Category Archives: Eating Disorders and Obesity

Body Dysmorphia and Anorexia

Body Dysmorphic Disorder treatment

Systems theory tells us that in order to solve a problem we have to use the right set of assumptions. Further, it tells us that if we use the wrong assumptions, the problem will continue to get worse. Suffice it to say, the underlying assumptions of those suffering with eating disorders are incorrect. One good example is the role that body dysmorphia plays in driving disordered eating – Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is not the same thing. I should point out that not all individuals that suffer from Anorexia suffer from body dysmorphia, but many do.

The underlying assumptions of those Anorexics suffering from body dysmorphia include:

  • Imagined defects in appearance. “My thighs are fat.” Or  “My belly sticks out too much.” (In an individual weighing 70 pounds)
  • Preoccupation with weight – I weigh too much. I would be more attractive if I lost weight. No one can respect me if my weight goes over 100 pounds.
  • Obsessive compulsive behavioral patterns – “I must try on every pair of jeans to make sure that they still fit.”
  • Social Isolation – “I know when they look at me, they think I’m fat. It’s better if I just avoid them.”

Obviously these are all incorrect underlying assumptions that will drive more disordered eating. If you have had a patient or a family member with anorexia, then you probably know how useless it is to try and convince the sufferer that the assumptions are wrong. They will assume that you are trying to fool them or trick them into changing so that they will be “fat” like you.  I find that it works better to focus upon behavior and the medical necessity of eating.  It also helps if they have people depending upon them to be well. Family support, instead of judgment is critical.

On my blogtalk radio show The Eating Disorder Pro, which airs every Wednesday at 7:30 pm EST and comes to you from Cincinnati, Ohio, my guest Brian Cuban, talked about his book  Shattered Image.  On December 11, Mr. Cuban will describe what it is like to suffer from BDD from the male perspective. His experiences, especially his recovery is inspirational, so be sure to tune in if you are traveling that road yourself. What was so interesting is the fact that his false underlying assumptions were not very different from what we think of as a female perspective when it comes to body image. Like many people with eating disorders, he had some pretty painful experiences as a child, not the least of which was a weight problem along with a mom that fat-shamed him. Ouch! He was also the victim of bullying.  Obviously, this was a recipe for disaster.

Check out Brian Cuban’s book to get a good sense of the incorrect underlying assumptions and how he eventually dismantled them for his own recovery. Be sure to tune in on WEDNESDAY December 11 at 7:30 pm.

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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Like me on Facebook

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Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Eating Disorder Treatment: Tips to Reduce Stress During the Holiday Season

Reducing Holiday Stress Eating Disorders

The holiday season is a particularly stressful time for many of my patients that are in treatment for obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, or binge eating disorder. Holiday gatherings are typically highly food-centered, which results in a lot of anxiety for those recovering from an eating disorder. I’ve created a list of useful tips on reducing holiday stress. I know this will help a lot of my patients!

  • Eat regularly throughout the day. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of a large dinner.
  • Be prepared. Try to find out what is being served ahead of time and work some of the foods you feel comfortable with into the meal. Bring one of your favorite dishes to share with the dinner guests, that way you will know you will have something you feel good about eating.
  • Discuss any specific concerns with your treatment specialist. Try to role play situations that you suspect may arise (such as comments about your weight, about your food choices etc). Be as prepared as you can be to avoid counter-productive coping behaviors.
  • Have an “emergency plan” in case you find yourself in a stressful situation. Get some fresh air, go to another room and practice some relaxation or deep breathing exercises, arrange for a close friend to be “on-call” in case you need someone to talk to.
  • Is someone going to be at the dinner that you feel makes healthy choices? Pay attention to what they are eating, their portion sizes. Use them as your reality check.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t set yourself up for a stressful holiday season by over-scheduling yourself. You need to be your own #1. Make sure you leave some time to focus on yourself, allow yourself to get an adequate amount of sleep, engage in activities that make you feel good (exercise, relax or meditate).
  • Don’t isolate! Spend time with family and friends. If it isn’t possible to physically be with your loved ones, have a phone conversation or use Skype! Isolating yourself won’t make you feel better, in many situations it may even make you feel worse.
  • Be in the moment! Enjoy the time with your loved ones, have great conversations, laugh, make memories!
Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2013, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Sources:

http://ed-bites.blogspot.com/2010/11/tip-day-surviving-thanksgiving-without.html
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/nedaDir/files/documents/handouts/Holiday.pdf

The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity – Eating Disorder Treatment Testimony

There is nothing more rewarding than to travel with a patient down the road to recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or bulimarexia. The road to recovery can be a bumpy road, but the results are well worth the hard work. Today we received a heart-warming testimony from one individual that received outpatient treatment at my treatment center in Cincinnati.

