Pattani’s issues started when she dieted in her youth, indulging in sugary food when she fell off the wagon. When (at age 26) her grandmother passed away, she dealt with her emotions by binge eating. Pattani went from a size 12 to a size 20 in just one year – “The more I ate the guiltier I felt.”
Overeating can be extreme, with some sufferers eating up to 20,000 calories in one session. Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence state: “People have episodes of binge eating, but do not try to control their weight by purging. A person with BED may feel anxious and tense, and their condition might have an effect on their social life and relationships”, however this does not fully capture the feelings of self-loathing and isolation many sufferers feel.
Many BED sufferers describe their illness as an addiction and this theory is supported by science, with research showing that binge eaters’ brains produce higher levels of dopamine when they eat. Even though there is research to show there are physical elements to this disorder, it worth noting that this is primarily a psychiatric condition.
Pattani spent some time looking at her relationship with food and has since written a book offering advice to sufferers. She is now on the road to recovery and is back with her husband, proving that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.
If you find yourself eating excessively or compulsively, don’t dismiss it as greediness and speak to your doctor.
If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, a counsellor may be able to help. or more information please see our Eating Disorders page.
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