FreeFrom #FoodAddiction

Is food a problem for you?

– Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
– Do you binge, purge or restrict?
– Is your weight affecting your life?


Eating Disorder or Diet?

The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

Having an Eating Disorder is much more than just being on a diet. An Eating Disorder is an illness that permeates all aspects of each sufferer’s life, is caused by a variety of emotional factors and influences, and has profound effects on the people suffering and their loved ones.

Dieting is about losing a little bit of weight in a healthy way.
Eating Disorders are about trying to make your whole life better through food and eating (or lack of).

Dieting is about doing something healthy for yourself.
Eating Disorders are about seeking approval and acceptance from everyone through negative attention.

Dieting is about losing a bit of weight and doing it healthfully.
Eating Disorders are about how life won’t be good until a bit (or a lot) of weight is lost, and there’s no concern for what kind of damage you do to yourself to get there.

Dieting is about losing some weight in a healthy way so how you feel on the outside will match how good you already feel on the inside.
Eating Disorders are about being convinced that your whole self-esteem is hinged on what you weigh and how you look.

Dieting is about attempting to control your weight a bit better.
Eating Disorders are about attempting to control your life and emotions through food/lack of food — and are a huge neon sign saying “look how out of control I really feel”

Dieting is about losing some weight.
Eating Disorders are about everything going on in life — stress, coping, pain, anger, acceptance, validation, confusion, fear — cleverly (or not so cleverly) hidden behind phrases like “I’m just on a diet”.

– Sourced from on 3.04.2012 on 3.04.2012


1. What is sugar addiction?
2. How does sugar and carbs make me fat?
2.1 The Renaissance Man
2.2 The CarbFather
3. Insulin Resistance (IR)
4. Sugar/Carb Detox – what to expect
5. What does a LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet look like?
6. Renew your mind
7. Eating Disorders
7.1 What is an eating disorder?
7.2 Compulsive Overeating
7.3 Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating
7.4 Eating Disorder not otherwise specified (ED-NOS)
8. Resources & Help for Eating Disorders


Did you know that Sugar is addictive and it has the same effect on your brain chemistry as cocaine…



The effects of a low-carb and a high-carb diet:


While our primitive ancestors may have inadvertently cracked the diet code thousands of years ago, they weren’t big on documenting their daily lives, so the mantle of originator of the LCHF movement goes to William Banting circa 1862. A popular London undertaker, Banting was morbidly obese. When he started losing his hearing, his doctor, William Harvey, found that his weight was putting pressure on his ear drums.

Harvey had come to the conclusion that farinaceous foods (grains, breads etc) were behind Banting’s excessive weight and prescribed him a low-carb, high-fat diet. The effect of the diet on Banting’s health was drastic, nothing short of miraculous in fact, and after he published his now-famous Letter on Corpulence, documenting his weight struggles and subsequent turnaround, the “Banting diet” and variations thereof were adopted as an effective weight-loss solution by the medical fraternity in both Europe and the USA. For the purposes of this book and because it’s easier on the ear than LCHF, we will refer to LCHF as Banting in honor of the good undertaker’s brave undertaking.

Fat, cooked well, is delicious. Yet through conditioning we feel guilty reaching for bacon or the fat on a nice lamb chop and try to condition ourselves not to want it. Decades of health magazines telling us it’s not good for us hasn’t helped, but the most serious damage to fat’s reputation came from somewhere else…


If 1862 had been a good year for Banting and a great year for fat, 1977 was the annus horribilis for our most maligned macro-nutrient. In 1953, a well-respected American biochemist, Ancel Keys, published a study that erroneously highlighted fat’s effect on cholesterol levels as being behind the risk of heart attack. Keys’ theory, which Noakes dubs the “plumbing model” of heart disease, argued that there was a relationship between the amount of fat in the diet and heart disease. His simplistic approach concluded that by raising blood cholesterol, fat in our diet clogs our arteries and leads to heart disease, among other things.

Keys’ study was deeply flawed on several counts, from his selective use of the data he had at his disposal (he omitted information from 16 of the 22 countries in the study, using only the six countries that suited his hypothesis) to the fact that his research was based solely on observational studies and not randomized clinical trials. Glaringly, he also omitted to factor in the huge growth in cigarette consumption and other variables as a possible explanation for the rise in heart disease.

Regardless of the weaknesses around the study, in 1977 Senator George McGovern and his Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs went ahead and based their Dietary Goals for Americans (USDGA) on Keys’ recommendation of a high-carb, low-fat (HCLF) diet. It was a decision that affected us all. Ever since then, fat has been trying to rework its public image.

Source: The Real Meal Revolution, by Prof Tim Noakes

The biggest irony of Keys’ mistake is that of the three macro-nutrients we eat, carbohydrate is the only one that is non-essential for survival, while fat is the body’s preferred fuel.Yes, you read that right. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel. Carbs are unnecessary. Cut it out and stick it to your forehead, your fridge or your wallet. The only carbs our Pinnacle Point ancestors ate would have been seriously tough tubers with a low hypoglycemic index that would have taken ages to chew into submission. Because of our genetic make-up, the majority of us are IR to some degree. So when we eat carbohydrates, our bodies react.Here’s how the insulin/carbohydrate/sugar axis of obesity works against us:
• When carbohydrates are ingested, our blood glucose levels rise.
• Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to the glucose entering the bloodstream from the gut.The body must be protected against sustained high blood glucose levels so the insulin causes the glucose, which is not used immediately for energy, to be stored by the liver and muscles as glycogen. Once the glycogen reserves are filled the excess glucose is stored as fat.If a carbohydrate cannot be removed immediately from the body (e.g. being burned off through exercise), it gets converted by the liver into fat and sent out to our fat tissues for storage. This is the body squirreling away this energy source for a future Ice Age, only the Ice Age isn’t coming. We’re just getting fatter
and hungrier.The bottom line?Insulin, your body’s defense mechanism against carbs, both transforms carbs/glucose into fat and then stores it by preventing it from being used. The result? You get fat.

If you eat carbs and you don’t burn a ridiculous amount of energy (even Simon Gear’s nine marathons in nine weeks wasn’t enough to cope with his IR levels), you will continue to get fat or maintain a consistent level of podge.

The final blow to the gut: because carbohydrates are nutrient-deficient and often packaged with salt and sugar, you feel the need to eat more of them, thereby putting yourself into a near-perpetual cycle of weight gain.

Unless, of course, you break the addiction…

Watch Prof. Tim Noakes on YouTube:

Watch Gary Taubes on YouTube:



The first week of your carb-free life will be tough. You might dream of sandwiches; have nightmares involving mashed potato or risotto monsters. You will experience cravings. But forewarned is forearmed. Knowing that your body is addicted to carbs, the veil had been lifted from your eyes and you are ready to take charge of your own weight, your own health.

Although some people feel instantly better, you might feel bloated and uncomfortable for a couple of days to a week. The sixth or seventh day is the toughest (they usually fall on a Saturday and Sunday because Monday is traditionally the turn-over-a-new-leaf day). You’ll feel irritable and tense; you might get headaches or feel light-headed. Hang in there. If your partner starts Banting with you, all the better because you will understand each other’s moods. After this, you’ll feel your normal self, only better.

The other plus is that after about seven days you should have lost some weight. Everyone loses weight differently – some show exponential losses in the initial weeks or months but others will lose slower.

You WILL feel better and you WILL lose weight.

