I just wanted to share my story to possibly encourage others that may be in the same situation that I was a while back.
I have been battling with various eating disorders my whole life, bulemia was very prominent, leading to anorexia. That was the lowest of lows. During recovery I found it therepudic for me to take "herbal diet pills" They are expensive and I really knew they did nothing, yet it was a somewhat healthier way to keep on top, where the tablets were acting almost as placebos.
and 4 years ago I moved from those herbal diet pills to laxatives.
I remember thinking when picking up that first box and taking it to the counter that somewhere along the line I was going to regret that moment.
I started taking the recommended dose while also adjusting my diet and excersising a lot.
I lost weight. But I was also extremely dehydrated, lethargic and cranky all the time. I had lost my water weight. It was a short term means to getting that scale number down and nothing more.
Eventually of course i increased my dosage rediculous amounts and changed brands and got very excited every time I found a new lax that would work effectively. I put up with extreme stomach cramping that reduced me to tears in the middle of the night. I started to alter my social plans around laxatives. I would never sleep anywhere else but home, by myself because of the embarrassment of the amount of times i ad to go to the bathroom in the morning. If I was out for dinner and didn't have any laxatives to take straight after a meal, I would leave immediately to buy some or go home to my stash.
They were beginning to run my life.
One day I woke up in excruciating pain, and I don't know if it was due to that or the fact I realised it had been 3 years since I started using laxatives, but I decided that morning to stop. I had been in denial that it was even a bad thing for my health.
So I googled my condition and tried to find recovery plans etc. And my god it was daunting. Everyone was telling me it as going to be one of the hardest things ive ever done and that I would put on weight.
I still quit. Cold Turkey.
I did everything the I could in terms of dietry intake and excersise to try and stablise my bowel movements, and it worked. I wasn't bloated, I didn't put on much weight, I continued my regular excersise plan and after just a couple of days, i was on the road back to being regular, and back to the same weight.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy, but i did my research on what I had to do and got straight into it.
I consider myself extremely lucky and just want to tell people that miricles do happen and to of course prepare for the worst, but not to be deterred from attempting to quit just from stories of the not so lucky ones.
I am 12 months off the lax now and fit and healthy physically.
Eating disorder mental health will always be apart of my life from stage to stage, I just hope that my story of this battle encourages someone to give it a try anyway.
Hi Audrey! Im so glad that i have found this web side and your story. I am in real need of positive thinking right now. I've been abusing laxative for a while now. I've tried to get off them. Only went 3 day off them. Probably because i didn't even try to eat better. Im really scared of what awaits me in a recovery process. I heard so many scary stories about it. It makes me sick knowing that i have such a horrible habit. Close people in my life know about problem, but i don't think they fully understand how hard it is for me to just stop. I am afraid of a gain weight, even though i know it's all temporarily. Could you please tell me more about your recovery: what you did, and what foods you ate, and what foods you avoided just to make the recovery easier. Did you gain a lot of weight? Did you keep working out? Was it hard? Can you take vitamins during your recovery? The last couple months my skin has gotten worse, started breaking out! I've lost so much hair!! and it keeps on falling out! im so scared. Will it get better?? are you regular right now?
Congratulations firstly on realising that laxative abuse and it's effects is something that you don't want to live with for the rest of your life.
To this day, I am proud to say that I still have not taken one more laxative. Nor have I slipped back into any of my previous unhealthy eating habits. What's more is I quit smoking after 3 years of pack a day. Something that also used to terrify me of quitting smoking was also the weight gain I heard about.
Please don't let the negative stories of quitting anything give you a bad outlook from the beginning.
If yu think that it is going to be hard to quit. It will be. Laxatives have become an addictive substance for you and you have to convince yourself that you are in control of them, not the other way around. Firstly, be honest with yourself.
Apart from the feeling of lightness, straight after that bowl movement, do you feel any better about yourself and your weight? I'm guessing no.
I don't know you, but I know that you are a very strong willed person. You wouldn't have put up with the uncomfortable side effects for this long as you havee. What I did with this strong will is redirected it. I thought about all the eating disorders I've had and thought about how much time, effort and money I was putting into "the lazy way to keep weight off."
When you think about it...why not redirect that effort into the healthy way?
Do your own research on boosting your metabolism...A very good way to not only keep weight off, but keep your mind busy. You will see that simple every day efforts such as drinking green tea, drinking cold water instead f room temperature, and many other very easy diet habits can help to speed up your metabolism and keep weight off. Vitimins are a good placebo, although give it some time and research before you get too far into these, you will hurt your wallet if not anything else. Consider seeing a naturopath. I didn't, but I have heard good things. Don't start taking fibre supplements in your drink. They have the same effects and eventually you will increase your intake so much that it is like taking laxities. A healthy alternative is Flax oil. Consider making a health shake every morning. I do Flax oil, barley greens, lettuce, banana, dark berries, lemon and ginger. Delicious and super good for you.
