Archive for the 'Eating Disorders' Category

Emotional Binge Eating

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Eating Disorders

Emotional eating is a condition which millions of people suffer from and which can drastically affect your life for the worse. In this article I want to share some tips on how to better cope with emotional binge eating so you can make progress and finally overcome this issue in your life.
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So, how do you begin to cope with this problem?

1. You have to be positive – A lot of people with emotional eating issues simply give up. They may have read some books on the topic or tried one or two techniques. When that didn’t work (most likely because what they tried was useless) they began to view themselves as failures, as if they will never be able to overcome emotional eating.

If you feel that way, you’re only making yourself feel worse and making it harder and harder on yourself to avoid overeating. You need to have faith that you will find a solution and you will.

2. Take baby steps – Don’t try to stop overeating in one huge step. Take smaller steps that will get you to that goal gradually. For instance, focus all your will power on not overeating one specific food for 2-3 weeks and don’t worry about others. This will help you create a new habit of not-overeating on that food. Then, turn your will power to create a new habit such as not eating after a certain hour of night. Do this and you will slowly get more control over what you eat and when.

3. Get accountability – Right now you may feel like you’re disappointing yourself. I want you to also start worrying about disappointing other people as well. I want you to find just one person you can trust and share what you’re going through. Make that person your “accountability agent” by promising to share with them whenever you overeat. Being able to share will have you cope with overeating and not wanting to disappoint this person will give you extra strength to be able to resist your cravings.

4. Start your day in a healthy way by having a good, solid breakfast with nutritious, non-fattening foods and a little bit of exercise. This will set you in the right mindset and you won’t want to “ruin” your day, so to speak by overeating.

Use these tips to help you deal with emotional eating better and you will see tremendous improvement.

Compulsive over eating

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Eating Disorders

Ever wonder why you can’t seem to stop eating those delicious, saturated fat laden foods? Why you’re still hungry after a weekend indulgence on Monday morning? And What causes compulsive over eating?

Well, new research appearing in the September 2009 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation may have uncovered the answer.

It appears that molecules of certain kinds of fat can actually travel to your brain, which tells your body to ignore built in “stop eating” signals and just keep right on eating.

“Normally, our body is primed to say when we’ve had enough to eat, but that doesn’t always happen when we’re eating something good”,

explains study senior author Deborah Clegg, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern.

Recognizing that the brain might be involved since it incorporates some of the fat (good and bad) that we eat into its structure, the team wanted to isolate the effects of fat on signals in the brain that might be related to how much we eat.

The fatty acid that appeared to cause the most trouble was palmitic acid, one of the most common saturated fatty acids, found in both dairy (butter, cheese, milk) and beef products. The fats in olive oil were given a clean bill of health by the study.

Researchers tested their idea by exposing subject rats and mice to fats in different ways – injecting some types of fat into the brain, infusing fat through the carotid artery or feeding the animals through a stomach tube.

All the animals got the same amount of calories and fat – only the type of fat (palmitic acid, monounsaturated fatty acid and oleic acid) was different.

The work reveals that brain chemistry can be changed in a very short period of time. What happens when you indulge in a fat-laden but delicious treat is that your brain gets hit with the fatty acids, making your body resistant to both insulin and leptin (chemicals that tell you to stop eating) and encouraging you to continue to indulge.

This mechanism can even be triggered in the brains of those without any current sign of obesity. What’s more, the effect appeared to last a full three days after the subjects ate the fatty food.

Bad news if you’re trying to get back on track with a healthy eating plan after slipping up a bit. These findings might also explain why those who overeat on a Friday or Saturday night out are still feeling hungrier (and likely taking in more calories) on Monday.

Even though the research was conducted using rodents, the results reinforce what nutritionists have been saying for some time – limit the number of saturated fats you consume. Dr Clegg points out, “The action was very specific to palmitic acid, which is very high in foods that are rich in saturated fat.”

The findings of this first-of-its-kind research might also have implications for diabetes patients. While science has known for a long time that a high-fat diet can cause insulin resistance, until now no one has understood the precise mechanism at work, or whether some types of fats are more dangerous than others.

Follow up studies by this team will likely investigate how long it takes to reverse the effects of exposure to all those bad-for-you-fats.

And with obesity rates rising steadily, and the selection of saturated fat laden foods more plentiful than ever before, work like this can’t come soon enough to educate people in their dietary choices and reduce the amount of compulsive over eating.


Thursday, March 11th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Eating Disorders

The adage “everything in moderation” maintains its wisdom these days, even when looking at supposedly “healthy” behavior. While healthy eating is important, if not essential, for cardiac health, vitality and overall well-being, when one becomes obsessively focused on only eating a narrow band of initially “healthy foods“, one can suffer from a new member of the eating disorder family, orthorexia.

Orthorexia, a term coined in 1997 by Colorado physician Steven Bratman, has its origins in two Greek words, orthos, meaning “correct of right” and orexis, meaning “appetite”. An orthorexia suffer may initially have “health-minded” goals in their eating plans, but may take these goals to an extreme, to the point their diet is so restricted or severe, malnutrition can result.

I remember, in college, one of my classmates was obsessed with eating carrots and carrot juice. While a healthy food, when eaten in mass quantity, carrots turn your skin orange and can make you sick. My classmate became more and more orange, and started to feel ill. It was an earth-shattering revelation for her to discover that you CAN get too much of a “good thing”.

Raw food eating can become a breeding ground for orthorexia as well. When taken to the extreme, it can become a kind of anorexia, where the individual becomes emaciated and denies themselves the nutrition their body truly needs in pursuit of a rigid principle.

Likewise, avoiding food preservatives and additives is important in healthy eating, however, when one’s definition of products that are “pure and healthy” (in contrast to industrial products and processed foods, which can be considered artificial and unhealthy), becomes too extreme, one’s health can start to decline.

While the anorexic wants to be thin, and compulsively works to lose weight beyond what is tolerable for their well-being, the orthorexic wants to feel pure and natural to the point they lose sight of what is actually healthy.

Sadly, eating issues in one generation may translate into eating issues for another generation. A woman I know whose thoughts and habits are at least borderline orthorexic, is the mother of a young teenage daughter who has become anorexic. In some ways, the teenage daughter is in a power struggle for perfection with her mother. Since her mother is so focused on being healthy and pure, the daughter needed to find a trump card. Anorexia became her point of power.

Finding a way to a healthy middle ground is an emotional, spiritual and educational journey in a culture that too easily swings between extremes. With eating, the healthy middle ground is truly a balance point worth defining!