Check this out….

“If you had told me how much my life would change over the past year and a half, I would not have believed you.

A year and a half ago I was trapped; wedged between the controlling anorexic voice and a longing to be myself. I was falling, drowning, diminishing into an infinite dark abyss from which I could not escape. Literally. Right before my eyes and the eyes of my family and friends.

Two years prior to that, in October 2010, I was admitted against my will to the hospital for treatment for anorexia nervosa. I was taken out of college and for two weeks I was confined to bed, banned from showering, and forced to eat every single meal and snack that was placed in front of me. I was compliant, mainly because I felt like I had no other option, and I wanted nothing but to return to school. Having my family see me in such a helpless and horrific condition was the most humiliating experience of my life.

Once I was out of the hospital I was compliant with the outpatient treatment because I needed to reach a certain weight if I wanted to return to school. I eventually made the weight goal, mainly by consuming sweets and processed foods. I was not happy with what I was putting into my body but I convinced myself that I could do it long enough to return to school.

Back at school, a huge wave of relief washed over me. I thought to myself, “I can finally go back to eating healthy and working out so I can lose this fat I’ve put on.” I wanted to eat healthy and take care of my body, but my only knowledge of ‘healthful’ eating was based on the skewed eating habits that drove my anorexia. I strongly believed in eating organic, non-GMO food and animals that did not have any added hormones and that were raised respectfully. While these options were available to me at home, my school provided none of them. Consequently, I went back to the eating habits that landed me in the hospital: restricting myself to fruit and vegetables in the cafeteria and absolutely no meat. I did not want to ingest any harmful chemicals. If I could not eat clean and organic, then I simply wouldn’t eat. While it was incredibly difficult to eat this way, I didn’t know what else to do. I regarded gaining weight as a sin. I remember thinking, “How am I ever going to be able to keep restricting myself like this for the rest of my life?” I felt like I had no choice.

With no one keeping a close eye on me, I began losing weight again. The weight continued to come off until I reached about the same weight I was when I was admitted to the hospital.

In June of 2012 I broke down. I knew that the anorexia had gotten the best of me once again. I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to for help. I was not about to return to the hospital, but I knew that I needed some kind of assistance. My parents did some research online and found Dr. Norton, a psychologist offering outpatient treatment of eating disorders in Cincinnati. I was hesitant for her aid, but I knew I couldn’t recover alone. She advertised organic, clean, and wholesome eating in her eating disorder recovery program and that seemed like an optimal fit for me. I called her and scheduled my first appointment.

Before I met Dr. Norton, I was very much aware of “clean eating” however, Dr. Norton provided me with the tools to apply it to my life. At home, my parents always had complete control over the cooking and at school I had no say in what foods the cafeteria prepared. I knew that clean eating was what I truly desired for my body but I was unaware of how to incorporate it into my life.

Dr. Norton saved my life. I cannot express in words how much she has done for me. She has given me the tools to overcome my anorexic thoughts and an incredible amount of knowledge on clean eating.

Clean eating has completely changed my relationship with food. It has enabled me to feel confident in the fact that I am not ingesting harmful chemicals, GMOs, or hormone fed animals. I know that I am putting true nourishment and lovingness into my body. I can eat a meal and know exactly where everything came from. I no longer have ‘reward foods’ – unhealthy foods that I craved but that I would only allow myself to eat after a strenuous workout. I now consider clean eating a reward in itself every day. Clean eating has allowed me to feel confident about gaining weight in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight for the first time in my life.

As a type one diabetic, clean eating has also enabled me to have better control of my blood sugars. This is an incredible feeling, as my blood sugars and insulin dosage are a daily battle.

My anorexic behaviors and thoughts were driven by a desire for strength and control. I exhibited that by restricting and tearing my body down. Now I know that gaining strength is accomplished by building my body up and by nourishing myself with wonderful and wholesome foods. Now I see myself becoming stronger by caring for myself to the best of my ability. I have not only grown stronger in mind, but body as well. I am physically capable of lifting more and heavier weights than ever before. I also have the stamina to run for longer distances. Coming home from a run or walk I am no longer incredibly fatigued. Instead, I feel re-energized and revitalized.

