World Eating Disorders Action Day

Dear World,

Are we clued up with what Eating Disorders are?

Does anyone know about this World Day?

Do we know what it means for us on the street?

Do we know anyone who has an Eating Disorder?

Do we fit the categories mentioned but don’t yet know it?

WHY are most of us not aware of how serious this illness is?

What is the official website telling us?

World Eating Disorders Action Day is a grassroots movement designed for and by people affected by an eating disorder, their families and the medical and health professionals who support them. Uniting activists across the globe, the aim is to expand global awareness of eating disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone.
2017 is the second annual World Eating Disorders Day.

Key Messages

Advocating for early intervention and evidence-based treatment.
Parents/Families as key players in their children’s/loved one’s treatment and recovery.
Increased diversity in research, narratives, media and professionals working in the field.
Break down barriers to care including among underserved populations.
Promoting that eating disorders are treatable at all ages/stages. (1)

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are defined as a distorted pattern of thinking about food and size/weight.

The pressures of work and social commitments often result in people picking up a snack while they are ‘on the go’. It is therefore hard in modern day society to define ‘normal’ eating.

Cultural ideas of perfection, which are heavily influenced through the media, can result in people feeling the need to be thinner, and increase their risk of developing an eating disorder.

Biological and genetic factors are also thought to further affect a person’s risk of developing certain types of eating disorders. It is more likely to be a combination of many factors, events, feelings or pressures that lead to the sufferer feeling unable to cope, resulting in the maladaptive coping mechanism. Examples of such factors include –

Low self-esteem
Lack of confidence
Trouble with friends
Problematic family relationships
Death of someone special
Difficulties at work, college or university
Sexual or emotional abuse (2)

People with eating disorders use food as a way of externally expressing their internal emotional pain; as a coping mechanism for this pain, which they cannot express in any other way. People with eating disorders tend to focus on what they look like, rather than who they are as a person.

Often people with eating disorders say that the eating disorder is the only way they feel they can stay in control of their lives but, as time goes on, it becomes evident that the eating disorder itself is controlling them.

It is common amongst those with eating disorders to experience feelings of despair and shame.

They may also identify with feelings of failure or lack of control, due to an inability to overcome these feelings about food alone.

Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders do not only affect women.
Despite the figures being significantly lower, men can also suffer with anorexia, bulimia and compulsive or binge eating. (2)

Eating Disorders and Men

The incidence of eating disorders is on the rise among men, with some estimates suggesting that men now account for one in four cases.
Poor recognition of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders in men is likely to mean that the true prevalence may be higher.
Study published in British Medical Journal Open (3)

The men said it was only reaching a crisis point of being admitted as an emergency that triggered the realisation of what was happening to them.
Their experiences of the health system were mixed with long waiting times and sometimes being misdiagnosed, or as in one case, told by a doctor “to man up”.

Men with eating disorders are under diagnosed, under treated and under researched.
Our findings suggest that men may experience particular problems in recognising that they may have an eating disorder as a result of the continuing cultural construction of eating disorders as uniquely or predominantly a female problem. (4)

Haines who was once obese was hospitalised after losing 45 kilos.

Like many who have an eating disorder, Haines had restricted his caloric intake, exercised excessively and obsessed over his physique. He was irritable, constantly cold and doubled over with stomach pains after eating.

His dramatic weight loss was overlooked because he never dropped to what the body mass index charts indicate as ‘underweight’. For more than a year the clinicians did not think anything was wrong. (5)

So how wrong was that and can we blame our clinicians?

If we are being honest, would it be fair to say that they cannot keep up with what is going on?

Could it be possible our human body is showing so many symptoms and their training cannot simply keep up with everything?

What if we applied some real common sense here?

If someone feels constantly cold and in severe pain after eating, then do we need to dig deep and ask questions like –

What is the actual food that is being consumed?

What is the quality of the food in terms of real nutrition?

What is the time the food is being eaten?

What is the person’s relationship with food?

What if the past obesity issue is still not truly healed.
In other words, the root cause and their relationship with food has not been addressed?

Next –

What if the obsessive exercise was doing more harm than good?

What if we need to address all areas – in other words the whole being and not just one part?

An eating disorder is an illness that permeates all aspects of the sufferer’s life.
It is a serious health condition that can be both physically and emotionally destructive.
It can affect our relationships leading to social withdrawal.

Eating Disorders: Causes

It is difficult to specify a single cause for the development of an eating disorder; instead it is believed to be a combination of biological, genetic, psychological and social factors. (2)

Psychological

Tendency to be ‘perfectionists
Expecting the very best of themselves
Failure resulting in feelings of shame
Belief things are good or bad – no middle ground

Eating Disorders in Academia

UK and Swedish researchers found more eating disorders occur in those schools with higher proportions of female students and those where parents are university educated.

For a long time clinicians in the field have noted that they seem to see more young people with eating disorders from some schools than others, but this is the first empirical evidence that this is the case.
Dr Helen Bould – Lead Researcher, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry (6)

The Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA) cites the following statistics on college student eating disorders:

15% females aged 17 to 24 have eating disorders.

20% college students said they have or previously had an eating disorder.
91% female college students have attempted to control weight with dieting. (7)

Biological

Family history of eating disorders

Further research suggests levels of serotonin (5HT2A receptor) in the brain can also contribute to the development of eating disorders, as those with high levels of this chemical are less likely to crave food.

Social

Family and Friends
Media presenting thin as normal
Magazines depicting celebrities as role models

Pressure from the above contributes towards the development of eating disorders.
These ‘role models’ do nothing to promote healthy eating. (2)

Modelling

6 May 2017

New law in France banning the use of unhealthy thin fashion models has come into effect.

Models will need to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in relation to height.

The health ministry says the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty.

Digitally altered photos will also have to be labelled from 1 October 2017.

Employers breaking the law could face fines up to 75,000 Euros / $82,000 US dollars.

Italy, Spain and Israel already have legislation on underweight models. (8)

Clean Eating

This news story is saying there can be a fine line between a so called ‘healthy eating obsession’ and an ‘eating disorder’.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/clean-eating-disorder-warning-signs-health-diet-trend-a7380901.html

An unhealthy obsession with cleaning up our diet is known as orthorexia nervosa, which means a “fixation on righteous eating”.

There is a risk of malnutrition by being too strict with your diet and stripping out nutrients.
Dr. Bryony Bamford – London Centre for Eating Disorders and Body Image

Social Media

Social media is increasing among young adults according to researchers at London University.
It has been shown to have negative effects on body image, depression, social comparison and disordered eating.

Higher use of photo sharing apps was associated with greater tendency towards orthorexia.
No other social media channel was having this effect.

Web giants have been branded “morally bankrupt” for hosting thousands of images showing youngsters how to starve themselves and self-harm.
The posts glamorise eating disorders with pictures of dangerous skeletal bodies and carry a series of practical tips on how to stave off hunger on the ’no food diet’.

It is vital to recognise the huge danger created by any site or social media trend that promotes or glamorises self-harm, suicide or eating disorders.
These are incredibly serious problems. (9)
Stephen Buckley – Mind Mental Health Charity

Further social pressures also come from a person’s occupation.
Jockeys and dancers are encouraged to keep low body weight as this can ‘enhance performance’.

Female Athlete Triad is a common and serious disorder that affects young female athletes and dancers. This includes:

Eating Disorders including Anorexia
Amenorrhea (absence or irregular periods)
Osteoporosis (bone loss, which is related to low weight) (10)

Horse racing

Jockeys – often adolescent boys and adult men will engage in very restrictive diets and extreme behaviours in order to meet strict and specific weight requirements.

Some of the unhealthy behaviours include self-induced vomiting, abusing laxatives and diuretics to lose water weight, using saunas and hot baths, skipping meals or avoiding food and taking pills.

Weight requirements for horse jockeys range from 112 – 126 lbs (52 – 57 kg).

Australia

75% routinely skipping meals
81% restricted food intake in the 24 hours prior to racing
29% sauna induced sweating
22% diuretics to aid weight loss prior to racing (11)

What percentage of jockeys have an eating disorder is not known, presumably due to the stigma associated with eating disorders and likely fear that confessing problems may lead to an end in their careers.

The impact of extreme weight loss practices on riding performance remains elusive as well.

Other sports – like wrestling and boxing also have specific weight requirements that tend to promote risky eating behaviours. (11)

Eating Disorders can become chronic, debilitating, and even life-threatening conditions.

Eating Disorders: Complications

There are a large number of side effects and complications associated with eating disorders.

Common Symptoms of Eating Disorders include:

Obsession with weight
Obsession with the calorie and fat content of food
Dramatic change in weight within a short period of time
Hiding food
Feelings of anxiousness, loneliness or depression
Obsession with food and body image
Loss of sexual desire
Low self-esteem or lack of confidence
Fear of eating around others
Mood swings
Feeling tired
Insomnia or poor sleeping habits
Unusual food rituals or eating secretly (2)

Cutting food into small pieces
Hoarding food
Disappearing after eating
Large quantities of food disappearing in short periods of time – common with binge-eating
Hiding wrappers/containers underneath bed, out of shame of what they have been doing (12)

Circulation and Digestion

People with eating disorders can suffer from poor circulation of blood around the body as a result of lowered blood pressure.

When the body is starved it slows everything down to conserve the limited energy that is available. The heart would beat more slowly to protect its weakened muscle. As a result, blood pressure drops and circulation of blood to extremities is poor.

This can cause loss of sensation in fingers, numb arms and legs. (13)

This link gives us some real life stories of the effects –

http://www.healthtalk.org/young-peoples-experiences/eating-disorders/physical-symptoms

Black lips
Permanently “freezing”
Fingers turning blue
Wearing thick coat whole summer
Repeated baths to keep warm
Unable to sense water temperature, so burning themselves
Blood vessels shrunk, so difficult to get blood samples
Passing urine 5 times each night due to bladder muscle loss
Under pressure to hold head up as back losing muscle
Headaches due to neck unable to hold head up well
Bruising over body on waking

Eating Disorders and Thought Patterns

Negative Thought Patterns

This youth health talk organisation state that many people are taken over by constant negative thoughts, particularly about themselves.

Some referred to this as “eating disorder voice” – a super critical, relentless and intrusive voice.
They said the voice makes them feel low and ‘not good enough’ pushing them to restrict (severely limit eating), binge (eat excessively) or purge (rid the body of food).

