Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Binge Eating- Mental Disorder Or Simply Poor Nutrition Habits

Anorexia and Bulimia are bonafide mental disorders that require medical attention to treat.  

Google Dictionary:

Anorexia or anorexia nervosa is an illness in which a person has an overwhelming fear of becoming fat, and so refuses to eat enough and becomes thinner and thinner.

Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is an illness in which a person has a very great fear of becoming fat, and so they make themselves vomit after eating.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a recognized eating disorder, but falls short of making the grade to be defined as psychiatric illness. That may change though if the disorder's status is changed in the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the holy grail of diagnostics for psychiatrists world wide.

Some academics argue that if BED is categorized as a full blown mental illness more money will become available for research and treatment, but opponents say this might prompt an over diagnosis and those with really bad eating habits but not a mental disorder might be pegged as such and prescribed medication that isn't needed.

What are signs of binge eating?  Here's a list from Wikipedia:
Binge eating disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Periodically does not exercise control over consumption of food.
  • Eats an unusually large amount of food at one time, far more than a normal person would eat in the same amount of time.
  • Eats much more quickly during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes.
  • Eats until physically uncomfortable and nauseated due to the amount of food just consumed.
  • Eats when depressed or bored.
  • Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry.
  • Usually eats alone during binge eating episodes, in order to avoid discovery of the disorder.
  • Often eats alone during periods of normal eating, owing to feelings of embarrassment about food.
  • Feels disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binge eating.
  • Rapid weight gain, and/or sudden onset of obesity.

So what is an unusually large amount of food?  With common serving sizes so huge what do we use as the standard for comparison? Eating until "uncomfortably full" is part of the description of binge eating, but how do you define that?  Many people eat until they are stuffed, but they're used to it so it doesn't really feel uncomfortable.  In fact many will feel more comforted by a stuffed feeling.

If we look at common meals that we make ourselves and restaurant meals as well, then simply consuming these meals would make the vast majority of the population binge eaters, using volume of food as the marker.

But binge eating disorder is more complicated than simple habitual overeating. The feeling of fullness goes to extreme and would make a person feel nauseated.

How do we avoid setting the table for binge eating:

Develop a healthy relationship with food.. If you feel uncertain about how much to eat, or see overeating as a way of celebrating or dealing with emotions, see if some introspective self talk can help you change this.

If you feel profound anxiety and guilt where eating is concerned it's time to talk to your doctor about it.

Eat for nutrition and health first.  Ask yourself this, "is this food helping me live?"

Eat portion sizes that satisfy nutritional needs and adapt to that amount.  For most this will mean a fair reduction in portion sizes and a "recalibration" of what amount of food constitutes a satisfying serving.. take time to adapt to this as at first it's likely to feel like it isn't enough.

Typically portion sizes are too large if your plate is heaping, if you have more than one plate, and if the total amount of food is more than what would fit into your hands when held together in a bowl shape.

Rhino Fitness - Article - Daily Caloric Requirements  Go here to calculate your daily caloric needs.

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