As a part of loving myself, I don’t have to restrict anymore. I don’t want to restrict anymore. My sense of control comes from the knowledge that I am doing the absolute best for myself in any given situation. I am trusting and loving myself – the real me.

I never thought I would be able to enjoy eating. I thought the mean, toxic, and judgmental anorexic voice in my head was something that would be constantly present for the rest of my life. I never thought I would be able to look in the mirror and love my body. I am more proud and confident in my mind, body, and spirit than I ever imagined possible.

I owe an incredible amount of thanks to not only Dr. Norton, but my parents. They have supported me my entire life. They have remained by my side through the worst of days and the best of days. They have given me nothing but kindness, empowerment, and unconditional love. I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you Mom and Dad, from the bottom of my heart. I love you both so darn much.

“At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

S.M.”

Read more testimonials HERE.

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Clean Eating in Treatment for Obesity

cleaneating_steak

The average American is clueless when it comes to eating healthy foods, even those of us who would be considered healthy eaters.  What most people do not know is that the majority of the American diet is loaded with addictants that drive obesity and its life threatening complications. The lack of information, along with the misinformation put out by the industry giants that profit from the sale of polluted foods and diet products have created a health care crisis in this country that is unprecedented in the world.

The U.S. is the second most obese country in the world (Mexico just passed us by) with the highest rate of mortality (compared to all other wealthy nations) and the highest health care costs compared to 48 other countries except for Switzerland. We also have the most obese children and we are one of the only countries in the world that sees Type II Diabetes in young children. (Type II Diabetes is the result of unhealthy eating and usually occurs in midlife.) Unfortunately, most overweight Americans tend to blame themselves for their weight problems. Instead of looking at the quality, or in my mind, the safety of the food, they try to eat less by “dieting”, which is not only ineffective, it is dangerous, as it has been shown to lead to increased likelihood of obesity.

Benefits of Clean Eating Obesity

In my practice I have found that teaching the obese individual to eat clean does a number of things that significantly increases the likelihood of his or her success:

  1. It helps them to stop blaming themselves
  2. It allows them to begin to experience the healing quality of food
  3. Clean food extinguishes their food addictions
  4. They discover how incredibly delicious good food can be

In my upcoming book: Food Pollution: Why Eating Disorders, Obesity and Mortality Rates are Rising in the U.S., I define Food Pollution as:

The introduction into the food supply of genetically engineered (GE) and/or hyper-hybridized (HH) plants and animals; neurotoxic sweeteners, such as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Aspartame, and Asculefame; herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides; toxic chemicals; MSG (processed free glutamate); and fats or proteins that have been damaged by processes such as hydrogenation, hydrolization, dehydration, autolization and unnecessary pasteurization. These pollutants have been shown to be obesogenic, diabetic, carcinogenic, neurotoxic, autogenic and addictive.

 The sources of food pollution are:

  • Genetically engineered (GE) proteins
  • Artificial sweeteners  
  • Synthetically created chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Hyper-hybridized (HH) grains
  • Ingredients that have been irradiated
  • MSG (Processed Free Glutamate)
  • GE Antibiotics
  • Artificial growth hormones
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Processed and GE Sugar – made from Genetically Engineered (GE) Beets
  • Food Additives – Flavorings, Emulsifiers, Preservatives, Artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • Sewage sludge

Most of my patients find that they can eat significantly more clean food without weight gain, than the polluted counterpart.

Please let us know if you are having the  same experience. Also please take our online survey.

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Eating Clean in Treatment For Anorexia or Bulimarexia

Eating clean as opposed to eating all things in moderation works because it recognizes the role that food addiction plays in recovery. The reality is that the individual suffering from Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimarexia is often as addicted to processed foods as her over-eating counterparts. In other words it isn’t unusual for an Anorexic or Bulimarexic patient to live on gummy bears, chewing gum and diet foods/drinks, which are mostly made of chemicals and lots of sugar, or sugar substitutes, that are highly addicting.  The rationale for the individual suffering from Anorexia or Bulimarexia is that she is okay as long as she avoids fats.

Many individuals suffering from Anorexia or Bulimarexia go into residential treatment under duress and make a conscious decision to lose all of the weight gained as soon as they are released. This is one of the reasons that residential treatment has such abysmal treatment outcomes (30% success rates depending upon your definition). In the old days this strategy worked for the individual suffering from Anorexia. It doesn’t work anymore because food is increasingly more polluted, which significantly increases the likelihood of a food addiction developing over the course of treatment, even treatment that lasts only a month.

