Ten Myths About Binge Eating Disorder

Ten Myths About Binge Eating1. All binge eaters are obese

Completely untrue. In fact most of the people I see in my practice are considered a “normal weight.”  Food is their drug and bingeing is something they do in private and something people will go at lengths to hide, including maintaining a normal weight. In fact, I’ve  had clients who were downright skinny but who binged on food often and felt completely out of control with it.

2. All obese people are binge eaters

Actually, binge eating affects 8% of the obese population. Which means that 92% of obese people are NOT affected by binge eating.  In fact, despite the media’s belief that all fat people are unhealthy, there are many, many people who are both fat and fit. 

3. People who binge eat need more will power and self-control

People who binge eat usually have incredibly amounts of will power and self control. And though this is not true for every binge eater, for the most part, people who binge eat tend to be extremely high achieving and controlled in many aspects of their lives, including controlling their food. It’s this control that tends to sometimes backfire causing an all out rebellion against  the person’s inner critic. What a person who binge eats actually needs is more self compassion and support, not more rules and self control. Learning to support oneself in a positive way, not in a pejorative way will empower the binge eater feel more comfortable around food and less likely to be overpowered by an all out binge.

4. People who binge eat purge by vomiting

Not everyone who binge eats purges by vomiting. Some people compensate by over exercising, some compensate by fasting, some compensate by dieting, some compensate by taking laxatives, and some don’t compensate at all.

5. Binge eating is a bad habit and not a true disorder

Binge eating is more complex than simply a bad habit, it’s actually an impulse control issue, although it is not technically classified as and impulse control disorder.  However, using similar techniques as are used in certain other ICDs (like compulsive shopping) binge eating can be healed.  I’ve seen wonders done with DBT and mindfulness training.


6. Men don’t binge eat

Actually, Binge Eating Disorder affects 2% of men.  However, men don’t tend to get help as often as women. In fact, it’s stigmatized as a woman’s issues, so men tend to shy away from support and feel that they have to just stop or do it alone. In his blog about healing from binge eating, Alan Standish says, “Guys, Binge Eating Disorder affects us just as much as it does women. Don’t be embarrassed.”

7. Binge eating is incurable

It’s really not as grim as it’s made out to be. In healing from binge eating, you really heal your life in so many different ways. You become more organized in your thinking and more thoughtful and mindful. You can come to a place where you are able to let go of your feelings and fears about food. Food becomes nurturing instead of the enemy. I’ve seen it happen over and over again with my clients and that has certainly been my own experience.

8.Binge eating is caused by chronic emptiness

Just because you are binge eater, it doesn’t mean that you are broken. It doesn’t mean that you have a bottomless pit that you will never fill. However, having binge eating disorder can feel hopeless and you might feel as though you are totally out of control and a total mess. But you’re not. You need support, you need compassion and you need some help to get you passed it.

9. Drinking a glass of wine can help curb binge eating

Sometimes people will have a drink in order to calm down the urge to binge eat. But it often backfires. This is what I call “the solution becoming the problem.” If you drink to feel more in control, your problem might then become the drink. And more often than not, people wind up bingeing if they have drank too much- if not that night, then certainly the next morning to deal with a hangover and the shame that often accompanies it.

10. Quitting carbohydrates can help stop binge eating

No. It doesn’t. It really doesn’t. I’m very much a proponent of eating whole foods as much as possible and eschewing processed foods for the most part. So, eating lots of foods out of a box, probably not the best idea for overall health, however, unless you have sugar issues (as in hypoglycemia or diabetes)- it is not advisable to give up fruits and vegetables- even yams and potatoes. Your body runs more efficiently when you are eating a variety of whole foods. If you wind up on a very low carb diet, it’s likely that you might find yourself bingeing on carbs. It’s not because you have no lack of control, it’s because your cells are screaming for glucose and your body will push you into getting what it  needs for survival!

