There are times in everyone’s life when we eat like there’s no tomorrow. But eating more than is good for you all the time without being able to hold back may mean a case of binge eating disorder. It afflicts us when we can’t stop eating although we realize that we have eaten too much already.
Binge eating disorder, or BED for short, isn’t just a detrimental eating habit, it has officially been registered as a diagnosis. All over the globe, about 2% of people suffer from the condition, which has other unpleasant ramifications leading towards diabetes and cholesterol rising too high.
Even if you are not afflicted with BED yet, it is worth your while to be aware of its symptoms and have ideas on how to control overeating.
Binge eating disorder symptoms
To be able to speak about a recognized case of BED, there should be evident most of these symptoms:
- eating at an abnormally high speed
- preferring to eat alone because feeling embarrassed of your eating habits
- guilty or even disgusted with yourself before, during and after the meal
- when sated, continue eating all the same
- storing or hoarding food to be gobbled secretly
- when in public, eat normally, but with no-one around, stuff yourself
- there’s no fixed mealtime schedule, you eat all day long
- overeating and excessive weight make you feel awful
- you believe that eating is a good way to stave off stress or anxiety
- the amount of food you put down makes you acutely embarrassed
- bingeing causes a numb sensation, as if it happened to somebody else or you put your trust into your auto-pilot
- no amount of eating ever makes you feel sated
- inability to keep eating and weight in control drives you to despair
- when you eat in a company, you are intensely uncomfortable
- inclined to dieting, trying out new-fangled and fad diets, even extreme ones where you are supposed to shun entire food groups
- the idea of eating in front of people makes you fearful
- daily schedules or routine are arranged around time allotted for binging
- gradual distancing from friends, chucking favorite activities
- constant weight fluctuations
- self-esteem is at a low point
- utmost concern and anxiety overweight and misshapen body
- looking in the mirror often to check for real or imaginary blemishes
What Are the Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder?
BED obviously leads to health issues linked to obesity, social issues like weight stigma, and eating issues like weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting. Of course, not all people diagnosed with clinical obesity suffer from BED. On the other hand, about 66% of those BED-afflicted are clinically obese. Binge eating disorder can be found in people of different weight, but even those who are of normal weight are very likely to gain weight over time.
How to Overcome Bingeing Behavior?
Once you have determined – or suspected – that you have this problem, the first thing to do is consult a professional. Thus you will determine whether it can be an officially diagnosed condition, how severe it is, and what treatment can be administered.
Apart from treatment, adopting a healthy lifestyle and choosing a good diet will make a big step towards dealing with the issue.
Other pieces of advice which will help:
- Write down the food you eat and how you feel. This kind of diary can help you know your food reactions and control eating habits partially.
- Get into the habit of mindfulness – it helps develop awareness, understanding of triggers, self-control, and, eventually, learning to accept yourself.
- Talk it over with somebody; have a partner or a family member to hear you out, or locate a local binge eating support group where you are sure to be understood.
- Go for healthy dishes. Make up your diet of protein- and healthy fats-rich foods, whole foods that are nutritious and have regular meals at the appointed times.
- Get busy in the gym! Workouts induce weight loss, help shape the body, and consequently, raise spirits and help get rid of excess anxiety.
- See that you sleep long enough – being short of sleep usually means you don’t eat regularly or take more calories than is good for you.
Establish normal food attitude
People are often tempted by food. See to it that in your fridge there is no food that cries out to you to devour it!
Learn to converse with your body. Find out when your hunger is real and when it is meant to satisfy your emotions. You know you are really full and you don’t need to sustain your energy, then try and distract yourself and let time go by.
Try to break off from irregular snacking – your body is sure to feel good if you feed it regularly. When you skip meals, you will want to make up for it and can go binging.
Be discernible about what kind of fat you take. Dietary fat is very helpful, it can prevent you from overstuffing yourself and putting on weight. You will feel sated with some of it in your meals.
Don’t omit to jot down every bit of information into your diabetic diary, even about foods you wanted to have; if you record your mood before, during, and after the meal, you will notice food patterns that control your physical and mental states.
Many people turn to food automatically when they feel bored. Never do it, find something to do instead – talk to someone, pick up a book, draw a picture (or paint), see if your garden needs tending.
Concentrate on your food. When you are binging, it often happens mindlessly, without as much as enjoying the food you are downing. So, as you eat, mark the texture, savor the taste, distinguish flavors. While you are enjoying it, you will feel satisfaction and stop gorging.
Recognize the feelings that have you binge eating and live with them
When you feel the desire to binge-eat coming on, don’t knock under, but inquire about your real feelings. Are they really about eating?
What exactly are you feeling? Give it a name. Usually, it’s nothing good, shame or hopelessness, emptiness, loneliness, or anger. It may well be fear.
Acknowledge that you are feeling bad. If you try to pretend or dodge, your emotions won’t go, but can even grow. Don’t be judgmental, just tell yourself calmly that these are your feelings.
Now you know what you are dealing with, locate the emotion – where in your body it is most evident, what thoughts are crossing your mind at that time.
When you are aware of your feelings, you can realize that you are not what you feel. You stay, emotions move on. You are strong, they are just shadowing your consciousness before fading away.
Other, professional ways to deal with BED
Behavioral weight loss therapy. It serves to encourage and assist people in losing weight; they reinvent their body and boost their self-confidence, which is designed to turn people away from binge eating.
Medication. Administering medical treatment is a short-term answer to battling binge eating. Treating the condition with medicines is usually less effective compared to behavioral treatment and there might be side effects.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. It investigates people’s negative notions and emotions and finds their correlation with eating habits and, consequently, weight and waistline.
Interpersonal psychotherapy. From this viewpoint, people resort to binge eating in order to cope with their personal issues. This psychotherapy can be an efficacious method of dealing with binge eating through recognizing and addressing these deep-rooted issues. The therapy proved very successful even with severe cases.
With any of these options, consult your doctor to make sure which one would work best for you.
The binge eating disorder is a dangerous opponent that mustn’t be neglected – untreated, it proves to be a great burden on the health. BED affects general health apart from weight (and self-confidence), and undermines mental health. Should you suspect that you have, or get close to, BED, don’t lose time to consult a professional.