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"I was a baby bulimic"

Posted Jul 16 2009 10:05pm
Disregard the sensationalistic title and check out this wonderful essay called " I was a baby bulimic: A food critic comes to terms with his appetite," by Frank Bruni.

What struck me, besides the descriptions of bulimia by a male in the early 1980s, was how early in his life the overeating and purging started, and how it appeared to be an echo of many of his mother's conflicts with food.

What also struck me was his haunting descriptions of his illness and how closely it echoed my own frenzied episodes of binge eating and purging:

To be a successful bulimic, you need to have a firm handle on the bathrooms in your life: their proximity to where you’re eating; the amount of privacy they offer; whether — if they’re public bathrooms with more than one stall — you can hear the door swing open and the footfall of a visitor with enough advance notice to stop what you’re doing and keep from being found out.

You need to be conscious of time. There’s no such thing as bulimia on the fly; a span of at least 10 minutes in the bathroom is optimal, because you may need 5 of them to linger at the sink, splash cold water on your face and let the redness in it die down. You should always carry a toothbrush and toothpaste, integral to eliminating telltale signs of your transgression and to rejoining polite society without any offense to it. Bulimia is a logistical and tactical challenge as much as anything else. It demands planning.

It is interesting, of course, that Bruni wound up as a food critic. This essay was adapted from an upcoming autobiography titled " Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater," which has now gone on my reading list.

Were you struck by anything in particular in the article? What could you relate to? What didn't you like? Share away in the comments section!
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