The ED establishment throws a bone to biology

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I ran across a page from the National Eating Disorder Association that I thought was worth a few grafs (as in "paragraphs," a vestige of newspaper-ese). The page’s headline is “Factors That May Contribute to Eating Disorders.”

The good news  is that one of the subheadings is “Biological Factors That Can Contribute to Eating Disorders.” I, of course, expend a lot of my time promoting the biological aspect, without which “food addiction” would be the empty suit its detractors paint it.

Abstinence makes the body more aware

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I’ve got a big raspberry for the Polar beverages vendor at my local market. He lost focus in what I’m sure is a mind-numbing part of his job, and the result for me was a headache, dry mouth, and not a little bit of consternation.

It is a weakness of mine that no matter what I’m in that market for, I stop by the soda aisle and pop open a liter of whatever, and yesterday it was Polar's diet raspberry lime. I’m a fairly careful shopper, especially when it comes to sugar or sugar-free, and I was definitely in the sugar-free area.

One scary statement

I thought I was done blogging about my experiences at the Binge Eating Disorder Association's national conference, but a line uttered during the panel I participated in keeps clanging around in my head:

"When I hit 700 pounds, my health started to go down hill."

It was said by Marybeth Quist, who shared her experience as a bariatric surgery survivor on the panel. Even in a sharply sad story where even the ups had downs, that statement of hers has just kept coming back.

Overweight isn't *the* issue, but it often is *an* issue

A gaggle of eating disorder groups put out a release this week praising Michelle Obama for comments she made about weight during a Google Hangout, emphasizing healthy lifestyle and avoiding any talk about weight with her daughters.

I, of course, talk about weight all the time. Few topics, including this one, are black and white, but I acknowledge the gulf.

Big Food's false choice

I was listening to Ira Flatow interview Rob Lustig on a Science Friday podcast when I heard Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC Berkeley, make a really good point.

Big Food spinmeisters subvert the libertarian viewpoint to “keep Big Brother from telling me what to eat” as a way to avoid any fetter on its ability to sell its products, when Big Food is already telling us what to eat!

Men with EDs and PTSD probably have an SUD, too

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A finding whose significance I missed during Dr. Timothy Brewerton’s presentation last Friday morning at the Binge Eating Disorder Association’s national conference: The tremendous confluence in men of substance-use disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Brewerton, 88 percent of men of who exhibit eating disorders and PTSD also exhibit other substance-use disorders. This compares with about 35 percent of women, and is dramatically higher for rates of PTSD or eating disorders alone.

Must weight loss be a definition of recovery?

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So is weight loss an important measure of whether eating-disorder treatment is working? Even getting past the eating-disorder corners that don’t address overweight, the answer is apparently not.

During her opening remarks at the Binge Eating Disorder Association national conference last Friday, founder Chevese Turner argued for a definition of recovery that doesn’t include it. Later, during a researchers’ panel, Denise Wilfley of the Washington University School of Medicine, chimed in, saying that “if someone is having a stable weight, that’s a very important outcome.”

Careful what you say

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It’s too facile to call it political correctness, but I noted a strong effort by some speakers at the Binge Eating Disorder Association’s national conference last weekend to say the right thing. Here are some examples:

* ”There’s no such thing as junk food.” I’m not sure whose ox is gored by saying otherwise! My goodness, junk food not only exists, we celebrate it! It’s such an example of shared insanity. We would never eat actual junk, but we eat junk food and consider it a pleasure (guilty or otherwise).

Still struggling with "Health At Every Size"

Perhaps it’s only self-flattery when I say that one of the ways in which I contribute most to discourse is my honesty. Believe me, there’s enough I don’t disclose, but I believe in the power of disclosure to move myself and others forward, even when I don’t look great in the process.

I’m going to test that again in this post.

As a result of attending the Binge Eating Disorder Association’s national conference over the weekend in Bethesda, Md., I’m revisiting some of my biases, which include:


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