Facts about Binge Eating Disorder:
When people think about eating disorders, they often think about underweight people whose bones are visibly standing out. Unfortunately, that is a big misconception because an eating disorder is mainly a mental illness and not only a physical one. It’s not all about how much or how little food is consumed; but so much more about the feelings and emotions the person is experiencing.
According to a study (Fairburn & Harrison 2003), 80-85% of people with eating disorders are not underweight. That means, only 20 % of the world’s eating disorder sufferers have anorexia. In fact, every second person in UK has Binge Eating Disorder. This dark digit is much higher than expected because this illness is not always visible.
Binge Eating Disorders can be present in anyone; regardless of their gender, race, age, cultural background, or wealth. The stereotypes involving only young women in the Western world suffering from this kind of eating disorder, makes it even harder to diagnose people.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder sufferers have a compulsive relationship with food that includes periods of overeating, known as bingeing, followed by feelings of guilt, shame, and despair. The day after a binge, sufferers often experience a “food-hangover”. The symptoms of this include digestive issues like bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and stomach pain. Other symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, severe water retention, and anxiety.
If you suffer from Binge Eating Disorder you are probably desperate to know how to stop your compulsive eating. Don’t fall into despair or think you are greedy or have a lack of will power!
The symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder:
Typical symptoms for Binge Eating Disorder are:
- Eating in secret.
- Eating large amounts of food very fast.
- Eating mostly junk food and/or sugary foods during a binge.
- Eating mostly in the evening or at night.
- Planning the binges.
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, and depressed afterwards.
- Having a so-called “food-hangover” after a binge.
- Trying to restrict calories after a binge (or over-exercising, using laxatives, or punishing yourself in any other form) in order to burn off those consumed calories.
These are just a few symptoms. Individuals with Binge Eating Disorder, each have their own unique relationship with the disorder; so their symptoms may differ from other individuals.
Forms of Binge Eating Disorder:
There are three forms of Binge Eating Disorder, and they are:
- Mild Binge Eating Disorder: 1-2 binges per week
- Moderate Binge Eating Disorder: 2-4 binges per week
- Severe Binge Eating Disorder: 4+ binges per week. Some individuals may experience several binges a day.
The cause of Binge Eating Disorder:
While Binge Eating Disorder sufferers often will search for the cause, they frequently report feeling a lack of willpower or that they’re failing within their life. Dwelling on current feelings of self-doubt is the wrong way to approach the search for the cause.
There are 3 main causes of Binge Eating Disorder:
The number one reason why most people develop Binge Eating Disorder is because they try to lose weight with a restrictive diet. This means, they leave out important food groups, consume a one-sided diet, and/or restrict their calories. Most people incorporate a lot of exercise with the changes to their diet, which contributes even more to the development of Binge Eating Disorder.
2. Psychological Cause
The second reason why people develop Binge Eating Disorder, is because they have some emotional troubles going on in their life that are impacting their feelings in a negative way. This can be from self-hating thoughts, not liking their own body, suffering from depression, staying in abusive relationships, financial pressures, or having bad relationships with family or friends.
3. A Combination of Physical and Emotional Causes
Another reason for Binge Eating Disorder can be a combination of physical and psychological issues. Physical and psychological reasons are often strongly connected to each other, which means it’s important to not see and not treat physical and psychological aspects on a strictly individual basis.
How to overcome Binge Eating Disorder:
Stop Restricting Calories
If you suffer from Binge Eating Disorder, you need to stop restricting your calories. That means giving up control over your eating behaviors and food. Don’t count calories, don’t size your portions, or eat at specific times. Forget about everything you’ve learned from the diet industry and start eating intuitively! To learn how to eat intuitively, get my free e-book here.
Stop leaving out specific food groups, such as carbs, fats, gluten or dairy (except for allergies), junk food, or other so-called “unhealthy foods”. You need to listen to your body’s hunger cues.
If you suffer from a severe form of Binge Eating Disorder, it is recommended to take a pause from exercising. If you suffer from mild to moderate Binge Eating Disorder, you can do light exercises, such as 30 minutes of walking per day. To learn more about intuitive exercising, click here.
In order to stabilize your eating behaviors, reduce any kind of negative sources of stress within your life.
The number of hours and the quality of your sleep contributes a lot to your eating behaviors. The fewer hours you sleep and if the quality is poor, the more food you’ll consume to make up for your lack of energy.
Search for the Underlying Issue
Since every eating disorder is a mental illness, it is important to find the root cause of your disorder. You have to recognize that your eating disorder is not the main issue, it’s just a symptom. The main issue is what your body is protecting you from by making you binge out on food.
Build Emotional Strength
Emotional stability and strength are very important when it comes to your eating behaviors. Our brain connects food with happiness and if you’re emotionally dependent on the behaviors of others, you’ll binge out on food as soon as those people behave in harmful ways towards you.
Self-love and body-acceptance are crucial parts of recovering from eating disorders. Unconditionally loving your body and your personality is the real source for excellent health and happiness!
I hope this was helpful to you! If you’re interested in to more information about Binge Eating Disorder and how to overcome it, please check out my book The Anti-Binge Plan (Kindle, Paperback, Audible) and my Youtube Channel.