Almost everyone has participated in binge-watching something on our favorite streaming service, which is normally harmless as long as nothing else important is being sacrificed. But can going on a binge be harmful?
Binging is characterized by doing something in excess within a short amount of time. While dedicating many hours to binge-watching television may seem fairly normal, it may actually be a sign of deeper issues. Psychologists report that all types of binge behaviors stem from the same underlying issues and are outward mechanisms for coping with irrational, unhealthy emotions.
Are you familiar with binge eating disorder? It is the most widespread eating disorder in the United States today and affects about 3% of the adult population. Today we are going to talk about this overeating disorder, what it is, how to recognize the symptoms of binge eating disorder, and strategies to prevent overeating.
What Does Binge Eating Disorder Look Like?
A person who binge eats does not usually throw up food, withhold food from themselves, or exercise in excess. Binge eaters are often overweight or obese, but this is not always the case. These individuals eat large quantities of food in a short amount of time; they usually eat fairly quickly, they eat whether they are hungry or not, and to the point of feeling very uncomfortable. After the binge, they often feel shamed, disgusted with themselves, and depressed.
Binge eaters often feel like they are out of control and cannot stop eating. If an individual finds themselves in this situation at least once a week for several months, they would be classified as a binge eater.
Symptoms Of Binge Eating Disorder
Determining if someone is struggling with binge eating disorder is challenging because these individuals tend to keep their behavior hidden due to feelings of embarrassment. Substance misuse, anxiety, and depression may coexist with binge eating disorder.
If the individual finds themselves indulging in excessive eating at least once a week for about a 90-day period, it is probable that they are dealing with binge eating disorder. If they experience three or more of the following symptoms, they should seek binge eating disorder treatment.
- Consuming food at a rapid pace;
- Eating until they are uncomfortably stuffed;
- Indulging in excessive amounts of food even when they are not hungry;
- Eating while in private to hide their shame;
- Experiencing depression, revulsion, and remorse for their behavior afterward.
What Causes Binge Eating?
Researchers are still not certain of the precise causes of this disorder or other types of eating disorders, but they do believe they stem from a complicated combination of many different elements. This combination includes components such as genetic predisposition, their individual biology, body perception, self-confidence, social interactions, family medical background, and coexisting emotional health issues.
Research has demonstrated that individuals who struggle with binge eating disorder often turn to overeating as a coping mechanism to ease a variety of feelings such as anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety, or stress. Scientists have continued investigating the relationship between the chemicals in our brain and how they impact eating behaviors as they fluctuate.
What Is The Difference Between Binge Eating Disorder And Compulsive Overeating?
Research has revealed that there is a difference between these two eating abnormalities, with binge eating disorder occurring on a cyclical basis and compulsive overeating happening only occasionally.
A person who compulsively overeats usually eats even when they are not hungry, and to the point that they feel sick or very uncomfortable. This behavior only happens once in a while, but they continue to engage in it, but it does not occur as frequently as with binge eating disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment
Often, the key to normalizing an individual’s eating behavior is through therapy concentrating on their emotional health. This type of treatment attempts to get to the root issue that is driving the abnormal and unhealthy behavior.
- CBT therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) often helps individuals deal with the situations that prompt their episodes of binge eating.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy helps individuals with their relationships and strategies for improving how they relate to others. Sometimes troubled relationships and ineffective communication skills can be a catalyst for binge eating.
- Dialectical BT helps individuals learn how to deal with stress and teaches strategies for emotion regulation to prevent the desire or need to engage in binge eating episodes.
Medication For Binge Eating
Sometimes medications can help control binge eating episodes, but unfortunately, they all have associated side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, concentration issues, etc., and can cause weight gain in some individuals.
- Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimestylate) is usually prescribed for ADHD, but it is also the first medication for use in treating adults with binge eating disorder that has been approved by the FDA. It is a stimulant and can be addicting;
- Topamax (topiramate) is usually used for seizure control but is helpful to some individuals to control binge eating;
- Antidepressants are also options for some individuals to help control binge eating as they alter the chemical balance in their brain, which has an impact on their mood.
5 Tips On How To Stop Overeating
Everybody occasionally has an inclination to overeat, but if it happens frequently, it can result in unwanted weight gain or even contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
If you understand what triggers you to eat too much (boredom, lack of sleep, stress) you can get a handle on it before it gets out of control. Proactively managing your lifestyle behaviors and practicing healthy eating habits can help stop you from overeating and help you maintain a healthy weight. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you control overeating.
- 1. Pay attention to your serving sizes
- The average American tends to eat larger portions than necessary. We also fail to read food labels, and check for“serving size” information, and eat two or three servings in one sitting. Keeping track of your calorie intake is one way to gauge whether you are eating too much in one day. Information on nutrition and the number of calories is clearly labeled on each product. Eating off a smaller plate can also help you keep your portion size reasonable.
- 2. Do not skip meals
- When you skip meals, it often results in you becoming ravenously hungry and promotes overeating during your next meal. Consuming a healthy snack when you become hungry between meals or eating several meals with small portions during the day can help prevent compulsive overeating.
- 3. Drink enough water
- The signals our brain sends to indicate we are thirsty can often be mistaken for hunger. Proper hydration is essential to keep your body functioning at its best, so make drinking water a priority. Next time you get hit with hunger pangs, try drinking some water and wait about 20 minutes to see if they subside. Drinking warm water between and before meals can make you feel full and help with controlling how much you eat.
- 4. Take your time when eating
- Many of us are overly busy and rush through meal times to get on to the next thing. On average, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes for an individual’s brain to receive the cue that they are full. There is definitely a disconnect in communication between the stomach and the brain. By the time you know that you have eaten enough and should have stopped, it is too late, and you have overeaten. Eating slowly and with purpose can help give your body time to feel satisfied, so you can stop eating before you eat too much. Also, when you eat slower, it gives you time to pay attention to how much you are eating and to enjoy your meal.
- 5. Make sure to include fiber in each meal
- Foods that are high in fiber keep you feeling satisfied for a longer time. Foods like legumes, chia seeds, raspberries, blackberries, whole wheat, nuts, oats, broccoli, and more are rich in fiber and can help keep you from getting hungry before it is actually time for your next meal. Some hummus and carrot sticks will keep you satisfied longer than a piece of cheese that is equivalent in calories.
While these are just a few of the many strategies that exist to keep you from overeating, they will work for men and women and can make an impact regardless of where you are on your weight loss journey.
Where Can I Get Help For Overeating And Weight Loss?
If you want to lose weight and need help to prevent you from overeating, contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center. We understand that losing weight and altering your eating habits is not an easy task.
Partnering with professionals like the team at Batash Medical can give you the advantage you need to get control over your weight and your health. Participating in a weight loss program that is supervised by an obesity-trained doctor is beneficial to you because your program is tailored specifically for you and your circumstances. Additionally, we have the expertise to identify any behaviors or underlying issues that are holding you back from reaching your goals and will help you put strategies in place to overcome these obstacles.
You may be a candidate for an intragastric weight loss balloon such as the Orbera or Spatz3 balloon or the endoscopic Suture Sculpt ESG procedure that helps you control overeating by reducing the size of your stomach without surgery. Contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center today to learn more and start your journey to successful weight loss and better health.