Yesterday I was reading an article about a woman that lost 537 pounds through bariatric surgery, but is now suffering from anorexia. The way the article is written it sounds as if the girl lost weight, and then gained an eating disorder. NEWSFLASH: She had an eating disorder before the surgery, she didn't develop one after surgery. The unhealthy relationship with food didn't just start after surgery, it also didn't go away just because she lost weight and got skinny. Until obese people are treated for the eating disorder they currently have, it doesn't matter if they lose weight through surgery or any other method.
Mentally speaking binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia are equals. For some reason our society sees anorexia and bulimia as true eating disorders, but if I binge eat then I just have no self control. Even my own mother has made the statement more than once that, "You just need to pay attention to when you're full, and quit eating." I know when I'm full. I know I should stop eating. I eat to console myself, it's my survival strategy when the world seems bleak. I wouldn't eat in my car in an abandoned parking lot so no one sees me, if I didn't know I have an issue. Binging to me is no different than snorting a line is to a cocaine addict.
It makes me ANGRY that I'm considered unmotivated, lazy, and a slob with no self-control. But they see the girl in the size 0 pants, who eats 400 calories a day, as having an eating disorder and people want to help her.
Where is the help for the binge eaters? The only help my doctor ever offers is attempting to convince me that I should have bariatric surgery. " 'Bariatric surgery remains the most effective treatment we have for severe obesity,' says Johns Hopkins psychologist Janelle Coughlin" (see link below for article). Why is that the go to treatment? It may make me thin, but it doesn't solve the way I view food or my body. The girl that lost 537 pounds proves that. "Christina also suffers from body dysmorphia; viewing herself as much larger than she actually is. 'I still see myself as 708 pounds…and people are staring at me. It makes me not want to leave the house,' she said." (see link below for article).
Obesity is a growing epidemic in this world. Until we are willing to accept that the majority of those people aren't fat because they don't understand nutrition, or because they are lazy, the epidemic will continue to spread. We have to find a treatment that solves the problem, not masks the side effects. According to Angela Guarda, psychiatrist and program director for Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program “ 'With eating disorders, restricting, bingeing and vomiting become behaviors that are increasingly driven and difficult to interrupt,' says Guarda. 'Treatment must focus on behavior change. Otherwise, bariatric surgery can be less effective over time.' " (see link below for article).
Please understand that I am not saying that anorexia or bulimia are not serious or valid eating disorders that require treatment. I'm simply trying to say that binge eating needs validation as an eating disorder, if we ever hope to have a real treatment. If doctors only see the fat and immediately want to do surgery, then they don't truly understand the issue. If doctors never truly understand the issue, then those of us that suffer from it will never truly be healed.
537 Pounds lost www.yahoo.com/be
Eating Disorder Article www.hopkinsmedicine.org/