If you are exercising heavily, simply increase the amount of fat you eat until you reach a point where you are no longer starving. This takes time but if you listen to your body, you’ll get an idea of what you need. Remember, there is no right amount to eat. Your body will tell you. This is about your appetite and not calories.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think you need to eat more fat than you can handle. You MUST NOT force-feed yourself more fat than you can handle because you think that is how it’s done. Eat your fill and carry on with life. By force-feeding yourself (with anything) you will not feel any better nor will you lose weight. Fat is the tool we use to maintain our energy levels and appetite. You will know you’re not getting enough if you get hungry before lunch or need to eat more than three times a day. You will know you’re eating too much if you feel nauseous or you’re not losing any weight. A ball park of between 25 to 50g of carbs per day is where you should be aiming. This is net carbs (total carbs less fibre), not 50g of potato.

Think of it this way: right now you are a fat grub wriggling on a dungheap of carbs, but about to go through an incredible metamorphosis. After a week of Banting, as your weight starts to drop, your energy levels pick up and you start to feel good about yourself, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a beautiful butterfly. Don’t want to be a butterfly? Okay, then you can be a moth or a cricket. But damn you’ll be beautiful.

You get the point.

For more information on the Real Food Revolution, see


There are quite a few popular LCHF Diets available, e.g Atkins, Paleo, Dukan, Banting / The Real Meal Revolution They provide detailed info on meal plans, recipes, carb counting and more.

 6. RENEW YOUR MINDThe disastrous dietary guidelinesIn 1977 the US government published the Dietary Goals for the United States, a set of guidelines that advocated a diet high in carbs and low in fat, exactly the opposite of the diet we have been following for much of our existence. It was decreed that we should eat six to eleven portions of grains per day and that sugar was absolutely fine to add to everything. This diet was subsequently adopted across most of the Western world and a plethora of low fat-food products hit the shelves. This has had a disastrous effect on our health. Since the early 1980’s the incidence of obesity and diabetes has risen rapidly. Can we really call this a coincidence?

The common misconception

There is a common misconception that eating fat, especially saturated fat, is bad for you and that it is a primary cause of high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. This is simply not true and was based on a flawed study by Ancel Keys in 1953. The truth is that a diet high in carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and sugar are the cause of obesity, diabetes as well as other chronic illnesses. Vegetable (seed) oils and their derivatives such as margarine are also a contributing factor to heart disease, although manufacturers tell us the exact opposite.

Sourced from:


Disordered eating consists of a range of thoughts and feelings about food and body image that lie between healthy/normal eating habits with body acceptance at one end and eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder) at the other. These behaviors are not just about eating. They include weight/shape preoccupation, a striving for perfection, yo-yo dieting, excessive exercising, fasting or restricting, compulsive overeating, purging, steroid use, and laxative abuse.While some of these ways of acting are symptoms of an eating disorder they do not occur as often or to such an extreme that a doctor would consider them to be compulsive overeating, anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.Disordered eating symptoms may occur once in a while or at certain key moments in a person’s life – as a result of a stressful event, illness or preparing for an athletic event. However, when disordered eating continues for long periods of time and starts to get in the way of your everyday life and activities, or used to cope with strong feelings, it may lead to an eating disorder. Those “dabbling” in disordered eating are more at risk for eating disorders.

– Sourced from:

7.2 COMPULSIVE OVEREATINGARE YOU A COMPULSIVE OVER-EATER?This series of questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive eater.

-Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
-Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
-Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
-Do you give too much time and thought to food?
-Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
-Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?
-Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
-Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
-Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
-Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?
-Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?
-Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
-Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
-Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
-Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?
-Have you answered yes to three or more of these questions? If so, it is probable that you have or are well on your way to having a compulsive eating problem.

We have found that the way to arrest this progressive disease is to practice the Twelve-Step recovery program of Overeaters Anonymous. Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive overeating and to carry this message of recovery to those who still suffer.

For more information on Overeaters Anonymous, see


The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

People suffering with Compulsive Overeating have what is characterized as an “addiction” to food, using food and eating as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives.

People suffering with this Eating Disorder tend to be overweight, are usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal, but find little comfort because of society’s tendency to stereotype the “overweight” individual. Words like, “just go on a diet” are as emotionally devastating to a person suffering Compulsive Overeating as “just eat” can be to a person suffering Anorexia. A person suffering as a Compulsive Overeater is at health risk for a heart attack, high blood-pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease and/or failure, arthritis and bone deterioration, and stroke.

Men and Women who are Compulsive Overeaters will sometimes hide behind their physical appearance, using it as a blockade against society (common in survivors of sexual abuse). They feel guilty for not being “good enough,” shame for being overweight, and generally have a very low self-esteem… they use food and eating to cope with these feelings, which only leads into the cycle of feeling them ten-fold and trying to find a way to cope again. With a low self esteem and often constant need for love and validation he/she will turn to obsessive episodes of binging and eating as a way to forget the pain and the desire for affection.
It is important to remember that most Eating Disorders, though their signs and symptoms may be different, share a great number of common causes and emotional aspects.

From Tom…

I suppose it is ironic that I work at a hospital. I was married to an alcoholic… how nice it would be to have a simple addiction like booze… you give it up and you are recovering. But you have to eat. Well I eat… when I’m hungry… when I’m full… when I’m anxious… when I’m happy… when I’m sad… well you get the idea.

Food, the friend that never fails.

When I was a kid I was trained that food made it all better. When we were totally broke my mom would cook the most. She was a compulsive feeder so I became a compulsive eater.

Every diet has failed. I am a lifer on Weight Watchers, I have been through Nutra System. But it’s not about the weight… it’s about the inability to deal with feelings and emotions… about using a bowl of pasta or a pound of m&m’s as a narcotic to stem the pain.

That’s what compulsive overeating is.

I cry because it makes me overweight and no one sees the real me inside. I try to show the real me and I think that people don’t like me because I am overweight. Another catch 22 or chicken and egg thing. I see my son gaining weight and I grieve. I want out… but then I realize that there is no out… only control… and control is harder than being in or out.



The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders, including Anorexia, is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

Those who are suffering with this illness have a low self-esteem and often a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions. The Eating Disorder, Anorexia, is a unique reaction to a variety of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, unhappiness and feeling like life is out of control. Anorexia is a negative way to cope with these emotions. New research indicates that for a percentage of sufferers, a genetic predisposition may play a role in a sensitivity to develop Anorexia, with environmental factors being the trigger.

“…starvation fills a void inside when it’s approval from you I crave. The desire for food is gone and you are there again… yelling… so negative. Times like this filled with the pounding urge to run far away and disappear…”

The person suffering with Anorexia may be abnormally sensitive about being perceived as fat, or have a massive fear of becoming fat — though not all people living with Anorexia have this fear. They may be afraid of losing control over the amount of food they eat, accompanied by the desire to control their emotions and reactions to their emotions. With a low self-esteem and need for acceptance they will turn to obsessive dieting and starvation as a way to control not only their weight, but their feelings and actions regarding the emotions attached. Some also feel that they do not deserve pleasure out of life, and will deprive themselves of situations offering pleasure (including eating).

Some of the behavioral signs can be: obsessive exercise, calorie and fat gram counting, starvation and restriction of food, self-induced vomiting, the use of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics to attempt controlling weight, and a persistent concern with body image. See Also, Signs and Symptoms.

