Binge Eating Disorder: Much More Common In Today's World
I want to say that I have never engaged in binge eating, but that would be a lie. I think it is fair to say that most people have had moments during diets that they binged. However, there is a difference between doing it once in a while and doing it all the time (even though I think binging is a sign that you are either eating unhealthy or your mindset is not healthy). When you binge all the time, then you may have a binge eating disorder.
Binge eating is defined in a couple of ways:
- Eating a ton of food in a short time period, such as a few hours.
- Lack of control while eating.
- Can't stop eating even though you are full.
This likely sounds family to most people. In America, millions of people are affected by eating disorders, and it is estimated that at least 4.4% will experience this disorder at some point in their lives. [Source]
Why Binge Eating Occurs
From my research, I have found that binge eating most often occurs after calorie restriction occurs. However, there are hereditary, psychological, neurochemical, and sociocultural reasons as well.
Depending on where you live, you may be more prone to binge eat. There are a few factors that seem to contribute to binge eating.
- Accessibility to food
- Outlook on body shape in regards to attractiveness
This makes sense. The more we are told our bodies are not perfect, the more we diet. And if we have an abundance of food available to us, it can become very easy to satisfy our hunger and cravings when we can't stand the 'diet' anymore.
Have You Ever Binged?
What A Binge Episode Looks Like
Not sure whether or not you have binged before? A typical binge episode will look like this
- Eating too fast
- Eating way past the point of fullness
- Eating huge amounts of food whether you are hungry or not
- Eating alone so that no one else sees you
- Loss of control while eating
- Feeling negative afterwards - including depression, hopelessness, and guilt
Diagnosing A Binge Eating Disorder
Sometimes it goes past the point of behavior and ends up being a disorder. Following are some criteria that indicate a disorder.
- Consistent episodes that occur for about six months a few times a week.
- No other eating disorders, such as anorexia, are present.
- Does not occur while engaging in extreme fasting
The good news is that treatment often works for people who have a binge eating disorder. A simple change in lifestyle or mindset may be all it takes to help a person avoid binging and start eating a satisfying diet.
There are a few different treatments available.
1. Self Help
There are a ton of books that can offer support for binge eating. In addition, there are many forums, videos, and programs that are dedicated to helping people overcome binge eating. This is the beauty of the Internet - you do not have to leave your house to seek help, and many people who are reluctant to tell others about their problem may find help this way.
Often people can start to understand their behavior through therapy. Identifying why binge eating occurs can help give people control over their diet. For instance, cognitive behavior therapy focuses on your behavior symptoms and thinking patterns, and is one of the most popular ways to effectively treat binge eating.
3. Alternative Medicine
Since binge eating can often occur from stress or low self-confidence, alternative medicine, such as meditation, can help bring the mind back to healthy and increase confidence and reduce stress.
4. Lifestyle Changes
Often a simple change in lifestyle can reduce eating issues. For instance, changing the hours that you work may help eliminate the need to fast and binge. In addition, consistently participating in fad diets can cause binge eating, and making a complete lifestyle change to your diet may help eliminate the need or desire to binge.
Diets And Negative Self Image Can Be Deadly
Watch The Video From A Binge Eater
I think this video is a great example of binge eating. Not only is the person showing all of the food they are going to eat, but they are showing the calories of the food, which means that they are obviously extremely aware of how many calories they are putting into their bodies at any given time.
If there is one takeaway I got from this video, it is this: Going on diets can lead to binge eating.
Becoming obsessed with the food and calories we put in on our bodies can cause us to become obsessed about food and calories! And when hunger appears, and we eat everything we have been craving or wanting, we are acutely aware of what we are putting on our bodies, and this leads to more dieting to get rid of the extra calories that we consumed. It is a vicious cycle.