What Is Binge-Eating & Symptoms Of ItSep 01, 2021
Growing up, you probably learned about eating disorders. Whether it was because a friend/family member struggled directly, or you read about it in celeb magazines, or you were taught about it in school.
Most likely, you learned about ‘the one that makes you skinny’ (anorexia) and ‘the one where you make yourself throw up’ (bulimia). But you probably didn’t learn about the most common eating disorder of all - binge-eating disorder. In fact, more people struggle with binge-eating than anorexia and bulimia combined.
In this post, we’ll go through:
- What exactly binge-eating disorder is
- Signs that someone may struggle with it
- The difference between binge-eating and binge-eating disorder
- Whether it always exists in silo
- The solution to it
WHAT EXACTLY IS BINGE-EATING DISORDER
Binge-eating disorder (BED) is a distressing, severe, and treatable eating disorder characterized by:
- Recurring episodes of consuming large quantities of food (typically over 1,000 calories in one sitting)
- Often the binge happens very quickly and to the point of physical discomfort
- Feeling like you’re out-of-control during the binge
- Experiencing emotional distress afterwards (guilt, shame, frustration, disgust)
- Not regularly using unhealthy measures to undo the binge (e.g. purging)
BED is one of the newest eating disorders to be formally recognized in the DSM-5 hence the relative lack of awareness around it.
SIGNS THAT SOMEONE MAY BE BINGE-EATING
- Seems uncomfortable or anxious eating around others
- Signs of binges, e.g. lots of empty food wrappers in the bin or hidden, large amounts of food disappearing in short periods of time
- Fad diets or changes in eating patterns (e.g. cutting out sugar/carbs/dairy, veganism)
- Hides food in strange places (e.g. bedroom cupboard)
- Isolates from friend groups
- Often dieting
- Excessive concern with body weight/shape
- Feels lack of control over how much they eat
- Skipping meals during the day or taking part in fasting
- Eating alone out of shame and embarrassment over the amount of food eaten
- Weight fluctuations
- Gastrointestinal complaints (e.g. acid reflux, constipation)
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BINGE-EATING & BINGE-EATING DISORDER
Binge-eating is the act of consuming a large amount of food in a short period of time, while feeling out-of-control and emotionally distressed afterwards. This act can happen as a one-off or it can be recurring. Anyone can binge-eat.
Binge-eating disorder, however, is a diagnosable disorder with the following criteria:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating.
- The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
- Eating much more rapidly than normal.
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
- Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
- Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
- Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
- The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
- The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviours (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa.
So while anyone may binge eat from time to time, binge-eating disorder requires that the bingeing is a recurrent problem.
CAN I HAVE BULIMIA OR ANOREXIA AND ALSO BINGE EAT?
Bulimia is characterized by the presence of both bingeing and purging (vomiting, laxatives, over-exercising, fasting).
Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation in an attempt to keep your weight as low as possible. If you struggle with anorexia for a long period of time (years), it is very likely that periods of binge-eating will show up as the body will be desperate to get in more fuel.
It is very common in anorexia recovery for binge-eating to show up even more.
HOW TO STOP BINGE-EATING
As mentioned, binge-eating disorder is absolutely treatable. It is imperative to first identify why you are binge-eating. Common reasons are body image issues, past trauma, low self esteem, innocent attempts at weight loss which then spiral into extreme dieting and bingeing.
In my 30 Day Reboot, I help women uncover what’s causing their binge-eating and then provide the tools to break the cycle and live a life free from binge-eating.
I struggled for a full decade and have since been 4 years binge-free. It IS possible.
I highly recommend starting with my FREE masterclass “Why You’re Still Binge-Eating & How To Stop”!
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