My Experience With The Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Program

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I’ve had several requests to share about the binge eating disorder treatment program I completed, so I will share some of the things I learned there and what the experience was like. The center that ran the treatment program is called The Emily Program in Beachwood, Ohio. It is the only program of it’s kind in the country according to the program director. I am very fortune to only live about a half an hour away from it and have it accessible to me. The program was 3 days a week for 3 hours. It ran for 6 weeks. It was intensive outpatient therapy (IOP.) I have attended IOPs in the past but always for depression and anxiety and coping with the everyday. This particular program focused solely on binge eating and other issues surrounding it.

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Each treatment session included cognitive behavior therapy and reviewing our food logs and goals. For the food logs we would write when we had our food and what we ate, any emotions or circumstances surrounding the meal, urges to binge, and our hunger/fullness cues before and after our meal. It the beginning it was hard to judge ones level of hunger and fullness but by 3 weeks in I had developed proper hunger/fullness cues.

Twice a week we would have an exposure with our meal. An exposure was a food that we normally binged on and caused us anxiety when we eat it or overeat it. We learned no food was off limits to eat in our daily life. Years of dieting and restricting certain foods leads to disordered behavior. I personally feel like weight loss surgery made my binge eating worse. We made a hierarchy of the foods we binged on. So if you binged on cupcakes you would bring in cupcakes for one week of exposures and maybe cake another week. You would plate it with your meal and have it sit there while you are eating the dinner that you brought. Your anxiety is typically high at the beginning of dinner time but by the time you dig into your exposure food your anxiety decreases and you realize that can have a cupcake anytime you like in your life. It evenually is no longer is a scary food you. Eventually I lost interest in all the foods I binged on in the past and don’t eat them very often anymore. We also covered various topics of nutrition and body image through the sessions.

On the final session of the week we would have a mindful snack. We brought whatever we liked for the snack and went through a process of smelling the food, touching the food, tasting the food, and eventually eating it. Some of realized that some foods aren’t as good when eaten mindfully such as Cheese-its or Doritos.

I was extremely pleased with the program and feel that it has changed my life, I only wish that it had existed years ago, then things in my life may have been very different.

Update Time

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Sorry that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update. I finished up my binge eating disorder treatment two weeks ago. The treatment was the best thing I’ve done in my life. Its helped me so much. I have not binged in 2 months and counting. My endocrinologist put me on a medication a month ago to help me get some of the weight I gained from steroid medication for my kidney failure last year and from the binge eating. It will be a short term medication. The medication is called Contrave and is fairly new. I just started on the maintenance dose last week, so far I have lost 7 lbs on it.

I’m finally seeing a new rheumatologist this Wednesday, I am hoping she will be able to help me manage my fibromyalgia. My former rheumatologist decided she rather criticize my weight than to help me with the condition she diagnosed me. At my last appointment I told her the medication she had me on wasn’t helping me. She answers you said it was helping you last visit. I said it stopped working and her answer to me was there is nothing else I can try, which is complete and utter bullshit. I’m not that stupid. I told her off at my last appointment and never returned. Unfortunately I couldn’t get in with the new doctor until the end of April but that day is almost here. To be in less pain would really make a difference in my life.

My Life Has Surely Changed

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Sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve been so busy with working and then going to treatment on my nights off. I’m halfway through my binge eating disorder intensive outpatient program, my last day will be April 7. I have learned so much from it and feel confident about my future. I was amazed to learn that this program was just started last April and is one of four in the US. I’m do fortune to live only 30 minutes away. I wish this had existed 5 years ago, my life would probably be far different right now. But hindsight is always 20/20 so all I can do is move forward. Since changing my blog to a blog about my life and not solely based upon weight loss surgery I have felt a huge weight lifted of my shoulders. I  don’t follow any wls blogs, pages, or Instagram pages anymore. It’s not a good idea during treatment or for me in general. I  have always felt I didn’t belong in that community. I left my Facebook page of over 2,000 + followers because I couldn’t continue to leave under the name Bariatric Beginnings. Sure my beginnings were bariatric but it’s not my whole life, my whole life is a journey. Through binge eating disorder treatment I have learned how I need to live my life, a life that doesn’t revolve about one’s weight and food. I haven’t been this happy in a long time despite now living with  fibromyalgia. I have a part time job that I love working with children, a good marriage, two wonderful loving cats, the most supportive parents and siblings ever, and my own house. I might not have gotten far weight wise in the last 5 years but my life has surely changed.