A few people commented that they felt like the voice belonged to a different person, compelling them to behave in harmful ways. (14)

It is like having somebody in your head telling you that everything you do is wrong, like you cannot please it no matter what you do. If you go for a walk, you have not walked far enough.
If you eat a lettuce leaf you still should have not had it. – Eva

The voice was “shouting and calling me a disgrace.” – Andrew

I had a constant screaming voice in my head.
It was exhausting to have conversations as the voice was so loud. – Maria aged 18 (14)

If we are being honest here –

How many of us have this negative voice in our head most of the time?
How many of us hate the sound of this ugly voice that tells us what to do?
How many of us listen to this voice and carry out what it says to us?
How many of us can relate to things in our mind that we can feel are not us?
How many of us know that voice, which is hard and critical, telling us something?
How many of us pay attention to that voice, in our mind, that takes us off track?
How many of us think it is really us when we hear a voice prompting us to do something?How many of us feel the voice is like a force and we have no control over it?
How many of us dismiss that this voice may be coming from outside of us?

Do we ever think that this voice may actually be real but it is not us?
Do we ever consider that we need to discern at all times if this voice is true or not?

Eating Disorders: Prevention

It is important that parents and those responsible for educating on eating disorders focus on the following:

Explain how dieting can have a negative impact on a person’s health.
Identify factors, which could contribute towards the development of an eating disorder.

Teach the negative side effects diet pills and other substances can have on the body.
Teach respect and tolerance for the diversity of body sizes.
Teach how to eat properly – i.e. Eating when hungry, stopping when full, eating balanced diet. (2)

Could it be possible that to teach anything on any subject, we need to have lived the quality we are presenting to others?

Could it be possible that if we have a blind spot, in this case our own eating issues, then we cannot truly expect real change in another?

Could it be possible that we need to apply common sense and a dose of honesty before telling anyone else what to do and not do?

Could it be possible that no amount of theory can dictate or change us if we are not ready?Could it be possible that we need a deep understanding before we make any real change?Could it be possible that educating us how to eat properly is not a true approach?
Could it be possible that we simply cannot teach anyone to stop eating when they are full?Could it be possible that a balanced diet means different things to different people?
Could it be possible that the hunger we register may not really be a hunger from lack of eating?

Anorexia Nervosa

The onset of anorexia is usually under the age of 20, which typically begins with young girls trying to lose weight. This gradually develops into an obsession with dieting, losing weight and food.

While the overall incidence rate remained stable over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the high risk-group of 15-19 year old girls. It is unclear whether this reflects earlier detection of anorexia nervosa cases or an earlier age at onset. (15)

Anorexia is a serious perception disorder.

It causes people to see themselves in a distorted way. They regard themselves as overweight and needing to lose extreme amounts of weight. It is through this that they become obsessive about food and develop unusual eating rituals. They are often very secretive about food. They may check their weight more than once a day and carry out intense exercise regimes.

The condition is often diagnosed along with

Depression
Anxiety disorder
Personality disorder
Substance abuse disorder (2)

Anorexia has the highest death rate of all adolescent psychiatric conditions. (4)

Physical signs and symptoms

Many of the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa are attributable to starvation.

Amenorrhea is commonly present and appears to be an indicator of physiological dysfunction. If present, amenorrhea is usually a consequence of the weight loss, but in a minority of individuals it may actually precede the weight loss. In prepubertal females, menarche may be delayed.

Some individuals evidence a yellowing of the skin associated with hypercarotenemia. (16)

Suicide risk is elevated in Anorexia Nervosa.

Comorbidity

What exactly is Comorbidity?

It is telling us that two chronic dis-eases in the body are occurring at the same time.
So, we could say this is really serious as chronic means constantly recurring.

Bipolar, depressive and anxiety disorders commonly co-occur with anorexia nervosa.

Many individuals with anorexia nervosa report the presence of either an anxiety disorder or symptoms prior to onset of their eating disorder. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is described in some individuals with anorexia nervosa, especially those with the restricting type.

Alcohol use disorder and other substance use disorders may also be comorbid with anorexia nervosa, especially among those with the binge-eating purging type. (16)

Anorexia Symptoms

Abdominal pain
Constipation
Diarrhoea
Oedema (retention of fluid)
Reduction in white blood cell count
Abnormal electrolyte and mineral levels

Weight loss of at least 15-25% of original body weight
Extreme fear of becoming fat
Hypothermia (drop in body temperature)
Menorrhea (menstruation stops)
Lanugo (neonatal-like body and facial hair)
Ritualised eating habits
Self-induced vomiting
Laxative abuse
Abuse of slimming tablets
Intense and strict exercise regimes
Hoarding or hiding food
Obsession with food preparation, recipe books and other people’s eating habits
Denial of the severity of the illness and refusal to participate in therapy/rehabilitation (2)

DSM-5

Under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5), for a diagnosis of anorexia to be made, the following criteria needs to be met:

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.
Significantly low weight is defined as weight that is less than minimally normal or, for children and adolescents, less than that minimally expected.

B. Intense fear of gaining weight or of become fat, or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain, even though at a significantly low weight.

C. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

Two Subtypes of Anorexia

Restricting Type

During the last 3 months, the individual has not engaged in recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging behaviour (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the mis-use of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas). This subtype describes presentations in which weight loss is accomplished primarily through dieting, fasting and/or excessive exercise.

Binge Eating/Purging Type

During the last 3 months, the individual has engaged in recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging behaviour (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the mis-use of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas). (16)

Side Effects and Complications Associated with Anorexia

Insomnia
Anaemia
Dehydrated
Feeling weak
Infertility

Loss of Hair
Poor blood circulation
Low heart rate
Heart problems
Sensitivity to bruise
Dry fragile bones and nails
Death (2)

One of the most common and serious health risks linked to anorexia nervosa is osteoporosis. (13)

Psychological Effects

Mood swings
Low self esteem
Distorted self-image of body
Pre-occupied with obsessive thoughts about food and weight
Refuse to listen to family or health professionals
Refusal to accept weight as seriously low and very dangerous

The excessive exercise and food restriction means that people with anorexia are socially isolated as they become withdrawn from everyday life and no longer engage or connect through relationships with others.

They have a form of secretive behaviour, which inevitably leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment. They struggle with eating when others are present and this leads to further isolation and withdrawal from family and friends.

Avoiding social settings would be something the individual has to ensure is carried out to support them with their illness. They are concerned with being judged and having attention drawn to them.

This obsessive un-natural way of living makes them over sensitive to others about their weight and appearance and some find a solution by taking an interest in cooking for others to hide their own deep suffering.

The very nature of this debilitating illness if not treated, can bring on self-harm or substance abuse in order to cope with and numb the inner tension they live with every day.

Some studies indicate that patients with anorexia have ‘Avoidant Personalities’ which is characterised by the need to be a perfectionist, being emotionally and sexually inhibited and being terrified of being ridiculed, criticised or feeling humiliated.

66% of people with Anorexia may develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  (10)

Treatments for Anorexia

Psychotherapy or Counselling
Talking to a therapist about our thoughts and feelings can help us to understand how the problem started and how we can change our ways to think and feel about things.

It is to help us cope and feel better and offers support to value ourselves and rebuild a sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

Advice and Help with Eating
A dietician may talk about healthy eating as they are experienced and can advise about vitamin supplements.

Hospital Admission
This is an option if there is severe weight loss and other symptoms of illness are presented.

Compulsory Treatment
This happens if someone has their life or health in danger and is unable to make clear decisions for themselves and need to be protected.

How Effective is the Treatment?
More than half recover well, although it can take a long time. (17)

What are the solutions that we use to get over Anorexia and function again in our world?
Do we replace it with finding something else our mind takes over with?
Do we let our mind rule our body with the non-stop ill thoughts that pass through it?
Do we find another way of dis-regarding our body that looks ok to the world out there?

Do we turn to body building as a way to tell the world we are sorted out now?
Do we see others do something that may not feel right but we jump on the band wagon?
Do we replace our current illness with another one that is more socially acceptable?

Do we find ways to not stand out or do we go to the extreme and make sure we stand out?
Do we truly deal with our deep self-worth issues that hurt us so much?
Do we make sure we put our stamp on the earth and claim that we are worthy?
Do we avoid at all costs the attention and pressure that comes with Anorexia?

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa (also known as bulimia) is closely linked to anorexia and shares many of its essential features. People with this condition may think about food constantly and experience extremely strong cravings. After a binge, they may induce vomiting or use laxatives as a method of avoiding weight gain.

Someone suffering from bulimia is usually aware of their abnormal eating pattern, and there are feelings of guilt and self-loathing after vomiting. They typically fear that they will not be able to stop eating voluntarily.

Frequently vomiting can cause a vast number of side effects, such as tooth decay, mouth ulcers, heart problems and muscular weakness. The use of laxatives on a regular basis can also cause serious damage, and does not actually assist in weight loss. This is because calories are absorbed in the upper bowel, whereas laxatives work mainly by removing the fluid in the lower bowel.

Bulimia can be an easier condition for the sufferer to hide compared to anorexia, as people with the condition do not always lose weight. (2)

DSM-5

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating.
An episode of binge eating is characterised by both of the following:

1. Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most individuals would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.

2. A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating.

B. Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviours in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting or excessive exercise.

C. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviours both occur, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.

D. Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.

E. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa. (16)

Development and Course

Bulimia Nervosa commonly begins in adolescence or young adulthood. Onset before puberty or after age 40 is uncommon.
The binge eating frequently begins during or after an episode of dieting to lose weight. Experiencing multiple stressful life events also can precipitate onset of bulimia.

Suicide risk is elevated in Bulimia.

Comorbidity

Comorbidity with mental disorders is common in individuals with bulimia nervosa, with most experiencing at least one other mental disorder and many experiencing multiple co-morbidities. (16)

With bulimia, this is saying that some may experience multiple co-morbidities so even more diseases in the body because they have multiple mental disorders.

Is this the confirmation we need that EATING DISORDERS ARE A MENTAL ILLNESS?
Is it something to do with our mind where our thoughts lead us to this ill behaviour?

Are any of us truly aware of how serious this actually is?

