Help! I Can’t Lose Weight! 6 Signs You Can Have Binge Eating Disorder
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65% of Americans are overweight and obese and the numbers climb every year. With all the diet books and programs on the market, why is this a problem? There are several reasons. As a professional MD weight loss specialist, I’ve helped many people shed excess pounds and improve their health. Yet, many have difficulty reaching their ultimate goal and one of the reasons is due to emotional and psychological issues, one being, over eating or binge eating disorder.
Overeating can be a normal tendency for many individuals, such as having an extra helping at a meal even when already full or eating beyond satiety at a special holiday meal or celebratory occasion. But, where is the line drawn between overeating and Binge Eating? It is important to make a distinction between overeating and binge eating, as Binge Eating Disorder is in fact a separate entity and diagnosable eating disorder, not just an occasional happening or symptom.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Binge Eating Disorder 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. Further, men and women who struggle with binge eating typically experience feelings of disgust, guilt, or embarrassment and binge eat in isolation to conceal the behavior. While overeating may occur periodically in a person without this disorder, an individual with Binge Eating Disorder has recurrent episodes of bingeing without purging, often leading to both emotional and physical distress.
How do you know if you are a binge eater? There are 6 distinct signs:
1. Stress or Anxiety is a Major Trigger
Everyone experiences stress. However, everyone deals with stress differently. People who have a weight problem, usually uses food to deal with stressful events or situations. These circumstances will direct them to use food to deal with the uncomfortable feelings. They feel if they eat, the feelings will go away instead of dealing with them directly, they stuff the feelings down with food. For people who eat due to stress or anxiety, it may seem eating is the only way to relieve it.
2. You Eat When You Are Full
Another sign is the inability to finish or stop eating even when full to the point of being uncomfortable. A sign of both an over eater and a binge eater is eating when you are not hungry. Your stomach drives true hunger. When you are physically hungry, you will experience stomach sensations, and you may experience blood sugar drops making you feel irritable. On occasion, you may even dismiss these feelings if you are busy and can’t eat due to time restraints. But, when you eat when you are hungry, the sense of hunger comes on you quickly and when you do eat, you will find that even after you are full you still eat.
3. You Feel Like You’re Out of Control
During an overeating or binge episode, it may seem time has stopped and there is no sense of control. You may not be aware of the triggers that initiated the episode nor are you aware of what you are doing until you stop eating. Afterward you experience extreme guilt and embarrassment. You make promises to yourself that you will not do it again, but you find yourself breaking the promise every time.
4. Not Being Able to Control What to Eat and When To Eat
You may find yourself eating normally around others, but when a binge episode occurs you have no control over when it will happen or what you will eat. You eat anything that is available.
5. You Are A Food Hoarder
For the overeater or binge eater, you may find yourself hiding food from others in your household, or you stockpile food as if you are preparing for a famine. This behavior is detrimental to anyone who is trying to lose weight. You may feel safe knowing the food is handy and at your disposal.
6. When You Binge Eat You Feel No Satisfaction
One of the most discouraging things about binge eating is the feeling of dissatisfaction after a binge-eating episode. This can be discouraging since the purpose of eating is to feel relief. The most disheartening thing is that the food never makes you feel better in the long run.
Causes of Binge Eating
Generally, it takes a combination of things to develop binge eating disorder—including your genes, emotions, and experience.
Social and cultural risk factors. Social pressure to be thin can fuel your emotional eating. Some parents unwittingly set the stage for binge eating by using food to comfort, dismiss, or reward their children. Children who are exposed to frequent critical comments about their bodies and weight are also vulnerable, as are those who have been sexually abused in childhood.
Psychological risk factors. Depression and binge eating are strongly linked. Many binge eaters are either depressed or have been before; others may have trouble with impulse control and managing and expressing their feelings. Low self-esteem, loneliness, and body dissatisfaction may also contribute to binge eating.
Biological risk factors. Biological abnormalities can contribute to binge eating. For example, the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls appetite) may not be sending correct messages about hunger and fullness. Researchers have also found a genetic mutation that appears to cause food addiction. Finally, there is evidence that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin play a role in compulsive eating.
What Can You Do About Binge Eating?
Step 1. Be Aware – Awareness is the first step to recovery. Being aware that you have a problem with food in this way opens the door to change. When you are in denial, you are not open to improving your situation. Awareness opens your heart, mind, and emotions to realizing that you have a problem and that you are willing to take the steps necessary to get better.
Step 2. Get In Touch With Your Feelings
One of the main reasons you over eat or binge eat is because you are trying to run away from negative feelings. One way to get in touch with your feelings is to record in a journal what feelings you had prior to the overeating or binge eating episode. For example, if you were feeling nervous due to an upcoming job interview or angry at your spouse for something he or she did. Feelings are tricky and getting in touch with them and admitting that you have the negative feelings in the first place will help you see patterns if any, and can help you seek coping skills to deal with these feelings.
Step 3. Get Help
Many people shy away from getting help as if it is a weakness to do so. You may feel this way too. It is not weak to admit you need help. That’s the reason we have millions of people in the world. We are to be of help to one another. Getting help from a professional in the area of eating disorders, getting a weight loss coach, connecting with your doctor, will form a strong team who will work on your behalf.
Binge Proof Your Life
In my newest book, Binge Proof Your Life, I address many factors that can help you with binge eating and get you on the right road to recovery. As a former binge eater/overeater myself (I lost over 100 pounds!) along with having experience with working with over thousands of individuals, there is one thing I know for sure; you can’t get to your weight loss goal unless you address this area of your life. This book will explain in depth the causes of your situation and will give you practical strategies to get better so you can experience the joy of being at your ideal weight along with having amazing health too.
Begin you new life and free yourself from binge eating today. Get your copy here!
Kamille Dawn Tirzah is a Medical Weight Loss Specialist, Author, Body Improvement and Life coach featured on People Magazine, Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight. She has helped thousands of people lose weight and improve their lives in the areas of fitness, wealth, and happiness.
Best Selling Author, Medical Weight Loss Specialist & Life Coach