Can You Have a “Little” Binge Eating Disorder?

I have battled with my weight my entire life and was thin until I became pregnant with my first daughter. I followed the example of others around me at the time, twenty-seven years ago and I gained 70–yes 70 pounds when I was pregnant. The good news was that I lost it all minus 20 pounds, but then I became pregnant with my son and gained 50 more pounds and lost all of that minus 20 pounds. If you are dong the math, I am 40 pounds heavier. That is not that bad and I can work on it, but then it started. Mental illness struck very hard and I began taking more psychotropic medications–anti-psychotic medications which were the absolute worst for me.

Psychotropic medications caused me to gain weight from breathing it seemed like.

Today, once again I am presently attempting to lose weight. This is day #4 on my diet of eating little to no carbs. I am proud of myself. One day at a time. I must lose weight. This is the next big step in my continued recovery and mental health journey. Improving and maintaining good physical health must be part of my journey.

My life is improving in so many ways. It is time for me to conquer my weight battle. It is my next step in my recovery of mental illness. Carbs are my nemesis–my unfriendly frenemy. I love anything and everything with carbs, especially bread. The more bread or carbs I eat the more I want, want, want. This must end.

I have overcome so much, so why can’t I defeat my weight problem–the monster of a beast it is? Well, the answer is, I can and I will. It is time–the next step in my recovery journey. On our recovery journeys, sometimes we have to break down our obstacles one at at time-little by little, step by step, piece by piece. Keep focused on small parts and goals to get to the finish line of recovery. I am on a mission to lose weight, again.

Remember there is no real finish line of recovery. When you get better and reach your best, define a new best. Become the best you you can be and do it over and over again.

At times, I believe I have a little of this “Binge Eating Disorder” if it is possible to have it a little. I like to eat and have always been an emotional eater. If I was one of those people who could or would not eat when I was depressed or upset over the years, I would be so beautifully thin. However, it is the opposite for me and food has always been my comfort in times of distress.

New (back in May 2013) in the DSM-5: Binge Eating Disorder

written by Russell Marx

It’s official!  Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is now an actual eating disorder diagnosis in the DSM-5 which was released by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013. DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is the official “rule-book” of mental health diagnosis and is important so that everybody is using a common language when talking about a specific disorder.  The previous DSM-IV was released in 1994 and binge eating was only listed in Appendix B and had to be diagnosed with the non-specific “EDNOS” (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).  In the past 20 years there have been over 1,000 research papers published that support the idea that BED is a specific diagnosis that has validity and consistency.

The key diagnostic features of BED are:

  1. Recurrent and persistent episodes of binge eating
  2. Binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
  3. Marked distress regarding binge eating
  4. Absence of regular compensatory behaviors (such as purging).

Image result for binge eating disorder

BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States. In adults it affects:

  • 3.5% of women
  • 2% of men
  • and up to 1.6% of adolescents [1].
  • In women it is most common in early adulthood but more common in men at midlife.
  • BED seems to affect blacks and whites equally.

Image result for binge eating disorder

Comorbid problems are both physical and psychiatric.  Although most people with obesity don’t have BED, up to 2/3 of people with BED are obese and can have the medical difficulties associated with this condition. Compared with normal weight or obese control groups, people with BED have higher levels of anxiety and both current and lifetime major depression.

Effective evidence-based treatments are available for BED. These include specific forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). Some types of medication can be helpful in reducing binge eating. These include certain antidepressants (such as SSRIs) and certain anticonvulsants (such as topiramate, which can also reduce body weight). All treatments should be evaluated in the matrix of risks / benefits / alternatives.

For more information on the specific changes to the DSM-5, please see the recent webinar entitled, “Eating Disorders in the DSM-5: Implications of Changes in the Diagnostics Categories and Criteria.” This webinar was moderated by B. Timothy Walsh, M.D. who headed the DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group, joined by Evelyn Attia, M.D. and Stephen Wonderlich, Ph. D., who were on the work group and currently serve as members of the NEDA Research Advisory Council.

[1] Swanson SA, Crow SJ, Le Grange D, Swendsen J, Merikangas KR. Prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in adolescents. Results from the national comorbidity survey replication adolescent supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011;68(7):714–723.

© Copyright 2018 National Eating Disorders Association

© 2019 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

How Living a Healthier Lifestyle Saved My Life

Three years ago I made a decision that changed my life for the better. I was 80 pounds overweight, extremely depressed, and was struggling to stay alive. I had hit a low point with my depression and anxiety where I had stopped caring about myself that I allowed to let myself go. Food had become my best friend causing me to gain so much weight back then.

Three years ago was when I had my wake up call. I remember that moment when I worked up the courage to step on the scale for the first time in over a year, I knew deep down I was gaining weight, I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. When I saw that number on the scale, tears immediately filled my eyes. I began to feel embarrassed and upset with myself. I was upset that I had allowed myself to do that to myself. I was ashamed of what had happened. It was that day when I made the decision to get my life back on track.

I was living in such a haze, going through the motions day after day I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself. I had stopped loving myself and it was taking a toll on my mental and physical health.

I wasn’t taking medication either at the time and made an appointment with a psychiatrist to get started on medication again. That was when I received the correct diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder and got put on proper medication that has helped my recovery process.

Along with getting back on medication, I changed my diet and added exercise into my routine. I was eating a lot of fast food (mainly Taco Bell) and a lot of junk food. I wasn’t eating any natural whole foods and was only putting junk into my body.

I started with cutting out the fast food first, then the junk food, and replaced those with natural whole foods. I did it in a slow transition so it helped me build that habit to create a healthier diet.

I then started to exercise three to four days a week. I would either go to the gym or I would go on a run in my neighborhood. Every week I started to increase the length of time I would spend exercising to build my strength and stamina up again. About three weeks into my lifestyle change was when I started to notice the positive changes it was bringing me. I was feeling happier again, I wasn’t as anxious anymore, I had more energy, and I was starting to feel alive again. It made me realize that it wasn’t only helping me physically, but mentally as well.

By staying consistent with my exercise routine I was building up my strength and was starting to lose the weight I had gained. With the new medication I was on and my new lifestyle was helping my mental health immensely.

I truly believe that it was because of fitness that helped save my life. Three years ago I was at my lowest point. Everyday was a fight for me to stay alive. I was struggling with the negative thoughts everyday and wanted to give up so bad. When I had that wake up call and made the choice to change my lifestyle is what brought me back to life again.

Exercise has become a non-negotiable part of my lifestyle now. It’s become a part of my healing and recovery for mental health. With taking medication, exercise, and eating healthier all helped save my life and got me onto a better path.

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