It is not uncommon for people suffering with Anorexia to waver through periods of Bulimia (binging and purging) as well.

“… lost in the darkness of my own circumstance, criticizing echoes leaving me awake in the night… the barrier and blockades that keep me safe and in control while I pretend that I am okay… ”

It is important to point out that there can be a number of ways a person suffering from Anorexia can portray their disorder. The inherent trait of a person suffering Anorexia is to attempt to maintain strict control over food intake. In a number of cases a man or woman suffering will seem to eat normal meals with only periods of restriction. Anorexics are sometimes known to eat junk food, particularly candy, to drink a lot of coffee or tea, and/or to smoke. They may deny hunger, make excuses to avoid eating, will often hide food they claim to have eaten, use diet pills to control appetite, or attempt to purge the food away with self-induced vomiting, or by taking laxatives.

“…Emotions control me… make me hide in a safe place of silence…. my mind stays distant from what my heart feels. If I say it… it’s real… so I say nothing. I can’t touch it… if I did I would curl up or crumble. I may seem to be made by heart of stone…. but really just chalk… and I’m afraid to face the possibility that I could easily turn to dust…”

Both Anorexia and Bulimia…

There are many similarities in both illnesses, the most common being the cause. There seems to be a common occurrence of sexual and/or physical and emotional abuse in direct relation to eating disorders (though not all people living with Eating Disorders are survivors of abuse). There also seems to be a direct connection in some people to clinical Depression. The eating disorder sometimes causes the depression or the depression can lead to the eating disorder. All in all, eating disorders are very complex emotional issues — Though they may seem to be nothing more than a dangerously obsessive weight concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.

“…the only blame I cast is on myself… for wanting the happiness I couldn’t have… and still now, can’t believe I deserve…”

Diagnostic Criteria

The following is considered the “text book” definition of Anorexia Nervosa to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis… it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with the illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from Anorexia even if one of the below signs is not present (also see the Signs and Symptoms section). In other words, if you think you have Anorexia, it’s dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think “I don’t have one of the symptoms, so I must not be Anorexic”.

1. Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (e.g., weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight less than 85% of that expected; or failure to make expected weight gain during period of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected).
2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
3. 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 denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
4. In postmenarcheal females (women who have not yet gone through menopause), amenorrhea (the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles).
o Restricting Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the person has not regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e., self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)
o Binge-Eating Type or Purging Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in binge-eating OR purging behavior (i.e., self- induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)

“…the reflection staring back at me is not what you see… my guilt running the need to destroy my duration… forcing me to seek guidance on an empty plate of stolen dreams and fractured rainbows…”

– Sourced from on 3.04.2012


The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

Men and women who live with Bulimia seek out binge and purge episodes — they will eat a large quantity of food in a relatively short period of time and then use behaviors such as taking laxatives or self-induced vomiting — because they feel overwhelmed in coping with their emotions, or in order to punish themselves for something they feel they should unrealistically blame themselves for. This can be in direct relation to how they feel about themselves, or how they feel over a particular event or series of events in their lives. Those suffering with Bulimia may seek episodes of binging and purging to avoid and let out feelings of anger, depression, stress or anxiety. New research indicates that for a percentage of sufferers, a genetic predisposition may play a role in a sensitivity to develop Bulimia, with environmental factors being the trigger.

“… the shackled anger I am accustomed to… reflecting on myself… and with every tear there are a thousand more that need to follow so I may climb from the darkness… ”

Men and women suffering Bulimia are usually aware they have an eating disorder. Fascinated by food they sometimes buy magazines and cook-books to read recipes, and enjoy discussing dieting issues.

Some of the behavioral signs can be: Recurring episodes of rapid food consumption followed by tremendous guilt and purging (laxatives or self-induced vomiting), a feeling of lacking control over his or her eating behaviors, regularly engaging in stringent diet plans and exercise, the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, and/or diet pills and a persistent concern with body image can all be warning signs someone is suffering with Bulimia.

“… my need to do this… it is almost instinctively protective…. a mechanism shielding out the real me in my mind… and I don’t think I even know who the real me is… ”

It is important to realize that what makes a person Bulimic — as opposed to Anorexic — is not the purging, but the cycle of binging and purging. Purging may be using laxatives or self-induced vomiting, but there are Bulimics who use other inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as compulsive exercise (ie., excessive jogging or aerobics), to attempt to burn off the calories of a binge, or fasting the day following a binge. It is not uncommon for a man or woman suffering with Bulimia to take diet pills in an attempt to keep from binging, or to use diuretics to try to lose weight. A sufferer will often hide or “store” food for later binges, will often eat secretly and can have large fluctuations in their weight.

“…I sense a stranger filling this silent room with anguish… a silence that rattles against the windows leaving me so cold and numb… and somehow… this feeling I do not understand is my best friend and enemy all wrapped up in one… ”

Both Anorexia and Bulimia…

There are many similarities in both illnesses, the most common being the cause. There seems to be a common occurrence of sexual and/or physical and emotional abuse in direct relation to eating disorders (though not all people living with Eating Disorders are survivors of abuse). There also seems to be a direct connection in some people to clinical Depression. The eating disorder sometimes causes the depression or the depression can lead to the eating disorder. All in all, eating disorders are very complex emotional issues — Though they may seem to be nothing more than a dangerously obsessive weight concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.

“… I want to free myself… and find security in my tears. How can I touch my innerself and know of the existence… when this painful essence has beaten me down?… ”

Diagnostic Criteria

The following is considered the “text book” definition of Bulimia Nervosa to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis… it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with the illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from Bulimia even if one of the below signs is not present (also see the Signs and Symptoms section). In other words, if you think you have Bulimia, it’s dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think “I don’t have one of the symptoms, so I must not be Bulimic”.

1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
o eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances
o 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)
2. Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.
3. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months.
4. Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
5. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.
o Purging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas
o Nonpurging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has used other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but has not regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas

“… intimidated by any change… in a brief moment there might be too much vulnerability and I’ll be left wide open to really hurt…
all these things hanging over me, weighing me down… What will it take to make the darkness not so dark? ”

– Sourced from on 3.04.2012


The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

Men and Women living with Binge Eating Disorder suffer a combination of symptoms similar to those of Compulsive Overeaters and Bulimia. The sufferer periodically goes on large binges, consuming an unusually large quantity of food in a short period of time (less than 2 hours) uncontrollably, eating until they are uncomfortably full. The weight of each individual is usually characterized as above average or overweight, and sufferers tend to have a more difficult time losing weight and maintaining average healthy weights. Unlike with Bulimia, they do not purge following a Binge episode.

Reasons for Binge Eating can be similar to those of Compulsive Overeating; Using Binges as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives. Binging can be used as a way to keep people away, to subconsciously maintain an overweight appearance to cater to society’s sad stigma “if I’m fat, no one will like me,” as each person suffering may feel undeserving of love. As with Bulimia, Binging can also be used as self-punishment for doing “bad” things, or for feeling badly about themselves.

A person suffering with Binge Eating Disorder is at health risk for a heart attack, high blood-pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease and/or failure, arthritis and bone deterioration, and stroke.

Diagnostic Criteria

The following is considered the “text book” definition of Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis… it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with the illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from BED even if one of the below signs is not present. In other words, if you think you have BED, it’s dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think “I don’t have one of the symptoms, so I must not have it”.

