Binge Eating – What is it really and how do I prevent it?Binging is tossed around these days very loosely, however it can be much more serious than some people make it out to be. According to Justine Reel Binge Eating Disorder or BED is described as “having recurrent overeating episodes without engaging in a compensatory method of purging (e.g. self induced vomiting” or excessive exercise). Of course this is the clinical description and not many people seek help for binge eating tendencies or are formally diagnosed with B.E.D. That doesn’t mean that hundreds of thousands of individuals do not have binge eating problems or tendencies. In order to explain the difference between the occasional overeating and binge eating problems I will go in depth a little more on the psychological components of it.
B.E.D. vs Binging – When binging happens we generally over indulge and eat until we are sick often in a short time period but sometimes binges can last days. When it becomes more serious is when you begin to eat uncontrollably without feeling satisfied or even realizing it’s happening. Many people experience the feeling of ‘blacking out’ and not realizing what you ate and why, generally it is a very large amount of food resulting in significant discomfort. Other feelings or reasons for binging that may be signs of B.E.D. are eating when not hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment of how much you’re eating, and feeling disgusted by how much you’re eating.
How to avoid binges – There are several routes to help you avoid binges, finding the best ones for you will be important. Here are 5 I’ve found particularly helpful.
Don’t get too hungry. Often times we let ourselves go too long without meals and we become almost ravenous. When we get to that point we throw portions and good choices out the window. Make sure to eat often and keep snacks around.
Don’t deprive yourself. When we tell ourselves food is bad and we cant have certain things we tent to focus on those. We always want what we cant have right? Let yourself have treats here and there. Don’t see food as good or bad but as calorie dense or high volume.
Eat slower. Often times we eat too fast and get way to full without realizing it until it’s too late. Slow down, enjoy what you’re eating.
Stop dieting. Another diet isn’t going to help you if you’re having a binging problem. Learn moderation and enjoyment of all foods while focusing on whole nutritious foods.
No more cheat days. Often times telling yourself you can have a ‘cheat meal’ or ‘cheat day’ gives you the go ahead to binge and tell yourself its okay. This goes back to don’t deprive yourself. Eat treats in moderation.
Seeking help – There are many professional resources you can find to help including doctors and therapists.
Online- http://bedaonline.com is an online resource for this specific issue.
Phone- 1-800-931-2237 is the National Eating disorder Association’s hotline.
In person- Friends and family can be of more help than we may realize. Reach out to them about why you’re struggling or when you have certain issues.
If you are a College student most Universities also have free helpful resources.
Sources: Justine J. Reel’s Eating Disorders: an encyclopedia of causes, treatment and prevention.-Justine was formally a professor at my University. I highly recommend her research.
Please note this is not intended as medical advise. Please seek help from a doctor or therapist if you believe your struggling with an eating disorder.