The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: September 19, 2012
Dr. Oz: Dying To Eat – Inside The Secret World Of Binge Eaters
- Inside the hidden world of binge eating
- Moms share their struggle with food addiction
Dr. Oz goes inside the world of binge eating. Moms talk about their addiction to eating and how they struggle to overcome what has taken over their lives and their health.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Dr. Oz: Dying To Eat – Inside The Secret World Of Binge Eaters
Binge eating: When the pain of life drives a person to eat uncontrollably. Moms share their secret struggle with binge eating, how it's taken over their lives, and how they fear for their children.
Kelly, a wife and mother, said from morning to night food consumes her every thought. There is no control for her around food. Any stress in her life will trigger a binge. Grabbing anything she can, Kelly said it's an animal instinct. She can't get the food in to her mouth fast enough, she loses track of time, her body goes numb.
Then it all crashes. Snapping back into focus, she sees how much she ate and is disgusted. Guilt sets in. Kelly says binging is ruining her life.
Seeing herself on video eating, Kelly says she sees someone who is upset, depressed. She doesn't want to hide, she wants to be a normal mom.
Kelly's binge eating began five years ago while preparing for her wedding. She wanted to slim down and fit into her wedding dress. The more she restricted food the more she wanted to eat more and the more she ended up eating.
Before she binges her body begins to shake, she feels anxious, the cravings grow and grow until she eats. After binge eating, her mind is tired, her body physically hits. She tries to push the depression down further and ignore it in the hopes she can stop another binge.
She wants to be able to play with her kids. She knows the amount of food is killing her. The worst was when she ate for four hours straight. Her body rebelled and she threw it up.
Husband works long hours and after the kids are asleep she's alone and lonely. Her kids don't see her eat. She worries that her daughter will binge like she does.
Dr. Oz said we've all done it at one point in life, use food to soothe hurt and pain. He said he wants Kelly to look for help in her husband. Kelly shared that her husband knows that she struggles with food but not sure he understands the extent of her binge eating. He has asked her to stop eating but she's addicted. At the dinner table he asks her if she really needs to eat so much yet still can't stop.
Dr. Oz: When Food Takes Over Life
For 20 years, Mary has been a binge eater. But, binging alone wasn't enough. She has taught her daughter how to binge. The only thing she and her daughter can do together is binge eat.
A video of showed Mary and Stephanie in their living room sitting in easy chairs in front of a long table filled with food: soda, chips, sandwiches, doughnuts. Stephanie said you would think a whole family ate here instead of just two people. Sometimes she's no longer chewing, said Stephanie, she's just swallowing the bites whole.
For Mary, food is her best friend and worst enemy. Loneliness drives her eat and drove her to invite her daughter to eat. Mary weighs nearly 400 pounds and cannot endure much physical activity. Most girls shop with their moms, said Stephanie but her mom can't move so they eat together.
Mary doesn't want Stephanie to be like her but fear it's already too late. Her doctors were so concerned about her health that they didn't want her to fly to The Dr. Oz Show. She feels she has cheated Stephanie out of a normal life.
Stephanie says she binges daily with her mom. She feels good for a short time then feels bad knowing that she gains pounds at a time during a binge. Binge eating with her mom, said Stephanie, is the only way they spend time together. Everyday, she thinks that she doesn't want to end up like her mom.
Kelly said she would never let her kids see her eat, would never show them how she binge eats. Kelly said she feels mad at Mary for teaching her daughter how to binge eat.
Dr. Oz: Extreme Binge Eating
Camilla is addicted to eating. Her mouth waters just thinking about food. She tries to starve herself during the day then at home she starts eating and can't stop. People think she's fat but Camilla is 7 months pregnant. When she binge eats her baby moves around and she can feel him. Her mind races from wondering if her baby is getting enough food then to thinking she's crushing her baby.
The binge eating began for Camilla when she was a young child, her family, particularly her grandmother, would ridicule her when she asked for food.
Camilla's doctors do not know she is binge eating. Dr. Oz explained that Camilla is setting her unborn son up for an extreme risk of heart concerns, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Dr. Oz asked how it feels knowing that she may be harming her son through her eating. Camilla said she thinks about the implications all the time but it hasn't inspired her to seek help, to talk to her doctors, to make any changes. Before getting pregnant, Camilla was doing high-intensity exercise and was told to stop by her doctors because it was too much for her body.
Dr. Oz said binge eating stems from emotional pain, it could be something from in the past or something more recent. Since getting pregnant, Camilla has moved back home to live with her mother. She said she's happy and doesn't feel lonely but has yet to come to terms with how her eating is harming her baby and herself.