The lifetime prevalence of substance use, particularly alcohol or stimulant use, is at least 30% among individuals with bulimia nervosa. Stimulant use often begins in an attempt to control appetite and weight. (16)

Bulimia Symptoms

Dehydration
Depression
Dry skin
Menstrual cycle ending
Frail hair or nails
Intense exercise regime
Knuckles blistering from forced vomiting
Frequent pain in the stomach
Frequently feeling tired and weak
Frequently going to bathroom immediately after a meal
Dramatic increase in food intake without change in weight
Isolation from family and friends (2)

Side Effects and Complications Associated with Bulimia

Problems during pregnancy
Problems with teeth and gums
Dry fragile bones, hair and nails
Broken blood vessels in the eyes
Chronic irregular bowel movements
Kidney problems, even kidney failure
Death (2)

Principle Complications Associated with Bulimia

Digestive System

Stomach pain and inflamed sore throat may be the first physical side effects of bulimia. It affects the entire digestive system. The lack of digestive enzymes and healthy bacteria needed for digestion make it difficult to digest food naturally and absorb the nutrients that the body needs. Chronic irregular bowel movements, constipation and other gastrointestinal problems are now created because of the cycle of eating and vomiting.

The stomach produces acid that is needed for food digestion and this is disturbed by the constant need to eat and vomit thus bringing the acid juices into the oesophagus. The high levels of acid can lead to further complications of irritation and inflammation to the oesophagus.

The stomach lining becomes sensitive and acid reflux becomes a common side effect.
The sufferer becomes more sensitive to food as the body moves away from the natural process of digestion where enzymes and acids are needed to breakdown food.
Not digesting the food means the body simply cannot receive any nutrients required.

Damage to the intestines can cause bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
The inability to have bowel movements can cause straining and lead to haemorrhoids.
Mis-use of laxatives, diuretics and diet pills affects the natural bowel movement and can lead to a point where the body relies on these substances.

Anxiety

Sufferers show signs of anxiety and repeated panic attacks with physical reactions such as

Breathing difficulties
Weakness in general
Heart feeling racy
Chest pain
Stomach pain
Dizziness

The constant monitoring of food and weight can become an obsession and the binge eating and secret way of living to hide evidence of food and laxatives contributes to the cycle of stress and anxiety. Due to this constant demanding way of living everyday, moods and emotions are affected and the sufferer can become irritable adding to their stress levels.

The focus on food and how to control it together with compulsive exercising and pre-occupation with appearance can mean that the sufferer lives in a chronic state of anxiety. There can be feelings of shame and embarrassment, which would trigger intense anxiety in social situations because of the self-consciousness.

Depression

There is evidence suggesting Bulimia can result in depression.

With an episode of eating, the sufferer can feel self-loathing, which could lead to feelings of low self-worth, this adding to the depression. The endocrine system is affected and the hormonal imbalance could lead to the menstrual cycle becoming disrupted in women.

Sleep patterns are affected as the body is exhausted from living in this constant un-natural state of being and this can add to the depression, as the sufferer is no longer able to commit to life.

Heart Problems

The heart muscle is extremely sensitive and is affected when there is nutritional deficiency.
Mineral and electrolyte imbalances are common with bulimia and can lead to cardiac arrest.

Frequent purging can cause dehydration, which will lead to dry skin, weak muscles and extreme fatigue. The electrolyte imbalances with low levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium are found in bulimia sufferers.

This means that the heart is affected and it can lead to irregular heartbeat, known as ‘arrhythmia’, weakened heart muscle and in serious cases heart failure.

Chest pains and extreme muscle weakness are a result of the stress on the body.
Research has shown that bulimia sufferers have the racy heartbeat as the body tries to cope with the constant assault of the cycle it is under of eating and purging.

Low blood pressure and a weak pulse are often found in people with bulimia, which confirms there is a greater risk of heart failure.

Teeth Problems

Repeated vomiting causes damage to the enamel of the teeth because the gastric and stomach acids are highly erosive. When the enamel layer is worn away, the next layers of the tooth such as the dentine and the pulp become more exposed and these are very sensitive and painful when drinking or eating hot or cold foods or anything with sugar.

Decalcification of teeth, enamel loss, staining, severe tooth decay and gum disease are all as a result of repeated exposure to stomach acid.

The appearance of the teeth will start to look glassy and yellowish and if the sufferer is drinking fruit juices or carbonated ‘fizzy’ drinks then this will accelerate the acid erosion of the teeth. This will lead to tooth decay. Dry mouth is also common with bulimia sufferers and this can lead to drinking sugary drinks which increases the rate of tooth decay.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may occur in up to 33% of people with Bulimia. (10)

4% of people with bulimia are likely to die prematurely from the condition. (18)

Treatments for Bulimia

Psychotherapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to look at links between our thoughts, feelings and actions.

This can be done with a –

Therapist
Self Help Book
Group Sessions
Computer Programme

Interpersonal Therapy
Usually done with an individual therapist.
The treatment focuses on our relationships with other people.

Eating Advice
To help get back to regular eating without starving or vomiting.

Medication
Antidepressants can reduce the urge to binge.
However, without other forms of help, the benefits wear off after a while.

How Effective is the Treatment?
About half of sufferers recover.
Recovery usually takes place slowly over a few months or many years. (17)

Are we ready to be really honest and ask –

Are we needing a deeper understanding as to WHY eating disorders start in the first place?
Are our well intended treatments simply solutions and there may just be MORE we need?Are our self-help books actually going to change deep set patterns for bulimia?
Are our computer programmes the answer for someone with a mental illness?
Are our group sessions the right place for people who see this as a secret thing?
Are our therapists living a quality of life that is consistent in all of their relationships?

Binge-Eating Disorder

The most common eating disorder yet it is less well known than anorexia and bulimia.

Binge Eating is a psychological illness which can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (19)

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is now an actual eating disorder diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, released in May 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association.
This is the official “rule book” of mental health diagnosis and important so that everyone is using a common language when talking about a specific disorder.

In the past 20 years there have been over 1,000 research papers published that support the idea that Binge Eating Disorder is a specific diagnosis that has validity and consistency.
Russell Marx – National Eating Disorders Association (20)

The disorder is characterised by the person eating large quantities of food, but unlike bulimia they do not use laxatives or vomit afterwards. It is due to this that they are likely to gain weight. People with the disorder feel they are unable to control what they are doing.

Binge-eating disorder has a number of characteristics, which include the sufferer eating secretly where there is no-one else around, eating quicker than usual, and eating even when they are full.
They may also eat foods, which are regarded as ‘naughty’, but they do not feel as though they can control their habit.

People with binge-eating disorder tend to be overweight due to the nature of the disorder, although people of a normal healthy weight can also be affected. Sufferers often turn to food as a source of comfort when they are feeling sad or simply bored.

Due to the feelings of guilt and shame, many sufferers do not seek professional help, as it would involve having to admit to someone that they have a problem. (2)

Binge-Eating Symptoms

Eating quickly
Secretly eating
Eating even when full
Eating large quantities frequently
Feeling guilty after a binge
Feeling out of control
Obsessed with food and body
Frequent changes in weight
Feeling anxious or depressed
Low self-esteem/low confidence
Eating for comfort when sad, bored or lonely
Binging twice a week or more, over a period of months
Unable to stop binging, even when aware of emotional distress it will cause (2)

DSM-5

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating.
An episode of binge eating is characterised by both of the following:

1. Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.

2. A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

B. The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
1. Eating much more rapidly than normal.
2. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
3. Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
4. Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
5. Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterward.

C. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.

D. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.

E. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviour as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

Prevalence

The disorder is more prevalent among individuals seeking weight-loss treatment than in the general population.

Development and Course

Little is known about the development of binge-eating disorder.
Both binge eating and loss-of-control eating without objectively excessive consumption occur in children and are associated with increased body fat, weight gain, and increases in psychological symptoms.

Binge eating is common in adolescent and college-age samples. Loss-of-control eating or episodic binge eating may represent a prodromal phase of eating disorders for some individuals.

Binge eating disorder typically beings in adolescence or young adulthood but can begin in later adulthood. (16)

Hello
Can we just stop here and press the pause button please?

WHY is little known about the development of binge-eating disorder?
WHY has it only been on the DSM-5 diagnosis since 2013?
WHY did it take 20 years to be recognised as a mental disorder?
WHY are we not getting to the root cause of this illness?
WHY are we not hearing about this in the media?
WHY are we so vague about something that is killing us?
WHY are we not demanding research into finding out what is going on?

WHY do we call ourselves an advanced species, yet we do not know how we develop this mental illness?

WHY is our current form of Intelligence not able to join the dots and get to the WHY questions?
WHY is binge eating generally starting in adolescence?
What is really going on in the minds of our Youth of today?
How are they truly feeling that they need to overeat?
What is coming up for them that the overeating is pushing back down?
WHY are we not asking some common sense questions here?

WHY are we simply choosing not to join the dots?
Could it be possible that the transition from child to adult is difficult for many with the pressures placed on them?
Could it be possible that our young people feel they do not fit in with what the systems want from them?
Could it be possible that many of our adolescents simply do not know how to Be who they truly are?

Could it be possible the young person lost a sense of who they are?
Could it be possible that ill mental health in our teenagers is not being taken seriously by us who think we know what’s best?
Could it be possible that losing a grip on life means we turn to food to bury what we do not want to feel?
Could it be possible that binge eating happens because it is our ‘go to’ when things don’t feel great in life?
Could it be possible that our body constantly brings up stuff and we shove it down with excess eating?
Could it be possible that our non-stop ugly thoughts make us eat and eat and we simply do not know how to make changes that last?

Could it be possible that there is a direct correlation between Binge Eating and Obesity?

Would it be true to say that many of us would tick the boxes under this diagnosis but we just see it as normal as the world and its brothers are doing it too?

WHY would anyone overeat to the point of feeling uncomfortable?

Are we as a race of beings comfortable in our uncomfortableness?

Side Effects and Complications Associated with Binge Eating

Lack of energy
Feeling tired and weak
High cholesterol
High blood pressure
Type 2 Diabetes
Gallbladder disease
Heart disease
Kidney problems
Liver problems
Some types cancer
Breathing difficulties
Obsession with appearance
Feelings of anxiety and depression
Low self-esteem and confidence

Binge eating (without purging) is most common in Type 2 Diabetes and the Obesity it causes may even trigger this Diabetes in some people. (10)

Eating disorder diagnoses are delayed among patients who were once overweight or obese.
Leslie Sim, PhD – Journal of Adolescent Health, 2014

For some people who undergo bariatric surgery, the dieting process itself can trigger an unhealthy obsession with controlling food intake. (5)

DSM-5

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder 

Atypical anorexia nervosa:
All criteria for anorexia nervosa are met, except that despite significant weight loss, the individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.

Bulimia nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration):
All of the criteria for bulimia nervosa are met, except that the binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviours occur, on average, less than once a week and/or for less than 3 months.

