Book Review: The Binge Eating & Compulsive Overeating Workbook by Carolyn Coker Ross

June 17, 2011

I make no secret on this blog that I have a severe binge eating issue.  I have been open about it with my wife, and of late shared more and more online.  I addressed it in counseling before I went out to the Biggest Loser Resort, and while I was there with a life coach at the facility.  It is the crux of my weight problem, and one I feel that I will be fighting with for life.  It should be no surprise that I would choose a book like Dr. Ross’ to review, and I did get some good things out of it for myself.

The book is divided into three main parts: Healing the Body, Healing the Mind and Healing the Spirit.  All three of these main sections are further broken down into chapters that have examples, tests and work sheets to practice the behaviors the book recommends.

The “Healing the Body” section of the book begin by defining compulsive overeating and binge eating.  The section goes on to further explain the details many dieters are familiar with about how the body needs nourishment and the main macro nutrients and how and where to get them.  The end of the section deals with a couple of ways to plan your eating and has some sample meal plans and ways to address the problem of meal planning.  This section of the book was not very helpful to me, simply because it is mostly information I have already had at the Biggest Loser Resort, or things I discovered through the million different diets I have been on.

The next section “Healing the Mind” begins with explaining some the conventional methods for tackling these particular eating issues.  The section goes into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy and talk about simple things in each that you can already apply to your current situation.  I found this to be very helpful as I am going to being my own personal therapy again in the next few days and now I feel a little more educated to speak with a therapist.  This section also gives some good information on anti-anxiety/depression drugs that are used in treatment, as well as over the counter supplements.  Once again some really useful information.  The end of the section has a chapter on body image and core belief modifications.  These parts seemed more spiritual and belief oriented then the facts I enjoyed the book.  I could see it being beneficial simply from a self help analysis standpoint, but perhaps I am resistant to the methods.  At the very end there is some great self tests on anxiety and depression and another list of medication/supplements that I highly recommend.

The final part of the book “Healing the Spirit” I found to be a little beyond my grasp.  There is a great section about stress and how to deal with it, but the rest of this part of the book was about how to “nourish your soul,” and that is just not something I am really willing to listen to at this moment.  I do plan on getting into Yoga as I lose some weight and perhaps I will revisit this part of the book with an opened mind then.

My overall conclusion about this book is that if you have either binge eating disorder or are a compulsive overeater there are many gems of information for you.  I came away with some great information to use in therapy, as well as some supplements and sleeping things I plan to try.  For me personally a big part of the book was a little too far into the spiritual self healing methods.  I have no opinion either way on those methodologies working or not, but like I mentioned earlier I am not at a place to really analyze them.  I would recommend this book only to people who really feel they meet the criteria for the disorders it address, it is not really a good read unless you want to try to understand your problem, or perhaps your family member’s problem.

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