Bulimia nervosa is characterised by binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviours. Individuals with bulimia nervosa often have a strong focus on shape and weight, and use this as the basis for their self-esteem and self-worth. It is important to note that you cannot tell who has bulimia nervosa based on weight.
Binge eating involves eating a large amount of food within a relatively short amount of time and feeling a sense of loss of control while eating. Compensatory behaviour are ways that individuals try to control their weight and shape after binge eating episodes. These can include things like exercise, vomiting, use of laxatives or restricting intake. Individuals with bulimia nervosa often find themselves stuck in a distressing cycle of bingeing episodes, followed by feelings of shame and disgust and resulting in compensatory behaviours.