing. 


It can take a while for your body’s systems to get back to or near normal after an eating disorder, and you don’t want to test your limits in the season’s heat. Keeping well-hydrated will help you weather the summer in bulimia recovery.


Tip #2: Wear what you need, not what you may want


This can be very difficult territory to navigate while in active bulimia or in recovery. One of the biggest issues to battle apart from the physical symptoms of an eating disorder is the negative image perception you might have of your body. 


Tough body image days are to be expected in recovery, so don’t feel like you have to celebrate or even feel neutral about your body immediately. Coming to terms with your body and feeling “one” with it is a process that can span months, years, or even a lifetime of unraveling and retreading the path to acceptance. 


So when those inevitable feelings appear, needling you to compete and compare with others and to wear clothing or swimsuits that urge on your disordered thoughts, allow the thoughts to exist before passing on from them. Your recovery matters more than what smallest tee or suit you can fit into. 


If you know you need to wear clothing that doesn’t pinch you too tight or hurt your circulation, wear it. If you know you need to wear clothing that is a bit oversized while you process your body, wear it. If you know you need to wear clothing that expresses your actual style but you’ve been hiding it, wear it.


Basically, the point is to listen to your body. Not what other bodies tell you in person, online, or in beach and bikini ads. Finding what makes you comfortable in the summer while safely being able to tolerate the heat is the most you need to do while working on your steps to bulimia recovery. Wanting a “summer body” can be tempting, but it’s not worth your sanity and never the relapse. 


Tip #3: Unfollow and avoid triggers where you can


Your disorder can be bombarded and your recovery tested by the typical summer soundtrack: friends are throwing pool parties, stores are filled with swimsuits, and people online are showing every inch of their tropical vacations and “perfect” bodies. In the same way as following Tip #2, know that these stressful feelings will lessen over time and the temptation to relapse won’t feel as heavy as we step forward in recovery. 


We have been programmed by society to see a singular, idealized, unattainable body as the standard we should all aspire to achieve. But that body isn’t real. It’s not sustainably attainable outside of posing, editing, and severe nutritional restrictions. We cannot force ourselves into shapes that are not natural; we can only exist and live as we are–perfectly made, with every trait and perceived flaw intact. 


To decrease our susceptibility to body pressure and body idealization, there are steps we can take to limit their impact. Check your social media feeds for any accounts that may be lingering only as a form of self-comparison and body-checking. If there are any influencers or models that you use as a “body goal” or as a way to feed your eating disorder, go ahead and click unfollow. 


It can be harder to unfollow friends whose posts may be stirring up uncomfortable or triggering feelings, so it may be best to put their account on mute for a little bit. You can always go back and unmute them later, but for the time being, prioritizing your mental health is the most important.


It’s impossible to control and predict every trigger, but stepping back where you can can help those triggers feel less all-encompassing. A social media break is good for anybody, regardless of whether they are in bulimia recovery or not, so breaking up 


Tip #4: Plan to accommodate the summer schedule


Summer brings new changes and challenges every year. If you’re at home or in school, summer can put a pause on the typical schedule of life. People want to travel, explore, play, and take advantage of the longer days and warmer temperatures by getting a little outside of their comfort zones. 


For someone spending the summer in bulimia recovery, the shift in schedule can add unforeseen stressors to the mix. Going to different places may mean your access to your typical meals is different, or that your meal times may be moved or interrupted. 


If you’re nervous about missing your recovery meal plan goals or want to make sure you have safe food available, try packing some snacks or lightweight food that you know will be good and healthy for you. Don’t give bulimia a reason to take back control over your eating habits with the laxing of schedules. 


Maintaining a steady path to recovery can also be aided by the help of self-accountability journals and trusted loved ones to keep you on track. These tools can help you stay focused and keep your eyes on the goal of ultimate recovery from bulimia and to a healthy, thriving life.


Last Tip for a Safe Summer Vacation in Bulimia Recovery


Tip #5: Choose recovery!


The culmination of all the tips and effort you’re working towards recovery! Bulimia is not worth your friends, your family, your education, your passion, your beauty, your health, or your happiness. The things you may have thought to be improved by your eating disorder are not worth the cost of living with one. No one looks back at recovering and thinks that their life during an eating disorder was worth giving up their mind and body for. 


Bulimia will tell you that misery is good, and that you’re better than other people for the discipline and control you have over yourself. It will isolate you until you can only find solace in the secrets and the hiding and the inevitable binging and purging. It will champion your sickness as an achievement only you can admire. 


Bulimia is not your friend. Remember that as you step bravely into recovery. The world is so much bigger than the voice in your head telling you to shut it out. 


If there’s only one thing to say about bulimia recovery is that it is hard. It is a journey to find yourself again, to reimagine a life without the constant pull of a faceless but powerful enemy. It’s a struggle to unlock your true purpose after being told by bulimia that your only purpose is to appease it. 


But you’ll get there. Recovery is taking the wall you’ve built up and tearing it down piece by piece. You might not know just what’s on the other side yet, but it’s nothing like what your eating disorder has convinced you it is. On the other side, there is hope, freedom, joy, happiness, and hundreds of other emotions that you’ve been stripped of. It takes patience and effort to uncover, but in the end, it is so worth it.

With Peace,

Whitney Chase

Whitney Chase is the Writer and Content Manager for Sarah Lee of Sarah Lee Recovery. She holds her degree in Psychology from Georgia State and has a strong passion for the mental health field, writing, and advocacy work.

Posted on July 9th, 2024.

Struggling with Bulimia? Take advantage of our private, affordable self-pay course that is available wherever and whenever you are. Click Here.