Binge-eating disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration):
All of the criteria for binge-eating disorder are met, except that the binge eating occurs, on average, less than once a week and/or for less than 3 months.

Purging disorder:
Recurrent purging behaviour to influence weight or shape (e.g., self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications) in the absence of binge eating.

Night eating syndrome:
Recurrent episodes of night eating, as manifested by eating after awakening from sleep or by excessive food consumption after the evening meal. There is awareness and recall of the eating. The night eating is not better explained by external influences such as changes in the individual’s sleep-wake cycle or by local social norms. The night eating causes significant distress and/or impairment in functioning. The disordered pattern of eating is not better explained by binge-eating disorder or another mental disorder, including substance use, and is not attributable to another medical disorder or to an effect of medication. (16)

Eating Distress

People with eating disorders need to seek support as soon as possible, before the condition becomes life-threatening. In the UK, if admitted into hospital for eating related disorders, counselling is offered and the client is given a fair amount of choice regarding food.

However, if the condition is severe, some hospitals may use Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), drugs or force-feeding techniques. This is particularly the case if they are admitted into hospital under the Mental Health Act.

Those who have eating disorders often use food as a way of taking some control of their lives. This often results in a loss of control as the disorder takes over their life.

A therapeutic relationship where the client feels safe and confidentiality is practiced throughout, is needed so that the underlying issues which are causing the eating distress, such as low self-esteem and lack of confidence can be discussed. (2)

Diabulimia

This is the word used to describe a situation where someone deliberately and regularly reduces the amount of insulin taken due to concerns over body weight or shape.
The long-term impact is severe hyperglycaemia and weight loss as the body has to breakdown fat and muscle in order to get energy.

Without insulin, glucose levels build up in the blood.

Hyperglycaemia leads to polyuria. This means that any calories taken in by eating are passed straight through and out of the body in the urine. As a result, the calories are not used and the body is starved of its source of energy, which is needed for every organ to function.

If hyperglycaemia remains untreated, it develops into Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which is life threatening. In DKA the body starts to break itself down in the hunt for energy, which leads to weight loss and other complications. If DKA is left untreated, heart and organ failure occurs.

Diabulimia is extremely dangerous.
Research shows people who do not give themselves enough insulin over a long period of time, have a much shorter life span. (21)

Complications linked to Diabetes, including retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy, appear more quickly and it can lead to infertility.

It is important to know that Diabulimia is a mental illness, although it is technically not a medically recognised condition. (21)

Why do people do it?

Obsession with food labels
Negative attention to weight
Hypo bingeing
Constant awareness of numbers
Parent attitude towards Type 1 Diabetes
Shame over management
Negative relationships with healthcare providers
Difficulty losing weight due to insulin

All the above have been listed as diabetes-specific causes that can lead to eating disorders in people with Type 1 diabetes.
It is unlikely that any of these exist by themselves as diabulimia usually develops from a complex combination of biological, psychological and social difficulties.

40% all women aged 15 – 30 with Type 1 Diabetes take less insulin to lose weight.

60% Type 1 women will experience a ‘clinically significant’ eating disorder by age 25.

It is not just women that can be affected by Diabulimia.
Research has shown that men with Type 1 diabetes have a ‘higher drive for thinness’ than their non-diabetic counterparts, making them more susceptible to Diabulimia. (21)

Children and Body Image

Children as young as three are showing signs of being unhappy with their appearance and bodies.

The research carried out by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), suggests worries around image and weight begin before a child has even started school and highlights concerns that children are becoming anxious at a younger age than before.

More research was needed in the area but speculated “contributing factors” were likely to include television and images in story books and animations.
There is research evidence to suggest that some 4 year olds are aware of strategies as to how to lose weight.
Dr. Jacqueline Harding – Advisor to PACEY (22)

The report from PACEY advises parents to be aware that even very young children can be influenced by the way they talk about their own body and appearance and that parents and peers are likely to be the biggest influences of all.

Childhood is when our mental health is developed and patterns are set for the future – so it is crucial that parents reassure their children about how they look, set a positive example and build their self-esteem.
Nick Harrop – Young Minds Children’s Mental Health and WellBeing Charity (22)

Problematic Dieting in Children Can Predict Obesity and High Blood Pressure. 

Problematic eating behaviours at age 11.5 years strongly predicted new-onset obesity, high blood pressure and high fat mass index at age 16.

These results remained significant despite the socioeconomic background.

The data also suggested that obesity (adiposity) in early life, based on the body mass indices obtained at age 6.5 years, may be an underlying cause of problematic eating attitudes, which in turn predicts future cardiovascular risks and further weight gain.

Study published on problematic eating and cardio metabolic health in children and teenagers – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (23)

Alcohol and Body Image Problems

Recent U.S. study suggests high school girls who have issues with body image and weight are more likely to be drinkers.

Researchers focused on body image behavioural misperceptions (BIBM) – when girls try to gain or lose weight to change how they look even though there is no medical need for them to alter their weight.

Study of more than 6,500 teenage girls

38% had misperceptions
66% had tried alcohol
22% more likely to be heavy drinkers

The findings add evidence linking body image issues with risky behaviours.
Dr. Benjamin Shain – Head of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
NorthShore University Health System, Chicago (24)

Older Women and Eating Disorders

2017

15% women aged 40 – 60 suffered an eating disorder at some point in their life.
First time prevalence has been investigated in the older women population.

Factors associated with onset of an eating disorder included –
Childhood happiness
Parental divorce or separation
Life events
Relationship with parents
Sexual abuse

20% reduced chance of developing bulimia associated with good mother-daughter relationship.
Research study from University College London (UCL). (25)

For many women it was the first time they had spoken about their eating difficulties.
Dr. Nadia Micali – Lead Author, UCL and Department of Psychiatry
Icahn School of Medicine, New York

These are really high figures. There are not any other studies looking at this age span.
We also see from this study that very few of these women have had treatment.
Christopher Fairburn – Professor of Psychiatry
University of Oxford (25)

UK

1.6 million now suffer from Eating Disorders
11% are male
14 – 25 age group are most affected by an Eating Disorder
10% of those affected are Anorexic
40% of those affected are Bulimic (26)

£60,000,000 – NHS average cost of Eating Disorders. (4)

2017

Men receiving treatment for an eating disorder has grown twice as fast in last three years.

27% increase in male patients
33% under 18 in 2016
400 boys seen in 2016
38% increase from 2015 (27)

NHS England have chronic bed shortages to cope with growing number of anorexia, bulimia and other forms of psychiatric illness linked to eating habits.

Patients in England with seriously ill eating disorders are being sent to Scotland for treatment.

It is a concern. Patients should be treated nearby and should be in contact with family.
They need support and it is much harder to get that when families have to travel long distances.
Dr. Jon Goldin – Consultant Psychiatrist (28)

Hospital admissions for eating disorders in England are increasing.
Number of deaths in England and Wales from eating disorders has risen.
Office of National Statistics quoted in The Guardian (29)

Northern Ireland has no specialist eating disorders unit.

Doctors worry about a lack of resources, with demand outstripping supply. (29)

FRANCE

30,000 – 40,000 are affected by Anorexia
90% are women (8)

USA

30,000,000 Americans have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. (30)
62 minutes – how often one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. (31)

GLOBAL

70 million individuals worldwide affected by eating disorders. (2003) (32)

Dear World, WHY have we only got one global statistic that is 14 years old?

We have done our best to research more, but cannot find anything.

WHY have we not made this research funding a global priority?
WHY have we allowed our media NOT to report on this hot news topic?
WHY have we not stopped and asked how come there is so little research?
WHY have we not bothered to research more on something that is so serious?

Who actually benefits if we are kept in the dark about eating disorders?

If we started with a dose of real honesty –
Could it be possible that the true figure today is very high?
Could it be possible that many of us have eating disorders but would never admit it?
Could it be possible that our dishonesty means the real statistics are simply not there?
Could it be possible that we are fed images non-stop about eating this and that?
Could it be possible that we simply cannot keep up with all this eating business?
Could it be possible that we cannot stomach how things have turned out in life?
Could it be possible that we cannot accept who we truly are?
Could it be possible we have deviated away from who we naturally are?
Could it be possible our eating patterns stem from our childhood issues?
Could it be possible that we feel pressure to conform in certain ways about eating food?

Could it be possible that we eat in a dis-ordered way to not feel something?

Could it be possible that our current world intelligence is not cut out to deal with the huge eating disorder epidemic that is out of control?

Could it be possible that things are now so bad that we need to ask –
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY?

Could it be that Simple?

Written by Bina Pattel
Community Mental Health and Psychiatry – Level 4 Award
Depression Management – Level 3. Grade: Distinction
Advanced Psychotherapy – Level 4. Grade: Distinction
Advanced Psychology – by examination. Grade: B
Stress Consultant – Corporate & Professional Level 3. Grade: Distinction


If you are feeling suicidal, contact your GP for support or the Suicide Helplines.

In a crisis contact your emergency services.

