Therapeutic Groups for Binge Eating
I am so excited and happy to finally inform you that the binge eating group Hapifed, founded by my colleagues at the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, have a lovely new home. Like all searches for a new home, it can take quite a while to find the right place that feels welcoming, accessible and philosophically aligned and we are commencing in the first week of May. The groups will be held on level 1/99 Elizabeth Street in the CBD just a block up from DJ's. It is located right in the heart of the city near at least three train stations: (Martin Place, St James and Wynyard). There are plenty of buses and bus stops almost at the front door and there are also city car parking stations near by. This space is connected to the integrative Health Centre called Elevate that specializes in personalised healthcare. Its integrated approach is "deeply embedded in their company culture to provide excellent service, convenience and the best health outcomes" and it is exciting to be able to have the opportunity to run these groups there.
The Hapifed (which stands for a Healthy Approach to weight management and Food in Eating Disorders) groups will run for 11 weeks.
There will be a lunchtime group on Wednesdays commencing May 1st and an after work group on Monday evenings commencing May 6th. . These sessions will be closed groups with a maximum of 12 participants per group. To register for these groups please contact me through my website and I will send you all the details and secure a spot for you. For more information about the Hapifed programme, please see the brochure attached below.
Binge Eating and Shame
I sometimes I feel like I'm sitting in the corner occupying a space that is hidden away from the light. I'm talking about the great weight debate.
There seems to be two camps (I'm sure there are more).These two dominate the media and mainstream discussions around people living with excess weight. Broadly speaking there are the people who argue that carrying too much extra weight is dangerous and unhealthy and that people must lose this weight, and the camp that fights for accepting bodies no matter what size or shape, and that any discussion around weight loss is unacceptable dangerous and wrong. I am not a spokesperson for either, and I am cautious around definitions about these two camps. However from my perspective both are right and wrong.
In my work I encounter hundreds of people who feel so caught in this struggle that when they reach out for help they are silenced or shamed. For some of these people, they have a secret binge eating disorder that is so hidden that even acknowledging it is painful.
With the camp that insists that people should never engage with weight loss behaviours, what I feel is remiss, and even negligent at times is that sometimes these people are crying out to have help for a condition that causes them much physical, emotional and daily pain including a self expressed discomfort about carrying excess weight. Instead, they are told to love the body they have, accept the body they have and in essence not to give in to the idea of weight loss. But from what I hear, the weight gain that occurs as a result of the binging is quite distressing for them.
There are also people who have or are at risk of a serious medical condition such as type 2 diabetes, thyroid conditions, heart conditions, sleep apnoea, PCOS and many more conditions where through managing their weight, they may be able to ease or lessen some of the impact of these concerns.They also have a right to be heard, and offered assistance without being criticised either by the camp that says not to engage with weight loss behaviours or from any attribution, being inferred that their weight struggles are a result of any moral failing, laziness, or that it is self-inflicted.
As a professional working in this field I need to emphasise that I absolutely do not judge anyone for being overweight or for their size. I honestly do want people to feel good within themselves in the body they have regardless of their weight, shape or size.
However, I also want people to be able to feel safe enough to reach out for help with weight loss because the two worries can coexist and deserve dignified and judgement free help.
That is, that wanting to lose weight while getting help for a binge eating disorder can be done.
I also want to address the role of shame when discussing these issues.
Feelings of shame can pervade our sense of self in the most powerful and devastating ways. Shame can hide away in nooks and crannies deep within ourselves, and sometimes we may only get fleeting glimpses of it, because it stays mostly hidden, even from our self because it is just too painful to go there.
One area that causes a lot of shame is the area of binge eating and weight.
Quite often a vicious cycle exists of binging, purging, self-remorse, self-flagellating and despair. Sufferers often feel isolated and ashamed. I am not saying everyone who has binge eating feels shame, or any of these other feelings but I do want to acknowledge that it can be really tough for some people.
Ginette © 2019
For a bit more information about binge eating and shame I have attached a few links that people might find helpful.
"Shame is different from embarrassment or guilt. Embarrassment is to be uncomfortably visible. Guilt is the sense that we have violated a standard – we feel bad about something we did. With shame, we feel bad about who we are. And when that happens, we go into hiding."
It has been said that binge eating thrives in isolation and shame. (see the website links here) https://www.sane.org/the-sane-blog/my-story/reflecting-on-my-binge-eating-disorder