What is an eating disorder?

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What is an eating disorder?

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Sometimes I get the question: What is an eating disorder? It's, oddly enough, not about the food. It's how someone uses food as an unhealthy coping skill to deal with life's stresses and traumas and things that happen. Boys and girls and women and men get eating disorders; and it's not a choice, it's an illness. It's a psychiatric, biologically based illness. There are different types of eating disorders. There's anorexia, which is commonly known as someone who self starves. There's bulimia, that's someone who would binge and purge. There's also a section called eating disorders not otherwise specified. That's someone who has the characteristic of anorexia and some of the characteristics of bulimia. Then there's the last category called binge eating disorder. That's someone who eats a lot of food, but doesn't purge. According to the National Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, there's ten million girls and women in the United States that have eating disorders and one million boys and men. Millions more has the binge eating disorder.

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Maggie Baumann, MFT, CEDS

Certified Eating Disorder Specialist

Maggie Baumann is a marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, California, specializing in treating eating disorders, addictions and trauma. Maggie is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals. As a woman in recovery from anorexia, she speaks on the topic of eating disorder prevention and treatment to a wide audience. She has been a featured guest on numerous national television shows on eating disorder awareness and quoted in newspapers across the country including the New York Times as well as in national magazines including Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine. Her area of expertise within the eating disorder field is on “pregorexia”, a term describing a pregnant woman who is also struggling with an eating disorder. This is a life-threatening condition affecting the lives of both mom and her unborn baby. 

On a personal front, Maggie has been married 28 years and has two healthy grown daughters, Christine, 25 and Whitney, 24. Being a mom has been the most rewarding experience Maggie has encountered. Maggie enjoys staying active with healthy exercise and loves to be outdoors. Living one mile from the beach allows Maggie the luxury of enjoying the peace of the ocean. Photography, reading and spending time with her two kitties (who are really grown up cats) are other passions she appreciates doing in her leisure time.   

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