Binge Eating Disorder- It’s a thing!
Most people think of eating disorders as only being anorexia and bulimia but often neglect the fact that binge eating is a disorder. People who suffer with it may not even realize that they have it. So what is it? Binge eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control and powerless to stop.
Myself personally, I struggle with this disorder and my dad wonders why when I eat his cookies, I eat them all. I’ve gotten much better at handling my binge eating over the past few months but it is still an occasional issue. When I was really suffering, as soon as I ate something unhealthy it would ruin the rest of my day and week. I would continue to eat badly and at a constant rate until I physically couldn’t eat anymore. I would raid the vending machine at work, look for sweets in the break room, eat any junk food my dad had and if we didn’t have anything at the house I would leave just to go by sweets. My binge eating was specific to sweets as opposed to regular food. Writing this right now is actually making me want something sweet. When binging not only do I feel bloated but I lack the nutrients needed for a balanced diet. I would skip regular meals because I was so full on sweets.
The symptoms of eating disorder are said to begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, often after a major diet. The amount of time that a binge eating episode usually lasts is about two hours or on and off all day long. These episodes are uncontrollable and the person will most likely feel extremely upset during or after the binge. Unlike bulimia, the person who binges doesn’t try to make up for the overeating by making themselves vomit or over exercise.
Myself personally, exercise and eating healthy is a part of my lifestyle (weird I know) but when I binge, I don’t go to the gym afterwards to try and burn it off. I like to be fueled properly before going to the gym and when I’ve been eating nothing but sweets I just don’t have the energy and I would never attempt to make myself throw up.
Binge eating is something I feel I have no control over. It may seem to help me deal with whatever stress I might be dealing with at the moment but as the binge continues I feel terrible about myself. Some common symptoms of binge eating are eating large amounts of food even when you are full, hiding your food to eat later in secret, eating normally around others but binging when you are alone, eating continuously throughout the day with no planned mealtimes, feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating, and being embarrassed over how much you eat.
Having a strict diet seems to be something that is one of the main causes of binge eating. I know it was one of the causes for myself. I would try to be so restrictive with my diet that when I would eat something unhealthy I wouldn’t be able to stop. In time I have learned to stop having such a restrictive diet and not be so negative when I eat something bad and be able to bounce back from it. Where as I used to eat some cookies and then go for a poptart and then go for more cookies and so on, I now will have some cookies and be done. The hardest part is when my thoughts take over and start to binge a little, especially when I’m in a bad mood but I have gained more control over myself now.
Binge eating disorder can lead to some serious problems though. I have gained weight in the past year because of it but now that I have more control I am not concerned with the other risks because I will never let it get as bad as it once was. Overeating can lead to obesity and there are countless issues and diseases that obesity can lead to. If you take measures now to help with your binge eating disorder you won’t have to worry about the extreme risks. Some things you can do to help are stop dieting, fight boredom, avoid temptation, use a food journal, exercise, and get support. For me what worked was to stop dieting but also when I stopped working my full time job and became more active and involved at school, I didn’t have as much time to think about wanting sweets. When I was working, I sat all day and when it wasn’t busy I got bored and would want to eat. Creating a distraction or something you can do besides eating when your bored will help tremendously.
For those with more severe cases of binge eating disorder, especially those associated with depression should seek professional help whether it be from your primary doctor, the wellness center on campus, or a separate counseling center. More information and references for this article can be found on .