Binge eating or overeating has become an alarming issue for many people. However, a lot of this is about something other than food. It is about the food available to us in the modern world. When it comes to binge eating, addictive processed foods affect us negatively. It causes us to overeat drastically, not because our bodies need food but for dysfunctional reasons.
Eating disorders such as binge eating, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa are life-threatening, severe conditions that affect a person’s physical, emotional and mental health. These disorders originate from an addiction to dopamine (a “feel good” hormone). Dopamine gets released from the reward center of the brain. Its addiction is just as strong as that of drugs or alcohol.
Enduring grave consequences on relationships, productivity, and health, eating disorders are real, distressing, and overwhelming. They affect every organ in the body and can result in chronic diseases and adverse reactions.
What is Binge Eating?
Binge eating or overeating is the most common eating disorder affecting many people, regardless of age, gender, or race. It is characterized by continually eating a great of food and excessively beyond the point of fullness. This psychological illness acts as a diversion to avoid the root of a person’s problems, such as fear of rejection or failure, depression, anxiety or guilt. It occurs repeatedly and can lead to serious health issues if not resolved early on.
People sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between binge eating and bulimia nervosa. While they may be comparable in symptoms and side effects, the difference between them is that those who have bulimia will force themselves to purge after their binging episode. However, with a binge eating disorder, there’s no purging. Still, there may be periods of intermittent fasting and regular diets as a result of the guilt and shame.
Behavioral signs and symptoms:
- Eating large amounts of food even when full
- Frequent dieting without weight loss
- Hoarding food
- Eating alone
- Loss of control that affects school, work, and relationships
- Self-hatred, anxiety, depression, and shame.
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Gastrointestinal distress, bloating, and heartburn.
- Weight gain and obesity
- Social isolation and low self-esteem
- Sleep apnea (breathing that stops several times through the night)
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Type-2 diabetes
How Can You Treat Binge Eating?
Recent studies have proven that those seeking treatment respond well to treatment and improve considerably. One of many examples is in the Mayo Clinic’s article entitled Binge Eating Disorder. Conquering binge eating may be a daily endeavor, but with these tips, you can regain control of your eating and life.
1. Be Brave.
You are the only one who can change your eating habits, so summon your courage and ask yourself these questions:
- Am I hungry?
- Why am I eating?
- Are my motives other than enjoying food and nourishing my body? Loneliness? Anger? Depression?
The sooner you’re truthful with yourself, the sooner you can find a solution.
2. Evaluate the Purpose of Your Excessive Eating
Food is essential for healthy development, meeting the body’s requirements, and enjoyment. If the reason for eating is anything else besides that, you must re-evaluate your lifestyle decisions.
3. Don’t Diet
Dieting involves limiting yourself, which leads to deprivation and bingeing. It’s a vicious cycle, so don’t worry. Instead, make healthy eating practices a part of your daily routine.
4. Seek Help
A general practitioner doctor experienced in treating eating disorders should be the first person whose help you should seek. However, once a diagnosis is reached, several other healthcare professionals can work with you to find the reasons behind your eating behavior and reconnect with your body’s signals of fullness and hunger.
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