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binge eating



What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder affects two percent of the population overall and eight percent of people who are obese. It is an eating disorder in the “Not Otherwise Specified” category.

Definition

Binge eating disorder is characterized by periodic out of control food binges, but it does not include purging or overexercising to compensate for the calories ingested.

Symptoms

  • Episodes of binge eating, defined as eating an abnormally large amount of food and feeling out of control of eating, twice weekly on average for six months
  • Binges include shame about the amount ingested, eating when not hungry, rapid ingestion, and/or physical discomfort after eating
  • Episodes of binge eating cause emotional distress
  • Purging and other compensatory behaviors are not associated with binge eating disorder
  • Binge eating disorder cannot be diagnosed if one has an active diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
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Recognizing the Signs of Emotional Eating

Guest blogger Vicki L. VanArsdale is a freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. She’s a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and a nutrition & wellness consultant through American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA). You can read more about health and fitness on Vicki’s blog.

We’ve all been there. We want to lose weight. We eat right and exercise. We follow our healthy eating plan. Then one day something causes us to go off track. Instead of having one cookie we eat the whole bag. Some kind of emotion triggered this response but instead of facing it we binge and then feel guilty. We are emotional eaters.

I once weighed 250 lbs. Another time I weighed 235 lbs. Without a doubt my extensive weight gains were tied to my emotions. I was an emotional binge eater and food was my friend. Food didn’t judge me. Food didn’t belittle me. Food made me feel good and provided comfort. It helped me forget my troubles for a while.


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Therapy Shown to Help Teen Girls Reduce BMI

teensResearch published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has shown that therapy may be more beneficial in preventing young girls from becoming overweight than traditional health education classes for teenagers. The study followed 38 girls who had an above average weight, some of whom also reported episodes of loss of control eating or binge eating.

Both above average weight and episodes of loss of control eating are considered characteristics that make someone high-risk for developing obesity. The girls were randomly distributed into two groups, either attending Interpersonal Psychotherapy sessions or standard health education classes. All of the research participants completed the courses to which they had been assigned and received follow-up visits for a year. The girls who participated in Interpersonal Psychotherapy were more likely to stabilize or even decrease their BMI than the girls who participated in the health education courses that are traditionally offered to teenagers.
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Celebrities Who’ve Battled Eating Disorders

As we continue to bring awareness to National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 22 – February 28), it is fitting that we highlight some of the more well-known cases of eating disorders that have affected some of Hollywood’s most talented starlets.

Nicole Richie and Victoria Beckham are well-known faces of eating disorders.

Nicole Richie and Victoria Beckham are well-known faces of eating disorders.

Tinseltown is known for its hypercritical attitude toward body image and weight. Female entertainers, by far, bear the sharper brunt of this fierce and oftentimes unfair sword than their male colleagues. From the latest media-bashing of Jessica Simpson to the dissection of Hollywood’s new mom’s post-baby bodies, there is little wonder why as many as 10 million females (and 1 million males) are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia and millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

While no one wants to see anyone suffering from a disorder of any kind, celebrities who have been forthright about their weight struggles open up a dialogue for the rest of us who may be too shamed or too fearful to voice our stories.

Here is a look at the more well-publicized cases of eating disorders in young Hollywood women.
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Educate Yourself During National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

national eating disorders awareness weekFebruary 22-28, 2009 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders are serious, often life threatening, conditions that effect sufferer’s mentally, physically, and emotionally. Eating disorders generally include an unhealthy relationship with food and one’s own body image. Eating disorders effect millions of Americans and include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and orthorexia nervosa. The causes of eating disorders are complicated and not fully known; psychological issues, low self-esteem, trauma, interpersonal difficulties, cultural norms, learning, and biological factors can all be part of the problem. Treatment can also be very complicated and should be done by professionals. Treatment should include psychological and nutritional counseling; it may include inpatient treatment and medication management.
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