What Binge Eating Looks Like
“After the day I had today I need a vacation. My boss is putting a lot of pressure on me lately and my Husband is still looking for a job. When I get home I just want 10 minutes of silence to clear my mind and calm my nerves. I’m so exhausted, I just want to melt into bed. I’m going to just take a quick look in the fridge and see what I can grab“. That’s where it begins for me. I’m not even really that hungry, but eating is my escape and my distraction from reality. Next thing I know when I come to my senses, I realize that I just consumed 800 calories in 15 minutes! Eating helps me cope with my feelings- it’s like my best friend, always there for me. But it’s also like my worst enemy, telling me I’m a failure, fat and ugly. “God I’m sick of how I look these days. I’m never in the mood for sex anymore, and it’s really starting to make my Husband feel inadequate. Can’t any aspect of my life be good?” Does this sound like someone you know? Maybe even you?
A binge is often a consequence of failed attempts to cut calories too low with the hopes to lose weight or maintain your current weight loss. Binge eating is often associated with bulimia nervosa, which is defined as over compensating through excessive exercise, laxatives, or vomiting. Even those who suffer from anerexia nervosa suffer from periodical binges. As more people are becoming obese and looking for ways to diet, usually in unhealthy ways, disordered eating is coming into play more. Psychological disorders, substance abuse, depression, and personality disorders are all accompanied by disordered eating patterns. A binge is characterized by losing control and eating an amount of food that is substantially larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time and under similar circumstances. Feeling the loss of control is the hallmark of a binge. The amount of calories consumed, the amount of food eaten, or eating as the result of a stressful situation we can’t deal with are less important at the moment than the feeling of being out of control. Binge eating is usually triggered by boredom, loneliness, depression, anxiety, or wanting to block out negative thoughts or feelings. It can be characterized by eating alone to avoid feeling ashamed or embarrassment, eating when not even physically hungry, eating rapidly, eating well over the point of feeling full, and feeling angry, depressed, disgusted or guilty after overeating.
What binge eating does to us~
Binge eating doesn’t just hurt our spirit, it hurts our bodies, our mind and emotions, which usually result in hurting us socially. Going day in and day out, restricting and overeating, really takes a toll on us after while. Those who binge usually complain about feeling bloated, getting frequent heartburn, becoming constipated, and usually end up having gastrointestinal problems, fluid retention, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, loss of bone mass, hypoglycemia, a loss in muscle mass which slows our metabolism, loss of hair, and reproductive complications, the list goes on and on. We usually end up binging as the result of suppressing our emotions, shutting down all the chatter in our head, and distracting ourselves from a problem we feel we can’t solve. Binging is used to put us back into a state of feeling good (usually doesn’t last too long) and to create an altered state of consciousness, and purging is an attempt to fix what we just ate, by getting rid of the calories we just consumed.
Some triggers for binge eating~
Obsessions or preoccupations with food or eating
Feeling judged, taken advantage of, blamed, unappreciated, criticized, unacknowledged or rejected.
Marital or work-related stress
Thinking that generates negative feelings such as sadness, anger, anxiety, loneliness etc.
Hunger from restrictive eating
Eating something (usually your trigger food like carbs or sugar)
If you suffer from any of these, there’s always help. Talking about your emotions and feeling to the ones you love and trust the most could really help alleviate a lot of stress associated with this disorder. Don’t ever feel like you are alone, you never know, someone close to you could be suffering in silence too.