Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Binge Eating Disorder Research.....No, I don't have it...but it is interesting!

No, I don't have Binge Eating Disorder...but I can see how it could develop in people who have food issues, or eat when stressed, etc.

I have manifested some of the characteristics of this disorder, but not to the degree or the frequency that entails "Binge Eating Disorder".

This is a relief to me. However, I can see how eating until you are uncomfortably full can lead to feeling out of control can lead to feelings of guilt...when HAVEN'T some of us done that? But this disorder has to manifest itself about twice a week for 6 months to be classified as such, and I think I've done this about twice in my entire 14 months of Medifasting.

But the Beastie has potential to turn into a bigger Beastie, and that is even more reason to keep it under control. Here is some info I gleaned from a website today....

Walker's room is his oasis. It's where he listens to music, does his homework, and talks online with his friends. For the most part, it looks like a typical teen bedroom — except for what's under the bed. That's where Walker keeps his secret stash of snacks and tosses the empty candy wrappers, chip bags, and cookie boxes.

Walker has just polished off a whole package of cookies and a large bag of chips — and he hasn't even finished his homework yet. He's searching for more chips to eat while he does his math. He hates that he's overweight, but he can't seem to stop bingeing. In the back of his mind, he knows that in an hour or so he's going to feel guilty and disgusted with himself, but right now it feels like he just can't stop eating.
Understanding Binge Eating

If you gorged yourself on chocolate during Halloween or ate so much of your grandma's pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving that you had to wear elastic-waist pants afterwards, you know what it feels like to overeat. It's perfectly normal to overeat from time to time — most people do.

Teens are notorious for being hungry a lot. That's because the body demands extra nutrients to support the major growth of muscle and bone that's happening. So if you go through phases where you feel like eating more sometimes, that's usually why and it's absolutely natural.

But binge eating is different from normal appetite increases or overeating from time to time. People with a binge eating problem consume unusually large amounts of food on a regular basis. They often eat quickly, and they don't stop eating when they become full.

Binge eating involves more than just eating a lot. With binge eating, a person feels out of control and powerless to stop eating while he or she is doing it. That's why binge eating is also called compulsive overeating.

People with a binge eating problem may overeat when they feel stressed, upset, hurt, or angry. Many find it comforting and soothing to eat, but after a binge they are likely to feel guilty and sad about the out-of-control eating. Binge eating is often a mixed-up way of dealing with or avoiding difficult emotions.

How Is Binge Eating Different From Other Eating Disorders?

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are all considered eating disorders because they involve unhealthy patterns of eating.

Both binge eating and bulimia involve eating excessive amounts of food, feeling out of control while eating, and feeling guilty or ashamed afterward. But bulimia nervosa (sometimes called binge-purge syndrome) is different from binge eating disorder because people with bulimia vomit or use laxatives to try to keep themselves from gaining weight after eating. They may also try to burn off the extra calories by exercising compulsively as a way of making up for overeating. People with binge eating disorder do not have these "purge" characteristics.

Unlike bulimia and binge eating, which involve out-of-control overeating, people with anorexia are preoccupied with thinness and starve themselves to feel more in control. People with anorexia have a distorted body image and believe they're fat — even though they actually may be dangerously thin. Like people with bulimia, some people with anorexia may also exercise compulsively to lose weight.

All three of these eating disorders involve unhealthy eating patterns that begin gradually and build to the point where a person feels unable to control them. All eating disorders can lead to serious health consequences, and all involve emotional distress.
Why Do Some People Binge Eat?

Most experts believe that it takes a combination of things to develop an eating disorder — including a person's genes, emotions, and behaviors (such as eating patterns) learned during childhood.

Some people may be more prone to overeating because of biological reasons. For example, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls appetite) may fail to send proper messages about hunger and fullness. And serotonin, a normal brain chemical that affects mood and some compulsive behaviors, may also play a role in binge eating.

In most cases, the unhealthy overeating habits that develop into binge eating start during childhood, sometimes as a result of eating habits learned in the family. It's normal to associate food with nurturing and love. But some families may overuse food as a way to soothe or comfort. When this is the case, kids may grow up with a habit of overeating to soothe themselves when they're feeling pressured because they may not have learned healthier ways to deal with stress. Some kids may grow up believing that unhappy or upsetting feelings should be suppressed and may use food to quiet these emotions.

Both guys and girls can have eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia appear to be more common among girls. But binge eating seems to be just as likely to affect guys as girls.

It's hard to know just how many teens may have a binge eating problem. Because people often feel guilty or embarrassed about the out-of-control eating, many don't talk about it or seek help.
What Are the Signs a Person Has a Binge Eating Problem?

Someone with a binge eating problem might:

* eat much more rapidly than normal
* eat until uncomfortably full
* eat large amounts of food even when not hungry
* eat alone because of embarrassment
* feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after a binge eating episode
* gain weight excessively

A person who binge eats usually does so more than twice a week over a period of 6 months or more, and often feels upset, embarrassed, ashamed, or angry about the out-of-control eating.

Getting Help

For many people with binge eating problems, it can seem hard to reach out for help because of the embarrassment they may feel and the stigma that society places on overeating and being overweight. Many people don't get treatment for binge eating until they're adults and trying to lose weight. But getting professional help as a teen can reduce some of the long-term health problems.

