Ramadan challenges former bulimia sufferer’s recovery

Dubai resident who suffered from bulimia as a teenager feels Ramadan is a challenge for her recovery.

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DUBAI // “Amira” is in recovery after suffering from bulimia which began as a young teen.

“It’s hard to fight off the urge to not eat sometimes and to lose weight and also to fight the urge to purge,” she said.

“Four years ago when I had the disorder in Ramadan I felt more comfortable with my body because I was losing weight. It was a really stressful situation though as my parents would pressure me not to fast because they knew about my disorder. At iftar times, I wouldn’t really eat much and if I did, I would throw it up afterwards.”

Amira’s decision to fast was personal and religious.

“I still fast during Ramadan but not to lose weight,” she said. “I think I’m strong enough to overcome my disorder and take part in Ramadan for my spirituality. It’s a personal choice. I like what Ramadan stands for.”

Seeking help was the key to her recovery, which is an ongoing process. She visits a psychologist on a regular basis.

“The biggest help was from my parents, they were always very supportive,” she said.

“They told me not to fast if it was difficult. I ended up seeing a therapist and joining a support group for other people with eating disorders and that really helped.

“If I feel like fasting is difficult for me now, I talk to my parents about it. It really helps to know that I can just tell them and they’ll understand. At first I didn’t want to get anyone else’s help but I think that acknowledging the available support is even more vital to help anyone suffering from an eating disorder during Ramadan.”