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Hello Everyone,

Welcome to The Quest, a newsletter intended to inspire and inform those interested in experiencing optimal well being in body, mind and spirit.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * February 2003
In this issue of The Quest:

1. The Quest Quote
2. The Quest Q & A – Binge Eating
3. Did You Know?

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1. Quote:
Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius. ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

2. Question:
I think I may be a binge eater. Although I never purge or starve myself between episodes, I often eat far beyond when my stomach tells me to stop. Sometimes I do it when I’m bored or stressed out, but I also binge when nothing obvious is bothering me! I’m very active so I am only slightly overweight but that is starting to change. I’ve gained 13 pounds since November. Is there a definition of what makes someone a binge eater? My behavior is starting to worry me.

Binge eating disorder, also known as compulsive eating, is very similar to bulimia in that it involves frequent binging on large amounts of food. The difference is that bulimia also involves purging – vomiting or using laxatives to rid the body of the excess food to avoid gaining weight. Since there is no purge involved with compulsive overeating the end result is weight gain. It’s estimated that two to five percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a six-month period.

Symptoms include:
1) Recurrent binges during which those affected eat much more rapidly than normal; eat until they’re uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; eating alone because of embarrassment about the amount of food consumed; feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty afterwards.
2) Distress about the bingeing.
3) Bingeing on average at least two days a week for six months.

In my research, experts suggest that in some cases binge eating is a learned behavior, a response to dealing with stress, fear, pain, etc. However, another theory suggests that the appetite control center of the brain, the hypothalamus, in compulsive eaters, fails to signal hunger and fullness appropriately. Serotonin, a brain chemical involved in mood and some compulsive behaviors, may also play a role. Personally, I feel that both of these theories have validity.

All eating disorders are serious medical conditions that can have a long-lasting impact on health and should be treated by experts. Please talk to your doctor about your concerns. Work through some of the exercises in my book or other resources that deal with compulsive eating. There are also many programs today that specialize in eating disorders. For more information about eating disorders and organizations that can help, see www.anad.org or www.anred.com.

3. Did You Know?

~ Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids might help support the health of breast tissue? These fatty acids seem to help maintain healthy breast cells. Omega-3s may also help reduce the risk and symptoms of disorders such as heart disease, macular degeneration (age-related blindness), arthritis, and all inflammatory disorders.

~ Did you know that drinking too much caffeinated coffee and tea could contribute to body odor? The caffeine in these drinks increases the activity of the apocrine sweat glands -- special glands in hairy parts of the body that produce strong-smelling, musky secretions. Just another reason to switch to decaf more often.

~ Did you know that calcium and magnesium are essential for relaxation. When they are taken at night, they seem to help some people fall asleep more readily. Try supplements, or the old standby—a glass of warm milk at night—for a restful sleep.

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The Quest for Peace, Love & a 24-Inch Waist

Please submit your comments or questions by replying to this email at deborah@deborahlow.com
I look forward to your feedback.