Beating Bulimia

Tori Nothnagel/The Omniscient.
Tori Nothnagel/The Omniscient.

“I was called a pig, told I was never going to be skinny, you might as well go get liposuction or something and I mean, I would, if I had money. They just said anything that a fat girl would get called.”

These were the words senior Aubrey Dale, which is not her real name, would hear from her peers when she was younger before she became bulimic. Bulimia is characterized as extreme overeating followed by bouts of purging, which is frequent self-induced vomiting.

“[At first] it was really hard trying to make myself throw up. It would be so hard I would start crying, tears coming out of my eyes and everything,” Dale said. “It was disgusting, just having to sit there. Having to smell your own throw up, having to look at it, having it come out of your mouth. I knew that if I wanted to be skinny, I just had to do it, so I did.”

Diet pills, surgery, anorexia, liposuction and bulimia were all options when Dale typed in the initial Google search “How to make yourself skinny without working out.”

“Everyone [online] was like, ‘Don’t do it. This could hurt you.’ Some people were like, ‘It’s not bad unless you keep doing it.’ So I was like, ‘Whatever, I’ll find out for myself,’” Dale said.

Dale first started making herself throw up in June 2013 and went from weighing 213 lbs. to weighing 180 lbs. She says her goal weight is 150 lbs.

“I don’t recommend it. I don’t even recommend myself doing it. It’s like a drug, once you start on it, you keep wanting to do it, and you can’t stop,” Dale said. “It’ll take a lot for me to stop. All the comments that were made a long time ago replay in your head whenever you’re running, throwing up or eating.”

Not only does Dale purge by throwing up, but she also works out to the point of exhaustion.

“When I work out I guess not having something in my stomach would make me dizzy; I would see two things at once and I would lose my balance,” Dale said.

Dale realizes what she is doing to herself isn’t healthy but she “doesn’t care” and says she is “addicted.” She often finds herself wondering why.

“I always pray to God, ‘Why the heck did you have to do it to me? Why can’t you give me the strength to run and run and run and run? Why can’t you make it go away with a snap of a finger?’” Dale said. “Why did you choose me out of everyone else? Why do I have to be the one to have to go through this?”

She says she will do anything to not consume more calories than she burns and to reach her goal weight.

“I would throw up and then [slowly] drink a gallon of water. I wanted that to fill me up,” Dale said. “I remember one time I cheated and I ate a cookie and I had to throw it back up right away. I felt so awful; I can’t even keep a cookie down so what else can I not keep down?”

Dale’s mom, aunt, sister and a few close friends know about what she is doing to her body.

“[My mom] keeps telling me to stop and I keep telling her to stay out of my life,” Dale said. “I do it without her knowing. [I will say] ‘Oh, hey, I’m going to the bathroom,’ and I’ll go upstairs, lock the door, turn the fan on and just do it. She would never know.”

Recently, Dale’s sister has been wandering down the same, scary path.

“I don’t want her to follow in my footsteps and then something bad happens to her. She is going to be in high school next year and it’s going to get so much worse,” Dale said. “She is already having suicidal thoughts and I’m scared because if someone says something to her that makes her commit suicide, I will feel horrible. I’m teaching her to throw up. I’m her model. I want to be a better sister.”

Insults may have had the biggest impact on how Dale views her body, but society also plays a role.

“[In advertisements] you see girls that are skinny and they’re not ashamed of their body. I go out and see girls and they’re in shorts basically rubbing it in my face like, ‘Oh, look at me, I can wear shorts, a bikini and cute little tops,’” Dale said. “I don’t want to have to go to a different store because it’s all for skinny people. I’ve never been in Hollister or Aeropostale; nothing. It’s all for skinny people. You’ll go in there and everyone will look at you.”

At the end of every day, Dale feels the same emotion: lonliness.

“Even when I had a boyfriend, I would just say, ‘What the hell do you see in me? Like why are you with me?’ It’s just embarrassing,” Dale said. “People judge a lot. I don’t think anyone should judge me off of this because they’re not in my place, they don’t know what it’s like.”

Dale used to throw up after breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner, but says she is now only making herself throw up once a week.

“I’m tired of throwing up; my throat throbs and it hurts. I don’t want to sit there and let acid eat my esophagus up,” Dale said. “I want to stop doing it because I don’t want something serious to happen. I don’t want to sit here and be in the newspaper because I died of my heart giving up because I’m not keeping nutrients in my body.”

– By Ally DeJong