If forced into residential treatment, where s/he will have to gain 20 pounds in 21 days in order to get out, s/he will develop many bad habits very quickly eating the typical residential recovery diet. The one thing that most individuals suffering from Anorexia or Bulimarexia worry about the most is that once they begin to eat again, they will never be able to stop. Imagine the horror s/he experiences when this is what actually happens. Once out of residential treatment, faced with food cravings that drive unhealthy eating habits, the only option seems to be binge and then purge.  This sets up a desperate dynamic psychologically and a very dangerous and complicated medical picture.

If on the other hand, s/he learns how to eat clean, s/he learns that s/he can trust food again, that it affects him/her in predictable ways that she can manage, and her fears about losing control begin to subside. In my experience, it is much easier to get an Anorexic or Bulimarexic patient to eat clean than it is to get them to eat polluted foods. That’s a good thing! In comparison, most residential treatment centers and even the typical traditional treatment center will promote a Moderation Model.

If you are in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area and are seeking treatment for your eating disorder, whether it be anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, bulimarexia, or OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder) there is help!

Agent 007
magnifyingglass 

My staff and I did some undercover work and called 15 residential centers specializing in the treatment of Anorexia, to assess their awareness of the impact of food pollution on recovery. Even the facilities that encouraged whole foods over processed foods were clueless when it came to the importance of clean eating for recovery. One spokesperson said “If she can’t eat a hot dog or a hamburger, fries and a coke, then she isn’t ready to leave.” Oh dear!

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Eating Disorders, Obesity, and Gastrointestinal Infections

parasite infections

“In recent medical studies it has been estimated that 85%
of the North American adult population has at least one
form of parasite living in their bodies. Some authorities
feel this figure may be as high as 95%.”

As we discussed in the article “Why Am I Hungry When I am Morbidly Obese?“, infections are huge source of internal stress. Some infections can remain undetected for years, keeping the body in a chronic state of stress.

Chronic stress can have numerous effects on the body including, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, leaky gut, liver issues, premature aging, and increased food sensitivities.Additionally, it can lead to an impaired ability to break down food, maldigestion, and malabsorption of nutrients. This is an issue for us all, but even more of an issue for those who are already malnourished as a result of an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and bulimarexia.

Symptoms of a parasite infection will vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of a parasite infections include: excess weight gain or weight loss, blood sugar fluctuations, food cravings, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, joint and muscle aches and pains, anemia, allergies, skin conditions, nervousness, sleep disturbances, teeth grinding and clenching, chronic fatigue, immune system dysfunctions, acne, cancer, and more.

“I believe the single most undiagnosed health challenge
in the history of the human race is parasites. I realize
that is a pretty brave statement, but it is based on my
20 years of experience with more than 20,000 patients.”
– Dr. Ross Anderson

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common sources of parasite infections include water, food, blood, insects and animals. The CDC offers several tips on how to reduce your risk of becoming infected by parasites:

  • make sure your pet is under a veterinarian’s care to help protect your pet and your family from possible parasite infections
  • wash your hands frequently, especially after touching animals
  • avoid eating undercooked fish, crabs, mollusks, and meat

  • avoid eating raw aquatic plants (such as watercress)
  • avoid eating uncleaned raw vegetables. In restaurants, avoid all raw vegetables

  • follow the CDCs “Steps of Healthy Swimming

There are several options available if you suspect you have a parasite infection. You can address your concerns with your physician and request to be tested. Alternatively, you can work with a professional that specializes in natural medicine.

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

Why Am I So Hungry When I am Morbidly Obese?

overeating morbidly obese

“Why am I so hungry when I am morbidly obese?”. This is one of the most commonly asked questions from my obese patients. They often come to me feeling like a failure because they can’t follow the weight loss advice of their physician to “just eat less food”. This is extremely difficult to do when you are always hungry. What could possibly be creating these feelings of hunger?

There are primarily two hormones that tell us when we are hungry and when we are full; ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is produced by fat cells; it turns on the signal that tells us we are full and turns off the signal that tells us we are hungry. Ghrelin is produced by stomach cells; it turns off the signal that tells us we are full and turns on the signal that tells us we are hungry.

Obese individuals typically have high levels of leptin and low levels of ghrelin. Over time this leads to a firm of insensitivity to leptin and hypersensitivity to ghrelin.

So what does this mean? The brain is almost constantly receiving a signal that the body is hungry and rarely receiving a signal that body is satisfied. If you are overweight and are experiencing constant feelings of hunger, even after you have recently eaten, I encourage you to talk to your physician about having your serum leptin levels and serum ghrelin levels checked.

