I’ve had bulimia for almost 3 years, and now I’m in the recovery process. Some days I’m fine and other days I feel fat and terrible about myself, especially before/during my period (I bloat badly during that time). Is there anything I can do to lessen the bloating during my periods? And is there anything I can do to take my mind off of all the food I ate when I feel fat?

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The recovery process for bulimia will have some days that are harder than others and it is important that you find ways to cope through those times. For days that your negative thoughts are louder, you can create a toolkit of actions you can use to feel better. Some useful tools may be a grounding exercise (thoughts or actions that help you stay in the moment; see below for a resource with examples), taking a break from social media, or going for a walk. Focusing on other things besides your body can disrupt some of the negative talk in your head.

Bloating is normal for many women during their menstrual cycle and is one of the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). The hormones that change in your body during the menstrual cycle cause your body to hold onto fluids or become constipated, which can lead to feeling bloated. The hormones in birth control pills can also make some women feel bloated. Although bloating is very common among women, it can cause discomfort and be very annoying. Here are some tips to relieve bloating:

  1. Eat less salt – More salt leads to more bloating. Avoid foods such as: deli meats, breakfast cereal, and frozen meals a few days before your period.  Try eating more fresh fruit or vegetables and other low salt foods
  2. Drink 6-8 glasses of water or other healthy beverages – Water helps flush out the body!
  3. Exercise – Physical activity can help activate your digestive system and lessen bloating and/or moodiness.

More about grounding exercises: http://www.peirsac.org/peirsacui/er/educational_resources10.pdf 

More about PMS symptoms: http://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/10/31/pms/