Food is an essential component of our lives, we need it for general survival, people work hard for hours to get access to basic food supply. The nutrition we acquire from food is our fuel to maintain healthy body and remain energized throughout the day. Without it we are a lost cause, and people who have minimal access to food suffer from a condition called malnutrition. The most common symptom is uncontrolled weight loss and the affected person loses great amount of weight within the range of 5 to 10% or even more over a period of six months. The infected person is also prone to high risk of infection or illness, low mood, fatigue and weak muscles.
There is also a section of the population that has access to food and they are able to hold a good income. For such people, food is not only a means of just basic survival, but also a mode of comfort and celebration. When food becomes too comforting, it results in over-consumption, leading to binge eating disorder. It is well-known that a large section of the population are foodies, and there are people who think about food 24/7, even though they aren’t hungry and eat uncontrollably like there is no tomorrow and such a type of uncontrolled eating behavior is called binge eating disorder. The affected person eats huge amount of food and is unable to stop eating, even after feeling full or when not hungry.
Reasons for binge eating:
Food is a comfort feeling for millions, and when it is tasty there is no stopping, it is difficult to stop getting tempted to delicious food and desert. Once in a while it is normal to binge, particularly during holidays and celebration moments. There are people who are prone to binge eating often and they do it on an average minimum of two times a week for a period of six months. The causes that trigger binge eating are
When a person is totally dissatisfied with the way he looks, he suffers from low self-esteem and depression, and these emotions trigger the perpetual habit of binge eating.
Biological abnormalities also result in binge eating and the cause for it is hormonal irregularities.
Social and Cultural factors also increase risk of binge eating and the causes for it are previous experience with sexual abuse. When a person is teased by society about his weight, he becomes so depressed and over-sensitive about his body image and is therefore prone to binge eating.
Behavioral pattern and emotional trauma experienced by a person suffering from binge eating disorder:
People who binge eat are not happy about their behavior, particularly people who are overweight or obese. They are embarrassed about what they are doing and are sensitive about revealing their behavior in public. They even hide in a corner and eat, hoping that nobody would watch them. It is the hiding behavior that needs to be observed in a person with binge eating disorder. It is only when they are isolated they eat a lot, otherwise they consume normal amounts of food.
The affected person will eat large amounts of food even after a threshold of feeling uncomfortable and they reserve food to have at a later period.
People who binge eat are not happy with themselves and they are stressed about something. The emotions that run through their mind is stress and anxiety and food is their main source of comfort.
They are so engrossed in eating that they are unable to get a feel or taste of food.
Understanding what it is to have a binge eating problem:
For people with a binge eating disorder, food is comforting to tide away from the situations they are facing be it depression or stress. Foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates release feel good chemical serotonin, and this process induces happy feelings into a person. Foods that induce pleasurable feeling are cakes, cookies, pastries and all kinds of deserts. When employees work for hours on end and have had a stressful day, they just want to come home and have something sweet to just feel good, and also release the pain of tension headaches.
It is the stresses in life that trigger people to binge eat, when there is so much work to do in a day, people want to spend few moments to relax and they tend to do it by drinking cups and cups of coffee or tea or snacks, and this is probably the fastest way to take a short break then indulging in music or reading.
Many people around the world love food, but individuals with binge eating disorder tend to overindulge in food on a regular basis. They consume large quantities in a short span of time and eat even after feeling full.
A person with binge eating disorder is unable to resist food temptation, he/she would have had a good dinner meal, but is still not satisfied and will have desert cravings. Here it is the emotional triggers of depression, anxiety or fatigue that is triggering a person to binge eat. It is important to judge between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
People who are overly conscious about their health, tend to restrict themselves only to healthy foods like fruits and salads. It is important to go with your cravings and consume required quantities, too much restriction can also trigger binge eating.
Ways to fight binge eating:
When there is so much of work to do in a day, take coffee or snack breaks, but do not overconsume, instead listen to music or read a few lines, or do breathing exercises, all these activities will consume same amount of time as a cup of coffee or a bite.
For individuals who are addicted to sweets, try to reduce the intake and ensure to restrict it to once a month.
For people who just want to get rid of binge eating, keep the foods you like away from you, and when you are in a department store, stay away from what you call comfort food.
Ensure to never skip meals, eat at regular intervals, if you starve, you will feel hungry and binge on the food that increases your appetite to a greater than normal level.
If there is a particular food you like, and if it is front of you and you are too tempted, restrict yourself to small servings and eat it slowly. This way you will feel satisfied and you will not want another helping.
Make a diary and list of the things you want to do, and if you are constantly tempted to eat what you like to an unhealthy limit, reduce your visits to such places. When you have the food you like in healthy proportions, you will enjoy it more.
Try to fill your day with lots of activities, so that you will think of food less often, and get less tempted.
Always remember binge eating not only causes strain on mental health but physical health as well. Besides depression and anxiety individuals who binge eat are prone to suffer from insomnia, type-2diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, muscle or joint pain, gastrointestinal problems or gallbladder disease.
Do not be afraid to speak about your binge eating problem to your physician, psychiatrist, physiotherapist or dietician, who will help you get over compulsive overeating.