Does Bulimia Cause Weight Loss? 3 Facts Bulimics Must be Aware Of!

Women these days in a desire for perfection have gone far ahead by switching their priorities to appearance instead of health. Instead of adopting healthy eating habits and exercises, they are purging calories in one of the unhealthiest ways, which is puking! However, losing weight through bulimia is not a piece of cake.

So, does bulimia cause weight loss or is it just a myth? 

Bulimia Nervosa is a psychological eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating and puking to purge calories. Bulimics usually eat a lot and then throw up so that they don’t gain weight. However, they’ve got no clue how their temporary weight loss can adversely affect their health and lead to weight gain over time!

Does Bulimia really make you lose weight? To find the answer to this question and to learn an in-depth detail about Bulimia Nervosa, read the article.     

Bulimia can make you fat!! Because when you throw up after eating, you don’t even eliminate half of the calories you’ve consumed. In fact, you lose the body’s mineral salts and water content leading to electrolytic depletion and severe chemical imbalances.

Eating Disorder: Bulimia Nervosa 

Scrolling through Instagram, women these days idealize the photoshopped pictures of models and in the desire for perfection, want a zero-sized figure even if it’s risky. Health isn’t a priority anymore. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are psychological problems associated with unhealthy weight fluctuations and mental health issues. 

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Do eating disorders cause weight loss or weight gain? Well, it can be both gain or loss depending upon the type of eating disorder. 

How Does Bulimia Work?

Bulimia nervosa is a psychological illness in which the patients experience a highly decreasing self-control over eating and then feel guilty about over-eating. This guilt makes them embarrassed and depressed so they try to get rid of calories by using weird techniques which are extremely unhealthy for the body. Women are most curious to know how to lose weight with bulimia? Well, this eating disorder’s weight loss technique is associated with using health-risking techniques to purge calories that include:

  • Self-induced vomiting 
  • Following a strict rigid diet
  • Fasting 
  • Using laxatives
  • Using diuretics 
  • Using enemas

While using any of the aforementioned ways, can bulimia make you skinny, or is the eating disorder’s weight loss trait just a myth? Well, all such ways are against the natural system of the body and can only lead to temporary weight loss. In fact, sometimes, it can lead to weight gain over time. Continuous bingeing and purging is a vicious trap that only aggravates mental and physical health conditions and leaves the body dehydrated. 

Symptoms 

Bulimia Nervosa usually develops in middle age when women are most concerned about their beauty. Bulimics aren’t obese or out of the normal BMI range, they are just mentally ill and afraid of gaining weight so they become over-conscious and try to get rid of those extra pounds by using inappropriate ways.

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Initially, such patients eat and then puke out of sight and try to keep it hidden. It’s that they lose self-control and after bingeing, they feel ashamed and guilty which makes them throw up. Such patients aren’t happy with their bodies and are insecure about their appearance.

  • Bingeing alone 
  • Loss of self-control while eating 
  • Dissatisfied with the body 
  • Feeling guilty after eating 
  • Extremely scared about gaining weight 
  • Anxiety 
  • Visiting bathrooms after every meal
  • Too much exercise
  • Experiencing extremely unusual behavior 
  • Feeling shameful after eating

Causes

Bulimia Nervosa is one of those mysterious disorders whose actual reason is still unknown. However, research and studies suggest three important factors which can cause it,

  • Genetics 
  • Social Behaviour
  • Emotional Health

It can be a genetic condition that runs in families so, those who have anybody suffering in their families are more vulnerable to suffer from the same. Another factor is the pressure of society which makes women depressed and upset about their appearance and they end up being bulimics. 

Body shaming is one of the prime reasons why women start to feel insecure about their bodies. In high school, young girls usually face severe body shaming which can play a big role in making them bulimic, however, if you are encountering any kind of abuse, make sure to talk about it, it will make things easier for you! 

Sometimes cultural pressure also becomes a reason why girls become bulimic as in some cultures, to get married, it is mandatory for the girls to be skinny which brings them under pressure and they try to purge calories in an unhealthy way. 

Research tells us about the hormonal fluctuations during bulimia which mainly focuses on the happiness hormone “serotonin.” This hormone performs multiple functions one of which is suppressing the appetite. Bulimics when acutely ill are known to have lower levels of serotonin which can make them tense. 

Does Bulimia Cause Weight Loss?