1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
o Eating, in a discrete period of time (eg, within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances;
o A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (eg, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
2. The binge eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
o Eating much more rapidly than normal
o Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
o Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
o Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
o Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or feeling very guilty after overeating
3. Marked distress regarding binge eating.
4. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months.
5. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (eg, purging, fasting, excessive exercise) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

from Stephanie…

My first memory of my disorder was when I was 8. One night after dinner I found myself rummaging through the garbage to finish off what no one else wanted. No one was around. I was very secretive about it. But was my way of having control in my life. My parents were always critical of who I was and my body, especially.
I’d eat in secret, gorging myself with more food than necessary, way beyond the point of feeling full. Guilt, anxiety and fear would always ensue. Feelings of rage, hatred and loathing would follow; or severe depression with suicidal tendencies. You know it’s ironic: I understand my disease enough to know that it all stems from issues of control (feeling out of control and abusing food to regain it). But I am so out of control when I abuse food, that it just becomes a vicious cycle day after day after day.

– Sourced from on 3.04.2012


The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

Having an “Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified” can mean a number of things… It can mean the individual suffers from Anorexia but still gets their period; It can mean they may still be an “average healthy weight” but be suffering Anorexia; It can mean the sufferer equally participates in some Anorexic as well as Bulimic behaviors (sometimes referred to as being Bulimirexic).

Just as it is important to remember that doctors can make mistakes, it is also important to keep in mind that it has not been until very recently (in the last 10 years) that awareness on the subject Eating Disorders has really begun to surface. People are frequently confused (including doctors) about the real differences between Anorexia and Bulimia (Anorexia essentially being self-starvation, and Bulimia being defined as going through binge and purge cycles – simply put), and often times know nothing at all about Binge-Eating Disorder.

For example, a doctor relies completely on his diagnostic manuals and reads the criteria to diagnose an individual as having Anorexia. He finds that his patient has regularly practiced self-starvation techniques, thinks of herself unrealistically as overweight, and seems to be hard on herself… BUT she still has her monthly period (the diagnostic criteria states that there must be loss of monthly menstrual cycles). He may technically diagnose the patient as having “An Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified”.

Another example would be that of a person suffering through binge and purge cycles once a week, who feels that they are overweight and who feels depressed. (The diagnostic criteria states that the sufferer must binge and purge, on average, at least twice a week.)

Practically speaking, in the first example the person suffers from Anorexia and the second suffers from Bulimia. Clinically speaking, according to the “text book” they would suffer from “An Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified”. In either case, both people are suffering with an Eating Disorder, both are in danger of potentially deadly physical complications, and both need to make a choice for recovery.

The most important thing to remember is that Eating Disorders, Anorexia, Bulimia, Compulsive Overeating, Binge-Eating Disorder, any combination of them, (or any that fall into the clinical category of EDNOS), are ALL psychological illnesses, none less or more serious than the next. They all have their physical dangers and complications, they all present themselves through an array of disordered eating patterns in one way or another, and they all stem from emotional turmoil such as a low self-esteem, a need to forget feelings and/or stress, a need to block pain, anger and/or people out, and most of all, a need to cope. The bottom line is that we are ALL suffering. If you find you suffer from any Eating Disorder then it’s time to reach in to yourself.

Diagnostic Criteria

The following is considered the “text book” definition of an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis… it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with an Eating Disorder. It is important to note that this is a Clinical definition, and is in no way meant to say that any sufferer does not struggle, and that the condition is not serious. It is not meant to say you do not have Anorexia or Bulimia (or a combination of both sometimes known as Bulimirexia). This is a clinical category of disordered eating meant for those who suffer but do not meet all the diagnostic criteria for another specific disorder.

Examples Include:
1. All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except the individual has regular menses.
2. All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except that, despite substantial weight loss, the individual’s current weight is in the normal range.
3. All of the criteria for Bulimia Nervosa are met except binges occur at a frequency of less than twice a week or for a duration of less than 3 months.
4. An individual of normal body weight who regularly engages in inappropriate compensatory behavior after eating small amounts of food (eg, self-induced vomiting after the consumption of two cookies).
5. An individual who repeatedly chews and spits out, but does not swallow, large amounts of food.
6. Binge eating disorder; recurrent episodes of binge eating in the absence of the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors characteristic of bulimia nervosa.

Other Types of Eating Disorders


Pica, a widely misunderstood phenomenon, is defined as a compulsive craving for eating, chewing or licking non-food items or foods containing no nutrition. These can include such things as chalk, plaster, paint chips, baking soda, starch, glue, rust, ice, coffee grounds, and cigarette ashes. It may sometimes be linked to certain mineral deficiencies (i.e., iron or zinc). Pica can be associated with, developmental delays, mental deficiencies and/or a family history of the disorder. There may be psychological disturbances that lead to Pica as well, such as conditions in which a child lives in a low-income or poor family, or who lives in an environment of little love and support.

Because of the inherent danger in eating non-food items, it is extremely important that an individual suffering with Pica be evaluated by a doctor, given the correct diagnosis, and treated promptly. The treatment that will follow will depend on the causes of the behavior. If the compulsion is driven by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplements will be prescribed; Examination of the home environment, behavior-modification therapy and psychological treatment may also be needed.

Pica is fairly common in pregnant women and symptoms usually disappear following the birth of the child.
Complications of pica can include lead poisoning, malnutrition, abdominal problems, intestinal obstruction, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, mercury poisoning, phosphorus intoxication, and dental injury.

* It may be possible (but uncommon) for people with Anorexia and/or Bulimia to develop Pica because of the compulsive nature of these illnesses to binge, and/or the malnutrition that can set in. If the two disorders co-exist, it is important to tell your doctor of both.

Link: Pica Defined by ANRED

Prader-Willi Syndrome

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a congenital condition (present at birth) and is believed to be caused by an abnormality in the genes that occurs (though statistically it does not seem to run in families). Children born with Prader-Willi Syndrome may have early feeding difficulties that lead to tube feeding, and often have a degree of behavioral and/or mental problems (some severe).

The person with Prader-Willi Syndrome has an insatiable appetite. This can lead to obesity, stealing, and eating pet foods and items that are spoiled. This continuous appetite is caused by a defect in the hypothalamus — a part of the brain that regulates hunger — that causes the person to never actually feel full. There may be sleep disorders and abnormalities, bouts of rage, a higher threshold for pain, compulsive behaviors such as picking at the skin, and even psychoses.
Physical problems associated with Prader-Willi Syndrome can be delayed motor development, abnormal growth, speech impairments, stunted sexual development, poor muscle tone, dental problems, obesity and diabetes type II. The life expectancy of a person with Prader-Willi Syndrome may be normal if weight is controlled.

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare condition that puts a great deal of stress on the families involved. It is important to get the proper diagnosis early and to find medical and emotional support.

Link: Prader-Willi Syndrome Association

Night Eating Syndrome

Here’s the Merck Manual definition and conclusion about treatment. (1982 ed.) p.917:

“Night Eating Syndrome consists of morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia (abnormally increased appetite for consumption of food frequently associated with injury to the hypothalamus) and insomnia. Attempts at weight reduction in these 2 conditions, (referring to bulimia as well), are usually unsuccessful and may cause the patient unnecessary distress.”

