How can binge eating be risky to your health? You have to know that binge eating is not just a habit. There is an actual disease called “binge eating disorder.”
You eat abnormally large amounts of food with an inability to stop eating when your body is technically full. This is a dangerous, life-threatening condition, but help is available and recovery is possible.
While you can overeat every once in a while, binge eaters consistently eat too much but do not use laxatives or purge to get rid of the food.
Many people who have binge eating disorder have weight problems but some are of a normal weight.
The cause of Binge Eating Disorder is unknown. Depression and other emotional problems are prevalent in binge eaters. Many researchers think that there is a connection between people who diet and binge eat.
When people diet, they deprive themselves of certain foods which cause them to want it more. When they do give in, they usually eat too much of this food and it most likely turns into a binge.
Then the negative feelings set in and they make a promise that they aren’t going to eat bad anymore. This usually results in starting the cycle all over again and this is known as yo-yo dieting.
The signs and symptoms of having binge eating disorder include the following:
Having out of control eating behaviors
Eating huge amounts of food over a short period of time.
Eating even when you aren’t hungry.
Eating rapidly when you binge eat.
Eating in secret or when you are alone.
Feeling ashamed, guilty, or depressed about your eating behavior.
Always going on a diet, usually without success.
Risk Factors for Binge Eating
There are some factors in your life that can increase your chances of having a binge-eating problem. These include the following:
Most people who have this problem have a negative self-image and don’t feel positive about their accomplishments and skills. You can overeat because you are bored, stressed out, or have a poor image of your body.
If you have a first-degree relative such as a sibling or a parent who suffer from binge eating difficulties, you might be at an increased risk yourself. It may mean that there are some hereditary factors that relate to developing this type of eating disorder.
If you have a long history of dieting as far back as childhood, this may have been a way of compensating for times in which you were otherwise overeating. You can have binge eating disorder at any age but most people have an onset of the disorder in their teens or in their early twenties.
There are many consequences to bingeing. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are just a few complications that can arise when people binge.
Many people can become sick from a binge because the foods that they chose to binge on as not full of vitamins and nutrients. The foods are fuller of sugar and fat and this, obviously, is very unhealthy.
The Dangers of Binge Eating
Binge eating can cause you both physical and psychological problems. Some of the major dangers of binge eating include the following:
Feeling terrible about yourself
Feeling bad about how your life is going
Having problems functioning in your personal life, in social situations, or in the work environment.
Having a poor quality of life.
Being socially isolated from others.
Suffering from obesity or being overweight.
Having medical problems as a result of being obese, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis of the joints, gastroesophageal reflux disease (also called GERD), and breathing problems such as sleep apnea.
The psychiatric disorders most commonly linked to binge eating problems includes things like bipolar disorder, depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders, and illicit drug use.
Diagnosing Binge Eating Disorder
In order to make the diagnosis of binge eating disorder, you may need to see a psychological professional for a full evaluation of your eating behaviors.
Tests to evaluate the possibility that the binge eating has already affected your health include testing for things like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, gastroesophageal disorder, and sleep apnea disorder.
The doctor may do a complete physical examination, take blood or urine tests, and perhaps refer you to a center for sleep disorders for a consultation.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the following things must be in place in order to make the diagnosis of binge eating disorder:
Having a lack of control about eating, including how much you eat and whether or not you can actually stop eating.
Having recurrent attacks of overeating a large amount of food over a short period of time.
Having these factors related to eating: eating to the point where you feel extremely full, eating very quickly, eating alone because you are embarrassed about your eating, or feeling depressed, guilty or disgusted about your eating behaviors.
Having the concern about your eating habits.
Engaging in binge eating at least once weekly for a period of three months or more.
Eating that is unassociated with purging, laxative abuse, or excessive exercise.
Binge eating can be dangerous. It affects your overall health and can lead to mental problems that only perpetuate the eating problem.
Here are five steps that you can start implementing into your daily life to conquer a binge.
The first step is to feel deserving of yourself.
You need to feel that you are worthy enough to change your binge eating habits. Only after you do this and improve your self-esteem can you win the war over Binge Eating Disorder.
The second step is to throw out all foods in your house that you like to binge on.
Remember, if the food is not readily available to you, it will be harder to binge. This also means when you go grocery shopping.
When you don’t purchase foods that you binge on, it will be easier to conquer a binge while you are at home. You want to make it as hard as you can.
The third step is to buy a journal.
In your journal, you are going to record all binges and what feelings were present during the binge. Record all details including the time, day, what you ate, how much you ate, and how you felt before and after the binge.