The Start Of My Treatment

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I started my treatment for binge eating disorder last Thursday, so far I have had two intensive outpatient sessions, I have another one this evening. The program runs for a minimum of six weeks and is three days a week, three hours a day. Already I can tell that going through this program is going to change my life tremendously, we practice mindful eating, learn to develop fullness and hunger ques, and talk about body image, exercise, and nutrition. On Tuesdays and Thursday, we have dinner during the program, we bring our dinner and you also have to bring in one of your trigger foods, one that you binge on. In the program you learn that there are no such things as good and bad foods. The mindset that there are good and bad foods is what gets many people with binge eating disorders (BED) in trouble in the first place. We tend to overindulge/binge with the bad food because we think that we can never have it again since it’s a bad food and get in as much as we can/have of it. Then comes the guilt and shame that you had that food and so much of it. Treatment teaches you to not think of those bad foods as bad and that it is okay to have that “bad food.” You learn to appreciate it and are satisfied with just one. Eating normalizes and you have a healthy eating pattern. On Saturdays we have a mindful snack and learn to appreciate food bite for bite.

As I have begun treatment for BED I am realizing that bariatric surgery made my binge eating worse. There are what everyone considered good and bad in bariatric surgery. For someone like me with untreated binge eating disorder that can be detrimental to my success. If I could go back and change the past I would have tried to seek treatment before having surgery, however binge eating treatment wasn’t available then, it just became a diagnosis-able disorder in the DSM V this year, the program I am in is one of a few in the US. Do I regret my surgeries, no, but this is why I have shifted my blog in a new direction. This is about being the best I can be and sharing about my life in general. Those who have had WLS may think I’m crazy and possibly a failure, but WLS has not helped me as much as a normal person as my disordered eating still continued. I take full responsibility for not losing as much weight as others but it is hard with your mind was never truly fixed. But after this treatment I feel like this will possibly the first time that I am completely happy with myself and that I am actually fixing the problem instead of covering it up.

The Journey Of Jessica D

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You should now notice that the name Bariatric Beginnings is now gone and when you type the url in you are redirected to www.thejourneyofjessicad.com. I have officially made a change that has been a long time in the making. I will continue to blog here and post on Facebook, but under a new name and page. Old content on my blog will still be available. However, my new blog will focus on my life as a whole and not just weight loss surgery. It’s time for me to move on from that part of life. I will bring up the subject here and there but I’m ready to put it in the past. I hope that you still continue to follow me along on this path called life. I will share more about my eating disorder, fibromyalgia, migraines, and my life. Hopefully here you can watch me grow into a new person just has you did on Bariatric Beginnings. Thank you to those of you who will stay on board and continue to follow me!

Seeking Teenagers In The WLS Community

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Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to speak with Tracey Finley, she produced the show Big Medicine. She is planning a new documentary series about teenagers and weight loss surgery but she needs our help finding stories. Please share this post with anyone who might be interested. I can vouch that this is not a scam.

Are you a parent of an obese teen(s) and considering weight loss surgery as an option? Is your teen in a WLS program? Are you a teen interested in WLS? We want to hear your story!  Emmy Nominated Television Producer is looking for stories for an upcoming documentary series and would like to talk with teens and parents about what they are going through. For more information please send an email to traceyfinley@gmail.com.

Because I Refuse To Give Up

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So I know last week that I said I was going to go on a hiatus from the blog for a bit as I didn’t feel it was right to run a WLS blog while in treatment for a relapse of binge eating disorder. However I’ve had a few people encourage me to continue writing my blog while I go through treatment. I think I will as it could help someone out there in a similar situation. I know I’m not the only one out there suffering. WLS doesn’t fix your head, I was doing fine, losing weight, and had my disordered eating under control for a long time. However with all the stress I went through last year with my kidney failure, anemia, and then the onset of fibromyalgia, my disordered eating made a reappearance and has caused some regain along with the 5 months of Prednisone treatment. But because I refuse to give up  on my journey, I am starting treatment to get my eating and life back on track. I will get to my goal even if it means starting over from square one. I am the little engine that could, I refuse to give up on my goal.

