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March 07, 2007

Diet and Fitness: Binge Eating Overtakes Other Eating Disorders

Shame When most people think about eating disorders, they think of anorexia and bulimia.  Yet binge eating -- an eating disorder described as frequent, uncontrolled eating binges without purging (vomiting, laxative use or excessive exercise) -- affects many more people.  Surveys show about 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men suffer the disorder, and it's strongly linked to obesity.  (Less than 1 percent (0.9) of women and 0.3 percent of men suffer from anorexia nervosa, and about 1.5 percent of women and 0.5 percent of men have bulimia.) 

Don’t be fooled by the small percentages.  At those levels, eating disorders are considered a major public health problem.

Of course, that’s not news to many women who’ve struggled with weight.  Surveys show at least 1/3 of women who seek weight loss are binge eaters.  It certainly affects a large number of the women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run.  Many of these women think they’re alone in their problem.  They don’t realize that many other women are binge eaters, too.  That simple realization can be a huge step forward, helping a woman let go of some of the shame she has about the problem.  Which can help her gain the courage to seek treatment for binge eating.

Binge eating is often triggered by dieting, and many women are helped by learning to give up notions of good and bad foods, and giving themselves permission to eat what they like, part of the definition of mindful eating.  In essence, the understanding and practice of a truly healthy lifestyle -- one that celebrates the individual and the good things in life – can play a major part in helping women overcome binge eating.

Self esteem – and, hence, body image problems – lie at the root of binge eating.  Which, of course, is a huge issue for women today.  That brings us back to size and self-acceptance and that healthy lifestyle mentioned above. 

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Posted by Marsha on March 7, 2007 | Permalink


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Great post on binge eating! I had BED for over 9 years and it's great that ppl are becoming more aware of this very serious problem.

There is so much shame involved with bingeing and most of the time people don't even realize that they have something "real". Once they find others out there that have struggled with binge eating, the courage does start to build and they start feeling better bc they know that they are no longer alone in what they are feeling.

Mindful eating is what is needed, once a person figures out the triggers and patterns of binge eating. Dieting only perpeptuates the bingeing cycle and needs to be removed from a person's life in order to stop bingeing.

Again, great post :)

Posted by: Kristin Gerstley | Jun 16, 2007 3:19:54 PM

Congratulations on overcoming BED, Kristin. And thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree completely.


Posted by: marsha | Jun 17, 2007 9:17:27 AM

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