What are some of the common myths about binge eating disorder? Why should food be neutral? How is a binge characterized by feeling more than quantity? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about debunking the myths around binge eating disorders Marianne Miller.


Dr. Marianne has been in the mental health field for 26 years and has specialized in eating disorders for the last 11 years. She was a full-time academic for 12 years and had a part-time eating disorder practice for much of that time until she left the university and went into private practice full-time in 2018. Dr. Marianne loves working with eating disorders as a therapist and a coach, and she takes a non-diet, feminist approach that helps people of all genders live empowered authentic lives. She embraces the Health at Every Size model and is LGBTQIAA+ affirming. Dr. Marianne recently launched the self-paced Inevitable Binge Eating Recovery online program to help high-achieving professionals regain their mental and emotional energy by shifting their relationship with food to be fully present in their life.

Visit Dr. Marianne Miller's website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


  • What is misunderstood about binge eating disorders
  • The feeling over the quantity
  • “Food is just food”
  • The medical industry is not blameless

What is misunderstood about binge eating disorders

One of the most common misconceptions about binge eating disorders – and eating disorders in general – is that there is a certain body “type” from binge eating. This is untrue.
If you took all of my clients that I’ve seen over the past 11 years and you lined them up and you said, “Okay, pick the ones which have binge eating disorder”, you wouldn’t be able to guess because their body sizes completely vary. (Marianne Miller)
You cannot tell just by looking at someone whether they have an eating disorder or not, and that includes a binge eating disorder. Another common misconception about binge eating disorders is that because there isn’t an “obvious” tell about them, many people do undiagnosed or do not seek out medical or mental health help until much later.
It’s a shock to many people to think, “Yeah, wow, I actually might have [a] binge eating disorder … I thought I just stress-ate or emotionally-ate.” (Marianne Miller)

The feeling over the quantity

A binge eating disorder can be characterized as moments through a day or week when a person overeats to a level of discomfort or pain, repeatedly, and without being able to stop. There is no set amount that is considered “too much” which quantifies the limit of eating. Rather, binge eating is characterized by the feeling of being “out of control”.
A lot of times it’s the feeling [of being out of control] and then a sense of shame and despair that they feel afterward … and then also the preoccupation with food, eating, and body image. (Marianne Miller)
For almost everyone, a binge eating session is closely followed by deep feelings of shame that can make the whole cycle worse. Therefore, seeking professional help is a good way to start breaking the cycle and stop the pattern of binging.

“Food is just food”

There is no such thing as a “good” food and a “bad” food. Food is fuel, and some foods have more fuel or are more nutrient-dense for your body than others. Giving food a moral value is a one-way ticket to starting to judge yourself unfairly. If you give food a moral value and maybe call it “bad food” and restrict it, it may become something that you obsess about and often want because you have told yourself that you cannot have it because it’s “bad”. This is one of the ways that black-and-white thinking about food can make an eating disorder worse.
Let’s just have those foods every day so [that] they’re not “cheat day foods”, they’re just food, and [my clients] are like, “What!?” (Marianne Miller)
When food is neutral and that “appeal” of “giving in” to the “bad food” is diminished, that power it might’ve held dissipates. View food neutrally, and make your choices from that point. Realize this: binge eating disorders are brain disorders. People with binge eating disorders have areas of their brains that are not working as efficiently or effectively compared to people without binge eating disorders.
It’s also very much a genetic thing … and the environment flips that genetic switch and makes people more susceptible. For me, it was my family of origin environment that flipped the switch. (Marianne Miller)

The medical industry is not blameless

Unfortunately, a large portion of the medical industry has close ties with the diet industry, and realize this: their model is based on you failing so that they can make money. Be careful about whose advice you are listening to, because sometimes they will be trying to sell you a service or product that is not actually good for you. Medical practitioners have also been known to suffer from eating disorders, so this disorder truly can impact anyone at any place in life.
[The medical field]is saturated in diet culture and I have clients who are physicians and they got no training on this, yet … other physicians are dishing out to other clients this kind of crappy advice that’s very steeped in anti-fat bias views, [and] their own beliefs about diet culture and … in some cases its products they’re pushing. (Marianne Miller)
Binge eating disorder has nothing to do with willpower. It is a brain disorder and can be resolved, but not by “knuckling down” and forcing more judgment on yourself.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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