So what can be done to correct this imbalance? There are many sources that list a variety of supplements that can be used to balance out leptin and ghrelin levels. however, this approach treats the symptoms rather than the cause; an imbalance in these two hormones suggests that there is malfunction going on within other parts of the body. Supplements may help these two hormone levels fall or rise into a “normal” range for a short period of time, but if you aren’t treating the root cause it is likely that eventually you will need to take higher and higher dosages in order to keep them in a “normal” range. The cause of this malfunction within the body will vary from person to person, it could be anything from a parasite infection to leaky gut. We’ll be talk about parasite infections and leaky gut in an upcoming blog post. So stay tuned!

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Let’s Connect!

Take my new Eating Disorder survey!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

Read About Dr Norton

View video about Dr Norton

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’

Eating Disorders and Autoimmune Disease

autoimmune

Autoimmune diseases afflict nearly 24 million Americans. Yet 90% of Americans cannot name a single one of these deadly and disabling diseases. If autoimmune diseases were grouped as a single category rather than more than 20 separate illnesses, they would be one of the ten most common causes of death for women under the age of 65.

According to News Medical, “autoimmune diseases arise from the overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in thyroiditis [or Type 1 Diabetes]) or involve a particular tissue in different places (e.g. Goodpasture’s disease which may affect the basement membrane in both the lung and the kidney). There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases”. The more commonly mentioned autoimmune diseases include Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Celiac disease.

According to Dr. Alessio Fasano, there are three factors that must be present in order for an individual to develop an autoimmune disease:

  • the individual must be exposed to an environmental trigger
  • the individual must be genetically predisposed
  • the individual must have intestinal permeability (leaky gut)

Eating a diet that includes genetically engineered foods impacts the endocrine system in ways that increase the likelihood of autoimmune disorders. It also increases the likelihood of developing leaky gut. In other words, eating genetically engineered foods can expose us to two of the three factors listed by Dr. Fasano; they can be an environmental trigger and lead to leaky gut.

Leaky gut is very common in psychiatric diseases such as anorexia, bulimia, alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. You don’t have to have gut symptoms to have leaky gut; leaky gut can be completely asymptomatic. According to Dr. Jack Kruse, many individuals with eating disorders have a permeable gut barrier and brain barrier. This combination causes disruption in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) which leads to changes in cortisol (which is the stress hormone that tears things down in the body), dehydropiandrosterone (DHEA), which is an anabolic hormone that builds things back up, Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) which is a hormone that promotes growth and prevents cells from dying, and melatonin, known as the “sleep hormone” as it regulates sleep cycles. (Note: Altered circadian rhythm can affect sleep, hormones, and other functions within the body. Altered circadian cycles are also linked with obesity, diabetes, and psychiatric diseases such as depression.)

One small study in Sweden suggested that there could be a connection between autoimmune diseases and eating disorders. Researchers found that nearly three out of four women (74%) with an eating disorder also had antibodies that have a negative effect on the hypothalamus or pituitary. These antibodies were only found in 2 of 13 women without eating disorders. The hypothalamus plays a significant role in regulating how much food we eat. The researchers stated that more research would need to be completed before clinical applications of the findings can be considered. They are continuing to research the link between the nervous system and the immune system in individuals with eating disorders.

There are several measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing an autoimmune condition. We can eat clean, which will reduce our exposure to environmental triggers. In other words, eat organic foods that contain no additives, carcinogens, or GMO’s. We can avoid foods that cause an inflammatory response; these foods will vary from person to person, but usually involve grains or foods to which we are allergic. We can avoid foods that cause leaky gut, such as cereal grains, sugar, processed soy and industrial seed oils.

We can also take steps to help heal the gut. According to Chris Kresser we can promote the healing of the gut through:

  • Removing all food toxins from your diet
  • Eating plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Eating fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi etc. and/or take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress in order to reduce cortisol

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’

Sources:

Autoimmune diseases: a leading cause of death among young and middle-aged women in the United States.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoantibodies against α-MSH, ACTH, and LHRH in anorexia and bulimia nervosa patients

Mechanisms of Disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases

The Leaky Gut Prescription

9 Steps to Perfect Health – #1: Don’t Eat Toxins

Pregorexia

Credit: Menno Hordijk (Used under a Creative Commons License)

