You Can’t Compete With Bulimia


Binging and purg­ing to main­­tain a com­fort­­able appear­­ance is not a strategy. It is a health problem.

Overeating is Not Cool


In the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke, the character played by Paul Newman makes a bet to consume 50 hard­boiled eggs in one hour. That’s not a challenge to you. It’s only a movie! Attempts to replicate this in real life have resulted in death. Over­eating contests with every­thing from hot dogs to pies have claimed victims. Even excessive water is toxic.

To bait customers, some restaurants offer a humungous meal for free to anyone who can eat the entire plate. The restaurant managers have already calculated the slim odds of anyone consuming it.

The average stomach capacity when full is about 1–1.5 liters (≥1 quart). Fifty boiled eggs is around three liters. Do the math. Eating a volume of food that significantly exceeds stomach capacity damages internal organs. The organs might stretch and rupture. Compromising the stomach lining can disperse harmful acid into your abdomen.

Competitive eaters warn rookies against taking up the sport. Eating more food than you can comfortably digest is unhealthy. At least one pro developed an arthritic jaw at age 29. Others have experienced serious injuries.

Binge and Purge

Binge and purge

After blocking the tradi­tional food exit and stretch­ing your stomach beyond capacity, your body has one other means of relief—up through the esophagus. Stomach acids can burn esophageal lining. Puking, or vomiting, is a dis­qualifi­ca­tion during competition. But while training, it may be necessary.

There is a group of non-competitive eaters who frequently binge and purge. They have the medical condition called bulimia nervosa. In their minds, food causes weight gain that makes them look unattractive.

Some bulimics eat specific color foods like orange carrots or red beets as markers. During purges, this allows them to track which meals exit.

Female puking in toilet

Bulimics may really enjoy indulgent foods without evidence of calorie consump­tion. An individual with bulimia might eat among friends or family to give the appear­ance of normalcy.

She might prefer to eat alone in her room. She may feel that she can derive some nutrition from the brief time food is in her stomach. The bulimic might even be you.

Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Complains about body image
  • Binge eating episodes
  • Withdraws after meals
  • Avoids communal eating
  • Hides food in strange places
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Smells like vomit
  • Laxative and diuretic misuse
  • Guilt or shame eating
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Knuckle and hand scars
  • Edema
  • Puffy cheeks
  • Significant weight fluctuation
  • Drinks excessive water
  • Bloating from fluid retention

Purging Yourself of Bulimia

Stomach acid is too strong for the esophagus. So frequent vomiting weakens it. This can make swallowing painful. The acids also erode teeth. As a bulimic, you might resort to laxatives and enemas. What begins as an emotional or self-esteem issue becomes a gastro­intestinal problem.

Thin female torso
An altered perception of what constitutes normal weight drives food binges.

Often bulimia is combined with external disorders like nail biting (onycho­phagy), hair pulling (tricho­tillo­mania), or cutting. So if you’re bulimic, you’re damaging yourself from the inside out.

Body shapes
As a method of prevention and recovery, develop a healthy attitude toward eating. Expand percep­tions of so-called ideal body shape size and weight.

People can be cruel, even unintentionally. Bullying and body shaming may lead to eating disorders. Life is not a competi­tion to see who is the thin­nest or most attrac­tive. There is enough variety among mankind for all to enjoy. Keep your body healthy, no matter the size, with physical fitness. Develop a sense of humor. When others laugh, laugh with them.

Bulimia nervosa is more than a bad habit. It is a life-threatening mental and physical issue. Available clinical data reveal from 50–75% of patients who receive treatment for bulimia nervosa achieve successful remission. So get help to find a balance between over­eating and not eating enough.

Choose healthy foods and leave them in your system long enough to derive nutritional benefits. Keep a journal of your progress. Remember, purging is a dis­quali­fica­tion, not just in competi­tive eating. It is a disqualification for a long healthy life.

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Updated: Dec 12, 2022

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