The authors call both syndromes, “deviant eating patterns apparently based on stress and emotional disturbance…”

Episodes of Anorexia and Insomnia can begin at an early age, usually in children who are overweight, and are sometimes accompanied by joint paint. It is interesting to note what the parent of a now 24 year old daughter had to say…

“I’ve always had the feeling that much of the stress and emotional disturbances my daughter has suffered have been the result of social rejection and discrimination rather than the cause of her eating disorder … more so as she got older. She started out as an intelligent, outgoing, cheerful human being. There is a line in our culture where a marginally acceptable “chubby” child becomes a miserable adolescent and then a depressed adult.”
– – – – – – –
People with Night-eating syndrome are characterized as people that put off eating until late in the day, who binge on food in the evenings and who experience problems with falling asleep and/or staying asleep.

“People who exhibit NES don’t eat a lot at one sitting, often skip breakfast, and don’t start eating until noon,” says psychiatrist Albert Stunkard, an obesity researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “They will over eat the rest of the day, and eat frequently. They also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.”

Sleep Eating Disorder (SED-NOS)

Sleep Eating Disorder typically fall into the category of Sleep Disorders, though it is a combined sleep-eating problem. Sufferers tend to be overweight and have episodes of recurrent sleep walking, during which time they binge on usually large quantities of food, often high in sugar or fat. Most often, sufferers do not remember these episodes, putting them at great risk of unintentional self-injury.

Because of the compulsive nature of this illness, sufferers are at the same physical health risks as those of Compulsive Overeaters with the added risks of sleep walking. It is not uncommon to find a person suffering to be anxious, tired, stressed and angry.

Link: More information at ANRED’s website

Eating and/or Sleeping Problems

It is important to be aware that throughout life, during positive and negative stress periods, people may experience eating and/or sleep pattern problems. If either or both of these conditions persist or interfere with daily life, then it is important to identify the underlying cause(s) of the problem. Problems with Eating and Sleeping are defined as usually over/under eating or too much or too little sleep. During the past decade, we have become aware of the detrimental effects of Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating and while these problems may warrant medical attention, the underlying causes need to be identified and appropriate coping skills developed.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation or obsession with a defect in visual appearance, whether that be an actual slight imperfection or an imagined one. Some example of this would be obsessing to the point of severe depression (sometimes including thoughts about or attempts at suicide) over physical attributes such as freckles; a large nose, blotchy skin, wrinkles, acne, scarring. Though the preoccupation can include any part of the body, areas of the face and head, specifically the skin, hair and nose, are most common.

People suffering with BDD may often have a low self-esteem and unreasonable fears of rejection from others due to their perceived ugliness. Some sufferers realize that their perception of the “defect” is distorted, but find the impulse to think about it uncontrollable.

There are two types of Body Dysmorphic Disorder — the non-delusional type — and the delusional type (where the person actually has hallucinations of a completely imagined defect, or an imagined gross exaggeration of a small defect). The delusional form is less common and more severe.
Men and women living with BDD may practice unusually compulsive rituals to look at, hide, cover and/or improve their defect(s). They may spend a great deal of time looking at themselves in anything mirror-like and trying to convince others of how ugly they are. They may be compulsive in searching out doctors to treat them with medications and/or plastic surgery. Patients may go to any lengths to improve their appearance, including using methods that are dangerous. Some may even attempt their own surgery, or commit suicide.

Mental Illnesses that sometimes co-exist with BDD are depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Social Phobia.

Treatment is often difficult, but there has been shown progress with medications such as Prozac, and cognitive-behavior therapy. Diagnosis can often be difficult because of the patients shame (causing them to keep their symptoms a secret).

Symptoms as per the DSM-IV

Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance. If a slight physical anomaly is present, the person’s concern is markedly excessive.
The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The preoccupation is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., dissatisfaction with body shape and size in Anorexia Nervosa).

They Think They’re Ugly…
Body Image and Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
BDD and the Body Image Program

Orthorexia Nervosa

It should be noted that Orthorexia Nervosa is not a condition that a physician will diagnose, as there is no clinical guideline for this disorder. It is a condition that has been observed as an extreme pattern of dietary purity and has not yet been defined under the clinical diagnostic manual (DSM-IV).

Orthorexia Nervosa is an obsession with a “pure” diet, where it interferes with a person’s life. It becomes a way of life filled with chronic concern for the quality of food being consumed. When the person suffering with Orthorexia Nervosa slips up from wavering from their “perfect” diet, they may resort to extreme acts of further self-discipline including even strictor regimens and fasting.

“This transference of all of life’s value into the act of eating makes orthorexia a true disorder. In this essential characteristic, orthorexia bears many similarities to the two well-known eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Where the bulimic and anorexic focus on the quantity of food, the orthorexic fixates on its quality. All three give food an excessive place in the scheme of life.” (Steven Bratman, M.D., October 1997)

As noted by, Orthorexia Nervosa should only be characterised when it is in the long-term (paying attention to healthy food for a few weeks where it becomes a normal and healthy routine not obsessed over, would not be considered a disorder), when it has a significant negative impact on an individual’s life (thinking about food to avoid the stresses of life, thinking about how food is prepared to avoid negative emotions, thinking about food the majority of each individual’s day), and where food rituals are not better explained by something like religious rites (such as in the Orthodox Jewish religion).
Please read the following links for more information:

Obsession with dietary perfection can sometimes do more harm than good, says one who has been there.
CLARIFYING ORTHOREXIA: Obsession with Dietary Purity as an Eating Disorder


It should be noted that Bigorexia is not a condition that a physician will diagnose, as there is currently no clinical guideline for this disorder. It is a condition that has recently been observed by several psychiatrists as the “opposite of Anorexia”.

Found typically in body-building circles and known as muscle dysmorphia or reverse Anorexia, Bigorexia is a condition in which the sufferer is constantly worried that they are too small. This goes beyond the typical body-building gym-goer, and transcends into dangerous realms when men and women are willing to go to all lengths to increase muscle mass. Dr. Harrison Pope, of the McLean Hospital, says, “there’s nothing inherently pathological about being an avid gym-goer, but it shouldn’t take over your life.” In likening Bigorexia to Anorexia he comments, “They are both disorders of body image, the preoccupations simply go in opposite directions.”

Muscle dysmorphia isn’t as acutely life-threatening as starving yourself, Pope says, but its sufferers are more likely to take other risks with their health, such as using steroids or other bodybuilding drugs. One muscle dysmorphic woman was hospitalized for kidney failure, brought on by her high-protein diet and steroid use. Within months of her release from the hospital, she was back on the drugs and unhealthy diet.

Harrison Pope and several other researchers put together this set of criteria for diagnosing muscle dysmorphia:

1. The person is preoccupied with the idea that their body is not lean and muscular. They spend long hours lifting weights and pay excessive attention to diet.
2. This preoccupation causes major distress or impairs the person’s social or professional life. The person may forego important social, work-related or recreational activities. They may avoid situations where their body will be exposed. The person continues to work out or diet even when they know it could hurt their health or well-being.
3. The focus of the person’s concerns is on being too small or not muscular enough, as opposed to concerns about being fat.

Please read the following links for more information:

Bigorexia Likened to Eating Disorders
ANRED – Muscle dysmorphia

Compulsive Exercising

I often hear the questions in e-mail or on chat, “how can there be such a thing as too much exercise?” or “how can exercise hurt me?” With an Eating Disorder too much exercise, or Compulsive Exercising, is just another outlet of behavior; Compulsive Exercise is another way to “purge” and disordered eaters who suffer with these symptoms are typically considered to be suffering from Anorexia, or Bulimia non-purging type (no use of laxatives, diuretics or self-induced vomitting). But, there can be sufferers of both who use any or all means of disordered eating behaviors to cope with their emotions and anxiety (participating in restriction – with or without purging, or binging with purging, and compulsive exercise).