Suicide Helplines

UK – Samaritans available 24 hours
Tel: 116 123

Childline – for children and young people
Tel: 0800 1111

USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Tel:  1-800-273-8255

Other Countries
Check International Association for Suicide Prevention Resources on Crisis Centers
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres


References

(1) (2017). World Eating Disorders Action Day. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.worldeatingdisordersday.org/

(2) (2016). Community Mental Health & Psychiatry Level 4. UK Distance Learning & Publishing

(3) Räisänen, U., & Hunt, K. (2014). The Role of Gendered Constructions of Eating Disorders in Delayed Help-Seeking in Men: a Qualitative Interview Study. BMJ Open 2014;4:e004342. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004342

(4) BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, April 8). “Perception that Eating Disorders Women’s Problem Delays Men Getting Help.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved from
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408213541.htm

(5) Miller, A. (2014, December). Losing Weight, But Not Healthy. American Psychological Association, 45(11). Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/12/losing-weight.aspx

(6) University of Oxford. (2016, April 20). “School Affects Girls’ Chances of Being Diagnosed with an Eating Disorder: Higher Proportions of Female Students, University-Educated Parents Linked to More Eating Disorders.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160420211132.htm

(7) (n.d). Eating Disorders Among College Students. Walden Center. Retrieved June 1, 2017 from
http://www.waldencenter.org/popular-searches/eating-disorders-among-college-students/

(8) (2017, May 6). France Bans Extremely Thin Models. BBC News. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39821036

(9) (2017, March 18). Web Giants Promoting Self-Harm Images. Daily Mail

(10) (2013, March 8). Anorexia Nervosa. The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2017 from
http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/anorexia-nervosa/risk-factors.html

(11) (2015, April 28). The Dark Side of Horse Racing: Weight Control in Jockeys. Eating Disorder Hope. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/body-image/the-dark-side-of-horse-racing-weight-control-in-jockeys

(12) (2017, January 25). Warning Signs & Symptoms of an Eating Disorder. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://youtu.be/nJMtReAg1DI

(13) (2015, July). Eating Disorders – Physical Symptoms. www.healthtalk.org. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.healthtalk.org/young-peoples-experiences/eating-disorders/physical-symptoms

(14) (2015, July). Eating Disorders and Thought Patterns. www.healthtalk.org. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.healthtalk.org/young-peoples-experiences/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-and-thought-patterns

(15) Smink, F.R.E., van Hoeken, D. & Hoek, H.W. (2012, May 27). Epidemiology of Eating Disorders: Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality Rates. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (NCBI). Retrieved June 1, 2017 from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409365/

(16) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, V A, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (pp.338 – 339, pp.345 – 346, pp.349 – 354)

(17) (n.d). Eating Disorders: Key Facts. Royal College of Psychiatrists. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/eatingdisorderskeyfacts.aspx

(18) (2017, January 25). Stimulating the Brain with Electricity May Reduce Bulimia Symptoms. The Conversation. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://theconversation.com/stimulating-the-brain-with-electricity-may-reduce-bulimia-symptoms-71906

(19) (n.d). Health Consequences of Eating Disorders. National Eating Disorders Association. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/health-consequences-eating-disorders

(20) Marx, R. (2014). New in the DSM-5: Binge Eating Disorder. National Eating Disorders Association Blog. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/new-dsm-5-binge-eating-disorder

(21) (n.d). Diabulimia: What is It and Where to Get Help. Diabetes UK. Retrieved June 1, 2017 from
https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Life-with-diabetes/Diabulimia/

(22) Pells, R. (2016, August 30). Children as Young as Three ‘Worry About Being Fat or Ugly’.  Independent. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/children-as-young-as-three-worry-about-being-fat-or-ugly-a7216951.html

(23) Gotera, K. (2017, January 15). Problematic Dieting in Children Can Predict Obesity and High Blood Pressure. Medical News Bulletin. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/problematic-dieting-children-can-predict-obesity-high-blood-pressure/

(24) Rapaport, L. (2016, December 21). Body Image Problems in Teen Girls Tied to Alcohol Use. Reuters. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-bodyimage-girls-drinking-idUSKBN14A2GX

(25) Knapton, S. (2017, January 17). Study Uncovers Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Middle-Aged Women. The Telegraph. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/17/study-uncovers-hidden-epidemic-eating-disorders-middle-aged/

(26) (2017). Eating Disorder Statistics. Priory. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.priorygroup.com/eating-disorders/statistics

(27) (2017, May 4). Increases in Cases of Men Suffering from Eating Disorders. BBC News. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-39803493/increase-in-cases-of-men-suffering-from-eating-disorders

(28) Marsh, S., & Campbell, D. (2016, December 11). NHS England Sending Anorexic Patients to Scotland for Treatment. The Guardian. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/11/nhs-england-anorexic-patients-scotland-mental-health

(29) Marsh, S. (2016, December 2). Eating Disorders: What is Treatment Like Where You Live? Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/02/eating-disorders-what-is-treatment-like-where-you-live

(30) (n.d). National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Retrieved June 2, 2017 from
http://nedawareness.org/about

(31) (n.d). Eating Disorder Statistics. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Retrieved June 2, 2017 from
http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

(32) Eating Disorders Statistics. North Dakota State University. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from
https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/counseling/Eating_Disorder_Statistics.pdf

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Comments 42

  1. I have known so many people who have struggled for decades to lose weight without any lasting success; they have expressed to me that they know dieting does not work and yet they do not see any other way…

    I know many more people now who have lost weight and now enjoy their natural weight permanently simply by learning to feel everything they were using food not to feel.

    My life long issue of eating foods that I knew were hurting me no longer exists;
    This is because I saw another way being lived,
    I made a choice to try it and I requested support from those who lived it.

  2. With all the knowledge that we have acquired why is it that we have all these new eating disorders?

    We know so much more about what our bodies need to eat to be healthy, yet our diets do not seem to work.

    Animals have a natural ability to eat what they need to be healthy. If you watch a sheep in a pasture, it is not just eating everything in front of it, it is constantly choosing what type of plants to eat.

    Humans have this same natural ability, but we have chosen to ignore it. Why have we ignored this inner knowing about something that is so essential to our health?

    I feel my way of living now explains all these mysteries around food. It is basically a way to get back in touch with this inner wisdom that we all have.

  3. Well researched and written blog – shining a light on many aspects of eating disorders that are not usually in the mainstream media.

    I was talking with a psychiatrist the other day who said as you mention above, one of the problems is that through social media eating disorders are glamorised and made ‘normal’. There are many websites that ‘confirm’ that it is okay to have an eating disorder as people (mostly young people) share their stories. Others copy and compare and some go into competition to get the most likes or most attention on social media.

    We really do need to say ‘stop’ – having an eating disorder is NOT normal.

    And as you ask here in the questions – we need to look deeper as to why in the so called modern world today we have so many eating disorder issues amongst us.

  4. Trying to figure out what to feed my children was a great lesson in food. I learned to listen to my own body, honouring my own feelings, and eventually realized that only my children really know what they need to eat.

    It took about 25 years for me to understand all that.

    I am in no way perfect, but my children have a better sense of what to eat, than I did growing up.

    The key is keeping the food as unprocessed as possible, give them opportunities to choose what they want to eat, whenever you can and do not get attached to what you think they should eat. The last one is the hardest.

    As my children grew they did get into too much sugar and junk food at times, but eventually they figured it out.
    I feel this is because of the foundation of simple foods we stuck to when they were little.

    The understanding that our bodies know exactly what we need in life, is a huge realization. And it makes so much sense.

  5. Wow, there is a lot here for all of us.

    How many of us can truly say we have no food issues? It is such a big topic.

    There is much to share, but one thing that comes straight to mind is how my kids let me know when I am rushing my food. When they do that, I can immediately feel how I have completely checked out of myself and also disconnected from whomever is sitting at the meal table.

    That alone is a ‘dis-ordered’ way of eating, is it not?

  6. What a powerful blog.

    The statistics for older women are interesting.
    I suffered Bulimia as a teenager. Looking back I can pin point when this happened. I was studying for my A levels and I felt so much pressure to achieve that I could not Express how I felt to anyone. So I used food as my version of Expression as it did not talk back. This went on until I ended up in hospital with a burst appendix and I stopped. Or so I thought I did.

    Even though I stopped myself from being sick I was still using food as a way to numb myself when things didn’t go to plan in my life.
    I would binge on chocolate, alcohol or a large plate of food to satisfy what I thought was making myself Feel better.

    Fast forward to present day and with the help and support from the author of this blog, I have a different attitude to Food.
    Now I understand that Expression is Everything and I have learned to do this more rather than press the self-destruct button.
    Interestingly when we observe people that have an eating disorder they usually struggle to express how they feel.

    If I had read this blog at the age of 17 I would have not have had an eating disorder.
    The detail in this blog is not one to Ignore and just shows how big the problem Really is.

    1. What an amazing truth, Priscilla:

      “If I had read this blog at the age of 17 I would have not have had an eating disorder.”

      Our local private girls’ school is known to be a hot bed of eating disorders and comparison.
      What if this blog was compulsory reading there once you hit your teens.
      What if it was part of the syllabus of every school in the country.

      Imagine the impact that would have.

    2. Your experience Priscilla, whilst doing your A levels I am sure is shared by many. I know I had a very difficult time during this period of my life and food was definitely a form of comfort and yo-yo dieting, as I struggled with trying to fit in.

      Eating disorders are a very serious illness and from reading this extensive article by Simple Living Global I reckon very few of us don’t have an eating disorder or an issue with food and body image.

      This article on Blasting News, written during National Eating Disorder Week, points out that the initial signs and symptoms of an eating disorder are psychological before they are obviously physical and being underweight is not always an obvious sign, which is clear when we read about binge eating disorders.

      http://us.blastingnews.com/lifestyle/2017/03/eating-disorders-a-serious-health-issue-001517797.html

      Mood changes, cuts that are taking a long time to heal, cold fingers and bloating are some of the symptoms noted.

      The article also quotes Dr. Micali reporting from her research that most women felt that their co-workers and colleagues were uneducated about eating disorders and they felt this meant that it was harder for them to recover from it.

      In my experience when we form genuine relationships with people and sincerely connect with them, it is much easier to identify when something is not right with someone and from here we are naturally able to respond to whatever arises compassionately and with understanding.

      Perhaps this is what is missing in work environments – more support and understanding rather than environments based on competition?

      When I think about it, as we grow up in competitive environments: the home, then school, college, university and work and many eating disorders start in teenage years it would make sense that as we get older we would take the same harming behaviours with us and so that statistics about older women are no surprise.

  7. Thank you Simple Living Global. This is a superb blog, bringing all the aspects of eating disorders together. The in depth information you give is so helpful in understanding these illnesses and the different types, it makes it clear the complexity of them. With the high statistics shown from 14 years ago plus all the undiagnosed cases and the increase that must have taken place over these years this equates to me a large part of our population at some level may be living with one of these eating disorders.

    I wasn’t diagnosed but had anorexia from the age of 16 for several years. I lost a lot of weight, my periods stopped for 18 months, I was tired, weak, anaemic and deficient. I also had bad anxiety throughout with a history of repetitive hand washing from the age of 11 which later went on to repetitive checking. I used laxatives daily. Food or the denial of it was certainly my way of dealing with internal pain, hurts and stresses, it was how I expressed how I was feeling.
    It was also the only thing I felt in control of.

    Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine helped me to deal with and heal what was behind this and today it is no longer part of me, nor the checking, anxiety is now very seldom and when it is there is very mild. Now I listen to my body, eat foods that support it.. with no perfection, have a loving caring relationship with myself and my body which I continue to deepen and I continue to work with my expression.

    This blog is so full of information I learnt so much from reading it today and will be back to read it again.

  8. I did not know Jockey’s needed to restrict their eating and used various ways detrimental to their health and body to get their weight down.. It makes me question how many other professions require this or other unnatural ways of eating?

