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Binge eating disorder is now the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). That means about 5 million women and 3 million men are suffering from this eating disorder in the US alone.
Common signs and symptoms from Helpguide.org:
The key features of binge eating disorder are:
• Frequent episodes of uncontrollable binge eating.
• Feeling extremely distressed or upset during or after bingeing.
• No regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising.
Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
• Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
• Rapidly eating large amounts of food
• Eating even when you’re full
• Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
• Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
• Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes
Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
• Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
• Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
• Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot.
• Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
• Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
• Desperation to control weight and eating habits
In May 2013, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) was recognized as an “official” eating disorder and added to the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Associations’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Thankfully BED is gaining the attention it deserves and this will hopefully help the millions that suffer.
If you’ve never heard of British author Gillian Riley you absolutely need to read her book Ditching Diets. It’s one of the best books available for advice on how to stop dieting and binge eating. As I was reading her book I was literally saying “Yes” out loud the entire time. It just makes sense. So since I listen to everything she has to say I obviously receive her newsletter. In this month’s addition there is a fabulous question/answer piece that I found to be really smart. She addresses the problem of how weight is just a symptom of binge eating/overeating. Or if weight is not your “problem” maybe it’s anxiety when you overeat. So anxiety would be your symptom.
“Imagine a smoker who says ‘I’m fed up with coughing so much. What can I do to stop my coughing?’ Someone points out that it’s the smoking that’s doing it, but the smoker says ‘Yes, I know, but what I really want is some good cough medicine.’
Imagine a problem drinker who says ‘My driving is terrible. I keep having accidents. Where can I get some good driving lessons?’ Someone suggests it’s because he’s driving drunk, so he keeps drinking and takes the bus.
Now, you may know that smokers and drinkers go through periods when they do think like this. It’s a kind of denial because they are denying what their problem really is. The difference, though, is that when they finally admit they do have a problem, they tend to see it for what it is. Smokers set out to take control of their smoking, not their coughing. And problem drinkers set out to take control of their drinking, not their driving.
When it comes to eating, though, this step is often not taken, or not taken fully. People who have an addiction to food set out to change a symptom: their weight. They keep their sights set on the effect, not the cause, which is eating too much.
The typical overeater says ‘I’m two stone overweight, none of my clothes fit properly and I hate how I look. How can I lose weight?’ So if someone says: ‘What you need to do is eat less food’ they reply ‘I know. I’ll join a slimming club.’
You see, your weight is not your problem. It’s one of the effects of your problem. Your problem is you eat more food than your body needs.”
Here is the link to the entire article. Let me know what you think.
People like to track their food intake, I get it. Sometimes I track my mine too. Whether it’s because I want to lose weight or watch my carb intake, I track. MyFitnessPal is one of the more popular ones which is why I’m mentioning it but there are a ton of food tracking apps available.
The pros are that you can actually see what you’re eating and become a more conscious eater. When you’re aware of your intake you can plan and make better choices. The cons for binge eaters is that you could possibly start to feel like you’re either depriving yourself or dieting and that can lead to a binge.
If your binges ever stem from feeling deprived at all, I recommend you take a different approach. Still use the app but give yourself a clear reason as to why you’re using it. Change your habit. So for instance, if in the past you have tried to count calories only to end the day in a binge; change the moment you feel the urge to binge. It’s the hardest and easiest thing you’ll ever do. Change the urge by sitting with it and letting it pass. Don’t fight it or try to make it go away. You are not counting calories to be obsessive, you have a valid reason. Tell yourself that and you can change your brain!
A few years ago when I was told I needed to eliminate certain foods from my diet due to a thyroid problem, I was excited. Now I had my validation, now I had a professional telling me I couldn’t eat certain foods. I thought this was my ticket to stop binge eating and losing weight. But of course it wasn’t. Every day became “the last day I’m going to eat this” and the cycle continued.
It wasn’t until I stopped binge eating that I was able to see the effect particular foods had on my body. When I stopped stuffing myself with food, I could see how sugar made me tired. Logically, I knew sugar wasn’t healthy but since it had been a free for all before; I never really was able to pinpoint the exact culprit. (I believe other foods have the same effect but that differs from person to person).
This past weekend I took my 3 year old son to the farmers market. We had a lot of fun while he pointed out the fruits and vegetables and made me very proud! LOL! He wanted a cookie so I ended up buying a few from a friendly vendor who assured me they were home baked with fresh ingredients. On the ride home I ate two cookies and in the two hours after I honestly felt like I had been drugged. I cannot explain the feeling but I was suddenly so tired I couldn’t move. The thought of moving and going out again seemed impossible.