How to Raise Your Self Esteem

how to raise your self esteemI always explain to my clients that raising  or gaining your self esteem isn’t about harnessing some unknown force or creating something that doesn’t exist or gaining something new– rather than gaining something new, it’s about letting go of something old– old messages that tell you that you’re not okay, that you have to be better than you are, that there is something wrong with you. Self esteem is about being kind to yourself, accepting and loving yourself even if you’re not perfect. It’s about going toward greatness and allowing yourself to evolve, but loving yourself in that process. It’s about holding yourself with integrity to the best of your ability, always being kind, thoughtful, compassionate and loving to the people around you and to yourself.  So, when you hear the voices telling you that you’re not okay, telling those voices that there is no room for them or that you don’t have to engage with those thoughts as you strengthen those that serve you.

In 1994, Nathanial Branden wrote The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem which is considered the definitive work on Self-Esteem. Branden believes that to have self esteem, you need both self-efficacy and self- respect. Having self-efficacy is the knowledge that you have everything inside of you that you need to survive no matter what. Self-respect is being aligned with your values and knowing that because you are, you deserve to be loved, respected and cared for and to be happy no matter what.

When you have self-efficacy, you’re not afraid of being alone, you’re not afraid of being left because you know that you have everything that you need inside of you to survive. You have confidence in your own abilities to navigate life rather than fear of being in the world. When you have self respect, you know what your values are (for me they are always being kind and treating everyone around me with respect and compassion and consideration, not gossiping or spreading rumors, not judging or criticizing and living with integrity) and you do your best to live in alignment with those values. When you live a life aligned with your values, you feel better about yourself and being in the world.

Branden identifies six philosophies that he believes are integral to living with self esteem. They are: living consciously, being self accepting, taking responsibility for oneself, being assertive, living with purpose and holding strong personal integrity

Living Consciously  is about being aware of your body, being aware of your choices, your environment, being mindful or your choices, your enviornment, your bodily sensations, your thoughts, your actions and your fears.

Those who have eating disorders don’t live consciously. They either binge or starve themselves, they don’t honor their appetites, they hate their bodies because they believe that there is something wrong with them. They completely reject themselves.

Check out guided visualizations on eating mindfully and loving your body and letting go of negative body image.

Being Self Accepting: When you accept yourself, you stop trying to be someone else, you embrace your strengths. Rather than comparing what you don’t have to what other people do have, you celebrate and strengthen what you do have. Check out these great tips on being self accepting. 

Taking Responsibility for Yourself: This is about not blaming other people for choices you made. Understanding that you have power and that you are not stuck and that just because you made a bad choice, you are not stuck in it because you have the power to constantly be rethinking and recreating your life.

Being Self Assertive: When you are self assertive, you stand up for yourself. You always treat other people with respect and you do not allow other people to talk down to you or to treat you poorly. If you have a boss, for instance who is verbally abusing you or yelling at you, it’s okay to look at them and say, “it’s not okay to talk to me that way.” It’s about standing up for others who might not have the ability to voice their own needs.

Living with Purpose: 

When you live with purpose, you take care of yourself, but your main purpose in life isn’t about getting thin or getting pretty or making money or trying to impress or look good to other people. It’s about having goals that feel purposeful, meaningful to you.

Having Strong Personal Integrity: 

What is it to live with integrity? In my opinion, it’s to be as honest as you can without being hurtful. Being honest doesn’t mean telling someone that they look fat in their new dress or that they’re acting like a jerk. That’s not honest, that’s your subjective opinion. Being honest is more like telling someone that your feelings were hurt when they didn’t answer your phone calls or respond to your messages. Being honest is not stealing, not lying, not purposely saying things to hurt people, not spreading hurtful rumors, and not using other people to achieve your own means. It’s about being kind, being helpful, but also not sacrificing yourself or your own needs for the sake of others. Personal integrity is about knowing what your values are trying to live up to them. What are your values? When you identify your values and do your best to live up to them, you will always know that you are okay and you won’t have to worry about what other people think about you.

For more help on improving self esteem, check out some of Nathaniel Branden’s sentence completion exercises.

