DIAGNOSIS: Bulimia Nervosa
TREATMENT: Healthy-Weight Program for Bulimia Nervosa

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Brief Summary

Healthy-Weight Program for Bulimia Nervosa

Status: Controversial


The Healthy Weight Program for bulimia nervosa consists of six sessions designed to help the patient engage in weight control strategies that do not pose the same physiological and psychological liabilities as the inappropriate compensatory behaviors inherent to the disorder (e.g., purging, fasting, excessive exercise). These healthier strategies include altering food consumption (e.g., cutting out high-fat foods) and increasing exercise to achieve a negative energy balance and a slim, healthy figure. Unlike CBT for bulimia nervosa, the pursuit of a thin ideal body is not challenged, binge eating and purging are not directly targeted, and dieting is encouraged (albeit in a healthier manner than individuals with bulimia nervosa typically employ) rather than discouraged. Nutritional education is provided as part of the treatment to inform the patient’s food choices. Treatment is conducted in a small group format.


Key References (in reverse chronological order)

  • Stice, E., Martinez, E. E., Presnell, K. & Groesz, L.M. (2006). Relation of successful dietary restriction to change in bulimic symptoms: A prospective study of adolescent girls.Health Psychology, 25(3), 274-281.
  • Burton, E. & Stice, E. (2006). Evaluation of a healthy-weight treatment program for bulimia nervosa: A preliminary randomized trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(12), 1727-1738.
  • Stice, E., Presnell, K., Groesz, L. & Shaw, H. (2005). Effects of a weight maintenance diet on bulimic symptoms in adolescent girls: An experimental test of the dietary restraint theory. Health Psychology, 24(4), 402-412.
  • Presnell, K. & Stice, E. (2003). An experimental test of the effect of weight-loss dieting on bulimic pathology: Tipping the scales in a different direction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112(1), 166-170.

Clinical Resources


Training Opportunities

  • Contact Eric Stice, PhD (Oregon Research Institute)

Treatment Resources

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice