Genuine Help For Eating Disorder sufferers and caregivers.On this site you will learn how to beat your eating disorder with the power of neuroplasticity and awareness therapy.
People with bulimia and binge eating disorders eat fast, especially when they binge. Fast eating makes you consume much more calories in a fraction of time. An experiment was done on normal-weight College aged women: they were asked to consume a large bowl of pasta quickly and on another occasion to eat very slowly. The result of the experiment is as follows:
- Eating quickly – consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes.
- Eating slowly – consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes.
- Eating quickly was less satisfying than eating slowly because after eating quickly people felt hungry again in an hour or two, while slow eating brought a much longer satisfaction period and feelings of fullness.
- People also reported that they enjoyed their pasta much more when they ate slowly.
Recommendation from this study is too learn how to eat slowly. Eating slowly for people with bulimia and binge eating disorder could be difficult at first but everything can be improved with training. Here are 5 basic tips on how to start eating slowly and prevent you from binging your food.
1. Use “the fork down” method. After every bite put your fork down. The longer you hold your fork in your hands, the more you are tempted to keep shovelling it in. Keep it down while you are chewing also, and then pick it up again for the next bite.
2. Chew your food longer. Chew thoroughly and pay attention to texture, taste and substance. The longer and more thoroughly you chew your food the more you feel full and become more satisfied.
4. After chewing and swallowing each bite stop and make conversation. Talking through a meal, but not while chewing, can make you halt and slow down your eating habits. Sharing a meal with another person and talking will also make you more of a sociable person. Being more social will also help to fight your eating disorder. Withdrawal from others is one of the signs of an eating disorder so the habit of sharing a meal with other people will counteract the withdrawal effects.
5. Meditate before you eat. When you are in a calm mood you have fewer chances of slipping into binge mode. A relaxed state of mind makes you aware of what you are doing during the meal and you will be able to control your behavior easier. Normally it takes up to 5-6 minutes of meditation before meal time to put you in a relaxed mindful state.
Practically, it is nearly impossible to get rid of bulimia or binge eating if you are not willing to develop new eating habits. Healthy eating habits will eventually replace the old unhealthy ones if you persist with them.
Normally it takes 3-5 weeks to develop a new habit. If you commit to eat slowly for 3-5 weeks, at the end of this period you should notice a difference. You should also feel that not succumbing to binging becomes easier for you to do and to eventually become the norm.
Measuring your result is essential and if you have even a small improvement, then that is great and you only need to continue. By slowing down your eating and enjoying the process of eating itself, you actually start to restore your feelings of being hungry and knowing when you are full. Most bulimics and binge eaters have lost their feelings of hunger and fullness or have a very abnormal sense of these, so they can’t really tell when they are full or satisfied when they eat: so can’t stop eating.
By restoring the feelings of hunger and fullness, people with bulimia and binge eating disorders are able to relate to food in much healthier and more normal way.
Dr Irina Webster
To conclude, eating slowly helps to prevent you binging your food. Eating slowly is a habit which you need to develop first and install it in your mind as your normal habit. Initially it may take a lot of will power to develop good eating habits and also a determination to get better. The more you try to follow these 5 steps and repeat them over and over again the easier it will become.
Eating disorders are caused by many factors. Very often it is the combination of a vulnerable individual plus certain environmental factors that can cause an eating disorder. By vulnerable individual, I mean a person who has a genetic predisposition to develop addictions. Eating disorder sufferers can inherit a gene which makes them vulnerable to being hooked on food or some other kind of substance.
This kind of gene does not cause an eating disorder by itself. Eating disorders can develop only if certain environmental factors also come into play. Environmental factors that can cause an eating disorder can be many and varied: pressure to be thin, family tensions, peer pressure, different sorts of abuse and other emotional problems. The family is one of the most important environmental factors for a child’s development and family problems can contribute to the development of an eating disorder in children also.
Here are the types of families where eating disorders appeared to be very common:
1 .The Overprotective family: Parents who are too involved in protecting their child. They protect her/him from experimenting and try to make all their child’s experiences trouble-free. Children then feel capped and limited in their ability to express them-self can have problems. The Child can start to seek their independence elsewhere, e.g. food which is easily available and can become a form of perceived control .
2.The Perfect family: This kind of family likes to be perfect in everything and anything they do. Anything other than perfection becomes taboo. Striving to achieve “perfection” in everything can be one of the reasons for developing an eating disorder in a child.
3.The Disengaged family: These families do not bond intimately with each other. Everyone seems to be on their own, no one stand up for the other. The child’s emotional needs are not met in families like this because everyone seems to not care. Parents in this type of family may have good careers and high status but they fail to form close intimate connections with their children, always stating they are to busy with work, etc.
4.The Chaotic family: These families have a lack of stability. Everything seems to change so fast and the change is constant and on going. Everyone does unexpected things constantly. In this case, children start seeking stability elsewhere. Food can became an available source for feelings of stability and to help them cope with the constant change within the family.
5.The Enmeshed family: These families are too much focused on itself. Everyone is so involved in the life of the other members of the family that children have difficulty separating their life from the lives of other family members. Children can experience self – identity problems and seek relief an eating disorder.
6. Marriage problems: Children intuitively love both parents. When parents experience marital problems like major disagreements, fights or affairs, children try to find a way to reunite them or if they fail to do that, they seek a way to escape from the family problems. Food often becomes a way to moderate their emotions and becomes a substitute for parental love.
7. The Child who is treated like an adult: This happens when parents have deep unresolved emotional trauma and they rely on the child for emotional support and maybe even more than that. They tell their children things a child cannot comprehend yet. They ask the child for advice and even force them to make decisions which the parents are unable to make for themselves. The child often takes the role of spouse for one or both parents. In this case, the child may use an eating disorder to stay small (stay a child).
8. Sexual abuse: In families with this problem a child tries to express her/his feelings of pain by manipulating their weight and food consumption. Sexually abused children often feel “disgusted” with themself and use binging-purging as a way of punishment. These children may even use self-harm like cutting as an escape. Children in this situation may seek things that seem contrary: punishment for the way they think they are and relief for the extreme tension they are under as a result of sexual abuse.
These are just some of the family problems that can contribute to an eating disorder developing in a child and there many more problems just like these not covered here. Basically anything that interferes with the child’s physical or psychological development can cause an eating disorder in the susceptible child.
The treatment for the eating disorder child should include specific family changes as well. Family changes include defining family members’ roles, communication styles and eliminating areas of control or neglect towards the child. When all the family members get involved in the treatment process the chances of the sufferer recovering increase significantly.
There has been a lot of discussion lately on the roll of parents causing eating disorders in their children, is this the case or not? It is very sensitive topic because it is painful for families to even think that they are a possible cause of their daughter/ son bulimia and/or anorexia.
I am a medical doctor and suffered anorexia and bulimia for over 15 years. Also I have been involved in the treatment of hundreds of eating disorder sufferers. Personally, I don’t know a family who wishes to foster eating disorders in their children. I would say that parents and the family do not cause eating disorders directly.
However, I know firsthand that the family atmosphere, parenting style and undiagnosed mental and emotional problems in parents contribute a lot to the development of eating disorders in their children.
There is a lot of research around about the roll of genetic predisposition in eating disorders. Yes, eating disorders do have a genetic component as well, but it is only the vulnerability to develop an eating disorder not the disease itself that people can inherit.
People can also inherit certain personality traits that make them vulnerable to developing eating disorders: like perfectionism, tendency towards anxiety and depression, competitiveness, impulsivity and extreme stubbornness. All these can make people vulnerable to developing eating disorders.
It is the environment that turns people’s vulnerability into the disease. The way people live their lives from their birth that can make genetic vulnerabilities become an illness.
The first and most important environment people have is their family. Often people with eating disorders describe how in their childhood they had a tense family environment where parents very strictly and controlling. Children in families like this don’t have much space to experiment and to be free. These types of parents don’t let their children find their own way in life, turning them into puppets that are forced to be followers and controlled by strict rules.
In families like this children turn to eating disorders as a way to control their lives the best they possible can and to find emotional escape in the space of their eating disorder.
The other type of families is the overprotective one. Their protective behaviour puts onto the child so many limitations that the child is likely to seek her/his freedom and escape in things like eating, non-eating and manipulating their own weight. These parents cannot let their children be different than what their mental image of them is or the way they think the child should be. They look at the child’s achievements only from the angle of their own desires and opinions.
Most of parents in these types of families still want only the best for their children and don’t even realize that what they are doing is bad for the child. Many parents have their own emotional issues to deal with, which are still unresolved and deeply rooted in their own childhood. Some parents maybe even have undiagnosed mental disorders like OCD or personality disorders. Because these disorders have never been diagnosed parents are not aware of them and continue to put enormous pressure on their children and other family members.
