Friday, January 22, 2010

Diagnosing Myself: Yes, I Have a Fool for a Patient

Thanks, intrepid and brave commenters. I will staring the blog roll this weekend, so keep the site and suggestions coming! Obviously I know I am not alone in this but knowing there are others out there is very, very comforting.

I am not sure why I am obsessed with labels, but I need to know what is wrong if I have any hope of fixing it, right? I never felt comfortable with the “binger” label. It seemed to extreme for a behavior pattern that I float in and out of with no real pattern. The eating part is a tiny part of the issue, in my opinion. Below is the criteria for BED (Binge eating disorder), according to that bible of hypochondriacs and afflicted alike, the DSM-IV:

1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:

Eating, in a discrete period of time (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; A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (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:

• Eating much more rapidly than normal

• Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

• Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

• Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating

• Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or feeling very guilty after overeating

• Marked distress regarding binge eating.

• The binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months.

3. 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.

Sure, I can easily admit that most of those things have applied to me at one time or another, and some more regularly than others. But even still, it is not a perfect fit. And it focuses too many on my actions and has little regard for other issues I have: Like extremely rigid eating patterns and fear of putting myself in positions where I may be tempted to eat food I deem that I shouldn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone out for dinner with friends and ate nothing, claiming that I ate early with my daughters because I was famished. I have gone to parties and have been paralyzed with fear once I saw the food table. How vacations required so much advance work by me, to make sure we had a hotel with a gym. I traveled to Asia once with an entire bag of food, including many boxes of granola bars and sandwiches that consisted of six slices of honey roasted turkey (60 calories); one sandwich bun (140 calories) and dijon mustard (just a few calories).

I am, by nature, a picky eater as well. I am borderline vegetarian. We are going out for Date Night on Monday to a French restaurant and there in not ONE thing on the menu I can eat (lamb…oxtail…sweetmeats…no no and no). So it is really easy for me to hide my disordered eating under my pickiness. It is amazing how easy it is to fool people. So easy.

My internet research has brought me time and again to, a website about eating disorders. I also read Abby Ellin’s article on diagnosing eating disorders in the New York Times earlier this week. It is all about EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified) which is, in the end, the label that I bet I will end up with. Why? Because there is much more to my disordered eating than just eating too much.

Day 2 of clean eating (take, what, 168?). But the night I young and I need to run a few errands and there is that chance that I will come home with a secret bag of food. Good grief. Getting back on track is so hard.

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