Try this guided meditation download to help you to let go of those old non-serving thoughts and bring in higher more function feelings about yourself.

How To Recover From A Binge

How do i recover from a binge? How long will it take me to recover from three days of binge eating? How do I start over after a binge?

These questions come usually as someone begins to “wake up” and find that they’ve been in a day long (sometimes weeks long) binge coma.  Sometimes it can be as serious as spending days alone in your flat, bingeing or bingeing &  purging and not getting out of bed to do anything besides eat, use the bathroom or pick up food. Other times it can be a solitary binge one evening or one afternoon.

How to Recover from a Binge

  • Forgive yourself. Usually, if you are bingeing, it means that there is something going on for your emotionally. Beating yourself up is the last thing that you need at this point. Be kind to yourself. Know that you can’t go backwards, but you can go forward and learn from the binge.
  • The rule of thumb is to try and stop as soon as you can. If you realize that you are bingeing in the morning, this doesn’t mean that the whole day is shot. You still have the whole day to to recover. Try to step away from the food and get outside and walk around the block, breath, relax, call a friend.
  • Don’t try to compensate for the binge (ie: don’t vomit, don’t try to exercise the amount of calories that you think you ate, don’t starve yourself). This will set up a cycle of bingeing and compensating. The goal is to end that cycle of craziness immediately, or else it will continue. The other side of the binge is the compensation and the other side of the compensation is the binge. They go hand in hand. You can’t go backward you can only go forward. Trying to go backward will hurt you.

The morning after a binge:

  • Drink a Glass of Water with some lemon squeezed into it and maybe a few slices of cucumber if you can stomach it.
  • Don’t weigh yourself– you are probably retaining water from salt and overeating. Weighing yourself won’t give you an accurate measure of your weight and will probably agitate you.
  • If you are not hungry, drink some tea, preferably something soothing to your stomach, like chamomile or ginger or peppermint.  You might be nauseated or uncomfortable. Give your body some time to recover. Make sure to be gentle with it. However, don’t wait too long to eat. You don’t want to swing the pendulum to starved. If you are not hungry by lunch time, eat something light like some broth, or miso soup or vegetable juice, or fruit and a bit of protein (such as an egg or a chicken breast).
  • If you are hungry, drink some tea and prepare yourself a proper breakfast with fruit or oatmeal and some protein. It’s important to prepare yourself a nice breakfast and to make it appetizing and lovingly for yourself. Set the table, eat off of nice plates, and put on relaxing music. This is so if you are tempted to continue your binge, you might find that a mindful and quiet breakfast helps you to reset.
  • After eating breakfast, leave your home immediately so that you are not tempted to continue your binge.  Continue to drink water and herbal tea throughout the day to help your body process the extra food. But don’t drink too much, you don’t want to feel too full and have that trigger a binge. Just sip slowly and try to pay attention to what your body wants.
  • Don’t wait too long for your next meal. Check in with your body and when it is beginning to feel hungry, but before you are feeling too hungry, try to sit down and feed it leafy greens, protein, and some fat such as olive oil and cheese or nuts. Try to make sure that you are eating unprocessed whole foods.
  • Make sure that you get a good nights sleep. The next morning you will feel much better and in a few days your body will feel back to normal. Try to stick with this binge detox for at least three days to really let go of the binge and get back on course with your recovery.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Major Binge?

It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. There is no set rule on this. If it was an isolated binge, usually, after a day of reclaiming yourself, you will begin to feel better both physically and emotionally. If it was a weekend of bingeing (friday through sunday), you will begin to feel better by Wednesday if you start taking care of yourself on Monday.

Food can affect your body for body for three days, that’s how long it takes for some food allergies to show up. So, you should be feeling much better by 72 hours after your binge.

31 Easy Ways to be Happy Right Now

how to be happy1. Practice kindness in every aspect of your life. While you’re driving,  wave someone through who is waiting to get out of a parking lot into the road. Give your leftovers to someone who is hungry.