Many doctors and therapists consider that blaming parents for their children’s disorder is not a good idea, because parents may feel guilty and shameful for the way they are themselves. These feelings of guilt and shame can stop parents from helping the child to recover and parents may even refuse to participate in the child’s recovery program.
Nevertheless, it is proven now that if the family atmosphere remains the same a non- loving, demanding, restrictive and an overprotective one, the child has little chance of getting better.
The purpose of writing this article was not to put lots of blame onto parents, but just to warn the families of eating disorder sufferers that certain changes need to made in the family atmosphere if the family wants to help their loved one recover.
You can read about it at eating disorders books go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com
Celebrities with eating disorders.
Many celebrities suffer from eating disorders because of their work situation. Some occupations like actors, singers, models, sport people, dancers and other media people are traditionally expected to be slim or even skinny.
A person who goes for these careers may decide to pursue an extreme weight-loss program to fit the mould. Then it becomes the person’s habit and an eating disorder develops. For some celebrities eating disorders became a pseudo-fix for an emotional need or just an emotional coping strategy.
Paula Abdul: singer and dancer:
Paula Abdul (American Idol Judge) suffered from bulimia for many years. Her negative feelings about her own body image came to the fore as early as seven years old when she began dancing, but “it didn’t manifest itself into a full-blown eating disorder until I was in high school ” – she said. Today Paula Abdul is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Paula openly speaks out about her own past battles, in hopes of encouraging young women to take the scary, but necessary steps to seek help. “It is one of the toughest things to talk about, bar none, and it is one of the hardest disorders to deal with because it’s not black or white. Eating disorders really have nothing to do with food, it’s about feelings.”
Justine Bateman actor: considered herself “anorexic, a bulimic, and a compulsive overeater”. She said ‘‘If I’d just eaten I have to go throw up.”
Karen Carpenter singer: She was an anorexic and she died at age of 32 from heart failure as a result of her anorexia. She only weighed 80 pounds at time of death.
Nadia Comaneci gymnast: had bulimia for many years.
Susan Dey actor: had a form of orthorexia nervosa.
Leila Pahlavi Princess of Iran: suffered from anorexia nervosa, depression and low self-esteem. She was found dead in the hotel and was found to have a very high dose of prescription drugs in the body.
Ana Carolina Reston: Brazilian model, died from anorexia nervosa. At the time of her death Reston weighed just 40kg (88lbs) her height was 1.73m (5’8″), and she had been hospitalized before her death for kidney malfunction due to anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. She had a diet that consisting only of apples and tomatoes.
Diana, Princess of Wales: developed bulimia during her first few years of marriage. She spoke out publicly about her struggle with bulimia and self-injurious behaviour.
Jane Fonda: actor and activist, was one of the first famous women who discussed openly her battle with anorexia and bulimia.
Zina Garrison tennis player: While playing the best tennis of her life during the 1989-90 season, she was secretly suffering from the ravages of bulimia, an eating disorder marked by binge eating and purging.
Tracy Gold actor: She is also famous for her highly publicized battle with anorexia nervosa that almost killed her. She said that she was thinking about dieting from around the age of 7. Before the age of 10 years old she became preoccupied with the television movie The Best Little Girl In The World, starring actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, about an anorexic teenager.
Tracy also said that in an attempt to control her development into a woman, she started to control what she ate. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with the early stages of anorexia by her family doctor after a weight loss that accompanied a growth spurt. After some counseling she eventually returned to a more normal weight for most of her teenage years.
Heidi Guenther ballet dancer: She turned to an anorexic after she was told by the theatre that at 5’5” and 96 pounds she was “too chunky.” She died from anorexia at age of 22.
Christy Henrich gymnast: died from complication of anorexia at age of 22. She contracted her anorexia after she was told by a US judge that she needs to lose weight in order to make the Olympic team. After that her weight dropped significantly and she eventually died.
Kathy Johnson, gymnast: developed bulimia to cope with her University studies and trying to stay competitive in sport at the same time.
Gelsey Kirkland: ballet dancer, had anorexia. She recalled in her autobiography, “Dancing on My Grave,” that although she weighed less than 100 pounds at the time, Mr. Balanchine her coach was not satisfied. He stopped a class to inspect her body, thumped on the bones of her chest and said: “Must see the bones. Eat nothing.”
Lucy Lawless actor, Zena warrior princess, had bulimia for many years.