I’m not saying don’t ever eat sugar, that’s not really possible! What I’m saying is, when you eat sugar just know how it will you make you feel. Know the outcome and enjoy the treat!
Well, sort of.
Growing up I wanted everything RIGHT. THIS. SECOND. I was always onto the next thing. I wanted big things right away and once I had them I wanted to finish them right away. No patience at all. My patience level was also non-existent when it came to dieting and “trying” to stop binge eating. When I learned of a new technique or plan I wanted to start that second and be successful instantly. Well, that never happened because I never bothered to actually change my habits which is essentially the basis of how neuroplasticity works.
I would read articles about how changing your eating habits takes time and effort and I would dismiss it quickly. I wanted to be changed right away. How silly was I? What I didn’t understand was that it does take an instant to decide to change your brain but it’s the repeated behavior that creates the habit. My point is this, you need a foundation, you need to create and build habits in order to make your efforts long term. But at the same time it only takes an instant to change. It’s repeating those changed behaviors (that should take an instant) time and time again that create the habit.
I’ve read so many weight loss transformation stories, I swear I could recite the person’s name and the sample diet they provided the magazine or website. I was obsessed with how people lost weight. Why couldn’t I do it? What were THEY doing that I wasn’t that made them successful? What was their secret that was somehow eluding me?
A lot of stories mentioned hitting rock bottom or dealing with a tragic event. I have dealt with hitting rock bottom and several tragic events yet was never able to stop binge eating and lose weight.
While going through tough times in my life certainly made me reevaluate things and make promises to myself, I could never keep those promises. Maybe I didn’t want it enough? Was I lazy? All of my promises were thrown out the window when I was bingeing.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had created pathways that were deeply embedded in my brain. It didn’t matter how many promises I made; no amount of willpower was going to help me. I was at the lowest point I could have ever imagined possible, yet I didn’t stop binge eating. I needed to change the pathways I had built.
I didn’t even know this technique existed until I read Kathryn Hansen’s book. After I finished reading, I was hooked. I went on to read and study about neuroplasticity and how creating new pathways is essential to truly overcoming binge eating.
Don’t get me wrong; there are people who can stop without knowing about this science. But I’m fairly certain they used the technique and just didn’t know it had a name.
Hitting rock bottom won’t work unless you change your brain.
Let me explain why. I just finished eating lunch which consisted of a chicken wrap and a brownie. Not the healthiest choice but not terrible. I enjoyed it and didn’t think much more of it than that. In the past though, that same lunch would have possibly qualified as a “binge” in my mind. Here is what I mean; if I decided to binge and was in the mood for that same lunch, I would have binged on a “huge fried chicken wrap with extra mayo” and “a chocolate brownie”. Do you see what I mean? I ate the same lunch as I did when it was considered a binge. The only difference was in my mind.
Another example; I woke up last night around 3:30am really hungry. It was the type of hunger where you know the only way you’re going back to bed is if you eat something. So I ended up reheating Chinese food leftovers. Again, not the healthiest choice but it’s what I wanted. I ate it, enjoyed it and went back to bed. In binge mode, that same exact meal would have qualified as a binge. “I woke up wanting to eat and I ate all the leftovers.” Same meal, same time, different mind.
On a side note; I know I’ve given two examples of not so healthy meals, but this is the only way to drive my point home since I never really binged on kale and cucumbers!
So, the message is clear here. Your thoughts are your reality.
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest and fastest growing organ? Yep, it’s true and since the average woman uses 10 or more skincare products on her skin every day, you might want to start considering the quality of ingredients in those products.
The chemicals found in traditional skincare products can disrupt hormones and fill our bodies with toxins. There is a wide range of “natural” and “organic” products on the market and educating yourself is the best way to make informed decisions.
The easiest way to start a natural skincare regimen is with popular brands such as Alba Botanica or Kiss My Face. Switch out your product slowly and learn what works best for you. I recently discovered that using a body wash with grapefruit extract caused me to itch; my body just couldn’t handle all that citrus.
Once you have stopped slathering traditional skincare products on your body you can venture out even further. From the oil cleansing method to using beef tallow as a moisturizer, there are plenty of ways to nourish your skin that are for real; natural and organic.
I’ve added some helpful links below. Please email me with any questions!
And if your really adventurous check out these two companies;