To start with, here are a few questions for you to answer. Answer honestly:
- Do you find it difficult to stop eating?
- Do you feel ashamed about how much you eat?
- When you start eating do you feel like you can’t stop?
- Do you continue to eat even though you are full?
- Do you feel guilty after you eat?
- Do you sometimes hider the food/wrappers you eat?
- Do you eat in excess?
Well if you’ve answered yes to one or more of the questions above, you may have a binge eating disorder.
From around the age of 12, I’ve struggled with my weight. My weight over the years has yo-yo-ed. I’ve been a size 8/10 to a size 20/22 and I’ve tried all types of diets from “Weight watchers”, juice diet, low/no carb diet, slim fast etc. I’ve also purchased some “quick fix” exercise equipment from “leg master” to “ab glider” too. All in the name of losing weight.
Don’t get me wrong, I do and have lost weight over the years. However, it never lasts, it always gets to a point where something happens and BAM. I start to stuffing my face again and the weight piles on, yet again. Then, you’ve guessed it, history repeat itself.
The beginning of this year I had some devastating news which lead me down a path of just eating (again). As you can guess, my weight went up and I ballooned. I was just sitting with my journal and thinking that I hate myself. Why do I always cause damage to my body? Every time something happens in my life I just balloon and eat so much. I’ve gone through these cycles (high-low weight) so many times, that there must be something more than just overeating.
So I Googled phrases like “why can’t I stop eating?”, “eating too much”, “overeating” and a common phrase kept appearing was “binge eating”. I looked this up on the NHS website which then lead me to a charity called Beat Eating Disorder. It seemed as if I’d finally found my problem (or what my problem was). I discovered I have a “binge eating disorder”. The logical side of me was now thinking “I’ve now identified the problem, means I can now fix it!” Yes!
Self help path
So after reading so many articles on possible treatment options I decided to take the path of self help. This was because I felt after reading so many articles, I didn’t feel my binge eating was too severe. I would say “mild”. So considering this and the fact that a lot of people do find success using the self help method, I thought I’d give it a try.
What self help method?
There are a lot of self help books/programmes out there. However the one I chose to do is by “Dr Christopher G. Fairburn” who is a psychiatrist and researcher specifically in the field of eating disorders.
The book I purchased is “Overcoming Binge Eating, Second Edition: The Proven Program to Learn Why You Binge and How You Can Stop” for £10.51 from Amazon.co.uk (correct as of 05 April 2021). This book is also recommended by National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The book is split into 2 parts. Part 1 going into detail about binge eating problems, what it is, who binges and the effects and phycological aspects of binge eating. Part 2 is the self help guide.
There are 3 main eating disorders and Fairburn explains the differences but also the similarities between all of them and the different characteristics. This part really opened my eyes into the problems and habits I have, or didn’t know I had, that contributed towards my binge eating disorder. Things that I was doing where I thought it was normal, turns out not to be. Actions that I was doing where I thought it was just me being a bit weird, turns out that its common characteristic of someone with a binge eating disorder.
With the self help section, there are 5 stages with 3 additional “modules”. The book indicates most people move through the stages within 4-6 months. However this does depend on your own individual progress, you might go through it faster or slower. Everyone is different.
Week 5 update
I’m currently into my 5th week of the self help guide on step 3.
So far by following the stages, I know the weak points of my day when I’m likely to have a binge eating session. I’ve also noticed how different foods or actions affect my need to binge eat. Following the first few steps have made me more aware of how much I eat and drink I consume.
As I continue through the guide I really hope this is the end of my yo-yo weight for the rest of my life. I no longer want to put my body through so much stress and damage that it sill start to affect me drastically in old age.
The progress I’ve made so far is very good and haven’t had a binge eating session in about 4 weeks now. I can say so far its “solving” my problem. But I haven’t completed the self help section yet, nor has enough time passed enough to say its 100% solved my binge eating disorder yet. Though I can 100% say its a good start and I’m already feeling better and a side effect is my weight is falling too.