2782 Bingamon Branch Road
Featured

It's time for better help for eating disorders

August 19, 2022
Juniver Team

It’s Saturday night.

Your friend is celebrating her birthday with dinner at a new restaurant. You spend the day grazing, wanting to ‘save’ calories for later.

When you get to the restaurant, your stomach is growling, but you manage to “be good” and order a salad.

On your way home, you can’t stop thinking about food.

A voice in your head urging you to binge grows louder and louder until you give in and stop at your local corner shop.

They know you there but you pretend they’re strangers as they scan your items.

It feels like forever - all you want now is to be alone, at home, with food.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. 2.4 million people in the UK and 5.4 million in the US are battling an eating disorder — and we know that because shame shrinks reporting, the numbers are most likely higher. The problem is growing, and accessing (usually expensive) help is complicated: in the US, helpline calls are up 107% since 2020, and in the UK, 1 in 5 adults now have to wait over 4 months for access to treatment.

No wonder recovering from an eating disorder feels lonely and hard.

Eating disorder stereotypes are harmful

The term “eating disorder” tends to conjure up images of very thin bodies. But this represents only a fraction of what an unhealthy relationship with food can look like.

Less than 6% of people with eating disorders are medically diagnosed as “underweight” – and this misconception prevents many people from accessing the help they need. In fact, for every person who meets the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, there are at least two who fall short of it, even though symptoms gravely affect their lives.

It’s time to drop the assumption that eating disorders only affect thin people.

You don’t need a diagnosis to begin your journey towards a healthy relationship with food.

Traditional treatment options for eating disorders fall short

As we just learned, accessing treatment for an eating disorder is often confusing, slow, or virtually impossible. Doctors often refer higher body weight patients to Weight Watchers or other diet plans. But dieting perpetuates eating disorders by reinforcing a cycle of restriction and binging. Not to mention the insidious ways diet culture can make us feel unworthy, less than, or fundamentally flawed.

Another common treatment offered for eating disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. While this option is better than dieting, its efficacy rate is as low as 28% in the long run. While therapy is often valuable, a weekly appointment doesn’t provide help in the moment of experiencing an urge to binge. This is when we’re most vulnerable.

Then there’s Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Like other 12-step programs, OA uses an abstinence-only framework. But expectations of total abstinence can be counterproductive. If you binge, you feel like you’re back at square one (which isn’t true). A lack of abstinence also implies a moral failing. And black-or-white thinking can lead to harmful self-talk like "You’ve already overeaten, so you might as well binge…”

"[Compared to CBT] Juniver is more focussed on the moment—it's live rather than after. So that's more helpful. You can fall on it in the moment rather than 'Oh yeah yesterday this happened', and it's more focussed on the actual behavior as opposed to what the behavior stems from." -Juniver early access member, age 33

Juniver: a new approach to eating disorder recovery

Juniver was created by people who recovered from eating disorders, for people who want just that. Understanding the brain mechanisms behind urges is what unlocked recovery for us — and Juniver was created to share that with everyone who struggles.

Where do urges come from? Why do they feel impossible to overcome and what can we do in the moment of experiencing one? How to deal with the aftermath of an urge? Juniver will help you explore answers to these questions and more with micro-interventions available anytime you have an urge, new knowledge in self-paced modules, personalized toolkits, an empowering community, and expert-led live classes.

Recovery is possible. By focusing on small, achievable goals, you will be paving the way to new neural connections, and something really good is on the other side.

Wherever you are on your journey, remember: you’re not alone! Join our Community for practical recovery tips and connection with people in it with you. Plus, community members will be the first to know when the Juniver app is available.

You can also sign up for our launch list.

Keep at it. We’re here for you.