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Common Binge Eating Myths

In my previous training and experience working with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) I saw many clients coming into treatment holding dear to misconceptions and myths that were keeping them stuck. These myths were problematic because it focused on the client being the problem instead of the eating disorder.

Think about it- if you are trying to solve a problem, does it help to focus on your perceived shortcomings or focus on the problem itself? If you guessed that latter, you are correct! Let's take a closer look at these common myths:

MYTH: "I just need to have more willpower"

FACT: This is the most common myth I hear from clients. Willpower assumes that you aren't trying hard enough, which only increases feelings of guilt and shame. It takes the power away from you by putting all of the emphasis on "motivation" or "trying harder" and doesn't address your eating disorder. Most people don't take into account that binge eating is multifaceted due to behavior, dietary, medical and genetic components. Treatment involving behavior modification, mental health counseling and consulting your medical team is most effective.

MYTH: "I must not have an eating disorder because I don't look like I do"

FACT: Eating disorders look differently with each individual client. How someone looks or presents is not an accurate measure for an eating disorder. BED does not discriminate and impacts people of all ages, races, education levels and socioeconomic status. Additionally, BED effects people of different weights and body types.

MYTH: "I just need to lose weight, then I'll be fine"

FACT: BED and obesity may overlap, but it's not accurate to equate BED with weight issues. Many clients who struggle with obesity do not meet criteria for an eating disorder.

MYTH: "I just haven't found the right diet"

FACT: Diets aren't as effective as the multi-million dollar dieting industry would like you to think (more on this in a later blog post). Many clients with BED will cut out whole food groups, skip meals or restrict calories. This approach only serves to fuel your eating disorder and often wrecks havoc with any co-occuring medical conditions you may have.

MYTH: "BED can't hurt me as much as other eating disorders can"

FACT: BED puts clients at risk for many medical complications. Medical conditions associated with BED are: diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure & cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver, sleep apnea, heart disease, depression, anxiety, joint & muscle pain and gastrointestinal issues.

Questions? Concerns? Schedule an appointment today!

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