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Is it binge eating disorder?
It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I want to focus on the most common eating disorder, Binge Eating Disorder (BED). An estimated 3.5% of women and 2% of men in the U.S. have binge eating disorder. The incidence is considerably higher among individuals seeking weight loss. However, restrictive dieting and weight stigma tend to propel the Binge Eating Cycle* and compound the problem.
What is a binge?
Binge eating episodes are characterized by three or more of the following symptoms:
- Eating until you feel uncomfortably full
- Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry
- Eating much more rapidly than normal
- Eating alone because you are embarrassed by how much you're eating
- Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
While the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), does not yet have a specific category for binge eating disorder, it does list diagnostic criteria:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating occurring at least twice a week for six months
- Eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short time frame (any two-hour period)
- Lack of control over eating during the binge episode (for example, feeling that you can’t stop eating or control what or how much you are eating)
- There is marked distress about binge eating
- Those with BED do not use compensatory measures to counter the binge eating, such as vomiting or excessive exercise
What does BED feel like?
Kari Anderson, a Phoenix-based eating disorder specialist and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshop Facilitator, explains that a person with BED may eat “normally” with others, stop on the way home to buy “binge” foods, then binge and hide evidence of the episode. The aftermath of a binge episode involves extreme feelings of shame and disgust.
Kari adds, “Individuals with BED are typically competent and accomplished in other areas of their life, yet feel unable to stop this secret behavior. Bingeing is a way to escape or disconnect from feelings that seem intolerable. There may be difficulty managing states of emotional and physical distress without using food. On the other hand, the thought of giving up the behavior evokes anxiety.”
While most people can relate to overeating or even bingeing from time to time, the lives of those with binge eating disorder are significantly disrupted by the binges and the aftermath. They may suffer in silence for years - trying and failing numerous diets, feeling alone, ashamed, and depressed. But they are not alone; there are millions of people with BED.
How is BED treated?
A great resource about BED for individuals and health care professionals is the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). If you think you may have binge eating disorder, seek treatment from an experienced treatment specialist. For a specialist in your area, visit edreferral.com.
Mindfulness based strategies aimed at self-regulating emotional and physical states have shown promise in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder. Mindful eating strategies such as those described in Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat are an important complement to therapy. In addition, Kari Anderson and I have designed a new treatment based on Am I Hungry? which is being tested in a research trial in Phoenix, Arizona this year. Research participants are currently being screened for inclusion in the study; for more information call 623-879-7599.
With effective treatment, there is hope for recovery and the freedom to live the vibrant life you crave.
Eat Mindfully, Live Vibrantly!
Michelle May, M.D.
*The Binge Eating Cycle is based on the Mindful Eating Cycle described in Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.
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Michelle May, M.D., C.S.P. shares her powerful approach to building sustainable healthy lifestyles with health care professionals, corporations, associations, and organizations across the country. Whether she is delivering a workshop for 65 or a keynote for 6500, her positive message and authentic “been there” approach connects with audiences and transforms the way they view eating and physical activity.
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|Where is Michelle? |
Southern Arizona Dietetics
(Open to the public)
March 1, 2012
The Center for Mindful Eating Teleseminar
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes Part 1
March 20, 2012
Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating and Vibrant Living Retreat
March 15-18, 2012
American College of Cardiology
March 24, 2012
Gehlhar Nutrition Forum
March 29, 2012
Book Launch - April 1st!
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes
The Center for Mindful Eating Teleseminar
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes Part 2
April 5, 2012
SAVE THE DATE!
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat - EVEN when you have diabetes!
E-News Subscribers Teleseminar
April 12, 2012
6 pm PST (7 MST, 8 CST, 9 EST) - Details in next issue!
Using Mindful Eating to Improve Diabetes Self-Management Webinar for health professionals
April 17, 2012
Details to Follow
Energized Living Today
April 26, 2012
2:00 pm PST/5:00 pm EST
Connecticut Dental Association Annual Conference
May 9-11, 2012
Mikey Hoeven's Women's Wellness Expo
June 11, 2012
Red Mountain Resort
June 13 - 15, 2012
Integris Health, Center for Mind, Body and Spirit
Oklahoma City, OK
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE)
October 7, 2012
December 1, 2012
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