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In honor of Binge Eating Disorder Week, I’m republishing posts that focus on dispelling pervasive myths about binge eating disorder (BED) and tools for overcoming this common disorder.

Remember that BED is a real disorder, and it’s highly treatable.

Learn more about the online campaign here. Also, check out these valuable posts from eating disorder experts, including Amy Pershing and Cynthia Bulik.

Here’s part two of my interview with Sunny Sea Gold, author of the must-read book Food: The Good Girl’s Drug: How to Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings. Sunny also pens the blog HealthyGirl.org.

What I love about Sunny’s book is that it provides accurate information about binge eating disorder (BED) and shatters the many damaging myths about the disorder. Sunny also features insightful interviews along with a collection of recovery tools.

Below, Sunny shares how she was able to overcome her insecurities, what recovery means to her and much more.

Q: You’ve had so many successes in your life but yet, when you were in your 20s, you continued to worry that you’d buckle under pressure and high expectations. And your perfectionism was deeply ingrained. I’ve noticed that after healing my own eating and body image issues, this kind of insecurity in my abilities and the perfectionistic thinking still remain. How were you able to gain inner confidence and pitch that perfectionism?

A: Here, I think therapy was absolutely key. All said, I’ve had about eight years of talk therapy, the last several with the same woman here in New York. She has seen me go from being somewhat depressed, and anxious, and bingeing regularly when I first moved to NYC to the woman I am now, who loves her job, accomplished a major dream in her life—writing the book!—is a normal eater, and is now pregnant, something I had always worried about being able to do because of my issues with food and weight.

I still see that therapist every few weeks. For whatever reason, having that outside, objective, trained voice there to help guide me has been key to me building really strong confidence and esteem. It’s also helped me replace those inner voices that used to be so harsh and demanding with one that is compassionate and has much more reasonable demands!

Q: What does recovery mean to you?

A: It means that food no longer has an outsized place in my mind or in my life. It means I don’t rely on food to take care of my emotional needs anymore, and it also means I’m not afraid of food.

Sometimes my body craves an orange, sometimes it craves a bowl of ice cream. Either one is fine, and I give my body what it wants without guilt—it all evens out in the end.

I believe our bodies intrinsically know how to be moderate if we are able to get to a place where we’re mentally and physically healthy enough to tune in.

Q: What do you think will surprise readers most about your book or your story?

A: Well, I have noticed that people keep mentioning the honesty of the book! Perhaps they don’t expect someone to lay bare the kinds of details I did.

I didn’t do that on purpose, I just wrote what I thought the readers would find helpful. But I guess some of the depth of what I reveal might be surprising to some!

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about binge eating disorder, recovery or your fantastic book?

A: Even if someone doesn’t have a full-blown “eating disorder,” that doesn’t mean they don’t need and deserve help and relief from whatever food issues they’ve got.

There are so many people out there who basically just have a weird relationship with food, who rely on food too much in their lives, or think about weight too much, and it hurts them. And I want them to know that they deserve support and help—and I wrote my book for them, too.

Further Reading on Binge Eating Disorder

  • Part 1 of my interview with Sunny about her book.
  • My interview with Amy Pershing on common myths about BED and her own recovery from the disorder.
  • Bonnie Brennan on treating binge eating disorder.
  • Karen Trevithick on more myths about BED, signs to look for and why dieting only exacerbates the disorder.