  9. I am understanding that when I feel hungry, it may not be food that I need. By stopping and lying down and feeling my body, sometimes I feel a deep sadness. This relieved the hungry feeling.
    This was a huge realization!

    I have used food to comfort, push down the emotions I did not want to feel. And it was not obvious that I was doing this because I never had weight issues even though I knew I was eating more food then I needed. (I was eating more than my teenage sons).

    It took 50 years for my body to rebel. I was very good at not feeling what my stomach was telling me.

    With support from Simple Living Global, I am getting in touch with myself again.
    I am better at feeling when I need to eat and what.

    1. I wonder Ken how many people are even aware that feelings can be pushed down by eating and that our ugly thoughts to eat can be shifted if we choose to.

      In the past it would be true to say that I hated food, could not be bothered to learn how to cook or even do anything that involved that whole food thing in the kitchen.

      It took a serious illness 10 years ago to take a stop, get help from Universal Medicine and look at how I was living and WHY.

      It is the WHY that finally made the tides turn and then it was small steps every day.

      A wise woman called Simone once said to me – ‘small steps build a stronger foundation’.
      It was enough and I stuck with that and it would be true to say things are very different today.

      This website alone is a living testimony of how far I have come and what is possible for each and every one of us regardless of what ‘issues’ we think we have.

      I cannot go and directly help someone with an eating disorder right now but I can write and bring some awareness that may just help others. To me that is doing my bit and not choosing to use that time to ignore what is going on in our world today.

    2. That is such a great observation, Ken, that many people can eat crazy amounts and not get fat. What is going on there?

      You open the possibility that there is something more to it than ‘a fast metabolism’ and I feel that to be true – it was certainly the case for me.

      I love the tip of stopping/laying down to feel what’s going on/what you need. Thank you.

  10. What I feel is an important concept that this blog presents is that we need to start looking at the cause of eating disorders rather then just dealing with the symptoms. Taking 10 steps back to see what is the root cause of the problem.

    Eating is such a natural thing to do, yet it seems like the way our world is going, is causing people to eat unnaturally.

    We have all the amazing advances in technology, science, and medicine, yet we have a rise in eating disorders, that no one seems to understand.

    Are we missing something?

    Simple Living Global has supported me to understand that what I was missing in my life was simply a deep level of true care for myself. This allowed me to better access the innate wisdom I have. I am trusting the fact that I do know what to eat to support my body.

    Is this the answer to eating disorders?
    Living a life of true responsibility and care for ourselves and our world.

  11. In 2015, the Eating Disorders charity, Beat reported that there had been a 222% increase in the number of people being treated under section for eating disorders over the previous 5 years. The findings came from a survey conducted by Dr. Richard Sly at the University of East Anglia.

    https://www.b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/press-releases/2971-222-increase-in-patients-treated-under-section-for-eating-disorders

    Eating disorders are a life threatening and serious illness and not just mentally.

    Dr. Richard Sly states –

    ‘… the mortality rates for those with anorexia surpass those of any other mental illness.’

    Under section patients can end up being force-fed by tube in order to sustain life.

    The article by Beat gives insight into the toll force-feeding takes on medical staff, stating that nurses who carry out these interventions have spoken about feeling highly distressed and burnt out as a result.

    One clinician has said “I’m supposed to be caring for them – and I’m fighting, literally fighting. You feel abusive, tainted.”

    Food is something that we need in order to nourish and sustain our bodies. I know that when I started eating a very reduced amount, I became very weak but somehow was able to justify that everything was OK, even though to others it was clearly obvious that I had become very thin. When I eventually went to my GP he expressed great concern.

    When I look at it now, I could barely walk upstairs, I was frequently waking up at night to urinate and my periods stopped. Underneath it all I just did not feel worthy of being here and so not eating what I needed was a way of confirming this and withering away.

    Thankfully through the support I received from Universal Medicine, I was able to make choices to bring myself back to life and I have never looked back since then.

    The questions posed in this blog by Simple Living Global, along with any medical intervention needed would be a great start in changing our approach as to how we treat this disease.

  12. An article in the Daily Mail, 4th March 2017, talks of the “Real reasons hospital beds are vanishing from wards.”

    A doctor, whilst in a meeting about the most unwell patients in his eating disorder clinic, was informed by a manager that NHS England had just confirmed there wasn’t a single bed in any eating disorder unit in the entire country.

    Of course, demand has increased due to immigration and an ageing population but there has also been a political dimension as well.

    For several years senior NHS managers have been pushing an agenda of closing hospital beds in favour of moving care into the community.

    While they claim this is because people want to be cared for in their own homes, the real reason is that they are only interested in the money.

    Rather than setting up community treatment and allowing the service to grow naturally, allowing for an orderly transition, they have simply closed beds and effectively forced the change.

    Under a Labour government many hospitals were rebuilt under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), where a private company rebuilds a hospital and takes over the running of it.

    The problem is that these privately run hospials have, on average, 30% fewer beds than those they are replacing.

    Because of the costs involved in terms of space, staff and equipment, the private companies running these hospitals are keen to reduce their costs.

    The statistics show that 1 in 5 people with an eating disorder will die from it, meaning it has the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition.

    These patients are incredibly high risk and the lack of beds is just adding further pressure on an already overburdened system.

    A point of interest is that today, most hospitals in the UK operate at around 100% occupancy rate. In contrast, most hospitals on the continent operate at around 80%.

    A complication of this fact is that the rate of the superbug MRSA and the infection clostridium difficile, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is more than 40% higher in hospitals with 90% occupancy than in those with where it is less than 85% occupancy.

    With this increased risk of an outbreak in crowded hospitals, whole wards can be closed off adding to the pressure on the remaining beds.

    The article states that the loss of beds in the NHS was never a clinical decision – it wasn’t what was best for patients. It was a political decision from the politicians and the managers who pushed it through.

    This is yet another story of how we are making money more important than human life.

    I understand that we sometimes need to look at the cost of things but surely common sense would tell us that, if increasing the occupancy level to more than 90% increases the risk of MRSA and infection clostridium difficle, which will then incur greater costs. This seems illogical and counter productive.

    Whilst profit remains the driving force of any company, is it possible there will never be any truth in any of that company’s decisions?

  13. I recently saw flyers posted in a prestigious college advocating “comfort eating” by offering get- togethers to make and eat comfort foods to help students “deal” with the stress of school…

    Comfort eating may medicate or muffle the emotional issues arising in students temporarily while introducing (or re-enforcing) destructive behavior patterns without attempting to address the root causes of the stress.

    In my experience there is always a cause for a discomfort; in other words, discomfort is a message that something is wrong, that something needs to be seen and addressed.

  14. When I stopped starving myself I later went on to ‘clean eating’. I had blood tests done as I was not well and feeling weak and had difficulty concentrating and it was revealed I was deficient in important oils for the body which was affecting my brain, skin, digestive system and the membranes of my cells. My body was in a bad way, but introducing these into my diet, and other important nutrients, over time my bodies nutrition levels came up and balanced.

    I had a lot of sensitivities to foods for many years due to the abusive way I had been living and lack of love I had for myself. This started to resolve after I had found Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine from applying his teachings to my life, caring for myself deeply, building a loving relationship with myself and making this my foundation for daily living… I was amazed how quickly my body responded to loving care, this also supports my body in absorbing the nutrients from my foods and maintaining these levels.

  15. Yes, Jenifer the fast metabolism thing was something I used to not have to go deeper as to why I ate so much.

    I feel I needed all the food because of all the energy I needed to constantly not be me in life.
    Or to keep up the constant tension and hardness in my body so I did not have to feel my hurts.

    And the saddest one, to keep everybody out (love), so I would not have risk the possibility of getting hurt.
    This one feels like the winner.

  16. This is an incredible and simply eye opening blog Simple Living Global that is very well researched and asks many pertinent questions.

    14 years ago, the global statistics for those affected by eating disorders was 70 million.

    What would that figure be today?

    You are right in asking ‘why’ the media haven’t been allowed to report on this issue and why there is very little research into this life threatening illness.

    It seems clear from this blog that most of us have some form of eating disorder.

    It may not come in the extreme forms of eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, but eating too fast, over eating or eating foods that we know are no good for us can be considered an eating disorder.

    I have never gone down the road of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, but having reached a weight of over 27 stone at some point in my life, I have definitely gone down the road of eating too fast, over eating and eating foods that I knew were no good for me.

    What I know from personal experience, is that my food intake at that time was used mostly to push down any emotions I was feeling.

    What you ask here Simple Living Global, are the much needed questions as to why eating disorders are not given a high priority status in research especially when you consider that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition.

  17. Great revaluation Tim! I agree, most humans have an eating disorder except babies.

    The reason this has not been publicised is because the experts on eating disorders, do not want accept the possibility that they might have an eating disorder.

    They do not want to give up on their favorite foods even if deep down they know it is not good for them.

    The question is – are we truly committed to doing everything we can to support humanity?

  18. Daily Mail news from Dr Max on 6th May 2017 saying how there is a two week wait to see an NHS specialist for prostate cancer, which has a 10% mortality rate.

    For anorexia which has a 20% mortality rate, the waiting times may run to more than two years in areas like London.

    So have we got things wrong as a bunion gets seen by a specialist in 18 weeks?
    Or is this out of context?

    Is it because we do not have the specialists to actually deal with the rise in eating disorders or is it because we are not taking eating disorders seriously enough?

    Maybe it is neither of the above but unless we start asking questions and demanding answers what is going to change?

    This blog and the startling statistics is proof enough that eating disorders is a big issue for our world and yet we rarely stop long enough to ask is it because of the way we are choosing to live?

    What is going on for those who have eating disorders and how come our governments and systems seem to be one step behind – in other words not ahead of what’s coming?

    We need to be on the front foot, so to speak when it comes to our health and well being and whilst we cannot change things overnight, if we start with ourselves as individuals and put the word Responsibility into our daily choices, maybe the tides may turn once and for all.

  19. An article dated 23 July 2017, from the BBC talks of an international rugby referee’s ongoing bulimia battle.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-40675344

    As a referee in world-class rugby, he was the first to come out as being gay and in the hope of reaching out to other young people struggling with mental health, he was also one of the first sportsmen to speak openly about the biggest regret of his life – a suicide attempt.

    He has had bulimia nervosa since the age of 18, a result he says, of hitting his teenage years and realizing that he was different, that he was attracted to men. Being gay was totally alien to him and he had never met another gay person before and growing up in a small village in rural Carmarthenshire, West Wales, it was not something that was discussed openly.

    In his desperation to not become that person, he struggled to suppress himself and started lying to the people that mattered most to him.