Those who may have symptoms of Compulsive Exercise usually have episodes of repeatedly exercising beyond the requirements of what is considered safe, will find time at any cost to do the exercise (including cutting school, taking off from work, hiding in the bathroom and exercising, etc.). The main goal of the exercise can be burning calories and “relieving the guilt” from just having eaten or binged, or to give us “permission” to eat. (i.e., “I can’t eat unless I’ve exercised or know I will exercise.”)

Those with Compulsive Exercise behaviors will feel tremendously guilty when they cannot exercise and almost never do it for fun. There is often no satisfaction for any athletic achievements and no self-satisfaction for victory (immediately looking for the next activity to conquer).

Like with all other disordered eating behaviors, on the surface the goal may seem to burn calories and lose weight, but ultimately the exercise gives each sufferer a sense of temporary power, control and/or self-respect. It is another way to forget about their underlying issues and to relieve guilt and pressure of the stresses that build. Some will continue to exercise with a feeling that it is a chore or a punishment, others will be addicted to the sense of power and self-respect they feel from the activity. The fact remains that this is addictive behavior, and is putting the individual’s physical safety, emotional health and other areas of their life (job, school, family, etc.) in jeopardy because of the compulsive nature of the exercise.

Some of the physical dangers that may become an issue for someone exercising too much can be: dehydration, stress fracture and osteoporosis, degenerative arthritis, amenorrea (loss of menstrual cycle) and reproductive problems, and heart problems. Also see the Physical Dangers page.

Often times the participation in athletics or dancing can play a role… because of the emphasis in which society, coaches and/or parents may place on the importance to remain thin to be successful in these activities. Due to pressures in competition, and the pressure they may be receiving to succeed and win, there is additional stress (combined with any family problems, relationship issues, pressure from peers, history of abuse, etc.) they find a need to cope with, the risk for developing an Eating Disorder may be increased. Sufferers may receive a great deal of praise from their coaches and parents in their ability to stay “fit and trim” and this continues to fuel the destructive behavior. Some will even use their status as an athlete or dancer as an excuse to engage in compulsive exercise (as well as other Eating Disorders behaviors).

Link: Mirror-Mirror — Eating Disorders in Athletes

Specifically there are some groups of athletes that tend to resort to disordered eating patterns and behaviors (extreme compulsive exercise, and/or use of laxatives and diuretics) explicitly for competition, though they may or may not clinically have an Eating Disorder (no psychological symptoms). Dancers, runners, gymnasts and wrestlers seem to be at an elevated risk of serious injury or death because of their desire to lose weight extremely rapidly directly prior to an event. The question that needs to be asked is why certain athletes may find such a desire or feel pushed to “win” at all costs, even if that includes permanent injury or death.

For the non-athlete, it may be important to note that while facing recovery each sufferer may be at an increased risk of developing Compulsive Exercise behaviors. This is because while they are working on their issues of recovery, they may convince themselves that beginning to exercise equates to taking care of their body. Because they are still in the process of healing from and learning ways to cope with the issues that lead to their disorder, it can quickly lead to Compulsive Exercise as a “replacement” for restriction or purging, while the person struggling will convince themself they are doing their body good. Exercise should never be suggested by a doctor during initial stages of recovery, and any recommended exercise later on needs to be closely monitored.

For the average individual, healthy exercise is considered to be 20 to 30 minutes of athletic activity (walking, slow jogging, weight training, aerobics, bicycling, etc.) 4 or 5 times per week. For the non-athlete, more than 45 minutes to an hour of these types of activites at a time, for more than 5 days a week can be dangerous, can cause physical strain on the body, and can be considered obsessive and disruptive (to a person’s life in general). The goal of exercise is to keep the body healthy while remaining fun.

For the athlete or dancer, unhealthy exercise depends on each individuals sport, level of activity, personal achievement goal (for example, if the goal is to compete in a 25 mile marathon – not a goal to lose weight), and overall fitness. Dancers and athletes should be regularly seen by their doctors in order to make sure they are not over-doing it and damaging their bodies. Caloric and fluid intake should reflect their level of activity and age to be sure they are getting the proper fuel their bodies need, and to make sure they do not become dehydrated. It is essential to check with your doctor to find out what your calorie requirements are if you are an athlete or dancer.

It’s important to remember that Compulsive Exercise is another way an Eating Disorders sufferer copes. By itself, it is dangerous, as much so as restricting, binging, purging, and/or the use of diet pills and laxatives. Combining restriction (with or without purging) or binging and purging with Compulsive Exercise can quickly lead to a great number of serious physical dangers(kidney failure, heart attack) and death.

Link: ANRED — Athletes and Eating Disorders

 Associated Mental Health Conditions and Addictions

Below you will find some of the psychological illnesses and addictions that can sometimes co-exist with an Eating Disorder.

In people who suffer from Eating Disorders it is not uncommon to find other associated psychological disorders that co-exist with their Anorexia, Bulimia and/or Compulsive Overeating. In some cases, their Eating Disorder is a secondary symptom to an underlying psychological disorder (such as some people who also suffer with Multiple Personality Disorder), and in other cases, the psychological disorder may be secondary to the Eating Disorder (as with some people also suffering with Depression). Men and women may also suffer from both an Eating Disorder and other psychological disorder(s) that completely co-exist with one another… or they can suffer from an Eating Disorder and have little or no signs of an additional psychological disorder (Note: The longer a person suffers, the more probable that they may be dealing with Depression or Anxiety as well). It is important to the recovery process and treatment that all these issues are addressed, and that a proper diagnosis be determined.

Some of the psychological illness that can be (but are not always) found in people suffering with Anorexia, Bulimia and Compulsive Overeating are: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, BiPolar and BiPolar II Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic Disorders and anxiety, and Dissociative Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder.

In addition, some people suffering with an Eating Disorder may also be exhibiting other addictive or self-destructive behaviors. As an Eating Disorder is a reaction to a low self-esteem, and a negative means of coping with life and stress, so are other types of addictions. These can include alcoholism, drug addiction (illegal, prescription and/or over-the-counter medications), and self-injury, cutting and self-mutilation.

Harming oneself, also known as cutting, self-mutilation, or SIV (self-inflicted violence) is a coping mechanism that is sometimes found in people also suffering with an Eating Disorder. For some, they may find it easier to deal with real physical pain than to deal with their emotional pain, or some may feel emotionally numb and using SIV reminds them that they are alive. They may even feel that they deserve to be hurt. It can be used to block out emotional pain, or to make the person feel “strong”. It is a way to cope with stress and anger, shame and guilt, sadness, and as a release for emotions that have built up inside. SIV can be mild to severe, but it should never be confused with a conscious attempt to commit suicide (though some may die as a result of their actions, this is relatively uncommon). SIV can include cutting, burning, punching, slapping, hitting oneself with an object, eye-pushing, biting and head-banging, and less common methods would be those that have long-lasting or life-long effects such as bone breaking, or amputation.

Suffering with an Eating Disorder, alone or combined with any other psychological illness or addiction, leaves each sufferer needing new and better ways to cope. Check out the Ways to Cope section for some suggestions, and reach out for help.

