A Glimpse into Binge Eating and its Effects on the Body
What is a binge eating disorder? Binge eating is where the individual frequently eats large amounts of food, and has little or no self control to stop. The individual may also be plagued with emotions such as guilt and shame over eating too much, and might even fall into depression because of it. However, binge eating disorder is a treatable condition. It is possible to break the binge eating cycle and develop a healthier relationship with food.
Signs of Binge Eating
- Binge eating disorder can have behavioral and emotional symptoms.
- Behavioral Symptoms:
- An inability to stop eating or control how much one eats
- Eating large amounts rapidly
- Continuing to eat even when full
- Hoarding food to eat later
- Eating normally around others, but gorging when alone
- Eating throughout the day with no planned mealtimes
- Emotional Symptoms
- Eating for stress relief
- Feeling embarrassed over how much one is eating
- Feeling numb while bingeing
- Never feeling satisfied with food
- Feeling guilty or disgusted with oneself after overeating
- Desperately wanting to control one’s weight or eating habits
Effects of Binge Eating
There are a wide variety of physical, emotional, and social issues connected to binge eating. An individual who binge eats is more likely to suffer from health issues, be stressed, experience insomnia, and have suicidal thoughts. Binge eating is also linked to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and of course, substantial weight gain.
Binge eating disorder often results in a lot of the same health risks that are associated with clinical obesity. Some of the consequences that binge eating can bring on are:
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Type II Diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
- Treating Binge Eating Disorder
The first step towards treating a binge eating disorder is for the individual to evaluate their beliefs about the purpose of eating. Food is eaten for nourishment and enjoyment. Both these qualities need to be present. However, with binge eating, there is the potential for neither to be present. Binge eating often consists of fast food, which is not nutritious, and after a while, not enjoyable. So the next step is for the individual to acknowledge that they have a problem.
The individual must also be careful that they don’t treat binge eating with dieting. This is not the solution. Dieting involves restriction, which leads to feeling deprived, which most likely leads back to binge eating.
Finally, there are many therapists and counselors out there who can help with binge eating disorders. They can get to the underlying reasons why the individual binge eats, and educate them about healthy eating and nutrition. Binge eating is not unstoppable.