2. Do simple things to make yourself feel nurtured. File and clean your nails– maybe even get a manicure or pedicure. Take a nap,  clean your sheets and make your bed, shower, wash and condition your hair, shave, and let yourself relax.

3. Face your finances and deal with your debt. Look at how much you owe and how much you have. Make a plan to pay off your debt. It will just make you feel better.

4. Take a long, quiet walk in nature. Being in nature is good for your mind, body and spirit. 

5. Sit down and drink a hot cup of tea. 

6. Rent a funny movie and laugh a lot. 

7. Smile at 10 random people. You will instantly feel bright and joyous and full of love when you infuse good into the world and it will integrate it into your own psyche.

8. If you don’t feel like smiling, force it.  The activation of the muscles used to create a smile actually decrease stress in increase feelings of well-being.

9. Express gratitude.  One of the great tragedies of our psyches is that it is so difficult to appreciate what we have one we are wanting more. It’s important  to want more, but the way to really find happiness is to appreciate and love and be grateful for what you have. Don’t let yourself believe that you’ll be happy when… Be happy now. Be grateful now. Don’t allow your happiness to be held hostage by future events that may or may not happen. Make a list, even in your mind, of all the things you’re grateful for.

10.  Try self-hypnosis to bring joy into your world. This works because your world is created  by the thoughts you think.

11. Spend time with your pet. Being around animals and caring for them make humans happier. 

12. Pray to whatever deity you believe in, even if it’s your own higher self.

13. Jump up and down for 60 seconds. Your endorphins will release and you will feel good!

14. Put music on and dance like crazy. Even if  you think you can’t dance, just dance. My toddler loves to shake his head back and forth to any rhythm and it makes him deliriously happy.

15. Talk to the dead. Just get into a quiet mood and begin talking either out loud or in your head to someone you miss. Having conversations in your head with people who have passed away can be incredibly healing.

16. Compliment someone. Tell someone how beautiful they are, or what a good job they’re doing or how much you appreciate them. It will bring joy to their world and make you happy too.

17. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

18. Drink a glass of water. Mild dehydration can cause a bad mood and pessimism.

19. Stretch your legs, roll your ankles, your wrists, roll your neck, get your body into a comfortable position. Stretching makes you happy!

20. Play in the dirt!  Gardening can make you feel happy. Mycobacterium, which occurs naturally in soil, has the same effect on your brain as anti-depressant medications.

21. Look at old pictures — for a bonus happiness boost, share them with someone you love.

22. Try to do a push up. If you cannot, try again the next day. Within a week, you’ll be able to do a pushup. Do this everyday and by the end of a month, you’ll be doing 5 push ups a day. After a year, you’ll be doing 50 pushups a day. You’ll feel super accomplished, not to mention strong.

23. Sing a song out loud.

24. Have only 20 seconds? Choose one. 

25. Hug someone. Human touch makes us calm, relaxed and peaceful.

26. Take a bath with epson salts. Magnesium relaxes your muscles and helps you have a sense of peacefulness making you happier.

27. Send wishes for the people around you to be happy, kind and compassionate.

28. Let go of people that make you unhappy. You can choose to let go with compassion of friends who feel toxic. It’s okay to do that.

29. Read the Alchemist. I read this book right after my Mom died and it changed my mood immeasurably. It’s an amazing mood lifting book.

30. Floss your teeth!

31. Take a nap. Being well rested is the best way to be happy. Get your sleep in order.

 originally posted at yourtango.com

How To Help a Partner with an Eating Disorder

girlfriend eating disorder

Originally published at YourTango. 

After about six months of seeing Michael and Claudia for couples counseling, Michael called me up crying, “She won’t stop, no matter what I do, I can’t get her to stop, she’s going to die! Please help me, how can I get her to stop? ” Michael and Claudia, both 35 years old with two children had been together since they were 17 years old. Claudia had been bulimic for the past twenty years, but despite them being together for more than half their lives, Michael had only recently found out about her eating disorder, which is what brought them to me. He was angry, depressed, and felt utterly betrayed and helpless. He couldn’t believe that Claudia had been holding this secret from him the whole time they’d been together.

