Bulimia is often accompanied by a critical inner voice that can prompt you to feel guilt and shame around your eating behaviour, weight and body image. The thought of ‘not being good enough’ can become entrenched in your belief system and lead to further feelings of unworthiness and helplessness.

Shame is a key feature of bulimia that can trigger binging and purging behaviours, but shame can also follow these actions, which can itself then precipitate the binge-purge cycle in order to numb or avoid painful emotions.

Shame is usually described as the feeling that ‘one is not good enough or undeserving of love and happiness.’  Feelings of shame are often accompanied by low self-esteem and ruminating thoughts of self-hatred. For example, you may feel ashamed or angry at yourself after binging and purging because you think you lack self-control and you’re disgusting.

Shame is also interlinked with secrecy. As a result of feeling ashamed or embarrassed of your actions, you may prefer to hide your behaviour from your loved ones. This can leave you feeling isolated and hopeless, further exacerbating the binge-purge cycle and the feelings of shame associated with the eating disorder.

4 Tips To Break The Cycle Of Shame In Bulimia


1. Challenge your critical inner voice by practising positive affirmations daily. These positive affirmations should be adjusted to your specific insecurities and worrying thoughts. For example, if you’re feeling insecure about your appearance, a positive affirmation can help you replace the self-sabotaging thoughts with loving ones that remind yourself that you’re beautiful and worthy. Here are some examples:

‘I am beautiful, inside and outside’

‘My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil’

‘I am courageous and I stand up for myself’

‘I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends’


2. Choose people and environments that surround your with positive energy. Spend time with friends and family that support you help you in remembering your worth. Go for a walk, spend time with pets, or go on a short holiday to feel re-energised.


3. Participating in physical activities that you enjoy doing, such as running, kickboxing or swimming, can help heal your mind, and make you feel stronger and more positive about yourself.


4. Join a support group. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others will boost your self-confidence and help you better understand who you are.

Bulimia nervosa is a vicious cycle of guilt and low self worth, and it is important to get treatment and seek help. At WeightMatters we offer Targeted Bulimia Treatment in a multidisciplinary team of psychotherapists, nutritionists and a psychiatrist.