I did continue to work out. And still continue to Nothing drastic. Usually about 3 hours of cardio a week which isn't much, and I take it in the form of fun dance classes at the gym. I hate the gym! It is the most mundane excersise of the lot! The treadmill? What are we? Rats?!
I know that you hear this everywhere, but physical excersise really does wonders for your mental state.
I never weighed myself after I quit. And I never noticed any weight gain. If there was any, after a month it was gone when I weighed myself after I finally had no desire to take laxatives any more.
I never told anyone bout my issue until I really decided to quit. I told my boyfriend. It was a very difficult thing to do, because to me it was disgusting and embarrassing. He didn't understand it at all, but made the effort to research it as a disorder and try to understand. His support really got me though as well. Consider telling someone close to you and asking them to understand. I have never actually been overweight, I have just had skewed sight.
That's all it took for me Victoria! 1 month and I was rid of the habit.
Your a strong girl. Use that strength for your benefit, instead of your detriment.
I hope I have answered some questions for you. Please don't hesitate to keep me up to date on your progress. I'd love to help you through it.
Hi Audrey! i'm so glad that you replied. That would be so great if you could help me with this. Do you have any bowl movement problems now?..i'm so scared. I'm considering doing an inpatient program at a clinic because i cant do it on my own. Maybe just for a couple of weeks. I tried a few times, but my body would get so swollen that it hurts. Especially my legs, i feel horrible cant do anything, and that is how the vicious circle begins again. Can you give me some advice on whats better to eat? If you didnt take any fiber in you drink or food how did you go when you first quit??? Did you take anything to help you the first month? Did i really went back to normal after 1 month? I need to ask you so many things. I'm really happy that i found a person who's story of abusing laxatives is not horrible and tragic at the end.
Last edited by mod-anon; 02-09-2010 at 06:37 AM.
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Audrey, thank you so much for your story of encouragement, it must feel wonderful to have really, really recovered! Congratulations
Victoria, you got some wonderful advice from Audrey already, but you asked some questions about foods and such, I can only give my personal advice, as I have studied some naturopathy and am very into natural healing, especially with foods and herbs as our medicine, not chemical drugs.
Which makes the following that I will disclose very contradictive, because I have been dealing with lax abuse as well, in large doses, for a couple of years.
Four months ago, I quit, pretty much cold turkey as well, I thought weening off of them was good, but as Audrey, I had to go cold turkey, just to take the temptation away.
For two months, I paid a lot of attention to my diet. But then I went through a rough period and fell completely back into my old lax habit, it was heartbreaking, but it is just so horribly addictive! Now since this week I have decided to start over again, and quit again. I am telling this all, because after a week or so, quitting cold turkey the first time, I actually got back my regularity as well, it wasn't THAT great yet, but I KNOW that if I would have kept going, it would have gotten better and better... but I am starting over, with fresh hope and strength
So this is what I did...
Firstly, I completely quit binging - I used to binge and then take the lax because I felt it limited the damage, but then I was so addicted to the lax, in large doses, that I started taking them even when eating the smallest thing! It was totally out of hand and had some big scares because of the lax abuse.
Then I turned to what I knew would be a very wise choice, and that was lots of fresh organic veggies and fruits (if organic is too expensive for you or you have no access to it, don't bother), lots of filtered water and foods that promote digestion. Raw honey, for example, has digestive enzymes in them, did you know that? It is very good for you, honey has regenerative powers, I am also a big fan of bee pollen. If you can find that, definitely get the honey and bee pollen, the pollen not so much for digestive purposes, but definitely for getting back those vitamins and minerals, bee pollen are one of the most complete foods you can possibly find. You definitely do not need a multivitamin made in a lab, if you can eat bee pollen
Audrey mentioned the flax oil, definitely get that!!! Flax seeds or oil, they promote proper digestion and are great for your hair, nails, skin and other organs... EVERYTHING, really.
