5 Reasons Bulima Is a Bad Idea

I have received an alarming number of messages about bulimia and eating disorders in the past couple of weeks. So, I felt this was an opportune time to post a few facts and stories that (hopefully) might prevent you from this as a course of action.

Note: I finished updating the Metabolic Repair Manual and actually wrote an entirely new book called Starve Mode. Check it out at: http://www.starvemode.com.

5. It doesn’t even work that well.

Ever wonder why there are fat bulimics?

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh PA 15213.

While caloric consumption during binge eating has been measured, it is not known how many of the calories are retained in the gastrointestinal tract after vomiting. In 17 normal weight bulimic patients, there appeared to be a ceiling on the number of calories retained after vomiting. That is, whether or not bulimic patients had small (mean = 1,549 kcal, SD = 505) or large (mean = 3,530 kcal, SD = 438) binges, they retained similar amounts of kilocalories (mean = 1,128, SD = 497, versus mean = 1,209, SD = 574, respectively) after vomiting.

4. You will have bad hair and teeth.

Bad hair: The hair loss associated with bulimia is called telogen effluvium. This is massive hair loss brought on by extreme stress and sudden physical trauma. Aside from the hair loss, your hair will also be robbed of moisture and appear dry and brittle.

Bad teeth: Throwing up causes the acid in your stomach to come up, and this acid can cause long term irreversible damage to your teeth. If you are thinking this is a myth or can only happen in severe cases, think again. Look at some of these accounts from real women.

I am on 2 years of being a bulimic, but my teeth already have the side effects. The enamel is very thin on my front teeth and bottom front teeth, they are so sensitive to different foods.

Hey, im a dental assistant, i have been bulimic forabout a year and i have to say i am just now starting to notice by teeth being affected.. a few of my teeth are really sensitive ESPECIALLY the day after ive purged alot, i am scared to get the dentist iw ork for to look at them because i think he might be able to tell im bulimic, do u knwo how long it takes for the erosion to start becoming noticable?

My gums have receded, I have heaps of decay and my front teeth are half-transparent from acid wear. They are also concave on the inside and streaky. It looks horrible but
I am so terrified of going to the dentist because it is sooooo obvious 🙁

Ive just been bulimic for 6 months now but my teeth are so sensitive! im even afraid to drink soda without a straw because its scaring the hell outta me!

Well you guys are all pretty blessed with the small amount of damage done.. Let me tell you it gets worse after 15 years.. I have had to have all of my bottom chewing teeth taken out, the ones one the sides 4 i think , so it is very hard to chew things well, leads to stomach aches, constipation,etc. Also my gums have word down so far on the top and the bottom, I have none to speak of AND from having the teeth pulled so long ago there is a large amount of gum loss.

3. Did I mention stomach ulcers, brittle bones, or losing your voice?

2. It’s useless as a long-term solution to your weight loss needs.

Even if you succeed at losing weight and not dying, at some point you are going to have to eat again. When you do, your body is going to react. Bulimia causes a downshift in metabolic behavior beyond that of normal dieting, even crash dieting. It also causes more severe issues with vitamin and mineral deficiency. It affects everything from your thyroid to your electrolytes in a big way. The only way to recover from all of this is to eat; and when you eat, you will store excess water, and your caloric intake needs are going to be less. You also won’t be sure how much long-term damage you have done.

If you are recovering from undereating, the best thing to do is to try to reintroduce food slowly back into your diet. As detailed in this article, you can follow the three week ease in model. While there are more detailed plans, this is a simple method anyone can use and start right away. It’s not a diet but it does provide techniques for refeeding.

If fat loss is still needed, you can go about it after this but it needs to be in the right way. Remember, the right way doesn’t have to mean slowly or that you are accepting of “average.” You can learn more about this in The Fat Loss Troubleshoot if you so desire.

1. It could f**king kill you.

I could tell you story after story from my own life, not to mention the countless other people who have contacted me, about bulimia. It’s devastating. While this is an underlying psychological battle that goes much deeper than weight loss; at the very least, you need to understand that this isn’t a good method. It’s not going to help you and it could even kill you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder please contact a local professional. When seeking advice regarding diet and nutrition in general, I urge you to be careful who you contact. The quality of treatment for this issue can be all over the place. It is better to let a psychologist aid in your mental recovery first, and then look for guidance from a nutritional expert. Sadly, most treatment facilities do not cover both; it is usually one or the other. I am not a doctor and can not offer any formal advice, but my door is always open for information on research and my experience with clients. My membership group is a safe and private space for support, if you so desire.

You can also check out my review of Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi; much of it is focused on her struggle with eating disorders.


  1. Sa-ra
    July 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I can speak from personal experiance on the lack of knowledge treatment facilities have. I was dealing with this issue for over 3 years and everyone told me to learn to accept my body but what I needed to do was learn to accept the correct way to use nutrition. That was never discussed. Thankfully through people like you and others I have learned what food does and does not do for the body and weight loss. That did more for me than therapy every did.

  2. Josh
    July 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Cant relate personally but passing it on to a friend.

  3. kim
    July 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I know well from personal experience and from working with others I can tell you about a million reasons why it is bad for you. I know that when you are sick you think you are different and you can’t figure out why the rest of the world can eat and not blow up like a balloon. One thing is learning to trust your body. Food is not bad. I think if I had known the things i know now about nutrition, and shown to me a non threatening manner things growing up would have been much different. I know girls at some point that got so bad they used belts, kitchen spoons, whatever they could find to be sick. I also know beautiful friends in my life that have died. It is very real, and very sad.
    Besides that the scary thing is that this is a disease that unless treated can last a life time. A life times of loneliness and pain.

    I think what the medial profession misses is they treat the symptoms, not the negative mindset. They tell someone who is sick “just gain x pounds and you will be better” – basically telling people to do what fears them most but giving them no tools to deal with how they are feeling.
    To me at least they all stem from the same feeling of self worth. I think anorexia, compulsive exercise and overeating are similar. To combat them we must feel power within and be surrounded by positive people. I think the blogs can be good in that way to share voices of support for those that need it,

    If anyone wants a good book on the topic I highly recommend The Secret Language of Eating Disorders by Peggy Claude Pierre. She is brilliant and a wonderful lady to boot.
    p.s double the note on facilities. they are painfully lacking.

  4. Genevieve
    July 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for posting – it’s straight to the point and firm without being judgemental. A much under-addressed topic!

  5. Shannon
    July 20, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I was a bulimic for years and it ruined my teeth, my hair fell out, and I am now doing my best to try to undo damage done. This is a great post, if it discourages even one person from bulimia that is an amazing deed.

  6. Charlette
    February 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    my boyfriends bulimic.. im so worried about him :/ i dont know how to make him stop.. ive tried to explain to him how bad it is and that it wont help him lose weight, but its useless..

  7. […] was reading this post called “5 Reasons Bulimia Is a Bad Idea”  on Leigh Peele’s website, when I encountered this comment: “I can speak from personal […]

  8. Jo
    June 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I’m 18 years old and ive been bulimic for 2 years now, and if I could turn around and walk away from the first time I ever thought it was a clever idea to puke up my dinner I would. I used to have the most beautiful long blonde hair and everyone would comment on it, it waa my crowning glory. Now, its dry, thin, brittle and falling out in clumps. I dread showering or styling my hair because I know what im going to find and that’s clumps of hair down the drain or in my hairbrush. it really is soul destroying and I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy. I’m trying to recover but it is certainly easier said than done. I would just give anything to reverse the damage ive done to my body.

  9. […] disgusting, doesn’t work and could kill me. After several years of this, the effects are starting to take hold. I always […]

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