Posts Tagged ‘Eating Disorders’

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Woman looking sad

Binge eating disorder is just as serious, just as real, and just as dangerous as anorexia and bulimia. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States. About 3.5% of women and 2% of men have it. The disorder can occur in anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or other demographic categorization.

This is an important point to highlight because while many people have some knowledge of anorexia and bulimia, they often pause when we talk about binge eating disorder (BED). The conversation that follows can highlight common misconceptions about binge eating disorder, which may also shine a light on why sometimes people don’t think it’s a big deal. “Oh, I must have that. I binge eat when I get stressed out during [insert occasional situation here].” “When I watch TV I zone out and eat.” “Every holiday I end up overeating.” But there is a difference. Let’s talk about what binge eating disorder is and is not, how it’s caused, and why it’s important to get treated.

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How Do I Develop a Positive Body Image?

person using smartphone

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses, caused by a combination of environmental, biological, and psychological factors. While our environment is only a part of the equation, it is important to look at the ways it does contribute, and what we can do to change it.

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Eating Disorders in Older Adults

Woman standing on a bridge

There are many stereotypes that feed into society’s perception of the type of people afflicted by eating disorders. If we could, those of us at The Emily Program would scream it from the rooftops: Eating disorders do not discriminate! A person’s sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and culture don’t matter when it comes to disordered thinking about food! In this post, we focus on age and the similarities and differences of eating disorders in older adults compared to young and middle-aged adults. We will also cover the importance of seeking help, no matter a person’s life stage.

Setting the record straight on eating disorders and age

Many people think eating disorders only affect young or middle-aged adults and that beyond those years, the disorders disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Eating disorders do primarily affect younger populations, and they often manifest in younger adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), it is true that eating disorders appear in early adulthood: the median age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18, while the median age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is 21. However, if one of those eating disorders—or any disordered eating—goes untreated early on, that simply means that those with the eating disorder will likely continue to suffer into late adulthood. In other words, if an older adult is suffering from an eating disorder, that person has been plagued with the symptoms for decades. Adding to that heartbreak, because these adults have suffered for so long, it’s less likely that they will seek help during their golden years.

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Five Ways to Beat the Binge/Purge Urge

thoughtful woman

For those struggling with bulimia, the desire to binge and purge can be overwhelming. If you are struck with the urge to binge and purge, stay strong and look for ways to cope that don’t involve eating disorder behaviors.

Take time

Clinical evidence shows the longer you can separate the action of purging from the impulse to do so, the more likely it is that the urge will lessen. By taking a break and engaging in a mindful activity for 5-10 minutes, you can work to ease the intensity of your feelings. You could do laundry, go for a relaxing walk, work in the garden, take a long shower, or any other activity that provides a distraction.

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Surfacing from an Eating Disorder’s Depths

surface of water

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

Lisa Whalen, a former Emily Program client, teaches writing and literature at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Her writing has appeared in a variety of literary journals and edited collections, including An Introvert in an Extrovert World, The Simpsons in the Classroom, Adanna, and Writing on the Edge. She is currently submitting her book, Taking the Reins: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, for publication. Learn more on her website, or follow her @LisaIrishWhalen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

My computer’s cursor hovered over an icon labeled “publish.” One tap of my finger on the mouse would broadcast a secret I’d kept for years. Would I follow through this time?

My finger had frozen a few times prior to that afternoon in July 2018, when fear prevented me from initiating the click that would make my website go live. During the preceding weeks I had enjoyed the challenge of learning new software and the creativity of designing a website to help launch my writing career. Maybe I had enjoyed it too much. Once the site’s content was set, I kept playing with layout and links, feeling free to experiment as long as the site remained offline.

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Navigating Campus with an Eating Disorder

School campus

College can be a particularity triggering time when you’re living with an eating disorder, and navigating school with the illness can be incredibly challenging. With school comes freedom, new experiences, homework, stress, group meals, and more. All of these can cause additional strain on recovery, which is why it’s important to be mindful of your recovery. Despite these challenges, there are certain things you can do to prevent relapse and encourage recovery.

How to Successfully Navigate Campus in Recovery

Start Treatment

Living with an untreated eating disorder is extremely dangerous and stressful. Unfortunately, if left untreated, the illnesses often progress over time. Due to their worsening nature, it’s essential to get eating disorder treatment as soon as possible. We know that starting treatment, especially in the midst of school, is extremely challenging. However, some eating disorder treatment centers are able to provide a treatment plan to fit into your life. If you are concerned about the time commitment, know that treatment centers like The Emily Program can work with your schedule to ensure you get the care you deserve. By starting treatment, you can ensure a successful school year where you can focus on school instead of food, body, or image. 

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