Sunday, June 7, 2009

Addictive Eating

I mostly use this site to focus on self-esteem and only touch on actual eating disorders, usually anorexia since that is what I survived. But today I wanted to focus on another eating disorder.

The most common eating disorder out there is addictive and binge eating. Whether you purge (throwing up the food after binging) or not, binge eating has a lot of deep issues behind it.

I've had several women who admit they struggle with additive eating say my journal entries (when I was anorexia) which are at the first of each chapter of my book, could have come from their own journal. How could an anorexic's journey match a binge eater's? Because eating disorders of all kinds have the same underlining pain and thought processes behind them.
That is why they have all told me that reading my book as helped them in their own struggle.

Here are some possible traits that encompass all eating disorders:

Self- critical
Low self-esteem
Feelings of lack of control
Sexual conflicts
People pleasers
All or Nothing
Feels rejected or fear of rejection
Looks to others for approval
Feeling not good enough
Eating disorders are a coping mechanism.

The key for healing is to learn to tackle problems head on and learn to resolve them and to deal directly with emotional pain.

Why diets don't work:

I have a huge spill on diets but I am limiting myself to one aspect for this post.
Diets only change one aspect of yourself, your body. They usually don't address why you overeat. This is why most people who had a gastric bi-pass or went on the Biggest Loser and loss weight quickly gain it back. They never dealt with the issues that caused them to be overweight.
They maybe believe the symptom of binging went away so they are cured, but as soon as they have anxiety, stress, or need to deal with emotions the behavior will return.
*95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Grodstein, 1996).

To heal you need to learn problem-solving skills, change belief systems, life styles, and improve self-image.

How do you do this?

In a book called "A Substance Called Food" by Gloria Arenson, there are four steps to help get you on your way. (I highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with any sort of eating disorder.)

I'll sum up what I learned from reading it:

1. Pay attention to when you have a binge episode. Your binge is a reaction to what? You can use a food journal for at least a week to help you.

2. Name the feelings that triggered the episode. What situation or relationship is evolved?
(example: You're boss said some hurtful things about your job performance.)

3. Dig deeper to the thoughts and beliefs you have about this situation that led to these feelings.
(example: You feel you have to be perfect and when your boss pointed out some things you were doing wrong you felt like a failure.)

4. Find your inner power. Know you are not helpless. Decide the correct way of solving the issue instead of turning to food.
I hope I created some awareness and understanding of addictive eating. If you have any questions or comments that you don't want to post publicly please e-mail me at


Ladies in Weighting said...

It is so weird that you would post this. If you look at my blog, I posted 4 hours before you posted and they are the same subject - even the first picture is similar to the one I took of myself. I really enjoy your blog, I wish there had been something like this when I was younger and battling anorexia.

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

thank you for your comment, I didn't know you had anorexia too. I'm sorry that you had to endure that.
I wish there would have been more resources for us too... that is one reason I am doing this blog, my book, and public speaking.
Thanks again!
I'm going to pop over to your blog now!

Ladies in Weighting said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog - I totally agree with you about what you said about diets. I don't believe in them. Life is too precious and too short to worry about food 24/7.

Sheila said...

What a wonderful blog post! I have dealt with the binge eating(no purging I hate to throw up) and it is a hard battle. Thank you for all you do Haley!

Mama Nut said...

I love this, Haley. Very insightful!

Tiffany said...

Hi there! I'm Tiffany from livingasmom. I am participating in a comment challenge to meet 1000 new blogging friends! I hope you will stop in to see me. :)

Micaela L. Hess said...

Great subject! Thanks for sharing I really should read that book, "A Substance Called Food".

日月神教-向左使 said...