You are what you eat…
When you eat like crap, you feel like crap…
What you eat in private, you wear in public…

Those are just a few of my favorite quotes. I like to keep these as reminders for when the urge to overeat strikes. Do they work? Sometimes. And other times, not so much.

Do you often have food remorse? Do you often eat a large amount of food in a short amount of time? Do you find ways to eat secretly? Is being on a diet a lifestyle for you? If you answered yes to any of these questions or have embarrassment about your overeating habits, you may be suffering from Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.). Almost everyone occasionally overeats, but when the behavior becomes a regular occurrence, it develops into a disorder.

B.E.D. is described as frequently consuming unusually large amounts of food in one sitting and feeling that your behavior to do so is out of control. It involves excessively overeating, even when not hungry, and continuing to do so to the point of being uncomfortable or at times making oneself sick from the large amount of food consumed. Binge eating episodes are often followed with feelings of disgust, shame, or embarrassment.

During a binge episode, the individual feels out of control; unable to stop themselves from continuing to consume the large amount of food, even if they want to. An individual suffering with B.E.D. will not use compensating behaviors such as vomiting (purging) or extreme exercise after a binge episode. Instead, they often suffer from remorse. It is likely the individual will be upset with themselves for their eating and vow to never do it again.

B.E.D. receives less attention than other eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, but it may be the most common. This eating disorder can occur to anyone. People of all ages, gender, or cultural backgrounds are at risk of experiencing B.E.D. Although it is more common women will suffer from B.E.D. than men will. And oftentimes it begins in their late teen years or early 20s.

While there is no way of preventing B.E.D, there are risk factors that make it more likely the disorder will develop. These include a family history of eating disorders, dieting or restriction of certain foods, or distorted body image or negative self-talk. Not only can this disorder lead to health issues such weight gain, obesity, or diabetes, but it can also lead to non-physical health issues such as depression, low self-esteem, or social isolation.

Oftentimes, an individual suffering with B.E.D. will eat alone or be secretive about their eating habits. This makes identifying the symptoms difficult. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from B.E.D., get to know the physical, psychological, and behavioral risk factors and intervene to get them the assistance they need to improve their health and quality of life. With the right treatment and support, recovery is possible. A healthy relationship with food can be developed.

This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure a binge eating disorder. If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms of binge eating disorder or physical or mental health is being affected by eating habits or body image, seek medical attention.

A link to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) Binge Eating Disorder Fact Sheet is available here. https://nedc.com.au/assets/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheet-Binge-Eating-Disorder-.pdf


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