If you think you’ll get rid of 70-90% of your calories by self-induced vomiting after eating, then I’m sorry to say but you are mistaken! Bingeing and purging is a vicious trap that can even be fatal over time! What you vomit isn’t the food, it is the water, electrolytes, and mineral salts that once lost can leave your body severely dehydrated. 

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Does bulimia make you fat? Yes, it can because when you throw up after eating, you don’t even eliminate half of the calories you’ve consumed. In fact, you lose the body’s mineral salts and water content leading to electrolytic depletion and severe chemical imbalances. So, all the weight you are losing is just temporary and will gradually return along with more pounds. 

Other than self-induced vomiting, such patients also consume diuretics and laxatives which are used for high blood pressure and constipation respectively to induce vomiting and stabilize the calorie count. The unusual usage of both medicines is strictly prohibited as it is against the natural system of the body. Laxatives can hardly eliminate 10% of the total calories and diuretics can’t even reach up to that count. All of such tricks leave the body dehydrated.  

Now you must be wondering how bulimia weight loss results are effective, then let me tell you that the lower weight on your weighing machine isn’t true weight loss. In fact, weight is reduced due to the loss of water content and continuous purging and puking. This type of unhealthy weight loss eventually returns with a drastic gain and this is how bulimia causes weight gain.

So, do you lose weight faster being anorexic or bulimic? Well, you do but remember, it’s not a healthy weight loss! It can lead to GIT disorders, esophageal reflux, ulcers (due to an increase in acidity), and bulimia teeth (tooth erosion) which are caused due to frequent episodes of vomiting. Digestive irregularity, fatigue, and dehydration are also some common complications associated with the disorder.  

Treatment 

To treat Bulimia effectively, teamwork is required in which including you, your family, friends, and a good medical professional team is a must.

Your body will experience a drastic change in bulimia before and after the treatment which includes, 

The type of combination depends upon the severity of bulimia. Moreover, there isn’t any need for hospitalization as Bulimia can be easily treated at home, however, in severe cases, patients can be hospitalized too. 

FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about – does bulimia cause weight loss?

  1. How much weight does a bulimia patient lose?

Self-induced vomiting eliminates less than half of the calories consumed. On the other hand, laxatives can eliminate nearly 10% of the calories consumed while diuretics and enemas can’t even do that. However, one cannot determine the exact kilograms or pounds lost by a bulimic person because it varies from one patient to another. 

  1. Does bulimia make you gain weight?

Yes! This might sound strange but bulimia can backfire on the patients by making them fat. The absorption of calories begins at the moment food enters the mouth and puking eliminates only 30-40% of the calories consumed. Moreover, the weight bulimics lose is their water weight in which they lose electrolytes, minerals, salts, and water and this is the reason why bulimics end up gaining weight instead of losing. 

  1. How to recover from bulimia without gaining weight?

It depends upon your condition whether gaining weight is important or not. If you are currently underweight, then your healthcare advisor will definitely suggest you regain. On the contrary, when bulimics are under normal weight range, then regain isn’t forced by the doctors. However, gaining weight while recovering from bulimia is pretty common and it eventually comes back to normal after some time. 

  1. Can an eating disorder cause you to lose weight?

Yes! Eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa can make the patients psycho about their appearance and this makes them lose weight. However, both eating disorders can adversely affect the mental and physical health of the patients. Such patients develop unhealthy eating habits to lose weight assuming that it won’t risk their health and end up getting backfired. 

Final Verdict

Bulimics usually hate their bodies and despite being under normal weight range, they prefer losing more weight just for the sake of perfection and as an escape from the emotional turmoil. The answer to your question, “Does Bulimia cause weight loss” is “YES,” but remember it’s not true weight loss, in fact, it is the water weight, minerals, electrolytes, and mineral salts you are losing in the name of weight loss! 

Bingeing and purging is a vicious trap that isn’t an easy cycle to come out of. However, it’s not impossible! So, keep trying and stay strong, you’ll do it for sure!

Mehrosh Ahmer

Mehrosh Ahmer

My name is Mehrosh Ahmer and I’m currently a student of MBBS at Jinnah Sindh Medical University. My passion for studying the wonder that is the human body and the desire to give back to my society has led me to pursue a career in medicine. As I research, I learn more about my field, and it improves my understanding. This is why I enjoy writing the articles so that more people might get to read about subjects that they otherwise might never encounter.

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