It might come as a surprise to you, but the most common eating disorder isn’t Bulimia or Anorexia. It’s surprising because these are the most well-known ones or the ones that pop into your mind when someone mentions an eating disorder.
But statistics show that the most common eating disorder among Americans is binge eating. So much so that nearly 60% of the people who suffer from the binge eating disorder never receive medical treatment. In fact, about 3.5% of women and 2% of men suffer from this eating disorder.
There are many nuances and things that you should know about binge eating. Among these are the signs, symptoms, and courses of action to take if you suspect that you suffer from this eating disorder.
Binge Eating 101: What you need to know
There are some days when you come home from a stressful day at work, and the first thing you do once you’re home is looking through the fridge, uncontrollably chowing down on anything you can find. We’ve all been there before. But, if you find that this occurs at least once every week, then you may be suffering from an eating disorder. More specifically, Binge Eating.
Binge eating occurs when you can’t control how much food you consume over some time. You’ll usually consume a lot of food in a short period, which will then leave you feeling guilty and ashamed. It’s also common that you hide this type of behavior from your friends and family, preferring to binge-eat in secrecy.
Why does this happen?
It isn’t because you’re hungry. Emotion is actually the true driving force behind Binge Eating. Usually, it’s feelings of sadness, boredom, depression, or anxiety, to name a few. It’s been found that negative emotions and situations such as recent breakups, relationship issues, work-related problems, or even body image issues and a lack of confidence usually trigger Binge Eating episodes.
Some symptoms that could point to a possible Binge Eating disorder include:
- The inability to stop once beginning eating results in overeating.
- Binge eating at least once every week for three months or more.
- The feeling of not being in control while eating.
- Regularly overeating.
- Quickly consuming very large amounts of food in a short period.
- An extreme feeling of shame and/ or guilt after binge eating.
- Eating even though you don’t feel hungry.
- Feeling embarrassed by the amount of food you consume and eating alone because of it.
The effects of Binge Eating
The most serious side effect of binge eating is unwelcome weight gain. While you may maintain a healthy weight, most people who binge eat daily become overweight or obese, increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
You may suffer significant tiredness and lethargy as a result of binge eating. Binge eating over an extended period can aggravate feelings of melancholy, self-loathing, sorrow, and loneliness. This might lead to social isolation, which would only serve to make the situation worse. Besides this, you may also have stomach pains and gastrointestinal issues after regularly consuming large amounts of food.
Another effect is that it could also begin to negatively affect your social, work, and intimate relationships because of the increasing difficulty in trying to execute typical daily activities.
Tips to overcome Binge Eating
Here are 6 ways to overcome binge eating.
Give Up on Fad Diets
It’s terrifyingly easy to come across diets that promise to help you “Lose 15kg in 10 Days”. It sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Never fall for these as they usually promote an unhealthy eating style or restrict the consumption of certain food groups. Restricting yourself forcefully will just cause you to have more cravings, especially for that specific item. In the end, this will trigger a Binge Eating episode due to the increased cravings.
Avoid diets and the “drop weight fast” attitude favor natural, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. This may aid in the reduction of binge eating and is better for your health overall.
Never Skip Meals
It’s another common misconception that if you just eat fewer meals a day, it’ll equal less calorie intake, leading to weight loss. It’s been proven that eating a singular large meal a day would be more harmful than helpful because the lack of consistent food increases the production of ‘Ghrelin,’ which is the hormone that stimulates the feeling of hunger.
Instead, try eating five smaller meals a day. It makes it easier for your body to digest over time and effectively avoids emotionally driven eating.
Drink Water Regularly
Drinking water regularly throughout the day helps suppress cravings and lowers the chance of overeating. In fact, you may mistakenly believe you are hungry when you are actually just thirsty. According to research, increasing water consumption is associated with fewer bouts of hunger and calorie consumption. Staying hydrated is also great for your skin! It’s a win-win.
Always Get a Full Night’s Rest
Getting a full 8 hours of sleep helps in keeping your hunger in check. Being constantly sleep-deprived has been scientifically proven to have ties to weight gain because of its effects on your appetite. Make sure to retire once you’re tired and always try to get a full 8 hours of sleep.
Add More Protein to Your Diet
Protein promotes the feeling of fullness which could help you control your cravings better. Studies show that individuals that increased their protein intake saw a 30% reduction in their body fat and overall weight.
Try including more lean proteins in your diet, such as; chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, and seeds. You can also find some high-protein alternatives to your favorite carb-rich snacks for when you really can’t control your stress eating.
Seek Medical Help
In the end, if none of these tips help, then it’s to consult the professionals. There are many medical treatment plans and forms of therapy to help control your Binge Eating tendencies.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most successful type of treatment. It investigates the relationship between your moods and eating behaviors and helping you manage these issues by altering how you think and act.