Is Your Eating Normal or…Not?

Let’s hear it for Seventeen magazine: The amazing health editor there put together a two-page story all about binge eating disorder for the new April issue (on stands now)! I was interviewed for it, as was Erica, a reader and guest blogger who I interviewed for my book. With so many girls suffering, it’s more important than ever that more information gets out there through mass channels like big magazines.

Check out the issue if you can—and once the story is up online, I’ll post a link. In the meantime, I want to share a little box that ran in the piece that I think could be really helpful for someone who’s wondering if they’ve got a true overeating problem or not:

From Seventeen, April 2011

It’s simple, yes, and basic—but I know that when I was suffering, I would’ve answered yes to every single one of the behaviors on the right…and now I answer yes to all the ones on the left! Yay, recovery! What do you think of this list? Where do you stand right now? xo…Sunny

13 Responses to Is Your Eating Normal or…Not?

  1. Ashley says:

    Probably one of the best things I have seen in this magazine in a while.

  2. Good to see some awareness brought to this issue. I can say yes to almost everything on the right… working on it.
    The only thing I don’t like is the “normal” vs. “not normal” categories. Makes us “not normal” eaters feel like we’re freaks or something. Maybe the rest of the article makes up for it…

    • Katie says:

      I think it’s really important to know when something is “not normal,” especially if there is suffering involved—that means there’s another alternative, a way that most other people are doing things that’s different.

      If it were normal for everybody to be puking and have a headache in the morning, the person who drank a six-pack the night before might never have the insight that their alcohol use has gotten out of hand. At least to me, “not normal” isn’t meant as an insult; it’s data to figure out if something is a problem or not.

  3. YAY Seventeen!

    That is great they have started including infor on binge eating. I remember when I was reading that magazine and all the info mainly focused on anorexia and bulima. I probably would have tried to seek help earlier if I knew I wasn’t alone in my not normal eating habits.

  4. Tracy says:

    Love the Seventeen quiz to determine if it applies. Sadly I’m usually the opposite. I’d be fine skipping food when with friends or upset, choosing work or some project. Food can wait, right? I know it can’t.. Doesn’t mean I rush to get a bite either.

  5. Dana says:

    I can say yes to everything on the “not so normal” side. I confided in my guy friend telling him that I think I may have this disorder. He basically told me that BED was made up to make people who overeat feel better because it has a name. I really want some help but I don’t even know where to start. Any suggestions??

    • Sunny says:

      OK, a big “ACK!” to your guy friend. You KNOW he’s being ignorant and biased about this, right? As someone who’s suffered from BED-and fully recovered!-I can assure you that the eating disorder does exist. Not only that, but the American Psychological Association includes it in their official eating disorders definitions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I’m sorry he was so unsupportive. (Makes me so mad for you!) Anyhow, yes, I have some suggestions for you for where to start. I started by reading some books, then I went to therapy, then to support groups. All of them were amazing and helped me get better. Go here to look at books, here to read about therapy, and here to look at some support groups. Let us know what you decide to do! xo…Sunny

  6. Mekkie says:

    I completely agree with Elina. The focus on lack of “normalness” is troubling. Also, as HealthyGirl herself pointed it, the criteria are overly simplified. Ideally something that focused a little bit more on “disordered eating” and a little less on the specifications listed for one specific disorder might have been helpful. There are a lot of eating behaviors that can cause a person a lot of physical and emotional harm but aren’t classified under ANY technical disorder (things like chewing and spitting, etc). That being said, I haven’t read the entire article so I can’t REALLY say how well it addresses the issue and it is Seventeen, so baby steps, right?

  7. kiley says:

    i feel totally not normal. i been thinking good and bad things about this. Sunny if you can email me about this? So i can tell you whats going on for real. (: thanks

    -Kiley <3

  8. STEF says:

    I would like to say that after looking at this ” is your eating normal” it makes me think of the fact that my eating is not normal and that i do Binge a lot.

  9. Emily says:

    This article helped me realize that I struggle with binge eating! I was reading it in the car while my mom drove, and I just kept saying “Oh my gosh, this is me,” over and over again. I always realized that I had an abnormal relationship to food, but I thought it was just my lack of discipline and strength that caused me to fall into weird patterns of eating: I never dreamed it could be an eating disorder! Now, I realize that I kept “failing” to adopt healthy eating patterns because I have cognitive patterns that cause compulsive behaviors, and that I could benefit from therapy, books, and support groups. A HUGE thank-you to Seventeen, HealthyGirl, and Food: The Good Girl’s Drug for helping me get on the track to sanity.

    • Sunny says:

      Yes, yes, yes! It’s so good to hear you make these realizations, Emily. Kudos! And keep in touch with us here at HealthyGirl. xo…Sunny

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.