Postcard from BEDA 2013

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I writing from the ballroom of a Bethesda, Md., hotel this morning, awaiting the second day of the national conference of the Binge Eating Disorder Association. Yesterday was interesting and rewarding, and I hope to share a few things I learned over the next few posts.

But I begin with what struck me most from day one, what I regard to be a collection of tribes within this group.

I’m a supporter of BEDA and a very interested party, but this is my first time at a BEDA conference, and I’m finding the overlap of my interests and others’ represented here to be less than complete.

For example, in the morning session, in which the entire community was meeting together, the loudest cheer was for a speaker’s call to action against weight bias.

Obviously, I oppose weight bias. Complete stop. But it is not my priority, even though I was sometimes taunted for my obesity when I was a kid, and I hated it. I wouldn’t say I ever got past the feelings that arose, but as an adult, I’ve been shown the importance of acceptance, pithily expressed by someone else as, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Another strong current in the room was the opposition to the food-addiction concept, which of course I support utterly. What was really noticeable was the offense that a good portion of the group takes to it. That mystified me at first, but then I remembered that *I* take offense when people deny my truth, too. If you read this blog often, you may have noticed that.

I was actually gratified to see the concept represented at all within BEDA; I’d heard previously that it wasn’t part of the group’s ethos. But superstar Cynthia Bulik on the University of North Carolina, BEDA’s chief science adviser, chose to put it in her brief remarks, and so did Tim Brewerton, a forensic psychiatrist from South Carolina who was one of the three expert panelists of the event that Bulik moderated.

I shared lunch with him later, and he said he’d been asked to talk about trauma, which he did and which I hope to return to in a later post, but he added the food addiction content on his own. For this content, he was grilled, which is not to say assailed, for what he said.

Lots of passion on the question, for sure.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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