There is an indication that Eating Disorders may sometimes co-exist with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder). Studies have shown that women who go undiagnosed as ADD (but do in fact have it) are much more likely to develop an Eating Disorder. Some of the neurological symptoms of ADD/ADHD can be: holding onto negative thoughts and/or anger, as well as impulsivity both verbally (interrupting others) and in actions (acting before thinking). There may also be unexplained emotional negativity, depression, and even attempted suicide. To get a proper diagnosis, there is a whole criteria that needs to be met, so if you suspect you are living with ADHD or ADD, please visit one of the links below.

From the National ADD Association, “If untreated, individuals with ADHD may develop a variety of secondary problems as they move through life, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, academic failure, vocational problems, marital discord, and emotional distress.” There are many of the same possible co-existing psychological illnesses with ADHD/ADD as with an Eating Disorder, including: Depression, BiPolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I have received e-mail from a good number of men who are simultaneously living with ADHD and an Eating Disorder, and I suspect there are many more, both men and women, doing the same.

The other psychological disorders and addictions that can co-exist with an Eating Disorder, or that can be the cause of disordered eating, are listed below, along with links to further information. Please, before jumping to any conclusions about yourself or a loved-one, research the information. Eating Disorders do not always co-exist with another psychological illness or addiction, but it is not uncommon to find that they do. Remember, many of these illnesses and conditions share similar symptoms. A proper diagnosis by a doctor is very important to successful treatment and recovery.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Bipolar and Bipolar II Disorder (Manic-Depression)

Borderline Personality Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Survivors of Abuse

Dissociative Identity Disorder / Multiple Personality Disorder


Anxiety and Panic



Drug Addiction

Family and Parenting

Self-Injury / Cutting

Other Mental Health Sites


No Disease is incurable, Healing begins with the sanctification of the heart, Dr. M.K. Strydom,

Mental Health Information Centre of South Africa

Recovery Space (Suid-Afrikaanse webtuiste)

Overeaters Anonymous (O.A.)

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA)

Other websites:

Treatment Centres in the Western Cape:

Kenilworth Clinic: Eating disorders programme. Tel. (021) 7634500
Tygerberg Hospitaal Eetversteuringskliniek: Tel. (021) 9384573
Crescent Clinic. Tel. 021-7627666
Anorexia and Bulimia Family Support group of South Africa, Tel. 011-64628



Link: Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame

Link: Anorexics Can Blame Their Parents

Link: Brave New World: The Role of Genetics in the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders

Link: Anorexia found in rural Africa

Link: Chemical malfunction plays role in bulimia, researchers say

Link: Genetic clues to eating disorders

Link: Brain Chemicals May Cause Bulimia

Link: Research on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the role of Serotonin

Link: Center for Overcoming Problem Eating and Eating Disorders Clinic

Other Helpful Self-Help Websites:

Relapse Prevention at the Mirror-Mirror Website

Real Women is a multi-sensory exploration of body image and its profound impact on women’s health and well being. It is a series of 13 small bronze sculptures and poems portraying women of diverse size, shape, culture and age.

Camp Sark
A wonderful and colorful website full of ideas for journaling, reading and overall healthy living of the mind.

Change Your Mind, Change Your Culture, and Let Your Body Be —
A Body Disparagement Free Zone

The Mind, Body and Soul Network
The Largest Feel-Good Self-Help Site on the Internet.

Self Improvement Online
The Definitive Web Guide to Personal Growth, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Human Enhancement, Self-Actualization, Personal Success, Self-Awareness, Human Potential, Personal Power, and Self-Fulfillment.

Recovery Connection
Recovery Connection offers online pre- and post-treatment and support for condependencies. Offers a personalized “daily check-in,” daily news, daily quotes, book reviews, message boards, and email.

A forum for self-help and recovery including live chats, message boards, a survivor’s gallery and a webzine on recovery issues.



Link: Maudsley Method: New Treatment for Anorexia: ANAD

Link: The Maudsley Approach: A new family treatment

Link: New Approach To Anorexia

Link: Anorexia Strategy: Family as Doctor

Link: Overeaters Anonymous

Link: Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

Link: Eating Disorders Anonymous…

Link: Grant Me The Serenity…



Link: Preventing Child Abuse

Link: Day of The Child

Link: Survivors Art Foundation

Link: Emotional Incest

Link: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Link: Pandora’s Aquarium – for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Link: Hope, Despair and the Triumph of Life

Link: Abuse and Eating Disorders

Link: Survivors Art Foundation

Link: Parents & Loved-ones of Sexual Abuse & Rape Survivors

Link: Sexual Abuse of Males



Eating Disorders Organizations

Below is a list of Eating Disorders Organizations that you can contact for further help and information.

The non-profit organizations listed here can provide educational and written material, lecture information, referrals to treatment in your area, and more. Don’t forget to also check out the Treatment Finder for a list of local therapists, treatment facilities, dieticians and support groups.

Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center
2923 Sandy Pointe, Suite 6
Del Mar, CA 92014-2052
858-481-1515 858-481-1515
Answering any questions you might have about eating disorders and their prevention.

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Formerly EDAP & AABA
603 Stewart Street, Suite 803
Seattle, WA 98101-1264
Toll-Free (800) 931-2237 (800) 931-2237
Phone (206) 382-3587 (206) 382-3587
FAX (206) 829-8501
The National Eating Disorders Association is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to expanding public understanding of eating disorders and promoting access to quality treatment for those affected along with support for their families through education, advocacy and research. To achieve our mission, we have developed prevention programs for a wide range of audiences, we publish and distribute educational materials, we operate the nation’s first toll-free eating disorders information and referral line at 1-800-931-2237 1-800-931-2237 , and we continually work to change the cultural, familial, and interpersonal factors which contribute to the development of eating disorders.

National Association of
Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

Box 7
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 831-3438 (847) 831-3438
An association that is concerned with and provides a wide variety of programs for the entire Eating Disorders field (consumer advocacy, counsel, education, referral list, research, etc.)

Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA)
18233 N. 16th Way
Phoenix, AZ 85022
a fellowship of individuals who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from their eating disorders. People can and do fully recover from having an eating disorder. In EDA, we help one another identify and claim milestones of recovery.

Academy for Eating Disorders (AED)
6728 Old McLean Village Drive
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 556-9222 (703) 556-9222
Promotes effective treatment and prevention initiatives, and stimulates research. AED sponsors an international conference.

National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, Inc. (N.A.M.E.D.)
(877) 780-0080 (877) 780-0080
N.A.M.E.D. is uniquely dedicated to offering support to males with eating disorders and being a resource of information on the subject. For treatment referrals, support, and information, call 1-877-780-0080 1-877-780-0080 .

The Dressing Room Project
45 State St #280
Montpelier, VT 05602
(828) 318-4438 (828) 318-4438
The Dressing Room Project is an initiative of Emerging Women’s Projects, a non-profit organization for teen girls’ empowerment.

The Elisa Project
8600 NW Plaza Drive, Suite 2B
Dallas, Texas 75225
(214) 369-5222 (214) 369-5222
To be a cohesive resource in providing eating disorder sufferers with a better chance of a cure. We accomplish this by educating Health professionals, Parents, Children, The Community and The Funding Community.