It seems unlikely, insane even, that someone could actually hide an eating disorder from their partner for so long, but it’s actually fairly common. Eating disorders notoriously thrive in isolation, so the eating disorder itself is going to make sure that it has vast amounts of privacy. It does anything it can to protect itself. However, if you find out that you’ve been in a relationship with someone who has an eating disorder, you might feel betrayed, helpless, angry, scared and a whole host of other emotions. That’s normal.

Here are some important dos and don’ts for dealing with the situation.

1. DON’T try to fix it.
You, your relationship and your partner will all suffer if you take on the task of trying to fix them. You might be tempted to take on the role of Drill Sergeant, closely monitoring what your partner is or is not eating, noticing when he or she gets up to go to the bathroom, or even following your partner to the bathroom and trying to physically restrain him or her from vomiting. If your partner is under-eating, you might try to push him or her into eating, yelling at them or threatening them to start eating. This is not your job. This is going to create a huge amount of codependency in your relationship. It is also going to catapult your partner into a shame spiral, which will make his or her eating disorder worse. He or she will then become more isolated and in their behaviors while trying to hide it from you. This will pull you apart even more.

2. DO participate in couples or family therapy with an eating disorder specialist.
In my book I discuss how sometimes the eating disorder becomes triangulated into the relationship and gives the couple something else to focus on besides each other. Sometimes couples use the eating disorder as a way to avoid the health of their relationship. Couples counseling will help you focus on your relationship as well as teach you how to best support your partner through this. It will also help your partner understand how his or her eating disorder is affecting you. Your feelings and needs must to be addressed as well. Check out EDReferral or Something Fishy to find an eating disorder specialist.

3. DO encourage your partner to get individual help.
But don’t force it. Just as you cannot fix your partner, you cannot force them to get help.

4. DON’T mention Your partner’s weight or appearance.
Don’t tell them that they have gained weight or lost weight. Aside from the “you’re beautiful and I love you no matter what …” don’t engage with their eating disorder. Let them know that you won’t be playing the “do I look fat?” game with them. Tell them that that is their eating disorder talking and you won’t be answering. If your partner says “Do I look fat in these pants? Do you think I’m fat? Have I gained weight? I’m so disgusting …” Just simply tell them that you love them very much but you are not going to be engaging in that line of questioning. It doesn’t go anywhere and it just feeds eating disorder thinking and you are choosing not to align with their eating disorder

5. DO remember these five words: “How can I  support you?”
This is my absolute favorite  phrase to teach couples- all couples, whether they are dealing with an eating disorder or not.  It’s never, “I’m going to fix you,” it’s always “you do what you need to do to take care of yourself and let me know how I can be supportive.” Discuss in advanced with your partner how he or she wants you to handle it when you see them either inhaling large amounts food, or heading to the bathroom after eating, or restricting food. Perhaps they just want you to check in with them and say, “hey how are you doing? Do you want to talk?”

6. DON’T ask your partner about his or her food.
No, “don’t you think you’ve had enough?” or “should you be eating that?” Again, if you notice something, and you feel compelled to mention it, you can be more gentle about it, “I notice that you seem to be eating very little, is everything okay? Do you want to talk?” If they say no, don’t push it.

7. DON’T blame yourself.
Your partner’s eating disorder is not your fault. Don’t blame yourself for not knowing or for what your partner is doing. Eating disorders are very tricky and usually are not caused by one person or event. They are also sneaky and tend to be able to fool many people. That doesn’t mean that your partner is sneaky, it’s the eating disorder that has a hold of her that has taken on a life of its own.

