It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an Eating Disorder
7 million women and 1 million men
Eating disorders are usually divided into three categories: Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating (Binging).
Anorexia is basically a self-imposed starvation. Any actual gain or even perceived gain of weight, is met with intense fear. Although people with anorexia are obsessed with food, they continually deny their hunger. Anorexics view of themselves is distorted. In the obsessive pursuit of thinness, anorexics loose weight in a variety of ways; restrictive dieting, compulsive exercise, and laxative and diuretic abuse. If Anorexia is left untreated, it can cause severe medical problems and even lead to death.
Bulimia is the repeated cycle of out-of-control eating followed by some form of purging. Bulimics are caught in the devastating and addictive binge- purge cycle, eating compulsively and then purging through self induced vomiting, use of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, ipecac, strict diets, fasts, chew spitting, vigorous exercise, or other compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. Binges usually consist of the consummation of large amounts of food in a short period of time.
Bulimics, like Anorexics, are also obsessively involved with their body shape and weight. The medical complications of Bulimia or the binge-purge cycle can be severe, and like Anorexia, can be fatal.
Compulsive (Binge) Eating is excessive eating a lot of food during stressful times. Binge eating disorders usually occur in secret. While an unhealthy approach to life, this disorder does not typically lead to the types of health problems anorexic and bulimics have.
For many people, binge eating temporarily relieves stress, but after eating, guilt, shame, frustration and depression set in. It’s a vicious cycle. Compulsive Overeaters are often caught up in the vicious cycle of binge eating and depression. They often use food as a coping mechanism to deal with their feelings, but unfortunately feelings of quilt, shame, depression and embarrassment are added to the negative feelings experienced.
It is not uncommon for compulsive overeaters to eat normally or not at all, in front of others and then make up for eating less by bingeing in secret. For others, binges consist of grazing on foods all day long. Similar to Anorexics and bulimics, compulsive overeaters are constantly struggling and unhappy with their weight. People with eating disorders have a distorted view of how they look, and this differs from how others see them. The number on the scale often determines how they feel about themselves.
The practice of an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating may be an expression of something that the eating disordered individual has found no other way of expressing. It can be looked at as a survival mechanism.
Just like an alcoholic uses alcohol to survive, people with eating disorders use eating to deal with their feelings.
Obesity and weight problems are an issue in the majority of people with compulsive eating problems,
I was not in the majority.
I am grateful for the hardworking, middle class family who I knew loved me. With this wonderful beginning, I was gifted to learn all I needed to know, about how to create a happy life for myself. One of the defining experiences I had was a few years of compulsive eating. My first year of college, I developed an eating disorder. I was like many people with an eating disorder, my perception was skewed. I thought I was overweight. I had a distorted view of how I looked, it was different from how others saw me. I was born with skinny genes, of course they saw me thin, but I felt fat.
Like with all of my learning experiences, I’m grateful for this understanding that I have of eating disorders. With it I can relate with others and it’s easier for me to help.
No matter what your life experiences are, you are a valuable person! If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, as with any addiction, you can overcome! It will take serious introspection and time, but it can be done!
Don’t feel imprisoned in your own body any longer. Take control of your life! Allow me to provide you with the help that will set you free!