People with eating disorders need professional help because problems like binge eating can be caused by brain chemistry and other things that are beyond someone's control. Doctors, counselors, and nutrition experts often work together to help those with eating disorders manage their eating, weight, and feelings.

Nutrition specialists or dietitians can help them learn about healthy eating behaviors, nutritional needs, portion sizes, metabolism, and exercise. They can also help design an eating plan that's specially designed for someone's needs and help the person stick with it and make progress.

Unlike a problem with drugs or alcohol where part of the treatment is avoiding the substance altogether, people still have to eat. This can make it harder for someone with a binge eating problem to overcome it because the temptation to overeat is always there. So part of dealing with a binge eating disorder is learning how to have a healthy relationship with food.

Psychologists and other therapists can help people learn healthy ways of coping with emotions, thoughts, stress, and other things that might contribute to a person's eating problem.

Sometimes certain family members can help by talking with the person and his or her therapist about shared eating patterns, feelings (and beliefs about how feelings should be expressed), and family relationships. Doing this can help someone examine how certain eating patterns may have been influenced by family — and to stop the patterns that aren't healthy.

Depending on what's behind someone's binge eating, doctors may prescribe medications along with therapy and nutrition advice.

People with binge eating disorder may find it helpful to surround themselves with supportive family members and friends. It's best to avoid people who make negative comments about eating or weight because they can add to someone's feelings of self-criticism, making matters worse.

Another thing that can help build self-confidence and take a person's mind off eating is trying a new extracurricular activity or hobby. Finding a way to express feelings, such as through music, art, dance, or writing, can also help someone deal with difficult emotions in a healthy way.

As with any eating disorder, there is no quick fix for binge eating. Treatment can take several months or longer while someone learns a healthier approach to food. But with the right guidance, commitment, and practice, it is possible to overcome old habits and replace them with healthier behaviors.

The Beast Within and What I Fear Most!

I have come to the conclusion (yet again) that my old self, the fat self, is lurking quietly and sometimes not so quietly in some mental closet of mine, and waits for those times when I'm alone and scared and the lights are off. When that happens, it jumps out, unwelcome resident that it is, and temporarily comandeers control of my person. Multiple personality? No, but sometimes I feel like it! This beastie mentality feeds of the feeling of chaos. It feeds off the smallest slip-up and is very opportunistic in when it strikes.

This beastie mentality waits until I'm at my parents house, dealing with the stress of that, on top of the stress of going to Boston this next weekend with our little guy. It feeds on the stresses of our finances, the stresses of my housekeeping skills (or lack of them) and it just collects all of these stresses in it's little closet. (Perhaps that is why I feel so calm most of the time, calm and in control...and then.....BAM!) Yes, and then BAM!!! IT strikes. IT derails me. This little "other" part of myself which I thought I had beat. It is alive and well, and seeking to destroy me.

I won't let it. I've worked too hard. I've come too far. It's back on 100% for me, goal or bust.

I'll spare the gory details, but suffice it to say I was a bad little Medifaster over the weekend. Not the entire weekend, but about 24 hours of the weekend. Enough to backtrack myself a week. Again.

My husband tells me not to be so hard on myself, that I am just about at the point of maintaining, and in effect, if that is being accomplished why worry? Well, I do worry because this is not the method it is supposed to be accomplished by. We aren't supposed to maintain by eating off for the weekend, and crawling back to MF on Monday to re-lose the weight we just re-gained.

And I won't work the program that way. Anymore, I mean.

I have not been consistently acting in this manner, but I enjoyed "preparing" for the Marathon and "celebrating" after the Marathon last weekend a bit too much, and then this Phoenix weekend well nigh took me by suprise.

Ok, beastie, this means war. You realize that, don't you? No more setting myself up for failure by NOT GETTING ALL MY WATER IN. Yes, that is what started it for me. Not enough water on Saturday, which led to me being thirsty and mistaking it for cravings and hunger, which I satisfied in a non-MF approved way, which caused more cravings and mental hunger. It was absolutely crazy. And I needed to blog about it, because I abhor pretense and I am who I am. I'd rather be honest about a mistake and getting back on that trying to hide it and let you all think the GBS doesn't ever struggle. Poppycock.

So. Have I lost alot of weight? Yes. Could I regain it if I began acting like this on a regular basis? Yes. Will I? NO.

Part of the stress was that People Magazine called on Friday and wanted one more picture in order to choose the people they are going to feature in the "People Who Lost Half Their Size" January issue. This was 1 hour before I had to leave for the aiport on Friday. So, I took the picture, sent it to them, and am waiting to hear back.

So there's an update on that.

Oh, right, what I am fearing the most. What I am fearing the most is gaining all my weight back, plus more. In fact, in talking to a friend I hadn't seen for about a year in Phoenix on Friday night, she said "you are tiny!" and I said "yeah, I'm where I want to be, and will probably stay here for, like, 5 seconds, and then start gaining again....it seems to just be what I'm good at...losing or gaining. But I suck at maintaining."

There, I had said it. It was out there, verbalized. Now, did I just reinforce that mentality by verbalizing it, or did I aknowledge that it exists and can combat it? Was the ensuing weekend shenanigans proof that I CAN'T maintain my weight, and that I WILL gain it all back again? Or was it a wake up call? Need some answers, and I think only I can find them.