Pregorexia is a term the media uses for women that have an eating disorder during the time they are pregnant and/or during early motherhood. Individuals affected by the disorder tend to be preoccupied with controlling pregnancy weight gain through food restriction, bingeing and purging, over-exercising, abusing laxatives. diuretics, or diet pills. It is estimated that 1 in 20 women suffer from an eating disorder while pregnant; 60-70% of eating disorder patients relapse during pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, warning signs of Pregorexia include:

  • talking about the pregnancy as if it wasn’t real
  • obsessiveness over calorie counting
  • eating alone or skipping meals
  • excessive exercise
  • pre-occupation with the scale and weight gain
  • minimal weight gain during pregnancy
  • dieting
  • signs of depression

Pregorexia puts the health of both the mother and the baby at risk. Disordered eating behaviors during pregnancy can affect the mother in a variety of way including malnutrition, dehydration, heart issues, premature birth, miscarriage, and depression. Gaining too little weight during pregnancy can affect the health of the baby in numerous ways including low birth weight, vitamin deficiencies, neurological problems, lower IQ, growth retardation, and other long-term health problems.

Psychologically speaking, pregorexia can be driven by a number of dynamics:

  • the media puts a lot of pressure on women to be thing, even during pregnancy
  • Some women associate motherhood with losing control of their bodies, losing control of their lives and/or losing their identity
  • gaining weight and bodily changes are difficult for most women during pregnancy, but it is especially difficult for those that have a history of disordered eating.
  • the idea of becoming a mother is frightening to some because they don’t believe they can take care of themselves, let alone a baby. They believe that if they keep their body small (like a child) this means that someone, usually parents, will have to take care of them.
  • sometimes the idea of becoming parents can cause relationship difficulties, making the mother-to-be feel out of control, she may try to regain control by controlling her food, weight, and exercise

Like all eating disorders, it is important to seek out treatment if you or a loved one struggles with pregorexia. Treatment often involves the obstetrician, psychological counselling, and nutritional support. A holistic approach that balances body, mind and spirit is the most successful form of treatment.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’

Sources:

Pregorexia: A legitimate problem during pregnancy?

Diabulimia

eating disorder treatment cincinnati

Diabulimia is an eating disorder in which individuals with Type 1 Diabetes purposefully give themselves less insulin than they require, with the intention of losing weight. The eating disorder is most common in woman between the ages of 15 and 30. According to Dr. Ann E. Goebel-Fabbri, about 30% of diabetic woman restrict their insulin to induce weight loss at some point in their lives.

There are many serious short-term and long-term consequences associated with diabulimia:

According to Diabulimia Helpline, there are several telltale signs that an individual is suffering from diabulimia:

  • A1c of 9.0 or higher on a continuous basis.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Persistent thirst/frequent urination.
  • Preoccupation with body image.
  • Blood sugar records that do not match HbA1c results.
  • Depression, mood swings and/or fatigue.
  • Secrecy about blood sugars, shots and or eating.
  • Repeated bladder and yeast infections.
  • Low sodium/potassium.
  • Increased appetite especially in sugary foods.
  • Cancelled doctors’ appointments.

Treatment for Diabulimia

The first step in Diabulimia is to break through the denial the individual may have that s/he is abusing insulin to manage weight.  Unlike many eating disorders, this one may start as an attempt to control the diabetes but end up as a way of controlling weight.   Those with Type I diabetes are at risk for addiction to empty carbs early in their disease as the first symptom is significant weight loss. Efforts to help the child regain the weight usually do not include clean eating, such that s/he may develop bad habits or even an addiction to carbs, fat and/or salt.

Treatment for Diabulimia resembles treatment for Bulimarexia, the combination of Anorexia and Bulimia, in as much as it often contains elements of each disorder.  To the degree that the individual uses insulin to “binge” on empty carbs, the first step is to teach him or her to eat clean foods that have a healing impact on the endocrine system rather than a damaging effect.

The other essential ingredient in the treatment of the individual suffering from Diabulimia is to help the individual deal with the fear of gaining weight.  As with many individual’s suffering from Anorexia, an excessively low weight seems like an accomplishment. The Diabetic is particularly at risk for having control issues, as so many things seem beyond his or her control, especially when it comes to the body’s reaction to food.

Interested in learning more about Diabulimia? We’ll be talking with Dr. Ann Goebel-Fabbri on next week’s podcast! We’ll be taking your questions live at 646-378-0494 or you can submit your questions HERE.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

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Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Inquire about booking Dr Norton for a speaking engagement

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.