Binge Eating

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I finally realized that I don't have a weight problem. I have an eating disorder--Binge Eating Disorder(BED). Although it is not yet official, it is likely to be included in the updated DSM-V due to be published May 2013.

For 8 months in 2009, I was in an eating disorder center that was based on EDs as an addiction. It's quite common for people with EDs to also have other addictions. They used a healthy modified ADA plan, mostly restricting sugar, white flour and other highly refined carbohydrates. It was not considered a diet, but a food plan that could be used for the long term. Support and recovery were centered around Overeater's Anonymous and other 12-Step Groups. I lost 80 lbs and kept it off until the end of 2010, when I faced overwhelming stresses and gained back 60 lbs in about 3 months.

This past Jan, the Eating Disorder Center of Denver started one of the first Binge Eating Disorder programs in the country. It was a 10-week Partial Hospitalization Program followed by a robust Outpatient Program. The food program was also based on a modified ADA plan, but there were no exclusions. In fact, we were encouraged to incorporate a limited amount of our favorite binge foods into our plans. The theory is that as soon as Binge Eaters are told we can't have a certain food, that is the exact food we crave.

The focus of the program was not to lose weight, but to stop binging. We were encouraged to not check our weight and were not allowed to know our weights that were recorded in the charts. Those who did check, including myself, were pretty discouraged by the slow weight loss progress. I was told that when I start releasing my baggage, the weight would come off.

The primary therapeutic modality was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy since there is empirical data proving it is the best type of therapy to treat eating disorders. At least it was enough to convince my insurance company to pay for treatment.

I guess the point I want to make is that Binge Eating is a lot more complicated than anyone realized and extremely hard to interrupt. I think it's finally being taken seriously by the medical and psychological community. No one has an easy solution that works universally. Plus there's still the very powerful diet industry that actually works against recovering from eating disorders.

I've found SparkPeople to be one of the most comprehensive and diverse resources I've seen. I don't agree with everything but there is an incredible amount of information, interesting theories, and great ideas. I know that the solution for me is going to be an amalgam of different plans, therapies, and resources. And it is up to me to figure out what is going to work for my situation. No one is going to do it for me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It has been just over a year since I wrote the original post. I've put in place a lot of systems that are working in my life. I'm still seeing the same therapist from the Eating Disorder Center of Denver on an outpatient basis. I finished up a year long course of DBT, which I found much more helpful than CBT in helping me deal with the stresses of life. I'm exercising on a regular basis with a personal trainer who used to be a physical therapist, understands my joint problems and is helping me to deal with pain management. My food plan is sustainable. I'm slowly losing weight. And I'm virtually binge free.
    2002 days ago
    I agree..... food addictions are just as serious as anyother addiction. It doesn't get recognized though because 1) it takes a lot longer to kill you and 2) when people see fat people, they think we are just weak or lazy.

    My mother is a food addict too. She belonged to F.A. which is like A.A. for food addicts. She took off 100 lbs. and has kept it off for 3-4 years. BUT now she is starting to venture back into eating "normal" food ( instead of the flour free sugar free diet)...and guess what.... SHE IS PUTTING WEIGHT BACK ON. Why? Because she never fixed the problem. She only put a bandaid on it!!!!! In my journy, I am learning WHY I eat this way and how to fix it!!!!!

    Good luck and if you ever want someone to talk to .... someone who gets it. E-mail me ; )
    I am always here ; )
    2334 days ago
    People binge in different ways and food is easy to do. Years ago, when I was stressed at work, I used to go shopping. I'd come home with maybe $200 worth of clothes on sale and sometimes never wore things. I realized what I was doing and stopped it after a while. Now I think I am binging on fabric. But I love fabric! We have to continually work to improve on ourselves.
    2360 days ago
    A few years ago I participated in the CEA-How - I think it was called -which is akin to over eaters anonymous, but with a food plan with very little refined food, at first no grains and no sugars specifically. I did great for a few months and lost weight quickly. But then one day and fell off the wagon and that was that.

    Right now I have been listening to the audio version of Geneen Roth's Women, Food and God and am finding that it is very helpful. I would recommend it highly. It is based in loving and caring for ourselves and intentional eating.

    Best of luck to you, Raven
    2361 days ago
    emoticon It sounds like you are getting a handle on things and learning more about yourself. Good for you! You are right, we have to do it for ourselves, no one can do it for us. Keep moving forward. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2368 days ago
    Great info - don't you just love 'getting it'?
    2368 days ago
    This is a really important blog - I hope it gets to lots of other Sparkers. Good luck with the - ongoing - programme.
    2369 days ago
    I'm glad that you have an official recognized name for what you have and that you can really seek out treatment and help for this. Any eating disorder is serious and should be taken as such. I hope you find the best way possible for you to handle your BED so you can have the life you want and deserve to be able to have!
    2370 days ago
    Thanks, Onicam. The link is doing some strange things, but I think I got it fixed. Someone let me know if it doesn't work.
    2370 days ago
  • VICIOUS421
    I agree it is a very serious issue and it is more than just overeating. I wish you lots of luck and know you will conquer this!!!!!
    2370 days ago
    I got a page not found. I am a binge eater, emotional eater, compulsive eater, and a food addict, so I big time need help with my eating. Right now I panic when I attempt the planning.
    2370 days ago
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