Monday, September 26, 2016

Binge Eating Disorder Help & Hope

1132376_sunrise_1-9-09The title of my post today is a bit redundant.  Help is hope for people who struggle with binge eating disorder, and hope is help, too.   I can get caught up in the semantics of things very easily but this time, I think it’s worth it.  😉

What I really want to talk about is the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) and its conference that took place the first week of March.  I see at least two other posts here this week on the conference, and it’s easy to understand why we are all so excited about it.  It was such a gathering of researchers, therapists, dietitians and nutritionists, as well as people who struggle with the disorder.  And yes, sometimes someone who struggles with the disorder also fits into the previous categories.  Many times those of us who work in this field go into it to help ourselves.  As we learn, our personal experience informs our practices, allowing us to see from different perspectives what the disorder is about and how we can help.

I struggled with BED many, many years ago, and it has helped me so much over the years in the work that I do.  It’s odd to have a measure of appreciation for what was a deep struggle for me, but I know I am not alone in this.  It’s like finding the silver lining.  It certainly put me on a career path that has been so fulfilling, so meaningful.  It’s really part of the appreciation for binge eating itself that is a part of healing — understanding that the eating is actually trying to help us.  But that’s fodder for another post.

So what can you take away from my post today that might help you?  First, it’s knowing that an organization like BEDA actually exists.  I’m on the board of BEDA so I have good insight into the organization’s plans, and they are big on providing help and hope — educating researchers and clinicians on the ethical and effective treatment of BED as well as providing a wealth of resources for those struggling with the disorder.

We’re getting ready to launch a new website that will take us further in doing that.  We’re also partnering with NORMAL to produce a documentary about BED and weight stigma — an issue that is at the core of the disorder for so many people.  NORMAL’s own Robyn Hussa Farrell is producing the film; it’s title is Beneath the Floorboards, and the short preview I saw of it tells me it is going to be powerful.  And offer a lot of hope.  We’re also looking at our third national Weight Stigma Awareness Week coming up in September.  That’s only a few of the things.

To accomplish our goals, though, we need you.  I’ll be letting you know more as plans become more concrete, but right now, you can help by spreading the word about BED as well as BEDA.  It is a disorder that is finally getting its well-deserved recognition by being officially designated as an eating disorder in the soon-to-be released update of the DSM — the manual that provides diagnostic criteria for health professionals and is a cornerstone in the ability to get insurance coverage for treatment.  Over 9 million people are known to suffer with the problem, but I believe that’s underestimated.  Many don’t even know they struggle with the disorder, and many health professionals don’t even know the disorder really exists…or how to treat it.  BEDA is here to change that picture.  Because you can recover if you get the help you need, which provides needed hope, which provides help…there I go again.

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD, is the owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a pioneering healthy weight retreat for women, where they have been working for 40 years now with women who binge eat.  Marsha has had the privilege of sitting on the board of the Binge Eating Disorder Association for the last three years.

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