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Woman who battled binge eating disorder loses 22 kilos in 8 months

A woman managed to lose 22 kilos in eight months after battling a binge eating disorder for 20 years.

Dr Katie Richards, 45, turned to food to cope with a past trauma that she experienced, with food being something she relied on for comfort.

She dealt with the disorder from the age of 12 and saw her petite frame climb to 80 kilos.  

‘It was an addiction, I was craving sweets and I couldn’t stop eating. I felt like I had lost control,’ Dr Richards, from Cairns, told FEMAIL.

‘Sometimes I would eat an entire slab of chocolate in one sitting, or a whole loaf of bread with butter.’

Dr Katie Richards, 45, turned to food to cope with a past trauma that she expereinced, with food being something she relied on for comfort

At the time Dr Katie wasn’t aware that the reason for the disorder she couldn’t control was underlying psychological issues that hadn’t been dealt with. 

‘I didn’t realise this till much later in my life when I studied psychology and realised that eating, for me, was self soothing,’ she said.

Dr Katie would binge every single day and although she would start off the day healthy enough she would spiral as the day went on.

‘Most of my binging was after dinner when I was alone and when I could do it in secret,’ Dr Katie shared.

At the time Dr Katie wasn't aware that the reason for the disorder she couldn't control was underlying psychological issues that hadn't been dealt with

'I didn't realise this till much later in my life when I studied psychology and realised that eating, for me, was self soothing,' she said

At the time Dr Katie wasn’t aware that the reason for the disorder she couldn’t control was underlying psychological issues that hadn’t been dealt with

‘My portions were quite big for lunch and dinner so I overate but the binge eating would also come later and there was a sense of me losing all control. It took me 20 years to heal.’

During the midst of the disorder Dr Katie would mostly eat carbs and chocolate, often eating a family-sized block every day.

‘I would also do a lot of snacking and would just eat whatever was available,’ she said. 

‘My breakfasts wouldn’t always be unhealthy as I would often eat cereal with milk or yoghurt.

‘For lunch I would have lots of sugary sauces with lots of potatoes and for dinner I would rather choose a cheesy pasta dish over a salad.’

During the midst of the disorder Dr Katie would mostly eat carbs and chocolate, often eating a family-sized block every day

During the midst of the disorder Dr Katie would mostly eat carbs and chocolate, often eating a family-sized block every day

'I would also do a lot of snacking and would just eat whatever was available,' she said

‘I would also do a lot of snacking and would just eat whatever was available,’ she said

After two decades she decided to look at her own psychological issues she was ignoring and went on a calorie restrictive diet for eight months, which helped her lose the weight. 

Now what Dr Katie eats is more planned as she listens to what her body needs and is no longer using food as an emotional crutch. 

‘I have salad every day for lunch, veggies in the evening, I don’t calorie count or measure anything and I do sometimes leave something on the plate when I’m full,’ she revealed.

‘I still eat chocolate and ice cream and cake but I can take it or leave it.’   

Dr Katie told FEMAIL that this long-term disorder took a toll on her self esteem and her body image deteriorated.

After two decades she decided to look at her own psychological issues she was ignoring

She went on a calorie restrictive diet for eight months, which helped her lose the weight.

After two decades she decided to look at her own psychological issues she was ignoring

She was 80 kilos and 160 centimetres tall, which made her BMI 31 – putting her in the obese category.

‘I’ve always been wanting to conquer it and did what most people do. I went on a diet and tried to control myself, I thought all I needed was willpower,’ she said.

‘I went to hypnosis, I had liposuction done and I took diet pills but none of it worked.’

Dr Katie also wasn’t eligible for surgeries such as gastric band surgery because she ‘wasn’t fat enough’. 

‘Through my psychological studies I finally got the answer, I was helping other people lose weight and came across some methods that are only traditionally used for trauma and I applied that to binge eating disorder patients,’ Dr Katie shared.

Consequently she did a whole research study of this new method for The University of Sydney. 

She was 80 kilos and 160 centimetres tall, which made her BMI 31 - putting her in the obese category but now that's changed

She was 80 kilos and 160 centimetres tall, which made her BMI 31 – putting her in the obese category but now that’s changed

The method is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR.

It is a form of psychotherapy which uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to assist trauma victims in processing distressing memories and beliefs.

WHAT IS EMDR?

– It is a form of psychotherapy which uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to assist trauma victims in processing distressing memories and beliefs.

– After successful treatment, effective distress is relieved, negative beliefs are reformulated, and physiological arousal is reduced. 

‘I trialed it on a number of participants with excellent results in terms of the elimination of binge eating and weight loss and the motivation to exercise also improved,’ she said.

‘In general what needs to happen is a thorough assessment of the patient to see if they identify with any nutrition deficiencies or any medical issues such as hormonal issues, or medication that causes a high appetite.

‘You also have to identify what’s going on in that person’s life and what their eating habits and choices are and identifying whether it’s a psychological issue.’

Dr Katie told FEMAIL that for a lot of people a binge eating disorder is the result of post traumatic stress disorder because of abuse they have faced. 

'I've always been wanting to conquer it and did what most people do. I went on a diet and tried to control myself, I thought all I needed was willpower,' she said

‘I’ve always been wanting to conquer it and did what most people do. I went on a diet and tried to control myself, I thought all I needed was willpower,’ she said

She explained that this could be any form of abuse, be it emotional, neglect from a caregiver and physical and sexual violence. 

‘You have to correctly identify the disorder rather than the conventional ways that people think will solve it, like going on a diet and exercise and willpower,’ she said.

‘There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that diets don’t work unless you solve the psychological issues that are underlying the eating issue.’

Once this is achieved Dr Katie then refers them to a dietitian to make sure they’re sticking to a low calorie diet, making the right food choices and not eliminating any food group and teaching them to eat intuitively. 

‘It’s teaching them to eat intuitively rather than being restricted to not eating. You can eat anything. You can eat chocolate and ice cream and biscuits – the method helps people to be guided by their own intuition,’ Dr Katie shared.  

‘The psychological treatment I provide is how to manage the psychological issue, it’s nothing to do with motivation or willpower, it’s about sorting out the psychological mess in your head.’

Now Dr Katie feels better than she ever has before. 

‘I feel absolutely amazing, I have a new lease on life and a happiness I’ve never felt before. I know I never have to diet again.’ 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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