8. DO get support for yourself.
Either in the form of psychotherapy or a group such as Codependents Anonymous. Living with someone who is a slave to their eating disorder is very difficult and it is okay for you to get support. You don’t want all of your energy to get sucked into your partner’s eating disorder. You can do very little to heal someone else’s eating disorder. That is very rough when it is affecting someone you love. It’s important to get support managing all of these emotions.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating by Leora Fulvio

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating

by Leora Fulvio

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Eating Disorder Recovery Song

I got an email this weekend from a young woman by the name of Tess Glinert. She’s 16 years old and now in recovery from anorexia. She recorded this very moving song–(it’s her first recording!) all about her recovery. Please do support Tess.  I think she’s incredibly brave not only to recover but to put herself out there like this and to give a message of hope to everyone out there trying to recover. You are awesome Tess! So glad you reached out.

Review of Reclaiming Yourself by Joanna Poppink

rp_reclaiming-yourself5-194x300.jpgJoanna Poppink,  Los Angeles based Eating Disorder Therapist and author of Healing Your Hungry Heart wrote a wonderful review of my new book that I’d like to share:

 

Leora Fulvio takes the mystery out of binge eating in her wonderful new book, Reclaiming Yourself From Binge Eating:  A Step-by-Step Guide to Healing  and offers practical and caring information about how to end this destructive way of living.

Kind and thoroughly practical, Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating is readable, engaging and eye opening. Fulvio obviously cares about people who binge eat and covers the territory so well that anyone who binge eats will find her way of eating, thinking and feeling somewhere in these amazingly helpful pages.

For starters, Fulvio gives one of the best descriptions of resistance to positive change I’ve read in a long time. Keeping  with her style of describing a problem and then offering clear solutions, she describes common sense ways of moving through resistance. Her information, style and tone is steady and confident as she describes the many facets of binge eating and how to cope with them in a positive and healing way.  Readers are certain to feel her confidence and grow more confident themselves as they follow her exercises and guides to self discovery on the way to freedom from binge eating. She is wise and reassuring when she writes, “Sometimes, just allowing yourself to have autonomy and to have authority over your own decisions can be so liberating.”

Throughout this friendly and honest book Fulvio offers clear cut and practical methods to address binge eating episodes and vulnerabilities that can often elude the thinking of a person who binge eats.  She does this with a series of question and answer situations that help an individual find her own answers, answers that empower her in ways that she needs to gain her freedom.

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating shows you how:

 

  • healing from excessive shame is vital to binge eating recovery;

 

  • ongoing wars within the binge eater’s psyche play out in ways of eating;

 

  • binge eating is a filter that blocks healthy and honest messages from body to mind.

Learning this allows the reader to embrace the healing steps Fulvio defines clearly, directly and with compassion.  She shows the reader that removing the eating disorder filter is crucial for recovery.

Moreover, she  gives an excellent description of how to define healthy eating  in a way that makes it approachable and manageable.  She is kind and reasonable when exploring healthy size and shape, introducing the reader to self respect and showing her that  she can free herself of stereotypes and be the woman she is.

I especially enjoy the questions Fulvio offers to deal with questionable behavior. For example, a person with a tendency to people please may not know she is sacrificing her needs for someone else. The questions: “Will I feel resentful if I say, ‘yes’?”   “Will I feel guilty if I say, ‘no’?” are a clear and concise way of recognizing motives.  Again Fulvio shows the reader that she has a choice.

Her description of many different styles of binge eating helps the reader find and recognize herself and her behaviors.  Again and continually, Fulvio shows you a problem and how to resolve it.  I appreciate her style of being comprehensive in looking at binge eating behavior and always offering ways to understand and resolve troublesome feelings and actions.  This approach will help readers feel appreciated and understood.  This is key because when a person feels genuinely understood she is more likely to accept and explore the healing path that is presented.  This is true in face to face psychotherapy as well, and Fulvio understands this need.

Her first exercise, finding your inner core and wise voice by being still with your hand over your heart, is simple, non threatening and lovely.  It’s a way to begin to love and respect your body, move into a mindfulness state, recognize body messages and discover emotions all at the same time.  Fulvio shows caring wisdom in presenting this exercise to the reader first.

