Part I : Getting Familiar With Eating Disorders
Note: There are two parts to this article. For “Part II – Effects and Finding a Dietitian,” click here.
OK. To get you into the right frame of mind, I want you to really listen up. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you probably have a lot of negative thoughts on the subject. You may be plagued by feelings of gloom, misery, and even depression. Put those thoughts on hold for a moment and picture yourself in a state of elation. Imagine being cured from a terrible, life-threatening disease. Because the truth is, eating disorders are terrible, life-threatening diseases, but you don’t have to fight them alone. We’re here for you!
I’m Limor Weinstein, founder of BESPOKE Wellness Partners, and I am going to answer some of your most-asked questions about eating disorders. My background, experience, and education as a mental health therapist are centered on personal and family well-being. As a mother, wife, and psychotherapist, my goal has always been to provide emotional support and knowledge that may be absent due to a variety of variables. I myself am an ED survivor. I am also an Eating Disorder Specialist who works with clients to help them find their way to better health.
The following questions are questions that people have been asking me for the past 15 years over and over again, so I have decided to compile a list of answers and include some evidence as support. Since I had too many questions, I have decided to break this blog into part A and B, but if you have any other questions related to eating disorders that you want answered please feel free to email me and I will answer them for you! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is an ED?
An eating disorder is an illness that includes extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders can have serious emotional and physical consequences on an individual’s life. Although the majority of people with eating disorders are female, this illness does affect males as well. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life (Wade, Keski- Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011).
There are eight types of eating disorders including Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, PICA, Rumination Disorder, Avoidant/Restrictive Feeding Disorder, Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED) and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED). I am not going to go over all the eating disorders, but I will focus on the main three (Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating Disorder). This is not to say that the other eating disorders are not important, but I promise to write about the other disorders as well in later blogs!
Anorexia is characterized as inadequate food intake leading to a weight that is too low for that individual, intense fear of weight gain, self-esteem overly related to body image, and an inability to appreciate the severity of the situation. Within this categorization, there are two types of anorexia: binge-eating/purging type that involves binge eating and/or purging behaviors during the last three months; and restricting type, which does not involve these behaviors.
Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, a feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes, strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating, and indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame of this behavior.
Bulimia Nervosa involves frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, feelings of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes, and self-esteem overly related to body image.