Binge Eating Disorder (BED) also known as compulsive overeating is a serious psychological condition characterized by frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food. Some people also refer to it as addiction to food because you feel like you can’t stop the urge to eat even when you are satisfied. It is a total loss of control over what and how much to eat. Also, though the condition can affect anyone, it is mainly prevalent in people who are in late adolescence.
Most people don’t know that they have this disorder because it is hard to deduce the symptoms at first or they choose to ignore them.
Signs and symptoms
If you have any of the following symptoms, then you probably have the binge eating disorder. Remember that the symptoms may vary from person to person;
- Munching even when you are full
- Eating continuously throughout the day
- Feeling embarrassed over how much you eat which may make you do it in private.
- Rapidly eating large amounts of food.
- Eating compulsively
- The feeling that munching releases stress and tension
- Never getting satisfied no matter the amount of food you eat
- Munching only a particular type of food (food rituals)
- Creating time for bingeing
Binge eating disorders causes
According to Leora Fulvio, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, there are more than 100 million reasons why a person can develop this disorder. But here are the most common causes.
- Diet backlash
We live during a time when everyone wants to lose weight and fit in those skinny jeans. We all want to look like models. And thank God there is a lot of information on the internet that can help us lose weight. One of the most common ways is going on a diet plan. When using a diet plan, you count every morsel of food you eat and strictly ignore all your cravings. You are told to strictly adhere to the plan if you want to lose weight fast. Yes, you will lose weight fast. The problem is maintaining it. After losing weight, you will need to reintroduce the foods you had been craving in your diet, but this is the time where things go out of control, and you feel defeated. Most people just end up overeating and bingeing.
Statistics show that about half of the people who suffer from binge eating also suffer from depression. Some people binge to numb feelings of hopelessness, sadness or worthlessness. Sugary foods cause a build-up of dopamine in the body which induces feelings of pleasure in your body. Munching such foods therefore become a kind of anesthesia when you feel low. This is just like alcohol and drugs. The problem is that you will go back to feeling low after the dopamine levels regulates and therefore you need more sugars to make you happy, you therefore develop a food addiction just like other people have a drug addiction.
- Self-esteem issues
Some people just don’t believe in themselves, their image or basically who they are. You therefore end up trying to be perfect in front of other people. You look perfect, act perfect and eat perfect. But you do this not for yourself but for other people to see. But one day you got tired of pretense and just wanted to be yourself. You found yourself eating a lot of food and it was a relief. But it became a habit you couldn’t control and that is why you are here.
- Sleep deprivation
A new analysis has shown that there is a direct connection between sleep and the food we eat. A lack of sleep is linked to overeating. the hormones ghrelin and leptin which are responsible for regulating hunger are directly affected by rest. Ghrelin stimulates appetite and it spikes when the body is deprived thus causing you to feel hungrier and much more.
Eating disorders have traditionally been viewed as sociocultural and behavioral in origin. However, recent behavioral genetic findings suggest there is a substantial genetic influence on these diseases. Even though research is still in its infancy, estimates suggest that more than half of eating disorders can be accounted for by addictive genetic effects.
- Childhood abuse
Some people who have undergone any trauma or molestation choose food addiction as their refuge just like some turn to drugs, and these people turn to food. I know of a young boy who developed food addiction because he couldn’t cope with his mother’s death. Within no time, he had developed obesity and almost died before he was rescued by a therapist.
How to stop binge eating
It is hard to stop the urge to eat, but it can be controlled. Treating this condition requires effort from the patient because without binge eating self-help, it is hard to avoid it. Here are some ways you can prevent it.
Identify the trigger foods
When you suffer from this excessive eating problem, there those foods that trigger the condition. A quora.com user said that she knew she was always vulnerable on Fridays and therefore kept pizza (Her trigger) away from the house on that day. This suggests that identifying your trigger food and avoiding it can reduce the chances of you getting the urge or even acting on it if comes. This is one of the best recovery methods.
Keep yourself busy
From experience, you will get the urge to eat when your mind is idle. To avoid this, you should keep yourself busy with activities like writing, watching a movie or doing something you love like drawing. These activities will occupy your mind making it hard for you to think about food. You can also call an old friend, do your hair or go for a walk. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind busy.
Go slow on your diet plan
Having a diet plan is not the problem here, the problem is that most people are very impatient and want to see changes within a fourth night. Avoiding certain foods will get you your ideal body but what about when the cravings overpower you? You will go back to eating those foods, then hate yourself for not maintaining the weight you had struggled so much to get, and the end results is a binge eating problem. I advise you to go slow.
The bingeing problem starts when you deprive yourself of certain foods but trust me that doesn’t work because you will not have the willpower to do that permanently. Take smaller portions of the foods you don’t want in your diet so that you don’t miss them. This way, you will lose weight at a slow rate, but it will be sustainable in the long term.
Most people with BED have self-esteem issues, they think they don’t look good, they are depressed. They spend so much time hating on themselves and their bodies. The solution here is to just accept who you are and love yourself. You are perfect the way you are. Don’t go around trying to prove that you are good. Love your body and stop feeling sorry or wanting to be a different person.
Starving is not a solution
People with bingeing problems are often tempted to starve thinking that it might help, but this does not always work because you will run out of willpower and go back to bingeing. Therefore, do not starve yourself.
Talk to someone
Most people with the problem are always embarrassed to seek help but there is no shame in talking to someone you trust and see if they will help you. You should only talk to a professional therapist if all the other remedies fail. The therapist will offer you psychological help on how to deal with your bingeing.