Over the summer, I decided to make some slight updates to Brain over Binge, primarily regarding the use of weight numbers in my personal story, and the addition of a longer “Note to the Reader” section in the beginning of the book—which contains important cautions and describes in detail who the book is for and who might need additional help. For those who have the old version, I’ve copied the new “Note to the Reader” section at the end of this post.
If you’ve been following my blog since I published Brain over Binge, you know that I deliberated about whether or not to include specific weights in the book. In November of 2010, I wrote a blog post describing how I didn’t take the decision lightly, and why I ultimately chose to include those details in the book. However, in the nearly 5 years since I completed the book, I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that the numbers do not add much to my story, and have—in some cases—served to encourage readers to compare their own weights to mine. Binge eaters come in different shapes and sizes, and going forward, I don’t want to cause anyone to put unnecessary focus on the number on the scale. Recovery is not centered around losing weight or maintaining an ideal weight.
I also changed the cover of the book very slightly to give the book a fresher look, but know that this is not a new edition or a new book. Aside from the changes mentioned above, a few updates to reflect the new DSM V criteria for diagnosis of bulimia and binge eating disorder (as opposed to the DSM IV), and some minor text modifications, the content is the same.
A Note to the Reader
There are some important things to know before reading this book. First and foremost, this book is a personal story of recovery, not a substitute for medical or nutritional advice. Binge eating and purging can have serious health consequences, especially in those who frequently self-induce vomiting. If you are experiencing concerning symptoms, please seek medical help right away. Although I do disagree with many aspects of mainstream eating disorder therapy, I believe medical monitoring and nutritional support are vital for some people.
If you are currently undernourished or underweight, it will be necessary for you to restore calorie intake and body weight to normal levels to be successful in recovery. Starvation affects brain functioning in a way that can render you less capable of making sound decisions. Likewise, the presence of any other mental or physiological disorder that affects your judgment and cognitive decision-making warrants immediate professional help. Some examples are: drug and alcohol abuse, incapacitating anxiety or depression, and severe personality disorders.
You should also know that this book is for those who want to recover. This doesn’t mean you have to be unwaveringly certain of your desire to recover at all times; but at some level, you have to want better for yourself. This book is not for someone who can’t see a reason to stop binge eating and purging; it is not for someone who wants to continue to deteriorate because of severe self-hatred or trauma; it is not for someone with suicidal thoughts or tendencies. People who don’t want to find a way out or have no desire to live need more intensive monitoring and real-time help.
Young adults comprise another special group for consideration. Due to incomplete development of the parts of the brain responsible for self-control, the ability to make conscious choices is limited in those around 20 years old and younger. Young people are still capable of making the changes they need to make to pursue recovery, but they may require more direction and support. If you are a parent of a teenager or younger child experiencing an eating disorder and you want to help guide her or him through self-recovery, I strongly encourage you to find a doctor, therapist, or nutritionist who is willing to monitor your child and work with you to find the support she or he needs while using the approach in this book.
Although this book offers a perspective that differs from traditional therapeutic approaches, that doesn’t mean it’s incompatible with other avenues to recovery. Different ideas work for different people in different ways. This book is not an exhaustive resources that covers every aspect of eating disorder recovery; rather, it presents a simple approach, and for many, it will be a new and liberating way of looking at things that leads directly to healing. As you read, remember that your recovery will not look exactly like mine or anyone else’s. You may recover quickly, or you may see change in a more gradual way, and both are okay.