Of course everybody's body is different, but in general the fresh fruits and veggies are a good idea here. I would avoid white starchy products, like white bread and pastas... get as much wholewheat/rye as possible. There is wholewheat pasta, wholewheat cookies, wholewheat substitutes for everything these days. I am not even that big of a fan of wheat alltogether. If you go to a natural/health store, you can find the best things, like cookies made out of oatmeal for example. I like pure, honest food, and I think our bodies do too. Don't overload yourself with white sugar, white bread, preservatives and chemicals.. it is a fact that not only does your body go through swings on these "foods", so does your brain. I have studied a lot on the subject, and I believe there is a connection between eating disorders and other addictions and chemicals/what we put into our bodies. I am not saying one person will obtain anorexia or bulimia from eating too many m&m's, but there definitely is a large contributing factor.
So my biggest advice would be to go for a wholesome diet, this does not mean you cannot indulge... I am a big fan of food, I love to cook and to eat, you just need to know what choices to make
If you would like to keep in touch and in a way, do this recovering together, write and support, I would love to! Let me know what you think.
Much good luck for the future, for both of you xxx
Definitely do not restrict your diet heavily, I think the worst idea would be to eat very little... it will shut down your colon and metabolism... exactly what you do not want to happen right now. Eat regularly, small-medium meals, eat six if you have to! Make sure you get those calories and minerals and vitamins, if you gain weight eating a normal amount of calories for your age, height and weight, you know it is water weight, and this WILL pass and go away.
Also, get good yoghurt that has bifidus digestivum, I know the brand "Activia" appearantly has them, but it basically means the natural bacteria, that also manifestates in our human colons. What I do is get organic yoghurt, this usually will have the natural bacterias still in them. If you want to get really specific, I suggest goats yoghurt, because the goat's digestive system and dna is a LOT closer to us humans than that of the cow, which is good news!
Hi Isolde! Thank you so much so replying. So i finally decided to go cold turkey,i just need to plan and start. I actually went through such hard time withe everything, that decided to go to a easting disorder clinic through Keiser, well that was waste of time. They diagnosed me depression sent me to therapist and told me that i'm not a severe case enough for them to do in patient program or to be hospitalasied with them. All they can do for me is once a week group therapy sessions! I was furious and very discouraged. Keiser doctor did refer me to a gastrologist to help me overcome withdrawal symptoms, but i have to wait for 4 weeks to get in there. After that i research other clinic, who mostly don't take insurance but do understand the problem and know how to help for $15,000 fee for a 4 week program!!!!! i thought i was gonna shoot myself.
So i went back to realizing that im the only one whos gonna help with God's help. He is actually my only hope about getting over this thing! I'm thiking of going to naturepath doctor and maybe a nutritionist. Im so scared of what should i eat, i really dont want to suffer a lot through recovery. I willing to do anything to make it not as painful! Do you work out also?? How long have you been off them already for the second time? When you quit the fist time did you gain a lot of weight in those 2 months?, and what made take them again??
I am sorry that you are that you are having a tough time getting help. But you can get through this!
I heavily abused laxatives for years and I had to stop because (somewhere by the second and third year) I would start to get the most piercing pain and I would have to literaly hold on to something and this was hours after they had taken affect. This was happening at work and home in front of people!
here's the link with more info:
I've been recovered and i've only had one slip up on thanksgiving.
It's going to take 3-4 weeks and yes, you are going to get bloated. There is no way around it.You just have to remember that it is not going to be real weight.
Can you give it a try for 3-4 weeks?
I started refeeding at the same time I started to ween myself from laxatives so I don't know which symptoms were from eating again and which were from withdraws.
I wish I would have known this:
Try to slowly increase your fiber very slowly and drink plenty of water.
I am taking a digestive enzyme before each meal (I had to have my gallblader removed) , one probiotic daily, drinking tons of water, and try to limit my dairy.
My body slowly got adjusted and I don't have to take miralax or anything to help me in that department anymore. I was so tired from the refeeding that I did not exercise but i'm sure that would have helped.
Are you planning on trying to get off the laxatives by yourself or are you going to wait for the gastro appointment?
hi Alieb. Thank you for you post. I'm planning to completely go off them on Monday by my self. I cant wait till my appointment. I'm jut very tired of putting it off. I really want to get this over with and be on the way of being healthy and happy. Isolde and i are actually decided to start on monday. What is refeeding? Where you restricting yourself a lot? What else where you taking while going through it? what happened after 3-4 weeks?
Did you retain much water? I find that I am, and I have been off the laxatives now for two months. I still have to use fiber and colace, but I figured that probably will be forever, considering this was a 40 year habit. I am eating healthy, not much to gain weight, yet I am. I figured it is either the water retention or the muscle factor. I go to the gym six days a week, and it appears that I am getting some muscle. But, I find this daunting. My clothes are tight, and I have had to replace many items. If this continues, I will be broke just buying new clothes. What's going on? I don't think the doctors that I am going to really get it.