Thursday, May 19, 2011

Compulsive Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder

Obesity is not just a PHYSICAL problem.

It is no easier for me to "just put the fork down" than it is for someone with anorexia to "just eat something." 

There are mental problems attached to BOTH ends of the body weight spectrum.

I say this because as I've started dipping my feet into different online weight loss communities I keep hearing the same thing over and over and over.

Obesity is physical while anorexia is mental.  This comes up because a lot of anorexic people or idiots who are just pro-ana hang out in the weight loss communities.

For some reason they seem to think they have the market cornered on food-related mental problems.

Now, I will say that not every overweight person has a mental problem, just like I'm not going to say that every skinny person I see has anorexia.  There is no black and white here, there will always be shades of grey.

But, Compulsive Overeating is a RECOGNIZED eating disorder, and while I don't have the luxury of going to a doctor to be "diagnosed" with it, I've done enough research to think that I suffer from COE.

Here is a list of symptoms from an eating disorder website.  The ones I have made BOLD are the ones that apply to me.:

Compulsive Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder

  1. Fear of not being able to control eating, and while eating, not being able to stop.
  2. Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others.
  3. Chronic dieting on a variety of popular diet plans.
  4. Holding the belief that life will be better if they can lose weight.
  5. Hiding food in strange places (closets, cabinets, suitcases, under the bed) to eat at a later time.
  6. Vague or secretive eating patterns.
  7. Self-defeating statements after food consumption.
  8. Blames failure in social and professional community on weight.
  9. Holding the belief that food is their only friend.
  10. Frequently out of breath after relatively light activities.
  11. Excessive sweating and shortness of breath.
  12. High blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
  13. Leg and joint pain.
  14. Weight gain.
  15. Decreased mobility due to weight gain.
  16. Loss of sexual desire or promiscuous relations.
  17. Mood swings. Depression. Fatigue.
  18. Insomnia. Poor Sleeping Habits.
The Same Eating Disorders Website says:

Compulsive Overeating
People suffering with Compulsive Overeating have what is characterized as an "addiction" to food, using food and eating as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives.

People suffering with this Eating Disorder tend to be overweight, are usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal, but find little comfort because of society's tendency to stereotype the "overweight" individual. Words like, "just go on a diet" are as emotionally devastating to a person suffering Compulsive Overeating as "just eat" can be to a person suffering Anorexia. A person suffering as a Compulsive Overeater is at health risk for a heart attack, high blood-pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease and/or failure, arthritis and bone deterioration, and stroke.

Men and Women who are Compulsive Overeaters will sometimes hide behind their physical appearance, using it as a blockade against society (common in survivors of sexual abuse). They feel guilty for not being "good enough," shame for being overweight, and generally have a very low self-esteem... they use food and eating to cope with these feelings, which only leads into the cycle of feeling them ten-fold and trying to find a way to cope again. With a low self esteem and often constant need for love and validation he/she will turn to obsessive episodes of binging and eating as a way to forget the pain and the desire for affection.

It is important to remember that most Eating Disorders, though their signs and symptoms may be different, share a great number of common causes and emotional aspects.


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