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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am 54 years old and have always liked the way I looked except for my body. Now, when I

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I am 54 years old and have always liked the way I looked except for my body. Now, when I look back at pictures, my body was fine until the last ten years when I have been through incredible stress (mother's illness/death, my divorce, busy stressful job). I have gained 75 pounds, hurt my knee so that I can't run anymore, which is my favorite exercise.
I binge eat at night when I am alone, I isolate myself because of my weight. My depression is treated, cannot afford therapy. What's with the food???? My self esteem is in the toilet due to my body. Don't know how to approach binge eating.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


You have had two very stressful incidents happen to you, which made it hard to keep yourself healthy. One is the stress events that have occurred with your family and job, and two your injury, preventing you from running. Both of these are very difficult. But they can be overcome.


Binge eating is the most common of all eating disorders. Often, the person feels depressed and anxious. Binge eating is characterized by:


Eating even when you feel full

Eating alone

Feeling upset and embarrassed by your eating habits

Eating when you are not hungry

Eating large amounts of food in one sitting


In your case, it sounds like the cause of your binge eating is the stress you experienced. Once you deal with your stress, you have a chance to return to your normal eating habits.


The first step is to see your doctor. Getting a complete physical is important to be sure that there is no physical cause to your problem. You can also talk with your doctor about your binge eating. And see if there are options to deal with your knee injury.


Seek out a therapist or if you attend church, your pastor for counseling. You can ask your doctor for a referral or you can call your local community mental health center. They will often see you for a nominal fee or help you apply for assistance to pay for therapy.


Cognative Behavioral therapy (CBT) is often very effective in helping people with binge eating. It helps you change your thought processes so you can deal with the cause of your problem and find better ways to cope. It can also help you deal with the shame and poor self image that is a result of binge eating.


Diets and weight loss should not be a focus of your treatment until therapy has been completed and you are feeling better. Otherwise, the binge eating will return because the original cause will not be resolved.


There are a couple of books I'd like to recommend to help you get started. One is called Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher G. Fairburn. The other is Shrink Yourself: Break Free from Emotional Eating Forever by Roger L. Gould. You can find these on or your local library may have them available.


I hope this has helped you,

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