Journaling is a great tool because this will provide insight to you as to why you turn to food like you do. This will help to narrow down your binges so that you will be able to see any similarities that happen when you binge.
The fourth step is to find a way to relax.
This is most important to do when you feel a binge coming on. Relaxation is very important for clearing your mind and turning away from the binge.
Listen to nice, classical music, take a warm bubble bath, pamper yourself, go for a walk on a nice day, meditate or picture yourself somewhere else where binging isn’t a part of your life.
Another thing that you can do for relaxation is to go for a nice drive. Maybe you live by the ocean or a lake. Maybe you have some great scenic roads.
Just remember not to take any money with you and try not to drive by anywhere that has food. You want to make the binge go away and you don’t want to be tempted to give in.
The fifth and final step to stopping a binge is to talk about it.
Talk to a friend or anyone else that you can trust about how you are feeling. If you are upset, vent your frustrations out to them.
Just having someone listen will be very helpful to you. You will feel that a weight has been lifted from you after you get everything off of your chest.
Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder has the highest recovery rate of any disorder. People usually meet with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. The health professional will ask questions about the person’s past to figure out when they started comforting themselves with food.
They will get to the root of the problem and why is started and will give advice as to how the person should deal with those feelings when they happen. If this does not work, some medications may be added to treat the binge eating.
Changing the habit of turning to food is the key point in getting started. Changing all of the old habits will put you one-foot closer to stop binge eating and to start getting on with your life.
Ten Things To Do Instead of Binge Eating
Below are some suggestions of what you can do the next time you want to binge eat. Try some of these to get your mind off of food.
Try some of these to get your mind off of food.
1. Go for a walk
If you have a dog, take the pooch with you. Try to really take in everything beautiful outside and shift your focus from food to the pretty flowers you see, the nice houses you see, or the nature that surrounds you.
2. Arts and Crafts
Sew, paint, draw, and create your own masterpiece. You can capture how you are feeling in your drawings. Why not go to your local crafts store and buy something that you’ve never done before?
3. Play an Instrument
Play the piano, violin, trumpet, or any other instrument that you like. Create a new song or just play by reading the notes of your favorite song.
4. Take a Relaxing Bath
Create a mood for taking a bath: dim the lights, put on relaxing music, light some candles, close your eyes, and feel calmness take over your whole body.
5. Listen to Music
Put on some Mozart or Beethoven to transport you into a relaxed state of mind. If you do not like classical, put on whatever makes you feel good. Singing out loud also helps to put you in a good mood.
6. Write in a Journal
Write down exactly what you are feeling in your journal. Write about whatever happened that day to make you feel like you want to turn to food. You will feel better once you have your feelings off of your chest. In days to come, you will be able to look back on the times that you didn’t give into a binge.
7. Say Affirmations
Say an affirmation out loud and with feeling behind it. Write this affirmation down and post it everywhere you can so that you are always reminded of how you want to be. Put a copy of it on the refrigerator or on the pantry door so you think twice about bingeing. Always try to talk yourself out of the binge.
8. Go for a Drive
Pick up your license and keys and go for a drive. As long as you feel safe, leave all cash and credit cards at home. Try to drive in an area where there is not a lot of temptation for food if you do bring money with you. This will at least make it more difficult to binge.
9. Call a Friend or Family Member
Pick up the phone and call someone that you know you can talk to about how you are feeling. Someone that will encourage you to talk to them until you feel better. It’s better to call someone instead of opening up the pantry door to get food.
10. Read a Good Book
Pick up any kind of uplifting book that you can find. Reading stories about motivating people that went through challenges will provide hope to you. There are many inspirational stories out there.
So, what could be other activities to do to divert your attention and stop your thoughts from getting a food or eating something?
May this information to guard you and make you aware of the dangers of binge eating and other related concerns that may impede for you to live a healthy lifestyle.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Binge Eating Disorder – Eating abnormal large amounts of food with an inability to stop eating when your body is technically full
Risks Factors of Binge Eating
- Psychological Problems
- Family History
5 Steps to Conquer Binge Eating
- Feel deserving for yourself
- Throw out all foods in your house that you like to binge on
- Buy a journal
- Find a way to relax
- Talk about it
10 Things to Do Instead of Binge Eating
- Go for a Walk
- Arts and Crafts
- Play an Instrument
- Take a Relaxing Bath
- Listen to Music
- Write a Journal
- Say Affirmations
- Go for a Drive
- Call a Friend or Family Member
- Read a Good Book
– Do you consider yourself as a binge eater?
– Do you know someone who is a binge eater?
– Are you mindful of the dangers of binge eating?
– Are you aware of the signs and symptoms of binge eating?
– What are your strategies to conquer binge eating?