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So I will blog about my experiences during treatment and share more information on what exactly binge eating disorder (BED) is. I am entering an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for the next six weeks, it’s three days a week for three hours a day. The IOP is geared just for BED. I had my assessment today at a place called The Emily Program which is a Minnesota-based nationally recognized eating disorder program with locations in Minnesota, Washington and Ohio. They determined the IOP would be the best bet for me to tackle my issue, I start this upcoming Thursday.

Lastly tonight I will share what BED is. BED describes individuals who engage in repeated episodes of binging on food, but do not regularly use an inappropriate compensatory mechanism such as purging or over-exercise. The term “binge” can be described as eating a larger amount of food than most individuals would eat in a discrete period of time and feeling a concomitant and loss of control.  Now you may wonder how I can binge eat and have had gastric bypass, well at two years out I do not feel anymore restriction in my pouch so I am capable of overdoing it very easily now. A binge eating episode typically lasts around two hours, but some people binge on and off all day long. Binge eaters often eat even when they’re not hungry and continue eating long after they’re full. They may also gorge themselves as fast as they can while barely registering what they’re eating or tasting. People struggle with feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression. They worry about what the compulsive eating will do to their bodies and beat themselves up for their lack of self-control. They desperately want to stop binge eating, but feel like they can’t. Binge eating may be comforting for a brief moment, but then reality sets back in, along with regret and self-loathing. Binge eating often leads to weight gain and obesity, which only reinforces compulsive eating. The worse a binge eater feels about themself and their appearance, the more they use food to cope. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief.

These past several months I have turned back to food for comfort. The overwhelming stress of the past year has gotten to me. I know what I’m doing in bad for my body, but at the time I am eating it makes me feel better, only for me to be devastated later that I am doing this to myself. That is why I decided I needed help this time. I have lost control, but hopefully not for long.

Hiatus

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I’ve decided to take a hiatus from my blog for a bit, so there will be no blog posts for awhile, I will however try to continue to interact with others on my Facebook page, http:// www.facebook.com/bariatricbeginnings.
Life has been overbearing since last year’s life changing hospitalization. Things have fallen apart in certain areas of my life that I thought I had controlled finally. I speak of binge eating disorder. I’m not afraid to be honest and share that. I know others out there are suffering too. WLS doesn’t solve it. I am being treatment consisting of individual therapy with an counselor who specializes in this area, as well as meeting with a nutritionist. While I am struggling with this issue and trying to regain my life I do not feel that it is appropriate for me to continue writing my weight loss surgery blog. I promise to return when things are better and my life is back on track.

What A Life Changing Year It’s Been

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A year ago today was one of the scariest days of my life. After 4 days of extreme dizziness, fatigue, and falling over I finally went to the ER. I was admitted and spent a total of 13 days there.  I was severely anemic with a hemoglobin level of 5.4, normal ranges from 11-13. I ended up receiving 11 blood transfusions. It was also determined that I was having acute renal failure. After days of blood tests and a kidney biopsy, it was determined that I was having an allergic reaction to one of my medications, Topamax which I was taking for migraines. I was given high dose Prednisone and spent 5 months on it. I gained a huge chunk of weight back after only being 40 lbs away from my WLS goal. The trauma also caused me to develop fibromyalgia which became my diagnosis after testing for other possible autoimmune disorders. My life has changed a lot since last year. This day is also my 2 year anniversary since gastric bypass. This year I’m working hard to get some of the regain from the Prednisone off.

Bariatric Beginnings 2K Appreciation Giveaway

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I hit over 2,000 likes on the Bariatric Beginning’s Facebook page, so that means I’m holding another appreciation giveaway for my followers!  I’m giving away 1 full size canister of Caramel Click Espresso Protein Drink and 5 Quest Bars! The giveaway runs until 12 am (EST) on 1/17/15. You can enter at http://is.gd/lvNymo (Rafflecopter app.)

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