Anne Sexton: American poet, who was sexually abused in childhood and committed suicide at the age of 46, suffered from anorexia and depression.
Gilda Radner: actor/comic, was fat when she was a child and as a teenager she developed anorexia and bulimia.
Cathy Rigby: gymnast had anorexia and bulimia . She said: “We didn’t know very much about nutrition. Neither did the coaches,” Cathy said, recalling how her eating disorder started.
Joan Rivers: comic, had both eating disorders – anorexia and bulimia.
Ally Sheedy: actor and dancer. She became anorexic and bulimic as an adult. She was also addicted to pain killer medications.
Victoria Beckham: Posh Spice from the Spice Girls – denied anorexia for a long time, but eventually admitted her problem in her book, Learning to Fly. Her weight continues to be low.
Kate Beckinsale: British actress. She has been open about her anorexia before pursuing her career. She doesn’t like being asked regarding her problems. She said: “People keep asking me about it but I don’t want to be famous for being a former anorexic”.
Melanie Chisholm: singer, former Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls suffered anorexia and bulimia since her teens. She was reported to have food restriction, frequent over-exercising, amenorrhea (stopped period) and frequent purging episodes. She said about herself: “I went to the gym and trained constantly. I wasn’t eating properly. I wanted to get as perfect as I could, know perfection is impossible, and that got me very sick.”
Kate Dillon: Plus size model. She admitted having an eating disorder “Starving myself was how I dealt with wanting to be perfect. I desperately wanted to fulfil what I believed to be the socially accepted size and presence.”
Elisa Donovan: actress. She admitted to being a “hard-core anorexic” between 1993 and 1995 and her weight dropped to 90 pounds. She contributed her story to the book Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul regarding her battles with anorexia. She began to turn her life around when her eating disorder caused her to have a mild heart attack.
Calista Flockhart: Actress denied having an eating disorder for a long time, but later came forward to admit that she had. The actress’s weight is still low.
Anna Freud: Sigmund Freud’s daughter suffered from depression which led to an eating disorder.
Geri Halliwell: singer, former Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls suffered from bulimia. Couldn’t admit it for a long time but finally did.
Mariel Hemingway: actress. She described her childhood as one of survival in a loving, yet dysfunctional family. Hemingway believes she has inherited an addictive personality and therefore, has always stayed away from alcohol and drugs, and even today does not eat any sugar because of its addictive qualities.
Audrey Hepburn: actress. She had anorexia and depression.
Felicity Huffman: actress, (Desperate Housewives). She suffered from both anorexia and bulimia from her teens until her middle twenties. She sought help with the support of her family at age 22.
Janet Jackson: Singer. A family friend once said about Janet, “She’ll go months of eating whatever she can get her hands on, and then she’ll go months eating just salads and fruits and drinking Evian water. She’s had this feast-or-famine eating disorder for years and has gotten up to 200 pounds or more at times.”
Elton John: Singer/Composer suffered from bulimia and even spoke publicly about his bulimia. “I would gorge myself, and then deliberately make myself sick. For breakfast I’d have an enormous fry-up, followed by 20 pots of cockles (shellfish) and then a tub of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice-cream. . . . If I was eating a curry, I couldn’t wait to throw it up so that I could have the next one.”
Daniel Johns: Australian rocker star Daniel Johns from the band Silverchair spoke out about his history of anorexia and depression, which nearly led him to suicide in his teenage years.
Wynonna Judd: country singer and songwriter. She said about her disorder “It was consuming a lot of my life. I mean I felt like — I mean food to me is what alcohol is to the alcoholic and the struggles up and down. You know the business. One minute you’re number one. The next minute you’re number zero. And I had just been using food for every emotion I had. If I was joyful, we’d go out to eat. You know how it is when you have kids. It’s all about snacks and food and carrying it with me on the road. And, I just — it became too much, so I did something about it.”
Franz Kafka: poet wrote the short story “The Hunger Artist” Suffered from anorexia, depression and social anxiety.
Maureen McCormick: actress (The Brady Bunch) had bulimia as an adolescent.
Mary McDonough: actress, (The Waltons), suffered from bulimia.
Katherine McPhee: singer, suffered from bulimia. She finally achieved a healthy relationship with food.
Mary-Kate Olsen: actress, ‘The Olsen Twins’ became anorexic in her early teen . Eventually she checked into an eating disorders treatment centre for the treatment of anorexia. Her body weight remains low.
