In my last post, a researcher found a more specific predictor of binge eating disorder (and other conditions) than most people would have assumed. In this post, the researcher is Timothy Brewerton, a psychiatrist in South Carolina, and he spoke on trauma.
As I've described before, registered dietitians scoff at the idea of food addiction almost monolithically, a circumstance I got to observe again last weekend at the Binge Eating Disorder Association national conference in Bethesda, Md.
Midway through Day 2 of BEDA’s national conference, I continue to try to learn from those around me. This case in point: There is candy everywhere.
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've been remiss in reporting a key development in the fight for public recognition of food addiction: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, whose statute allows it to say what is a mental illness and what isn't, has indeed included binge-eating disorder in its fifth edition.
I recently came aware of therapist Amy Pershing via a blog post on psychcentral.com in which she was interviewed. I found a lot to agree with in what she said — that binge eating isn’t diet failure but is an eating disorder deserving of treatment, not societal scorn, for example.
But one passage bothered me enough to track her down for a few more questions. Here’s the passage, which came in response to interviewer Margarita Tartakovsky’s question: “What are common challenges that make it tougher to overcome BED or problems with overeating?”
”From a cultural perspective, we begin to teach people to distrust and dishonor their bodies from childhood. We do not, as a society, value size or shape diversity; in fact weigh bias and stigma fundamentally underlies any eating disorder. “Thin” has to be presumed more valued for the symptoms to coalesce. We are taught to distrust our food preferences and our appetites, especially as girls, from early in life. We are taught to “exercise,” but not to play. Children learn their bodies are to be controlled, not honored. So the ability to hear cues, to really feel the positive impact of playing and eating well, typically must be relearned.”
Additionally, weight and being “fat” is so completely vilified now that the idea of body wisdom is more remote than it has even been. We have a “war on obesity.” Literally now people are encouraged to be at odds with their bodies. Then, we are sold a profound “bill of goods” by the diet industry (with a 95% failure rate over 6 months), further removing us from simply listening to our needs. The current system makes recovery a veritable act of defiance. You have to be a renegade just to be in your body.
Writing in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Kristi Eaton covers the range of binge-eating disorder, and includes a passage on me and my experience. I have never been diagnosed, but certainly I could have been had the diagnosis existed when I was doing that sort of thing.