    On top of that he was putting on weight and in his eyes he was obese and no one would ever find him attractive so he started to make himself sick after eating.

    He hid it well by running and training a lot and eating a lot of food at mealtimes so no one had any idea that something was wrong.

    At age 36, after years of struggling with an eating disorder, he sought advice from a professional nutritionist and with training he got himself into the best shape of his life.

    The bulimia stopped and he followed a food plan and was eating sensibly.

    In 2015 at the age of 44, he refereed the rugby World Cup Final.

    In the run up to that final he had to pass certain fitness levels and although he was training hard, he realised that if he could lose another 4-5 kilos, he would have a much better chance of passing the fitness test.

    He remembers looking in the mirror and thinking: “Damn, I could get rid of this quite quickly.”

    And so the bulimia returned.

    After the World Cup passed and the pressure was off, the following year he noticed that the weight started to come back and so did the bulimia.

    It might have been twice a week then nothing for months and months.

    He knows it does more harm than good so he asks himself why he does it from time to time – the answer: “I don’t know.”

    He says, “For those caught up in eating disorders and say there’s nothing they can do about it, I understand what they are saying because it takes you over and you feel there is nothing you can do.
    But I would urge anyone suffering to do something – seek professional advice, tell people about it, don’t hide it, don’t lie about it, that’s a great first step.
    I thought I was in control but since making the Panorama programme, I’ve realised I’m not.”

    On the Panorama programme, he spoke to a professional boxer who told him that he had made himself sick in the past to lose weight.

    The body image for men has changed a lot. A generation ago manliness would have been seen as being good at sport, providing for the family.
    Now there is more emphasis on being muscular, having a six-pack and a ripped body.

    This will no doubt add to the possibility for younger men to consider unhealthy alternatives.

    Eating disorders have the highest death rate of any mental health illness and are estimated to affect 1.6 million people in the UK with around 400,000 thought to be men and boys.

    Bulimia has long been associated with a young girl/woman issue but it is clear that bulimia affects both boys/men and girls/women and at any age.

  20. I used to be addicted to sugar even though I was well aware that it made me feel sick not only physically but emotionally.

    My body tells me that needing excess sugar is a dis-order; that to crave a substance that is harmful to the body is not in alignment with my natural order of health.

    As a wonderful ‘by-product’ of finding and maximizing the support I needed to face, feel and deal with my issues (unresolved hurts) I no longer need sweets and I enjoy a huge variety of delicious and nutritious food; this feels natural and supportive to my body.

    More and more I can feel the innate sweetness of life, of being more alive, of being me and there is no sugar (or sugar substitute!) that comes close to the real thing; the sweetness of life lived truly.

  21. Eating disorders in the news again today – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/31/eating-disorders-in-men-rise-by-70-in-nhs-figures
    Eating Disorders in men rise by 70%.
    “Medical leaders and health experts have put the growing numbers down to pressure from popular culture and social media. But more awareness about eating disorders may be encouraging life-long sufferers to come forward and talk about their problems, they believe.”
    Definitely a much needed conversation to talk about eating disorders, and what is going on in the world today.

  22. Call it a co-incidence, but this has happened quite a lot – when Simple Living Global post a blog we get to hear it in the news about that same topic.

    After this top article was published, I heard about famous people suffering from eating disorders and how men are generally not included, yet is it happening to them.

    Could it be possible that if one person chooses to write and express about subjects like this that need to be discussed and shared, then we have a chance for things to change?

    I for one have come to realise that sitting on the fence, doing nothing, saying nothing and expecting others to ‘get on with it’ is confirming no change.

    We each have a responsibility to do what it takes and get our own life on track and then share from our lived experience anything that may just support another.

    Eating disorders were probably not around in the past because our lifestyle choices were very different.
    Our world has changed but are we blind or simply just choosing to ignore the simple fact, that something is seriously wrong with our modern day world if eating disorders are what is said in this blog?

    Is it time to wake up and take a deep look at how we are choosing to live everyday, that may be contributing to our ills?

  23. In this article from the Independent on December 13th 2016 it gives one woman’s experience of Diabulimia and the effects it had on her. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/diabulimia-eating-disorder-diabetes-women-food-insulin-injections-death-a7471481.html

    Also another woman talks about her diabetic friend who ‘keeled over and died’ from not giving herself the correct insulin dosages.

    It says ‘It is estimated that about 400,000 people live in the UK with the condition but startlingly, up to 40 percent of women aged between 15-30 with Type 1 diabetes aren’t giving themselves the life-sustaining injections they need.’ this is a shockingly high number which has probably increased since this report.

    This blog is a real eye opener with the amount of different eating disorders we have, Diabulimia being one which was new to me to read about.

  24. Daily Mail – 11 March 2017
    The headlines were “Sadism on the Catwalk”
    Locked in the dark for hours. Starved. Preyed on. We talk to the models themselves who reveal the ugly truth behind fashion’s glittering façade.

    Allegations have been made that our fashion houses are exploiting young women on the catwalk.
    A number of girls reported feeling disturbed by the way they were treated.

    An investigation by the Mail has reported that abuse is rife in the fashion industry.

    It seems that a lot of young girls are desperate to break into modelling and stories of being on long ten hour shoots where no food is provided is not putting them off.

    Girls are clearly being told by model agents to “lose weight when they are clearly anorexic”

    To meet “agency standards” one girl says she was existing on energy bars and hot drinks.

    Most of us know it is not a rosy time being a catwalk model and this news story is not really telling us anything new. However, they are bringing this back into our awareness as this is not going away and we need to do something and not just read it, allow it to continue by accepting that this is ok as it is not personally affecting us or those close to us.

    As this blog reports eating disorders is a huge global issue and the fashion industry is clearly adding to this.

    What gets into youngsters that want a career where the body shape is far more important than anything else?

    WHY is true health and well-being not on the radar for our youth these days?

    Are we in need of true role models?
    Are we aware of the real dangers of eating disorders?

    Do we need to educate as early as possible about food, nutrition, diets and eating disorders?

    What is it that we are missing, as we seem to call ourselves the most intelligent species on earth?

    Funny how there is never another animal on our planet who suffers with any type of eating disorder. So when did it all start to go wrong?

    Has our modern world gone bonkers and lost the plot when it comes to eating?

    Are social media and all those cooking programmes on TV adding to our eating disorders?

    Are our priorities upside down when we put all our focus on body image, at the expense of our body?

    Are we going to get back to basics, stick our common sense hat on and start to live in a way that can reverse all these dis-orders of the human being?

    Could it be possible that our ill choices got us the issue and our new choices could change that?

    Could it be possible that nothing is working, things are definitely getting worse and we need to at least consider that word ‘Responsibility’, if we are to ever evolve as a race of beings on earth?

  25. It is the holiday season in the USA. Thanksgiving is coming up, a time to give thanks for all that we have.

    Why is Thanksgiving all about food? Mostly about lots of food. My past Thanksgiving memories is about eating, and generally eating until I felt uncomfortable full. Is that giving thanks for what we have given? It makes no sense.

    I have been fortunate to never have been hungry, always had plenty of available food. But this is not the case for many people in the world. With all the amazing advances in the modern world, we still have not figured out how to stop starvation. Where are our priorities?

    When we eat too much it dulls our senses, makes us sleepy. Is it possible that eating too much at thanksgiving or anytime, helps us ignore the fact, that we are not taking responsibility for our role in starvation on our planet?

  26. I had a day this week travelling, when I was super tired. I ate a cereal bar before I’d even got dressed and that set the tone for the entire day. It felt like nothing was off limits. And it was all about carbs and sugar.

    More cereal bars. Biscuits. Sweets and potato crisps I never eat. Eating when my stomach was telling me it was full.

    And it was like my thoughts were not my own – dropping in ideas for things I could eat and where I could buy them every few minutes.

    It was as if that first decision opened the door to all those food choices that day and once the floodgates were open, that was it. It wasn’t until the day ended and the crazy eating cycle with it, that I could stem the momentum and reset.

    Except, reflecting, I know that ‘first’ decision was not in fact where it started. The first decision was way back, when I decided to have one more work conversation – to stay up a little bit later, when it was already late and my body wanted bed.

    A great lesson to (re)learn and to see how such in-the-moment choices can have a huge knock on effect.

  27. My food issues started around the age of 12 years old. I was constantly told I was fat by someone close and so the rocky road of food issues begun. By the time I reached 15 I would every Friday binge eat at a close relative house and then 5 minutes later ended up in the toilet making myself sick (In my head I thought that was the safest place to do it).

    This went on for nearly 2 years until I ended up with appendicitis. I stopped being sick but the food issues carried on. I would starve myself to lose weight and survived on only coffee, cereal and cigarettes most days. Even when I did lose the weight I was still miserable and it made no difference. Or I would spend hours in the gym to the point I could not walk the next day.

    Fast forward to present day, it has taken me 4 years to really understand why I had food issues. How did that happen you might say?

    With the help from the author of this blog I was able to get to the root of my food issue and gave myself permission to eat what my body needed, not what I thought it needed (limit food because I thought it made me fat for example). Equally I was able to look at my self-worth and start to value myself and not go into self-destruct mode because something was said made me upset. I now realise just because something is said does not mean it is TRUE. My relationship with food is now healthy.

    Thank you Simple Living Global for an amazing blog and this will for sure help others it certainly helped me.

  28. Daily Mail – 9 December 2017

    Dr Max Pemberton – NHS Psychiatrist and specialist in eating disorder and he is reporting on this news story is about a teenage student who suffered from anorexia and was found unconscious after she became so weak that she could not stand. A catalogue of failings from every NHS organisation involved in her care led to her death.

    The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has now said that these failings were symptomatic of wider NHS failings in the treatment of people with eating disorders and needed ‘urgent national attention’.

    Dr Max also says that it is considered something that silly young girls do to get attention, driven by vanity and narcissism and that this could not be further from the Truth.

    Despite the high risk of heart attacks in this patient group, heart tracings are not done and scans not ordered. Other mental health services, such as those dealing with depression, anxiety or personality disorder, are reluctant to get involved if the person has an eating disorder, even though we know eating disorders go hand in hand with these other mental health problems.

    The vast majority of doctors go through their entire training with no experience of eating disorder services and this is also true for many working in mental health.
    There are extraordinary levels of ignorance about the condition among medical professionals and because of this, few people choose to specialise in it.

    Dr Max works at a unit where they have been searching for appropriately-qualified staff for years as there simply are not any.

