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Mindfulness and Eating Disorders

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by anthony, Jan 18, 2007.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    A psychological technique based on Buddhist philosophy and practice may provide a solution for women who struggle with binge eating and bulimia.

    The technique known as ‘mindfulness’ is being taught to Queensland women to help them understand and deal with the emotions that trigger their binges.

    Unlike many therapies for eating disorders, there is less focus on food and controlling eating and more on providing freedom from negative thoughts and emotions.

    Griffith University psychologists Michelle Hanisch and Angela Morgan said women who binged were often high-achievers and perfectionists.

    When such women perceived they didn’t measure up to self-imposed standards or were not in control of situations, they indulged in secretive eating binges. A typical late-night binge could involve four litres of icecream and a couple of packets of chocolate biscuits, Ms Hanisch said.

    “Many women develop elaborate methods of hiding the evidence of their binges and some feel so guilty afterwards they also induce vomiting, overuse laxatives or exercise excessively to counteract the effects of the binge,” she said.

    “Binge eating is largely a distraction – a temporary escape from events and emotions that nevertheless can cause long-term physical problems including electrolyte imbalances. Instead, women need to learn how to react in a different way.”

    Mindfulness involves exercises similar to meditation that could help people live more in the moment, develop a healthy acceptance of self and become aware of potentially destructive habitual responses.

    “Women who have been through the program report less dissatisfaction with their bodies, increased self-esteem and improved personal relationships,” Ms Morgan said. “They learn that thoughts and emotions don’t have any power over us as they are just passing phenomena and aren’t permanent.”

    Mindfulness has already been shown to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and the stress associated with physical conditions such as trauma, chronic pain or cancer.

    The eight-week program is being offered at no charge at Griffith University campuses on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. Women who binge eat and are interested in participating in the program can phone 07 3735 3324.
     
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  3. FlyLadyFan

    FlyLadyFan Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I discovered "mindfulness" a few months back and have found it very simple and instantly effective at reducing stress and depression ... when I remember to use it.

    And my version of "mindfulness" has no Eastern mysticism overtones, nor does it require meditation. It's simply focusing on what is immediately at hand with as many senses as possible. For example, I'm currently feeling my fingertips touch the flat, hard surfaces of the keys at a rapid pace, my eyes are a little bothered by the bright computer screen, my ears hear my "white noise" machine off to the side, I'm tasting nothing but may reach for that cup of soda on my table in a moment when I'm done typing, and I smell nothing.

    Another version would be if I were driving: I might choose to study intensely the rear of the vehicle in front of me ... color, plate design, count off my following distance.

    Whatever form this mindfulness takes, it does bring me back to the present and away from the planet to which my mind has drifted, usually a planet of negativity or what-if or remembering what cannot be changed or what are called vain imaginations where I re-do a recent interaction I had with someone and I come out looking smarter, wittier, etc. than in the actual interaction.

    My daydreaming tendency is very, very bad ... to the point of a continued depersonalized state as I go through my days, which BTW is not helpful for gaining short-term memory. So when I can remember to practice mindfulness of the present moment, I come back from being up, down, or ... out. And I immediately feel a weight lift from my shoulders, almost physically.

    Thanks for listening, FLF

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  4. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Hmmm, I think I'm going to try that! I'm sure that would be useful for my youngest also to focus.. great info and great description Lady.. You made it very clear how to do that.. thanks

    bec
     
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