Binge Eating

Binge eating disorder (bingeing) is still a relatively new diagnosed eating disorder. It is estimated that more individuals battle with this eating disorder than with any of the others. This disorder is similar to bulimia in regards to consuming large quantities of food while feeling a complete lack of control. However, different from bulimia, the individual will not purge the food that was consumed during the binge. When in the binge, he/she no longer feels full and will continue to eat until the point of uncomfortable pain. Following the binge comes feelings of guilt and shame, followed by anxiety and even depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder:

  Rapid weight gain
  Eating large quantities of food even when not hungry
  Disgust and shame after overeating
  Depressed and anxious mood
  Eating food to the point that one is uncomfortable and even in pain
  Going from one diet to the next constantly
  Feeling out of control over food
  Eating late at night
  Hiding food around the home, anticipating the binge
  Does not use any measures (whatsoever) to purge the binged food
  Constant weight fluctuations
  Sexual avoidance
  Exhibits an abnormally low self-esteem
  Attributes any successes or failures to weight
  Avoids many social situations
  Uses food as a "drug": self-medicate


Did you know that by the time children reach the fourth grade; approximately 80% of them will have been on a diet at least once? (Time Magazine) The diet industry alone makes at least 50 billion dollars a year in revenue. You know what the irony is? 90% of all people that lose weight on diets will regain it in the following two years (and will probably gain additional weight as well). Also, The most common behavior that will lead to an eating disorder is dieting. DIETS DO NOT WORK!!!

Diets do not work for multiple reasons. The biggest reason is when you diet, you are inevitably going to restrict or cut something out. If you were asked to think of any color, but the color red, what is the first the color you would think of? Red - right? Well, that is similar to how the restrictive angle of a diet works. If you are trying to cut out a specific type of food (i.e., carbohydrates, fats, etc.) or even caloric intake, isn't it what you are going to be craving the most? It is simple (restriction): dieting leads to binge eating.

There are also repercussions to cutting things out of your daily diet. For example, if you cut out starches, your body will lose its source of constant energy, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish. If you cut out meats or protein, you are at risk of developing an iron deficiency. And what if you decide to skip meals or decrease your calorie intake? Well, you are risk of lowering your metabolism.

And what about those miracle pills that say they cut the fat out of foods or those drinks that promise to make your lose 10 pounds in 48 hours? They do not work! If they did, everyone would take them, right? All those diets (pills, liquids, etc.) are quick fixes and in the long run, they end up doing more harm than good.

The answer is to adapt a healthy lifestyle. First, you must learn that there are NO bad foods. You must keep moderation in mind, and remember you MUST nourish your body. Second, learn to really pay attention to your body and it's signs. Eat when you are genuinely hungry (not when you are bored, stressed, etc.), and stop when you are full (do not feel compelled to eat something just because it is in front of you). However, you MUST feed yourself. Skipping meals as a means of controlling your weight may cause malnourishment and your metabolism to slow. Lastly, you must incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Not only is it good for weight maintenance, it will make you feel good (exercise is a natural mood enhancer).

Make sure to eat wisely and exercise. The less likely you start your first fad diet, the less likely you will fall into the vicious dieting cycle and be trapped, or even more dangerous: develop an eating disorder.

Common Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa (self-starvation) is disorder that deals with the intense fear of gaining weight, with a refusal to eat. An anorectic will weigh 85% or less of her/his ideal body weight. Anorexia is usually found in high achievers that are extreme perfectionists in all areas of life. Regardless of how thin and emaciated anorectics may become, she/he is firmly convinced that they are tremendously overweight (much like how one sees their reflection in a funhouse mirror). Contrary to popular belief, anorexia is not solely based on food. Loss of control, anxiety and/or depression, sexual abuse, guilt, genetics, family emotional problems, the media, change, and a need for attention are just some of the possible components that may lead to the development of anorexia.

                                        Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia:

Distorted Body Image (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)
Intense fear of gaining weight
Feelings of guilt after eating
Is already thin and weight is still dropping
Cessation of a period for three consecutive cycles
Counts every calorie and fat gram that is eaten
Counts every calorie and fat gram that is eaten
Paleness, dizziness, or fainting spells
Gaunt appearance
Intense, dramatic mood swings
Excessively and compulsively exercises
Constant complaints of being cold
Hair loss
A high need for control

Wearing loose clothing
Exhaustion and Fatigue
Hides uneaten food
Abuse of laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics
Very poor self-esteem
Never eats around others
Medical Complications of Anorexia:
Amenorrhea (cessation of menstrual cycle)
Kidney stones and/or failure
Chronic constipation
Memory loss and disorientation
Shrunken organs
Fluid and Electrolyte imbalances
Deterioration of muscles (including the heart)
Slow, irregular heartbeat

Constant sore throat
Increased promiscuous attitude
Feels like he/she has no control over food
Scarring on knuckles of fingers
Broken blood vessels in eyes
Poor impulse control: i.e. drugs, alcohol, etc.
Abuse of laxatives, diet pills, ipecac, and/or diuretics
Very poor self-esteem
Avoids many social situations
Excessive and compulsive exercise regimes
Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa: (binge-purge) is characterized by episodes of bingeing and purging. An individual on a binge can consume calories ranging from 1,000-60,000 in a single sitting over a 1 - 2 hour span. Feelings of panic and guilt will set in and the individual soon realizes that she/he must purge the calories by means of vomiting, excessive use of diuretics and laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercising. As opposed to anorexia nervosa, a bulimic usually maintains a normal body weight with only a slight fluctuation. The individual will feel completely out of control and abnormal, and conger up feelings of depression, shame and self-deprecation. However, it is important to remember that the bulimic cycle becomes extremely habitual and addictive, and is very difficult to break. The typical age onset of bulimia is late teens and early twenties

                                            Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia:

Binging and Purging
Secretive Eating: Missing Food
Severe self-criticism
Feelings of guilt after eating
Visits to the bathroom after meals
Weight fluctuations (10-20 lbs.)
Tooth decay
Avoids eating in public, in front of others
High levels of anxiety and/or depression
Preoccupation with food
Swollen glands in neck & puffiness in cheeks



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*These are not the only types of eating disorders.  Please understand there are many types... all with different scopes of depth.  If you need further information please contact us.