You might have found yourself hoarding your favorite snacks while watching a movie or binge-watching a TV show. But binge eating is an entirely different concept.
Medically speaking, binge eating disorder or BED is a feeding and eating disorder that affects around 2% of men and 3.5% of women worldwide. The diet condition is responsible for critical health problems such as fluctuating cholesterol levels and diabetes. And that’s not good news.
In simple words, BED is often characterized by an uncontrollable urge to eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. According to medical professionals, the impulse is usually driven by negative feelings such as shame, guilt, and psychological distress.
If you want to know more about binge eating, its causes, symptoms, and treatments, keep reading.
Causes of Binge Eating Disorder
According to medical professionals, binge eating disorder is often caused due to a complex combination of genetic, sociocultural, and psychological factors. Stress and emotional traumas are generally considered triggers for the condition.
Here are some other reasons that could be related to binge eating. Let’s take a quick look at them.
- Genes: Research has shown that there are many behavioral disorders passed down from generation to generation. One such disorder is binge eating. It means that if your forefathers and ancestors used to have irregular eating patterns, you might have them too.
These genes affect the brain circuits that are responsible for controlling appetite and mood. So, if you feel you have such a disorder take a look at your family’s medical history as soon as possible.
- Depression and Anxiety: The disorder is generally linked as a coping mechanism for mental issues such as depression and anxiety. In fact, 80% of binge eaters have been found struggling with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). Also, some people tend to eat abnormally after they have gone through a stressful event such as divorce or the death of a loved one. That can be a significant strain on your body and mind.
If you feel that your eating patterns change during a stressful situation, make sure that you munch on something healthy. Avoid reaching for junk food or processed foods to steer clear of obesity and other weight issues.
- Vigorous Dieting plans: Believe it or not, sometimes diet plans that were exclusively designed for you to lose weight might result in binge eating. This is because when people follow unhealthy diet plans or skip meals to lose weight, they end up feeling hungry and frustrated. As a result, people don’t meet their fitness goals. They start feeling so terrible about themselves that they end up eating even more.
Now, this is something really unhealthy. You need to know that you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. Simply calculating your calories, fats, and carbs and staying within your limits can help you reach your goals without parting with your favorite foods. For this, you may need to use a carbohydrate calculator that can help you stay within your nutritional limits. Woah! Now you can eat whatever you want as long as the calorie intake is kept under control and still meet your fitness goals. That’s the dream. Right?
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
You need to know that binge eating is different from overeating. Although both involve mindless behavior, yet there are some real differences. For instance, eating a whole bag of chips while watching a movie or enjoying more than one piece of cake is overeating. While eating an entire cake in one sitting and then feeling guilty about it afterward or finishing four burgers even when you are already full is binge eating.
Mythbuster: Generally, people think that binge eating is something that an obese person would do. But that’s where you are wrong. Even a perfectly healthy individual can show symptoms of the disorder.
Here are some symptoms of the disorder.
- Eating a huge amount of food even if they just finished their meal.
- Eating much faster and abnormally than usual.
- Keep on eating until they get uncomfortably full.
- Failure to control appetite or just can’t stop eating.
- Lying about the food intake.
- Not feeling hungry but end up eating large amounts of food.
- Trying to eat alone to finish everything by oneself.
- Feeling guilty and disgusted with oneself after binge eating.
- Feeling embarrassed about one’s body, weight, or shape.
According to medical professionals, people with such disorders don’t even try to throw up after they are done binge eating. Such abnormal eating behaviors could lead to other health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and fluctuating blood pressure. Also, if you are experiencing joint, muscle pains, or digestive issues, due to abnormal eating behavior, there’s a good chance that you might have a binge eating disorder. Infrequent periods or no periods at all are also few other symptoms of BED.
Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder
Although there isn’t a specific age for BED, research shows that it typically starts in the late teens or early twenties. And if left untreated, the condition could last many years.
But the good news is that you can deal with the disorder with little support and a few tricks.
Let’s take a look at some things that can help you overcome BED and save you from other health issues.
- Use healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga, exercise, and massage therapies to help you calm down your nerves. Use them whenever you are having a panic attack or feeling anxious about something.
- Go for a nutritional counselor who can help you meet your body’s dietary requirements.
- Opt for counseling to figure out what exactly is driving your urge to eat.
If you feel that the condition is getting out of control, make sure you seek medical help as soon as possible.
Binge eating might feel satisfying at first but can leave you with some unhealthy gifts. If you feel that you can’t control your eating habits, you need to do something about it.
Be patient and try to stay content with what you eat. You might feel a few bumps down the road, but it’s better than eating everything and then feeling guilty or ashamed about it. Right?