I offer a variety of ways to teach professionals how to effectively help clients with eating and weight problems through:
As therapists, we are trained to explore the emotional issues that can trigger overeating. However, for our clients struggling with compulsive eating and Binge Eating Disorder (BED), we must also be able to teach them how to develop a normal relationship with food that ends the deprivation of dieting, honors physiological cues for hunger and satiation, and fosters a nurturing relationship with food, their bodies and themselves.
This approach is known as attuned eating or intuitive eating. Attuned eating is the antidote to dieting, restrictive eating, and overeating.
Attuned eating allows clients to develop a reliable and consistent way to feed themselves as they work toward ending the following eating problems
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is currently a subtype under Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in the DSM-IV. (When the DSM is revised, BED is expected to be listed as a discrete eating disorder.)
Recurrent episodes of binge eating, characterized by:
- eating within a discreet time period an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat
- a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode
The binge eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
- eating much more rapidly than normal
- eating until feeling uncomfortably full
- eating large amount of food when not physically hungry
- eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
- feeling disgusted, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
- Marked distress regarding binge eating.
The binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months.
Binge eating does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia or bulimia nervosa.
Compulsive Eating refers to people who repeatedly reach for food when not physically hungry, but do not meet the criteria of BED. People who eat compulsively may also diet frequently in order to lose weight. This can lead to a pattern known as the diet/binge cycle or yo-yo dieting. Compulsive eating is not an eating disorder per se, but instead, can be considered as disordered eating.
Because these disordered eating patterns are so common in our culture, they are often viewed as normative. Examples of disordered eating can include:
- Skipping meals
- Feeling guilty after eating
- Restricting foods
- Dividing foods into categories of “good” and “bad”
- Over exercising to compensate for eating
Health professionals, including therapists, are not immune from cultural messages about food, weight and dieting. They may also struggle in their own relationship with food and their bodies and/or base their understanding of food and weight issues on popular wisdom rather than scientific research. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to explore their own attitudes and beliefs toward food and weight, and to understand the latest research on dieting, weight and health.