Bulimia is a serious, sometimes life-threatening, eating disorder where people alternate between periods of excessive overeating (binging) and vomiting (purging). Purging, or the act of expending a large amount of calories quickly, can also occur in the form of excessive exercise or misusing diet pills, laxatives or other stimulants. It is also important to note that purging may occur after something as small as a light snack, or a normal-sized meal.

If you binge and purge, you may notice the following:


  • You only binge when you are alone
  • You eat rapidly when you binge
  • You do not disclose to others, or to very few people, that you binge eat
  • You hide food or evidence of binges (packaging, receipts, details of your day etc.)
  • You are preoccupied with planning binges or you think almost constantly about food
  • You feel a loss of control around your eating
  • You feel physically ill after a binge
  • You eat when you are not hungry or when you feel full
  • You eat food that is questionable (for example, stale, thrown away)
  • You are overwhelmed with feelings of shame or depression after a binge


  • You only purge when you are alone
  • You choose food that you know will be easy to throw up
  • You do not disclose to others that you purge
  • You feel a sense of emotional relief after you purge
  • You convince yourself that the amount of exercise you do is healthy, even if you suspect it is not

Other Signs

  • You are preoccupied with your weight, body or food
  • You have been on countless diets: you are on one more often than not
  • You are terrified of gaining weight
  • You weigh yourself frequently and ride the emotional roller-coaster of weight gain or loss
  • You feel a lack of control over your eating
  • You eat until you feel physically sick
  • You may have damaged tooth enamel or gums
  • You may have sores or callouses on the knuckles or hands

I believe that the cycle of binging and purging is a response to deep emotional pain or trauma. These behaviours can be a person’s best attempt to manage out-of-control feelings. Therapy can help and works best when people are also under the care of a physician and an eating-disorder-informed registered dietician. Bulimia is a serious medical condition and counselling is not a substitute for medical care.  If you are seeking treatment for the emotional, social and psychological effects of bulimia, I welcome the opportunity to meet with you.

Recommended Books

The book links on this page are Amazon Associate links; if you choose to make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission which I use to fund my low-cost counselling resource lists. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation by by Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant (2022)

Understanding body liberation and the practices that free us from the tyranny of dieting. My favourite book on the topic. Highly recommended.

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Wellbeing and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison (2019)

Hard-hitting look at the diet orthodoxy and strategies for living in a fat-phobic world. Author is a journalist and anti-diet registered dietician. A good read for those who prefer facts and research-based books and who won’t shy away from the author’s assertive messaging.


Vancouver Low-Cost Counselling List

List of private master’s-level counsellors, or their interns, offering subsidized counselling. Updated quarterly.

Crisis Services and Hotlines in Vancouver

Resource list, updated quarterly.

Looking Glass Foundation For Eating Disorders

BC-based organization offering prevention initiatives and intervention programs for those suffering from eating disorders and their families.

Reduced-Cost Counselling [PDF]

A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.

Find A Dietitian

National database for help in locating a registered dietician in your area.

National Eating Disorder Information Centre

Provides extensive information on eating disorders and food/weight preoccupation. Offers a telephone helpline: 1-866-633-4220