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Hiding Bulimia from Your Family

The most obvious tip would be to binge and purge when you’re alone/when no one else is at home. But, that’s not always feasible. So, here’s a collection of hints and ideas for keeping your shit hidden from the people around you.

My main philosophy has always been, hide the evidence. People can come at you all day with suspicions (“I heard you barfing!”), but if you’re a decent liar, you can play it off with a variety of excuses (food poisoning…nausea…blah blah blah) or just plain deny it, and it’s your word against theirs. Trouble comes when you get confronted with evidence, i.e., empty food packages, leftover purge in toilet, clogged up drain, etc. So I make very sure to leave no (or, as few as possible) traces behind of what I’m doing.

I’ve had great success purging in the shower. First, I like that I can see everything that comes out much more easily than in the toilet, so I have a better idea of when I’ve gotten everything out. Yeah, gross, I know — but honestly if you’re here reading about bingeing and purging, then “gross” is kind of a given. Second, everything is right there…lots of water, toothbrush, soap and shampoo to mask the smell, and clean up is so easy, just push it down the drain with your foot!

The only problem with purging in the shower is clogging up the drain, which is actually a legit concern — I keep a large Tupperware in the bathroom (I store it under my sink w/ my nail polish and stuff and claim that I use it for “soaking my nails for a manicure” in case anyone asks why I have a Tupperware in the bathroom). I bring it in the shower with me, and if I’m purging something chunky or stringy (i.e., dinner) I either a) purge into that or b) scoop up the big clumps before they make it down drain, pop em in the Tupperware, and then carry it to the toilet, dump, and flush when I’m out of the shower. I also keep a big bottle of Drain-O under the sink and clean out the shower drain at least once a week to make sure nothing backs up. I’ve been doing this for years and so far, nothing…

The shower is also great because you avoid that “just purged” look — I never walk out with slightly streaked makeup, watery eyes, tell-tale smell, etc, because I have time to wash it all off in the shower first, and I can come out looking nice and fresh.

But, sometimes the shower isn’t an option, and my family does start to wonder if I take more than like 2 showers a day. The toilet is an old staple. I always make sure I clean up carefully (make sure to get the inside of the rim in the bowl super well — if anyone in your family cleans your bathroom for you, they will start to notice the build up if you purge in the toilet regularly). I use those flush-able wipes or some Fabuloso cleaner on a piece of toilet paper to clean any splatter around the outside of the bowl/lid and then flush it down when I’m done — you don’t want to leave towels stained with purge cleanup for people to find.  And I run the water or fan to cover the noise, and try to look composed when I come out.

Also, make sure you hide your used food containers, etc — it’s a dead giveaway. I usually wash them out carefully if they’re messy (ants are gross!), hide them in a trash bag inside a suitcase in my closet, then wait until the day of trash pickup in the neighborhood, when everyone puts their trash cans out on the curb. The night before, after everyone has gone to bed I seal it up, sneak outside and put the bag in one of my neighbor’s trash cans, then at like 4am the next morning the trash gets picked up and away ti goes. Or,  I’ll put the bag in my trunk of my car and throw it away in a Dumpster somewhere — any apartment complex will usually have a Dumpster you can use discreetly.

If you throw up in any type of disposable contained, again, make sure you throw it away far away from home. One episode of Intervention had a girl who used to purge in Ziploc bags, hide them in her closet, then throw them away in a Dumpster on her way to work.  She’d even hide them in a box (like from a vacuum cleaner) so it looked like she was just throwing away some random box. Pretty smart.

In general, I try not to binge on food my family has in the house, or if I do, I try to make it seem like an amount a normal person would eat or eat foods that aren’t that noticeable, like stuff out of a big container or stuff they don’t use that often. Like, I’ll buy cereal to binge on and use their milk, or buy waffles and use their butter or syrup or something. I wash dishes by hand and will reuse them (the same bowl for cereal, ice cream, and soup in a binge) to avoid suspicion of why I am using so many bowls for one “meal”, etc.

Also, it’s possible to binge in public view without notice if you are crafty about it…I’ll go buy 3 pints of the same kind of ice cream and hide them in the outside freezer behind a bunch of stuff, take out inside, eat it in front of the TV. My mom may wander in and out, nothing out of the ordinary about me eating some Ben & Jerry’s out of the carton. Then I finish it, wait til she goes up stairs, go out to the garage, toss empty container in trunk of my car, grab next pint, return to couch, keep eating…if she walks in again she thinks I’m still eating the same pint of ice cream. Careful, if your family is too observant they might catch on to this one. Mine are pretty not, so it’s easy to do.

When people are home and may walk in on me, I like to be careful about how much binge food I have “out” at one time — hiding empty containers right away, not leaving cupboards open, using minimal dishes, etc. Even in my room, I keep what’s in sight to a minimum. If I’m not eating the chips at that moment, they go in the drawer. I want to avoid having a pile of binge food or empty wrappers in front of me. If anyone walks in, I want it to look as normal as possible. Just me, having a little snack. Yup.

Some More Tips I’ve Learned from Various Places:

  • If you have a car and can drive, just binge in your car, drive somewhere deserted, and purge there
  • In Wasted, she used walk to school and would just purge in the creek behind her house on her way — what a great way to get in touch with nature!
  • In Wasted, she also used to clog up the drains in her house on a regular basis which is how her parents caught on very quickly. So be very careful not to do this.
  • Your car is a great place to hide binge food and stash trash before throwing it away
  • All-you-can-eat buffets are a great, cheap place to binge away from home– then come home and purge (thanks Intervention!)
  • Purge in a trash can (plastic bag of course) in your room with the music up, then throw away later)
  • I usually smuggle binge food in the house in my overnight bag coming home from my boyfriends and in my backpack
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