Occasional overeating like having an extra helping at your favourite restaurant, can be a normal tendency for most people. But, where is the line drawn between overeating and binge eating?
It is more common than you think because around 15.2 crores people across the globe are suffering from the Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
is a condition that involves recurring periods of eating large and unhealthy quantities of food, that too within a short span of time (preferably less than 2 hours). Your eating is not triggered by hunger or pleasure, in fact often stems from an underlying mental or physical health problem.
Occasional Overeating Vs Binge Eating Disorder
-Overeating at a party
-Feeling too full after a sunday brunch -Indulging in late-night snacking a few times, etc.
Binge Eating Disorder
-At least 1 day of binge-eating a week for 3 months
-Severity to be graded as:
Mild: 1-3 episodes/week
Moderate: 4-7 episodes/ week
Severe: 8-13 episodes/ week
Extreme: 14 or more episodes/ week
Signs To Watch For: Can You Have BED?
Have you noticed yourself or a loved one having a compulsion to eat large amounts of food? Take this test to find out if you can be at risk of having BED.
What Causes BED?
Usually, it takes a combination of genes, emotions, and experiences, to develop BED. Depression and anxiety are known to be closely linked to BED.
Factors that may up your risk of getting BED include:
-Age (common in teens although it can affect people across ages)
-Having a family history of eating disorders
-Negative body image
The Vicious Circle
Binge eating can seriously impact a person’s mental and physical health. It often leads to weight gain, which only reinforces compulsive eating. The worse you feel about yourself and your appearance, the more you eat to feel better. It becomes a vicious cycle: eating to feel better, feeling even worse, and then turning back to food for relief.
Can It Be Treated?
Thankfully, Yes. Your doctor will devise a treatment plan based on the cause and severity of binge eating disorder in your case , and may focus on one or a combination of approaches that will help you learn to break the binge eating cycle and better manage your emotions.
Doing Your Bit!
Feed your feelings in a better way: Consider that binge-eating can only temporarily relieve stress, sadness, anxiety, depression, and boredom. Engage your attention into taking a walk, calling a friend, watching something funny online, etc.
Keep a food & mood diary: Note down what and why you eat on a daily basis. It helps you to identify triggers (if any) that cause binging.
Delay, delay, delay: Try to hold off the urge to eat for 1 minute. If you succeed. Try to stretch it out to 5 minutes. If you delay long enough, you may be able to avoid the binge.
Avoid temptation: Remove the temptation by clearing your kitchen and fridge of your favorite binge foods.
Explore our healthy range of snacks and get control of binge-eating. BUY NOW
Eat regularly. Don’t wait until you’re starving. Stick to scheduled mealtimes.
Listen to your body: Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. Give the craving time to pass.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Burrows T, Skinner J, McKenna R, Rollo M. Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, and Obesity: Is There a Relationship? Behav Sci (Basel). 2017 Aug 14;7(3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618062/
2. DSM-5 frequency and duration criteria.