More Common, Less Recognized... Binge Eating Disorder

More Common, Less Recognized... Binge Eating Disorder

I wanted to blog today about something that is actually quite close to me... Binge Eating

Disorder.  According to the Mayo Clinic, "Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you
frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone
overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday
meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating
disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, shrouded in secrecy."

There are many people who do not recognize this as a real eating disorder, but being someone who does suffer from this, I can assure you that it is.  You may find it interesting that someone who is certified in fitness deals with this, but that is really why I made this career choice in the first place.  I know that I'm not the only one, and if I can learn how to control it within myself, then I can also help others as well.

What are the symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder?

  • Eating large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you're full
  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes
  • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
  • Eating a lot even though you're not hungry
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent dieting, possibly without weight loss
  • Frequently eating alone
  • Feeling depressed, disgusted or upset about your eating

After a binge, you may try to diet or eat normal meals. But restricting
your eating may simply lead to more binge eating, creating a vicious
cycle.

You may have no obvious physical signs or symptoms when you have
binge-eating disorder. You may be overweight or obese, or you may be of a
normal weight. (the symptoms list comes from MayoClinic.com).

There are varying levels of how intense people may experience the symptoms of this disorder.  They are not to be ignored, however, because health problems and can arise from this disorder whether you are obese or not (simply because you struggle with this disorder does not mean that you will be obese or even overweight, but it can still place a lot of strain on your body).

 

What are some things you can do to help yourself?

~ Keep any of your trigger foods out of the house.  If there is a food you KNOW you binge on, then simply do not keep it around.  To give an example of myself...  I tend to go for sweets, but I always associate them with milk.  So, I not only have to keep sweets out of my house, but milk as well (I have Rice Milk at home, instead, for making my smoothies and using on cereals).

~ Pre-portion your snacks and meals.  When binging, it's not unlikely to have a whole box or whole bag of foods in your lap and to clean it completely off.  Don't keep large bags like that around.  Portion everything into Ziplock baggies or reusable containers.

~ Don't keep a lot of food in the house.  When I grocery shop, I just buy groceries for the week to avoid having too much food around.  When you do buy groceries, never shop hungry, and stock up on healthy options.

~ Find a support system.  If you find that you struggle with this, don't hide it.  Tell people and ask for help and support.  This may be family or friends close to you, or even a support group online.  Find people who will not judge you, but who will understand your struggles and help you through the hard times.

~ Engage in activity.  I don't mean this in a way where you'd be using exercise as punishment for a binge, because exercise should NEVER be punishment.  Instead, find activities that you enjoy and when you feel the urge to binge get out and be active (whether that's through a class at the gym, a home video, a nice walk, bike ride, or even just going to walk around the mall).

These are some things that work for me, but as I mentioned, there are varying degrees of how intense some people experience this disorder.  If you find that you seriously struggle then please, see a doctor or therapist to work out the details.  It's nothing to be ashamed of and you can gain control back!  You may even consider meeting with a nutritionist to work on nutrient balance to that the body feels more well fed and balanced and won't crave as much.

 

For more info on this disorder, check out the MayoClinic website or see your doctor.

Comments

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  • Melanie! Thank you so much for posting this. I am also in the fitness industry, a long-distance runner, am in great shape, and also struggle with binge eating on a daily basis. I've been making efforts recently to change this behavior, mostly by just avoiding having my trigger foods in the house. My binging is ALWAYS at night, so another strategy I'm trying to adopt is to slightly increase my frequency and portions of meals throughout the day, so when night time rolls around I feel like I've satisfied my calories for the day.

    So good to know that there are others out there! I hate feeling like I'm a hypocrite when I tell my overweight clients "measure your food", "only eat when you're hungry", "don't eat out of boredom" and I struggle so much to practice this myself.

  • Thank YOU, Andriana... you also make me feel better knowing that I'm not the only fitness professional still struggling with this. But, in the end, we are human... and by being human and still enduring struggling I think that will allow us to help others better because we will have that understanding of the struggles that many people go through :-)

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