If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to think that being fat isn’t just a character flaw. “Oh she’s lazy, that’s why she’s fat”. I went through the majority of my life wondering why I wasn’t thin like all the other girls in school just assuming I had a huge lack of self-control. Did you know 14% of female and 6.5% of males struggle with an eating disorder? Most people assume anorexia is the only eating disorder and if someone had it, you’d know. Of the total number of people who have an eating disorder, 80% is a form OTHER than anorexia such as bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, and OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorders).
I want to talk about binge eating disorder today because this is different from bulimia where this is a binge and then a purge. There is no vomiting or induced “release” of food with binge eating. Binge eating begins with excessive food intake driven by a need to sooth negative emotions. The “comfort” that food gives you doesn’t last long and then you feel upset because you ate so much, so you eat again. It can also lead to restrictive diets, which often leads to bingeing again. This is your standard yo-yo weight loss/gain that so many of us are accustom to.
Obesity is not just a character flaw. It is a chronic disease caused by genetic, biologic, behavioral, social and economic factors.
If you or someone you love may have signs of binge eating, please try to find your local resources. If you’re here in Minnesota, you can call The Emily Program at 888-364-5977 and see if they need help.
Here is a great article about obesity from Rush University Medical Center. They talk about the gastric bypass and why sometimes, it is the only hope for some patients. Don’t be ashamed like I was to admit that you need help. Your life is more important than that.
Binge Eating Disorder Warning Signs
A combination of risk factors may cause binge eating, such as family history, genetics, dieting, related psychological conditions, and substance abuse, but no single factor causes binge eating. Some indications include:
- Repeated and frequent excessive food consumption without hunger
- Using food to cope with negative emotions, but feeling distressed, disgusted, guilty, or depressed instead
- No compensatory behaviors to “make up” for the calorie intake, such as purging or over-exercise
- Feelings of loss of control, self-loathing, depression, anxiety, shame
- Suicidal thoughts
I realize this is a bit heavy compared to my “normal” posts so here is a picture of Dr. Solomon T. Whoberry to lighten the mood. I’m thinking of allowing him to be on the Board of Directors for Get Fed Up and we can use this has his head shot photo.