Some highlights I especially like:

  • Developing the habit of creating challenge statements and responding is an excellent way to interrupt the eating disorder filter.  Writing both the challenge and the response when a binge urge looms is an intervention I will introduce in my practice.
  • The description and detailed explanation of how diets fail a person who wants to lose weight, how they trigger binges, how they contribute to weight gain and how difficult it is for people to understand this is engaging, helpful, personal and vital for a binge eater to understand.
  • Bringing clarity to the false promises of diets is a valuable part of this book.  It is one of the precious gifts the author gives to the community of people who want to lose weight yet follow quick weight loss diets and programs that only result, after initial weight loss, in weight gain. She clearly confronts the fantasy that diets help a person lose weight.  She directly addresses the false beliefs and self criticism that are often in the mind of a woman who has lost weight in the past by following diets.

Describing various kinds of triggers: emotional, physical, geographical and going into detail about bewildering triggers such as feeling too full and bingeing on top of a full stomach will help the reader find herself in the pages and encourage her to work the alternative action log Fulvio offers. Her chapter on food where she describes what food is, what foods are needed for a healthy life, how to know what to eat and how to choose what you need without triggering a binge is sure to be a gift to many who have been lost in binges and need a gentle, informed and non triggering education in how to effectively nourish themselves. She then shows you how to begin eating three meals a day – a particular challenge for people who eat throughout the day or for people who skip meals only to binge out of sustained deprivation.  This section is a challenge, but her gentleness and practical attitude allows the reader freedom to choose, stumble, regain her footing and discover what works best for her. She offers many useful and engaging exercises to build strength and awareness, particularly mindfulness exercises that help a person make healthy intuitive choices.

I was particularly interested in her approach to dealing with Night Eating Disorder. I think many people with NES will find help and hope from what she says.

Her chapter on relapse is honest, practical and reassuring.  She offers a list of probing questions to ask during or after a relapse incident that, I believe, will help a person regain her footing, avoid dangerous self-incrimination and be stronger for the experience.

Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating is a  gift to people who binge eat, want to stop and don’t know how.  Fulvio knows how to stop and to heal and how to reclaim  personhood through health and freedom.  I highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

Joanna Poppink, MFT

Los Angeles psychotherapist

author of:  Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder

http://www.eatingdisorderrecovery.com

Review of Before I Eat App

before-i-eat-appI’ve just been introduced to a new app that is designed to help people stop binge eating. It’s really pretty amazing. I’m quite impressed- and only a little bit jealous that I didn’t design it. It’s called Before I Eat. It was designed by Alen Standish who runs QuitBingeEating.com. I really love this app because it’s just so full of amazing tools. It’s obvious to me that it was designed with a great deal of integrity and with amazing intention behind it. I think it can really help a lot of people.

Basically, what it is, is a toolkit in your pocket to prevent you from acting out with food. Because it’s on your phone, it’s always with you. There are so many different interventions that can help when you are about to act out inappropriately with food.  You can do deep breathing, you can journal, you can try to understand what is underneath your desire to binge, you can talk to someone who’s been there… but sometimes you’re out, you’re in a grocery food store and there is your binge food and you might just feel powerless. This app is meant to give you something in your pocket that you can take out in that very moment that you are about to binge and help you to stop and regain yourself so that you can make a more balanced choice.  One of the great things that having this does is to help you to interrupt the compulsion to binge. Once you interrupt the compulsion– that crazy force that makes the binge feel as though it’s bigger than you are, then you are not stuck underneath it.  That can then lead you to feel bigger than the urge to binge eat, which is ultimately going to lead you away from the binge.

My one caveat would be that this app is not appropriate for those  who suffer from undereating, anorexia, or a restriction cycles.

