Can You Be Bulimic and Overweight?

By February 25, 2013

I am 17 years old. I am 5 ft. tall and weigh ***lbs… In January I realized I was overeating and gained so much weight since. For 7 months now I have been throwing up after I eat anything. I have lost ***lbs so far… I feel like I’ve lost control over how much I eat and then purge. A friend I told said that I was bulimic but I don’t think this is possible because I weigh so much. Can you be bulimic and overweight? Do you think I should consider getting help? I’m worried to tell my mom about this but I don’t really think it’s that serious.

Dear Friend:

Not everyone with an eating disorder fits neatly into one category, and sometimes people shift from one specific disorder to another. Regardless of the diagnosis, I’m sure you know deep in your heart that your behaviors are not healthy and something is very wrong. It is not clear from your letter if you are purging only after eating smaller/“normal” amounts, or are also bingeing at times. Either way, you have lost control and are clearly a disordered eater. I urge you to speak to a trusted adult—school counselor, nurse, parent, relative or friend—to get help to break this cycle. You should start by seeing a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. See “Finding Treatment” for guidance.

Regular self-induced vomiting is a dangerous practice that can lead to dehydration and serious electrolyte imbalances—which can result in a heart attack and even death. It can cause damage to your esophagus, severe tooth decay, kidney damage and liver problems, among other health issues. You are also depriving yourself of essential nutrients, which can have both short and long term effects on your body. And those are just the physical problems. Ultimately, guilt, shame, depression, loss of confidence and low self esteem occur.

We have sections on our site that include numerous videos and articles that teach about healthy, balanced eating, but I think that you would really benefit from a consultation with a nutritionist who can work with you one-on-one. That will be the next step after exploring the deeper issues with a counselor.

Instead of continuing down this dangerous path, choose now to pursue wellness and freedom. Please seek the professional help you need.