Caring for yourself after purging

Marissa, our Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, shares how best to look after yourself after binging and purging…

Purging – whether that is by vomiting or abusing laxatives or over exercising –  is physically and emotionally destructive.

When someone starts purging, it’s common to feel elated and bursting with energy.  Yet, as time passes, the purging stops being the magic pill and one feels dizzy, weak, confused, shaky, nauseous or hungry, thirsty and very tired. From an emotional point of view, it’s also common to feel hollow, alone, sad and fearful.

Learning to properly look after yourself after purging can be your saving grace and is a big part of stopping the cycle of negativity and isolation. It can give you back your day so you can function a bit better, and is medically very important.

Vomiting looses a lot of electrolytes, which are the minerals that help you stay hydrated, help your heart beat, and are vital for your muscles and energy production. This can be extremely dangerous. What’s more, the acid from vomit can cause your teeth to rot – increasingly the possibility of a tooth infection, and furthermore, the likelihood of heart disease and even a heart attack from the infection.

At The Recover Clinic, we recommend taking a sachet of electrolytes after vomiting. We also recommend not brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after purging because the increased acid combined with the brushing action wares away the enamel of the tooth very quickly. Instead, rinse your mouth out with bicarbonate soda mixed with some water (do not swallow it!). Feel free to use mouthwash and brush your teeth later.

After binging, your blood sugars will be low. Therefore it is vital to nourish yourself  to help stabilize your blood sugars. It does not need to be a full meal – perhaps some cheese or popcorn or chocolate. You will also be very dehydrated; so do drink some pure water.

The final recommendation (but definitely of upmost importance!) is to do something kind and compassionate for yourself. Is that having a sleep, a cry, watching a comedy show, listening to music, writing or drawing, going to a walk or a dance? A little self-care can go a very long way.

Post-purge care is important at every stage of recovery – right from the very start and continuing until you’re saying goodbye to your eating disorder once and for all!

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