Sharon Osbourne: (married to Ozzy Osbourne) Suffered from an ED.
Alanis Morissette: Canadian singer also a sufferer.
Carre Otis: Top fashion model and actress suffered from an ED.
Catherine Oxenberg: Actress, ‘The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana’ Also a sufferer.
Alexandra Paul: Actress: ED sufferer.
Syliva Plath: Poet and author long time sufferer.
Scarlett Pomers: ‘Reba’ actress also a sufferer.
Jaime Pressly: Actress from NBC’s hit My Name Is Earl an ED sufferer.
Tara Reid: American Pie actress ED sufferer.
Christina Ricci: Actress also an ED sufferer.
Cathy Rigby gymnast, was the first American woman to win a gold medal in a World Gymnastics Competition, which she did at the 1968 Summer Olympics. She reports that most of the USA national team suffered from eating disorders, without the official label. She said: “We didn’t know very much about nutrition. Neither did the coaches”.Cathy got help for her eating disorder in the 1980′s, and now travels the country speaking about her experiences, in the hopes of helping someone else.
Portia de Rossi: Former ‘Ally McBeal’ actress She struggled with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa for four years while filming Ally McBeal, at one point weighing as little as 82 pounds.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: actress, The Sopranos. She suffered from bulimia.
Richard Simmons: Fitness and diet guru suffered from an eating disorder (binge eating) for a long time.
Yeardley Smith: Actress, the voice of Lisa Simpson on “The Simpsons) She said: “I started dieting when I was nine and by the age of 14, I was completely weight and body obsessed. A friend of mine told me that if you eat and vomit you won’t gain any weight, when I was 14. I did not take to vomiting easily or quickly. But I was determined to be as thin as I could, and I never did really get very thin.
Courtney Thorne-Smith: Former ‘Ally Mc Beal’ actress. She had anorexia. When she has gained back about 10 or 15 pounds she said: “I’ve been getting so many more compliments on my strong, fit, healthy body than I did when I was skinny,” she says.
Meredith Vieira: Former ‘The View’ co-host said: “I had an eating disorder then, and I have one now in the sense that I never really developed a healthy relationship with food,” Vieira says. “I’m always fearful. I’m not a yo-yo dieter. I don’t go up and down 20 or 30 pounds. But I had a problem with body image, and I didn’t want my kids to have that.”
Peta Wilson: actress and model, she suffered from anorexia and bulimia.
Oprah Winfrey: The most influential person on TV. She was raped at a very young age and then repeatedly sexually abused. As a result she developed a binge eating disorder. “It’s always a struggle. I’ve felt safer and more protected when I was heavy. Food has always been comforting.”
Kate Winslet: British actress “Titanic”. She had eating disorder problems in her teens. Now she considers herself completely free from her ED. Now she says about herself: “I’m happy with the way I am now. I’m not like American film stars. I’m naturally curvy. This is me, like it or lump it.”
Cynthia French: singer, songwriter and publisher. “The main reason for this sense of frustration was the fact that I dealt with anorexia and bulimia for most of my teens and adulthood. This was a huge part of my life, and the diseases prevented me from fulfilling my potential and kept me in a virtual prison for many, many years.
Through a miracle, I overcame the eating disorders and now have a desired to somehow share my story with others who have lived (or are living) in the nightmare I’d been in.”
Britney Spears, Singer has suffered bulimia after being criticised for her weight.
Nicole Richie suffers anorexia, bulimia and substance abuse.
Paris Hilton. It is believed that she is a bulimic after her cell phone and all of its information was stolen and publicized.
The Barbi Twins developed bulimia, which they have since overcome. Their book, Dying To Be Healthy: A Breakthrough Diet, Nutrition and Self Help Guide (1999), tells the story of their struggles with eating disorders. A portion of the book’s profits benefit organizations that strive to combat eating disorders.
As you can see, eating disorders take their toll on very famous and talented people. Their anorexic/bulimic behaviour has forced many of them to be hospitalized. Some of them died from the consequences of their eating disorders.
Looking at their history, you can see what most of them have in common: most of them had some sort of predisposition to ED and common triggers to develop the disease.
Many of these celebrities have a genetic predisposition to ED – a few of them have relatives with different forms of obsessive-compulsive behaviours including relatives with eating disorders. And they all had an emotional factor in common that was a pressure to be slim and beautiful and dissatisfaction with their bodies.