    So if we just join the dots here what is clear is that there are not enough medical professionals who know about this illness which is associated with mental health and a relationship with food.

    Whilst we wait around for more to be trained, can we start with a basic education about this topic and can a blog like this, which is presenting the detail in a simple easy read language that all can comprehend, be the first step?

    Next – can we get to the root cause of why this happens in the first place and not just look for solutions to allow these people to function if we are ever going to be clear of this illness?

    Would it be true to say our doctors are not giving this the attention it needs simply because it is a blind spot – they are not trained and so ignoring what it really is, is all they know what to do.

    Blaming the medical system or our government is not going to change anything.
    We each as individuals need to be asking questions and keep asking questions until change happens.

    We created this illness so deep inside us we must have the answers.

    1. Thank you for this comment Simple Living Global.

      It highlights once again the seriousness of this disease and the difficulties within the medical profession.

      People can go to great lengths to hide the fact that they have an eating disorder and deceit can become a large part of the disease, both deceit with self and others.

      This blog is an excellent educational tool, as it lets us know all of the signs and symptoms and what to look out for in others. I know that people can say that they have terminal illness like cancer to cover up that they have an eating disorder and they can be secretively purging and taking laxatives without anyone knowing.

      And so I feel that this blog presents to us that we ALL have a duty to keep our eyes open and be aware of those around us if we really do care.

      This I deeply appreciate.

  29. Thank you for this excellent, forensic examination of eating disorders and the misery and devastation they cause.

    Until I had read this blog, I had no idea of the epidemic scale of eating disorders nor the terrifying truth that eating disorders result in more premature deaths than any other type of mental illness.

    As I read in the blog of the different types of eating disorders, it struck me that the individuals that suffer from this illness must be mostly disconnected from their bodies and living in their heads for them to be able to repeat the patterns of self-abusive behaviours around food that constitute the eating disorder they subject themselves to and therefore suffer from.

  30. The Auburn Plainsman – news story dated 3/2/2018 (note USA have month first)

    This is a student run newspaper for Auburn University in Alabama, United States.

    The following statistics are worth reading here for U.S.

    13 million people binge eat
    10 million women have anorexia or bulimia
    80% age 10 are afraid of being fat
    42% girls in 1st to 3rd grade want to be thinner

    Feb 26th – 4th March is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

    91% women are unhappy with their body resort to dieting

    80% say women in media make them feel insecure

    53% teenage girls are, or think they should be on a diet

    25% teenage boys reported being teased by their weight

    12% teenage boys using unproven supplements or steroids

    13% teenage girls acknowledge having an eating disorder

    40% women stated they would consider cosmetic surgery

    20% men stated they would consider cosmetic surgery

    55.4 Billion – annual revenue of the weight loss industry

    This is one country and it would be true to say SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

    What is going on for our children that leads to this?

    Are we not able to truly help because we as adults have an eating disorder?

    How many of us have nailed it when it comes to eating?

    What if there is something far deeper to consider when it comes to our relationship with food?

    What if the way we view ourselves is distorted and not the actual truth but just a simple reflection about how we really feel at that time?

    What if we need to get back to the drawing board and have discussions at every dinner table and every opportunity in our communities and beyond to find out what is going on that makes anyone have an eating disorder?

    What we know is we are not born with this, so something happens so it is high time we find out what happens so we can join the dots and turn the tides?

    What we all need to realise is the weight loss industry is booming because of the demand.

    They are the suppliers and we the public are the customers.

    We want the fix, the picture in our head and the body size and shape and we want it now, quick, pronto, fast and what this multi-billion dollar industry confirms is that nothing works and so we find the next one and the next one and it just keeps going?

    Have we ever found a diet that works and have we ever stuck to it for a lifetime?

    Would it be true to say that it would be wise to start asking sensible questions about how we are living, how we truly feel and how much of our feelings do we express with Absolute honesty so we can get to know more about who we truly are?

  31. The Week – 24 February 2018
    Issue 1164

    NHS Digital reports –
    There has been a dramatic rise in people being hospitalised with Eating Disorders.

    13,885 admissions in UK hospitals in the year to April 2017.

    Number of girls under 18 with anorexia has also gone higher.

    UK’s leading Eating Disorder charity say more money is desperately needed for community services.

    Is this going to be enough or do we need to start with EDUCATION so that our current children who are the next generation of adolescents and youth stand a chance?

    What if we need more trained people on the ground who have a healthy relationship with not only food, but true health and well being?

    We are fast approaching April 2018, so what would the real figures be a year later?

    Are we certain we have got on top of this and are we really on the front foot?

    How can we turn the tides if we are not seeing what is driving our youngsters to have eating disorders in the first place?

    What are the pressures they are facing and can we learn more here from this blog and all its questions?

    Can we also examine blogs on this website like Social Media, Internet, TV, Junk Food, Smoking, Drugs, Sport and Youth so we can gain a deeper insight into what we in our modern world have created?

    If we created all this, then surely we have the power to work it out and that means getting to the root of the issue and not using any solutions or short term band aids, which we all know will never change anything in Truth.

  32. Today I was speaking with someone who works with young people and he was telling us about websites that are specifically designed to entice young people with eating disorders.

    Young people are attracted to these sites as they promote that they understand and that it is a place for them to talk. He stated that he has seen some of these websites himself and they include advice on how to binge for example and what foods to ‘best’ eat for this and WHY.

    I was quite shocked hearing this and questioned who would set these websites up and why. He shared that it is sometimes other young people and it can also be because people make money from these sites through advertising

    Either way, somehow there must be a demand for these websites, otherwise they would not be created.

    Once again it has woke me up to the fact that things really are not good with our youth of today.

    How many of us are truly aware of this?

    Thank God for this website by Simple Living Global.

    Anyone using the internet and social media would do well to read these blogs on this website, which highlights what else is going on in our world wide web and asks us to consider what each of our roles are in being Responsible in our on-line activities.

    https://simplelivingglobal.com/world-internet-day/

    https://simplelivingglobal.com/social-media-day/

  33. Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that the brain’s response to sugar in people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa is higher than those without the disease. At the same time the brain response was also linked to high anxiety and less weight gain. As patients restrict their diet the brain’s reward circuit associated with dopamine becomes more active and triggers anxiety. This makes food avoidance worse.

    https://neurosciencenews.com/reward-system-anorexia-9617/

    As a lay person reading this what this tells me is that when people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa restrict their food intake, the parts of the brain linked to reward are triggered and anxiety kicks in and then they continue with the cycle of restricting food. The fact that the brain’s reward circuit is triggered also tells me that there is a reward factor in limiting food. I also know that sugar is a stimulant and so this would also contribute to a feeling of anxiousness in the body and so trigger anxiety.

    The researchers also found that the brain reward response also acted on the hypothalamus which stimulates eating but a strong response that says “feed me” might be overridden in people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa as it might be overwhelming and trigger more food restriction than eating.

    Whilst I do not understand all of the science behind this the elements of food restriction, reward and anxiety are all familiar to me.

    Although never diagnosed I know that I had a serious eating disorder about seven years ago. Run by images in my head about the size I should be and a total dissatisfaction and hate for my body I went about restricting my food intake based on thoughts of what was good and not good to eat. By doing so I became addicted to the highly anxious state my body was in and any feelings to eat would be immediately suppressed to continue the loop of anxiety. Whilst I was not consciously aware of this at the time, looking back this all makes sense now.

    I lived in complete disregard of my body and to myself as a woman and so there was no connection to who I truly am and my inner feelings and what I felt was true for me. Therefore I was taking no responsibility for my life. The reward was only the addiction of pleasing others and trying to squeeze my body into an acceptable shape. In essence this behaviour pattern was a drug for me.

    The only effective treatment that I found was the support of Universal Medicine Practitioners. To help myself deal with the anxiety I started to make lifestyle changes like resting more and learning to speak up, as well as eating more and listening to what my body wanted to eat and so making changes that meant I was taking responsibility for my life. Whilst I am a long way from the person who had this serious eating disorder, the lifestyle changes are still active in my life.

    Ultimately when I had the eating disorder I had very very low self-worth and did not want to exist or even be on Earth. That has all now changed as I love life and I love myself – knowing that my very presence offers others so much.

  34. Thank you for this outstanding blog.

    As I read this blog for the second time, I am continually asking myself, “What is the root cause behind eating disorders? Why do people have them?”

    And the answer that I keep getting is “Emptiness” .

    So, is it possible that those afflicted by eating disorders are making eating choices in the Emptiness which exists when we do not maintain a consistent Connection to the real inner me within?

    I feel that this could be true, especially when one considers that fact that when we live in Connection, we are in tune with the intelligence of the body and the body would only have us eat what the body needs, no more, no less.

    Also, the intelligence of the body only knows how to heal, so when we are in Connection, eating choices or behaviours that are harmful cannot even be on our radar.

  35. Eating Disorders are very often seen as something that affects women only, but as this article by Simple Living Global has already presented, men are affected too.

    The Telegraph – 23 November 2018

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/23/number-boys-eating-disorders-doubles/

    The number of boys receiving treatment for eating disorders in recent years has doubled, NHS figures reveal.

    Campaigners have expressed concern after data showed that the numbers seeking help is now at a record high.

    While young girls make up the prevalence of disorders, among boys the prevalence is growing quicker.

    Experts are noticing a condition called ‘Bigorexia’ taking hold in boys and young men where they become obsessed with muscle definition and body shape.

    In 2017, it emerged that the number of men referred for treatment for eating disorders had risen by more than 40% in 2 years.

    In the last 7 years the number of boys going into hospital in England, Scotland and Wales increased from 235 to 466.

    Experts blame the growing numbers on pressure from social media.

    What if it is not just social media and the way that we use it that is contributing to eating disorders?

    What if the way that we are raising our children is not in a way that is supportive of who they truly are and as such we are raising a false version of them, which leads them to then feel the tension of not living who they truly are and in reaction to this eating disorders develop?

    What if the way that we are raising our boys and the mounting pressure on them is too much and eating disorders are a way of trying to control what they are having difficulty dealing with?

    What if we are putting pressure on our boys to be a certain way, to look a certain way and be a certain size and this then contributes to the bodily obsession?

    If we took all of the above questions on board and really contemplated them to get the answers, would we then change the way that we raise our young, including the way that we educate them?

    Would our focus change from who they can be for us to seeing who they truly are and valuing this?

    Would this mean that as adults, we would also need to stop playing the game of not living our truth and instead embrace who we truly are so that we can then support our children to do the same?

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