Posts Tagged ‘binge eating disorder’


November 20, 2012

…that deal with eating disorders.

I was asked by a friend to compile a list of books that deal with the subject of eating disorders. This is just a preliminary version:

Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery by Peter J Cooper.
Fed Up and Hungry_ a series of essays on EDs edited by Marilyn Lawrence
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Woolf
Womansize by Kim Chernin and The Hungry Self by the same author which may be out of print.
Fabulous Figures by Rachel Swift – a humorous, critique of society’s obsession with aesthetic perfection.
Getting Better Bit(e) By Bit(e)_ (A Survival Kit for sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders by Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure
Some novels that deal with EDs:

The Passion of Alice by Stephanie Grant
Eve’s Apple by Jonathan Rosen
LifeSize by Jenefer Shute

About BED:
Sweet Death by Claude Tardat
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

And of course:
Second Star to the Right by Deborah Hautzig
The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron (a tad too didactic IMHO)

Catherine by Maureen Dunbar

Oh, and OT: I now have a copy of Steven Levenkron’s The Luckiest Girl in the World. It is out of print but Amazon found a copy of it for me.  it arrived a couple of months ago all the way from some second hand bookshop in the good old US of A!  They are now scouring the continent on my behalf for a copy of  Kessa so, fingers crossed!

Oh, and a book I have just finished reading called  The Mermaids Singing by Lisa Carey (which I mentioned in another post) has an anorexia sub-plot. (more…)

Binge Eating Disorder

January 30, 2010

Some of you may not be terribly sympathetic to the person I am about to write about. If not, then turn the page.

I saw her today in the town standing staring at the window of a boutique designed for size six women with money to burn. They most certainly did not cater for people like her. They don’t make clothes for the morbidly obese. I walked over to her and tapped he on the shoulder. She turned and seemed genuinely delighted to see me. On the surface she hadn’t changed a bit. We decided to go for a coffee and a chat.

My friend Marjorie attracts a lot of attention. She is what some might call ‘generously proportioned. Others would call her morbidly obese and lots more besides. To those who don’t know Marjorie she is greedy, self-indulgent, lazy and lacking in willpower. I see none of these things. All I can focus upon is her bright, white smile.

Marjorie is bright, vivacious, holds down a highly stressful job and has a large circle of friends. So what exactly is wrong with her? She has Binge Eating Disorder. I first encountered Marjorie at a meeting of organising called ‘Overeaters Anonymous. I, a former anorectic, had metamorphosed into a slightly overweight bulimic and I was desperate to rid myself of those extra pounds. Marjorie was already there when I arrived, every inch the stereotypical fat woman, the star of the show, entertaining everyone. ‘I know its a stereotype – all fat people are jolly, the life and soul of the party. My entertaining people is like a camouflage It distracts others from my physical appearance. And I’m appeasing them I’m doing it so they won’t turn on me.’

Compared to some Marjorie is fortunate in that she has an inner strength that enable her to deal with the taunts hurled at her from passers by. What her tormentors couldn’t possibly know is that Marjorie suffers from binge eating disorder. It is the least recognised eating disorder and yet more people suffer from it than either anorexia or bulimia. Some doctors dispute its very existence.. Marjory’s old GP was one of them. ‘Human nature is what it is. We’re self-indulgent. Accept that either succumb to your weaknesses or do your utmost to suppress them.’

Binge eating disorder is neglected by the medical profession and often mocked by the media. It is the invisible eating disorder. In the public mind it is often confused with bulimia. Although the two disorders share some traits they are very different illnesses. Bulimia is characterised not by the binge eating itself but by the steps taken by the sufferers to ‘purge’ their body of the food that have just consumed using laxatives, vomiting, fasting and they use these measure consistently.

Marjorie tells me that she can’t remember a time when she hasn’t used food as a source of comfort. ‘Food is my best friend. It never lets me down. I live alone and often after a bad day at work it’s the only thing there waiting for me.

‘I was obsessed with food. It became the centre of my life. I used to dream about and go downstairs in the middle of the night when I was sure everyone else was in bed and binge. I’d raid my parents’ fridge. I’d eat everything I could get my hands on . Then I’d stuff the food into my mouth and eat until my stomach was distended and I was feeling nauseated.

‘I was so secretive. Everyone around me wondered why I was gaining so much weight. Although I was bingeing I rarely ate in front of my family. My mother took me aside to ask if I might be pregnant. And even when they did find out they found it impossible to accept that my actions were the result of an illness.’

Marjorie was hoping that when she moved away to go to university the change of environment would give her the chance to start again. ‘It actually got worse because there was nobody looking over my shoulder saying, ‘You can’t eat that.’ She claims that the urge to binge was so intense that she stole food from other students’ cupboards. She even admits having resorted to shoplifting.

‘Once agauin food became my life,’ she tells me ‘I lived to eat. Food is both my friend and my enemy and I’ve faced the that it may well destroy me. I ate to suppress every negative emotion I experience.  It’s got to the point at which I cannot tellb if I’m hungry or not.  I have lost touch with my own body, with my own feelifngs. After a binge I feel this intense self-loathing which only serves to perpetuate the cycle..  I am overwhelmed by shame.’

Marjorie describes how she plans for a binge: ‘If I’m having a bad time at work I’ll think about it all day, planning the menu in my head.  The I’ll drive home, stopping off at supermarkets on the way to buy basketfuls of food.   I’ll eat in the car as I am driving.  The bags will be piles up on the passenger seat.  I’ll grab food at random and swallow without chewing.  All the forbidden foods: ice cream, chocolate, cakes, cerial.  It is initially pleasurable but that pleasure fades when my stomach starts expanding.  Then I become agitated.  Sometimes I’ll return to finish leftovers in the middle of the night.’ This loss of control occurs at least three times a week.

Despite fulfilling all the diagnostic criteria for Binge Eating Disorder Marjorie receives little help from her doctor or her local health authority. She sees a private counsellor who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy which is based on the premise that behaviour can determine emotion. The counsellor has helped Marjorie identify several key events in her life that put her at risk of developing Binge Eating Disorder.  Her childhood seemed idyllic until her parents’ business collapsed and they went bankrupt.  A new and less appealing life lay ahead. Marjorie was taken out of her small private school and thrust into the chaotic envirnment of the local comprehensive.She endured years of bullying as a result of her middle class background.

In spite of all she has been through Marjorie has retained the generosity of spirit. She is as concerned about my progress as she is about her own. She is optimistic about the future. ‘I know it’s going to be a long, hard road but I’ll get there.’ She makes a fist and bangs the table, ‘I’ll get there.’

A Helpful Linky.

Black-Edged and Borderless: Assignment

September 7, 2009
Black Edged and Borderless

Black Edged and Borderless

I was supposed to write about my mental illness last week but procrastination is my middle name and I didn’t get around to it. Another problem is that I am so ambivalent about it. I have a truly weird diagnosis – or rather, diagnoses – schizoaffective disorder and bulimia nervosa although like many bulimics I started out with anorexia – at least that’s what it says on my medical notes. I actually started out with binge eating disorder and ‘progressed’ to anorexia when others commented unfavourably on my weight. So I am like Churchill’s Soviet Union: A enigma within an enigma within an enigma. Basically, I am plain weird. I do weird things, say weird things, think weird things and for all of those weird things I take a bucketful of weird medication. And I hate it. Even those bucketfuls of medication don’t make me ‘like everybody else’. But then as a CPN once said to me ‘You will never be normal because there really is no such thing as normal.’

That made me feel better for about a quarter of an hour.

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