The majority of people who use the term “binge eating” are actually using it wrong. Do you feel that you have binged if you eat three pieces of pizza? Or does it take a full pizza followed by two pieces of cheesecake to make you think that you’ve really binged? If you don’t exactly know when you are binge eating, it can hinder your ability to stop it in its tracks.
This may seem trivial, but to know when you are actually binging is the key to being able to overcome it if it is a problem, and it is also key to being able to stop punishing yourself and feeling guilty if you are not. Understanding your true eating habits are key to developing a healthy relationship with food and with your weight as a whole.
Binge eating is a real problem, to the point that the FDA has recently given its approval to the first drug that is meant to assist people who suffer from severe binge eating disorder (BED). That drug is called Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate). This is a drug meant for people who actually binge eat to the point that it is an actual disorder. However, as much as you may say that you are a binge eater, that may not be the truth.
The occasional night of overeating, or stuffing yourself when you’re at a big celebration such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a Super Bowl party, is not the same thing as actually having a binge eating disorder.
An actual case of BED isn’t as much about how much food you eat as much as it is about the emotions you experience when you do overeat. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), BED is defined as “recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control. Someone with binge eating disorder may eat too quickly, even when he or she is not hungry. The person may have feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgust and may binge eat alone to hide the behavior. This disorder is associated with marked distress and occurs, on average, at least once a week over three months.”
The food is a way to try to reduce the pain in a person with BED. The person has an emotional void in his or her life and is using food to try to fill it. The food, itself, could be anything. It depends on the person. This could be a massive pile of veggies or “dinner for 6 combo” from the local Chinese food restaurant.
According to the Obesity Society, up to 30 percent of the people that are attempting to overcome their weight condition have reported that they have taken part in some level of binge eating behaviors. About a third of them actually meet the criteria for a BED diagnosis.
If you feel that you may be a binge eater, it is important to seek the assistance of a doctor to overcome this problem and to help you to return your weight and eating habits to a healthy level. They will be able to tell you for sure so that you know when you are binge eating and what to look for in the future.