Dr. Oz: The Grim Reality of Binge Eating
Dr. Oz said he wants these women to understand the risks they are taking when they binge eat. As a disclaimer, Dr. Oz said the images and material he was presenting paint grim picture of the reality of binge eating and is not suitable for children, they should not be in the room.
All three women were invited to put on the purple gloves to examine a healthy stomach. The walls of a healthy stomach are thin and flexible to allow for a little growth during a big meal. Binge eating causes damage to the stomach tissue and the blood vessels lining the tissue.
Dr. Oz showed a demonstration of what happens to the stomach during a binge, such as a four hour binge. In a large Plexiglas-container, a green bag represented the stomach which sits above the intestines and in front of the pancreas. He asked the women to pile in stacks of hamburgers, pancakes, doughnuts. The stomach stretched and grew bigger and bigger and bigger pushing on the intestines and the organs under and behind it. Eventually, the stomach stretched so much that it obstructed the intestines, cut of oxygen and blood supply to the intestines and organs.
A ultra-sound scan of normal stomach showed a tiny circle in the upper right corner that was the stomach. The remainder of the cavity shown was filled with the intestines, the liver, kidney's, gallbladder. A second scan showed a stomach after a binge which caused the stomach to expand to cover and squeeze all the organs around the stomach. All that was visible was the stomach.
Now the graphic images. Dr. Oz showed a photo of the stomach of a person who binged from 9pm to 5am. The stomach grew so large no blood or oxygen could circulate and the stomach died. The stomach was blue and filled the abdominal cavity. The intestines were crushed by the gargantuan stomach. Dr. Oz emphasized that this person wasn't over weight, their arms were quite thin. Death by binge eating.
Each woman said they had to stop, they couldn't stand the idea of what they are doing to their bodies.
Geneen Roth, eating disorder and food addiction specialist and author of Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, said she has been through what these women have been through. Ms. Roth shared that she once once gained 80 pounds in two months and she broke free.
What the women need to understand, said Ms. Roth, is binge eating is not about the food it's about repressing feelings then focusing on the shame of eating instead of the negative feelings it's hiding.
Dr. Oz: Facing Fear to Save Lives
Intervention starts with asking the right questions, said Ms. Roth. Why are they using food? We want life to be a hot fudge sundae, not to eat the hot fudge sundae, said Ms. Roth.
Ms. Roth asked Kelly why she didn't start talking with her husband about her feelings of loneliness? Kelly said it wouldn't help, his job is to work nights. Yet, as her husband, explained Ms. Roth, it's his job to there for her too.
After hearing Mary and Stephanie's story, Ms. Roth said it's Mary's job is to be a mom to Stephanie first and that being her best friend is low on the list. Mary, she said, needs to recognize her loneliness and to understand it so she can be a mom.
What would happen, Ms. Roth asked Stephanie, if sbe didn't binge eat with her mother? Would mom be hurt? Stephanie didn't know what would happen. It is not too late for any person to make changes, encouraged Ms. Roth. The women needed to learn that loving each other doesn't have to involve binge eating.
Ms. Roth essentially gave Stephanie permission to feel anger toward her mother for bringing her into this.
Mary broke down and shared that her mom passed away when she was 11 so she never had a mother figure. She's scared of being alone so she has taught her daughter to binge to bring her closer. Ms. Roth said Mary has to look at the root of her loneliness in order to break free from it.
The shaming voice from Camilla's grandmother, explained Ms. Roth, has been internalized so that it's the same voice Camilla uses to talk to herself. Feeling like she's in a dead end job and that there's nothing to do about it, Camilla turns to food then shames herself for the behavior.
Ms. Roth said there is always a place to begin, that these women are never in a hopeless situation.
These are serious issues, added Dr. Oz, and the first step for these women is to make a commitment to change, to enter treatment. He's going to give them an opportunity to make the commitment.
Dr. Oz: Treating Addiction to Eating
Eliza Kingsford, Director of clinical services for Wellspring at Structure House, joined the group on stage to offer the women treatment for their addiction to eating.
Wellspring at Structure House is offering each of the women a 28-day full immersion program for binge eaters. The women will explore what got them to this point and the emotional barriers blocking them from success in their lives. They will attend group and individual sessions to create new coping skills to be successful long term. The goal at Wellspring is learning anew, overcoming this addiction and never have to deal with it again.
All the women agreed to enter treatment. Kelly said there is nothing for her in the life she's living, so she's willing to leave home, her kids and husband, for a month to get help.
Our relationship with food is complicated. Dr. Oz said we need to ask ourselves what would it be like to feel your feelings rather than eat your feelings?
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