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Female Athlete Nutrition

Sep 15, 2022

In this episode of the Female Athlete Podcast, I talk with Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Christine Peat. Dr Christine and I define clinical eating disorders and explore her area of interest: binge-eating disorder. We take a deep dive into binge-eating disorder, busting common myths and stereotypes about what binge-eating is and how episodes of binging differ from overeating and feelings of extreme fullness. The psychology behind eating behaviors are what characterize clinical eating disorders, including feeling a loss of control around food and immense guilt and shame. We talk about why binge-eating disorder is serious and deserves attention.

Dr Peat talks about the 5% prevalence of binge-eating disorder in the population, and the general under-diagnosis of eating disorders: factors like shame and secrecy prevent sufferers from reaching out for help and receiving a diagnosis. 9% of the US population will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. We debunk the myth that eating disorders have a look: binge-eating disorder can affect individuals in smaller and larger bodies, as can anorexia nervosa. We discuss biases in society that associate larger bodies with binge-eating disorder and can make receiving treatment difficult. Eating disorders are mental illnesses and body size is a result of disordered thoughts and behaviors, and Dr Peat reminds listeners to look beyond weight and pay attention to the underlying psychology. We discuss treatment options for eating disorders, the importance of a multidisciplinary specialty approach, as well as barriers to receiving care.

Dr Peat shares her research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on eating disorders and her findings are alarming! The pandemic has seen rates of eating disorders skyrocket and we discuss contributing factors such as a lack of social support and structure, more time spent in triggering environments, and more.

We touch on the intersection between obesity and eating disorders, and the work Dr Peat does with patients undergoing bariatric surgery. We talk about Dr Peat's roles with the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED) and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), as well as her current areas of research. 

Learn more about the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED) and Dr Peat’s work at 

Dr Peat’s Official Bio:

Dr. Christine Peat is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She completed her undergraduate training in Psychology at the University of Arizona and earned her Master’s degree and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of North Dakota. Her internship was in behavioral medicine at West Virginia University, after which she went on to complete her post-doctoral fellowship in eating disorders research at UNC under the directorship of Dr. Cynthia Bulik. Currently, Dr. Peat works as both a researcher and a clinician who focuses on eating pathology across the spectrum, but with a distinct focus on binge-eating disorder. She is particularly interested in the intersection between obesity, bariatric surgery, and eating pathology and investigating physiological comorbidities associated with eating disorders.

Dr. Peat is also a licensed psychologist in North Carolina and as such, treats eating disorders across the spectrum, with a primary focus on binge eating. Given her background in behavioral medicine, she has also established clinical services in the UNC Bariatric Surgery Program, where she conducts presurgical evaluations and provides behavioral medicine interventions to weight loss surgery patients. In addition to her clinical and research responsibilities, Dr. Peat is a clinical supervisor for pre-doctoral psychology interns and psychiatry residents, and she mentors undergraduate students.

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