Jessie’s Wish
742 Colony Forest Drive
Midlothian, VA 23114
(804) 378-3032 (804) 378-3032
A 501(c)3 organization to help educate about eating disorders and raise funds to help with financial assistance when there is inadequate or no health insurance available.

National Eating Disorders Screening Program (NEDSP)
NEDSP represents the first large scale screening for eating disorders. The program includes an educational presentation on eating disorders and/or related topics (body image, nutrition, etc.), a written screening test and the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a health professional. It also provides individuals with information about how to help friends or family members who may be suffering from an eating disorder.

National Center for Overcoming Overeating
P.O. Box 1257
Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10113-0920
(212) 875-0442 (212) 875-0442
Women’s Campaign to End Body Hatred and Dieting

Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness
PO Box 13155
North Palm Beach, FL 33408-3155
(561) 841-0900 (561) 841-0900
Seeks to establish easily accessible programs across the nation that allow children and young adults the opportunity to learn about eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Coalition
609 10th Street NE, Suite #1
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 543-3842 (202) 543-3842
To promote, at the federal level, further investment in the healthy development of children and all at risk for eating disorders, recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority, and commitment to effective prevention and evidence based and accessible treatment of these disorders.

Harvard Eating Disorders Center (HEDC)
356 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02118
1-888-236-1188 1-888-236-1188
A national nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education, seeking to expand knowledge about Eating Disorders, their detection, treatment and prevention.

Massachusetts Eating Disorders Association, Inc. (MEDA)
92 Pearl Street
Newton, MA 02158
(617) 558-1881 (617) 558-1881
Newsletter, referral network, and local support groups.

Healing Connections, Inc.
1461A First Ave., Suite 303
New York, NY 10021
(212) 585-3450 (212) 585-3450
A non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that strives to save lives through education, prevention, intervention, advocacy and future financial assistance for people suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia.

Overeaters Anonymous
P.O. Box 44020
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124-4020
(505) 891-2664
FAX (505) 891-4320
Dealing with the issues of Compulsive Overeating. Site contains information on OA, info for healthcare professionals, a meeting locator map, fact file, OA literature, upcoming events and more.

Eating Disorders Association (UK)
First Floor, Wensum House
103 Prince of Wales Road
Norfolk, UK
01603 621 414
Offers understanding and support to sufferers and their families involved with the problems of Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa.

Somerset & Wessex Eating Disorders Association
Strode House, 10 Leigh Road
STREET, Somerset, BA16 0HA
18-25 Project, 20A High Street
01458 448600
Providing support to those affected by eating disorders; core services include the telephone helpline and support groups.

The Eating Disorders Action Group
150 Bedford Highway, #2614
Halifax, NS B3M 3J5
(902) 443-9944 (902) 443-9944
The Eating Disorders Action Group is a community based, charitable organization dedicated to promoting healthy body image and self esteem and to supporting individuals who experience disordered eating.

We Insist on Natural Shapes

PO Box 19938
Sacramento, CA 95819
1-800-600-WINS 1-800-600-WINS
A nonprofit organization dedicated to educating adults and children about what normal, healthy, shapes are. The dangers of eating disorders and excessive dieting.

Food Addicts Anonymous

to find a local group visit the website or call:
The World Service Office at: (561) 967-3871 (561) 967-3871
National Food Addicts Anonymous Homepage — information about the FAA recovery program. Worldwide events, on-line meetings, tools for recovery, 12 steps and 12 traditions and much more.

HUGS International Inc.
Linda Omichinski,

The center for information and resources about nondieting for adults and teens. We offer worldwide support and programs for people seeking a lifestyle without diets.

Eating Disorders Association Resource Center
The Eating Disorders Association is based in Queensland, Australia. It is an organization of people concerned about the growing prevalence and seriousness of eating disorders in our society.

Eating Disorders Association
Bryson House,
38 Ormeau Road,
Belfast 7
Sackville Place,
44 Magdalen Street,
Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1JE.
Tel 080 232 234914
Members all receive information about Eating Disorders, including the magazine Signpost

Hazelden Ireland
PO Box 616, Cork.
Literature available on how to cope with eating disorders. 12 Step recovery programme.

Eating Disorders Association of WA (Western Australia)
Unit 13A, Wellington Fair, 4 Lord Street, Perth
TELEPHONE: 9221 0488
FAX: 9221 0499

Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia
(212) 595-3449 (212) 595-3449
1 West 91st Street
New York, , NY 10024
The Center has four objectives: effective treatment, specialized training, significant research, and increased community understanding.

British Columbia Eating Disorders Assocation
841 Fairfield Road
Victoria BC Canada
(250) 383-2755 (250) 383-2755
Non-profit organization dedicated to peer support, peer counseling, and advocacy. We also run prevention programs for elementary, secondary schools and university/college classes. We are completely volunteer driven and supported!

Compulsive Eaters Anonymous – H.O.W.
PO BOX 4403
10016 Pioneer Blvd Suite 101
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
(310) 942-8161
fax (310) 948-3721
A twelve step recovery program.

Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
123 NW 13th St. #206
Boca Raton, FL 33432-1618
(800) 800-8126
fax (407) 338-9913
An organization providing education, newsletters, local chapters, monthly bulletins, regional workshops, and certification. Professional membership.

Promoting Legislation & Education About Self-Esteem, Inc. (PLEASE)
91 S Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 521-2515 (860) 521-2515
Memberships and Educational Programs, Workshops, and local chapters. Watch-dog of the growing diet industry.

National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, Inc. (NAAFA)
P.O. Box 188620
Sacramento, CA 95818
(800) 442-1214 (800) 442-1214
Advocacy group promoting size acceptance. Membership newsletters, educational materials, regional chapters, yearly convention, and pen-pal program

Eating Disorder HopeTM


Eating Disorders Directory of Links

Online Support Sites — where you can find support online through bulletin boards, chat, e-mail lists, etc.

ED Organizations — non-profit Eating Disorders organizations working to raise awareness and provide support

Treatment Finder — contact information and links to treatment centers all over the United States and in many other countries

Info & Support Sites — These sites contain information about Eating Disorders and/or referral services and are run by either individuals, small grass-roots organizations or larger non-profit ones

Personal Sites — websites created by individuals who suffers and wish to share their story

Promotional or Special Feature Sites — websites created to address a specific issue or promote a special project, book, documentary (etc.) about Eating Disorders

Non-English Sites — websites providing information on Eating Disorders in other languages

Size Acceptance Sites — websites promoting size acceptance

For Kids! Positive Body-Image & Self-Esteem — websites promoting positive self-esteem and body image for kids

Related Topics — websites on related topics such as depression, sexual abuse or other mental health issues

Mental Health and Medical Sites — websites not designated solely to Eating Disorder, but contain information about them.

Site providing collections of links — websites that provide large collections of links to other Eating Disorders sites


One thought on “FreeFrom #FoodAddiction

  1. Some people have found help with Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, a 12-step group that is free to all who wish to stop eating addictively. Some have been diagnosed as morbidly obese while others are undereaters. Some were severely bulimic, others have harmed themselves with compulsive exercise, or have had the quality of their life impaired by constant obsession with food or weight. We tend to be people who, in the long-term, have failed at every solution we tried, including therapy, support groups, diets, fasting, exercise, and in-patient treatment programs. If anyone would like more information about FA, please check out the FA website,, If there aren’t any meetings in your area, you can contact their office by emailing fa@foodaddicts org.


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