Friday (Er- I mean Sunday) Q&A- I can’t stop bingeing- No Matter what I try!

can't stop binge eating no matter what I tryAs I said previously, I’m catching up on several months of questions. I’ve got two babies at home (one very new and one a young toddler) and my new book will be released in less than 3 weeks, so that’s been taking up  any second I have that’s not either nursing a baby or chasing a toddler around. And so all of these things together have made it difficult to answer my Friday Q & As very swiftly. That being said, I’ve not forgotten any of you and if your question is in my queue, it will get answered. Please feel free to send anymore questions.
Question:
Hello, my name is Elisa and I believe I suffer from the Binge eating disorder.
All I think about is food. I’ve been trying to diet for a long time now but have failed every time because I always end up binging. It makes me feel very sad and uncomfortable at the end. My family just believes I cannot lose weight and say I go ‘mad’ eating. They think it’s a joke but I see it as a serious problem. I honestly cannot control myself when I binge. It’s like I’m a completely different person. I don’t know what to do. Once I flop once I binge and binge. I’ve tried so much. I have a food diary and also try to motivate myself but I am simply not able to stick to it and control myself. Please help me. Not to be rude but please don’t reply with advising me to go to the hospital and seek some help from there or to forget my diet and just eat healthily because i’ve been trying that for the longest time and even that does not work.
I saw your blog and it’s absolutely amazing. I feel like I’m safe asking you for help. Thank you so much.
By the way, I am a 17 year old female and weigh 60 kg. Plus I haven’t told any of my friends this and don’t want to either.
Answer:
I hear what you are saying Elisa, you feel as though everything that you try fails. That despite your best efforts you keep ending up binge eating. Fortunately, there are many, many, many different ways to recover. And though it’s frustrating, failure always comes before success. Failure and mistakes are what helps you to learn. Every time you do not succeed in recovery, you have the opportunity to try something different- to learn more about yourself and see what does work for you.
I would definitely encourage you to consider giving up dieting again. But this time, rather than trying to avoid the binge, tell yourself that you are going to learn from this binge. So when you start to binge, you are going to do it differently, you are going to stay conscious during your binge. Keep your eyes open. Notice what you are thinking, feeling, try to slow the binge down, really taste the food. Is it satisfying? What feeling are you chasing as you continue to eat? Is it fullness? Comfort? Peace? Anxiety relief? Are you tired? What is driving the binge? As you begin to figure out why you are bingeing and what is driving the binge, you might begin to have some ideas about what you actually need. Maybe you need a nap. Maybe you need to walk outside.  Maybe you are anxious. Did you know that your jaw is the strongest muscle in your body? Some people binge eat because it relieves all that tension that they are holding. Sometimes closing your eyes, breathing deeply and massaging your jaw can stave off a binge. If you don’t want to keep a food diary, why not keep a binge diary instead. Every time you are about to binge, tell yourself that it’s okay, you’re allowed to binge, but first you are going to write in your binge diary. In your binge diary, write down everything that you are feeling, even if your feeling is just, “I want to binge so badly!”  Just stepping away from the binge will interrupt the compulsion, and sometimes, you might find yourself more conscious of what you are needing and feeling. You then might find that you have a choice as to whether or not you want to binge, that you feel as though you are driving the behavior, not that the binge is driving you. When you do decide to binge, make sure to forgive yourself afterward rather than beat yourself up, remind yourself that you are still learning not to binge and how to take care of yourself without food.
As for your family and friends, it could take them a while to get it. You might want to sit down with them and tell them that you believe you have Binge Eating Disorder and that you can’t “just stop” that you need their love and support.   Show them the wikipedia page that explains it. Explain to them that you don’t need them to criticize you but you need them to check in with you. Ask you how are you doing, ask you what you need, ask you how your day is going, and when you binge, ask you what they can do to support you. You might just need a hug!   I understand that you don’t want to tell your friends, but who can you trust? Is their one friend that you can trust? If not, you might want to get some online support. You can go to OA meetings online or on the phone or in person if you can.  Even if you don’t want to talk to your friends, it’s crucial to get support. This will help you to be bigger than the binge. The binge feels too big to beat when you are alone with it, but when you shine the light on the monster, it loses it’s strength.
I hope this has been helpful.
Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating? Send an email to bingeeatingtherapy  at gmail dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location. Are you interested in online therapy to deal with your eating disorder? Please see my website or email me to discuss getting started.