So, you ask yourself, ‘Why can’t I stop eating?’ or ‘What’s wrong with me I’m eating a tremendous amount of food—when I’m not even hungry?’
Did you ever consider you may have an eating disorder? Okay, it’s harsh to even consider the idea. Nobody wants to be “labeled” with a disorder. I get that. I have binge eating disorder and denied it for years until one day (after gaining and losing and gaining close to 100 pounds) I came to my senses and admitted I had an eating disorder and gradually changed my relationship with food; hence, my journey to recovery began. Was it easy? Certainly not! Was it doable? Absolutely!
Let’s face it, change doesn’t come easy for most of us and learning we might have a disorder that requires cognitive/behavioral changes is darn right scary. So what does one do? I believe the answer begins by making choices towards a healthy lifestyle. We can hunker down to what is familiar—not willing to budge—or we can step out of our comfort zone and try recovery strategies that may seem foreign at first.
As an expert in eating disorders, I have found answers not only for myself but also for my patients who have binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, food addiction, or a combination of all four. You may wonder if it’s possible to move in and out of binge eating, purging, and restricting—the answer is yes. In fact, it’s not uncommon to dance between a mix of eating disorders.
You may find it interesting to learn bulimia and anorexia are the eating disorders most familiar, but not most common. Bulimia nervosa, commonly called bulimia, is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Many with bulimia eat an extensive amount of food with a loss of control over the eating—and then purge in an attempt to get rid of the extra calories. Purging can be through exercise, vomiting, and/or laxatives.
Anorexia nervosa, on the other hand, is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight with an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.
Patients often gasp when they learn that eating a sizeable amount of food in a small period of time with little regards for consequences (and not purging) actually has a name and that it’s considered an eating disorder that is more common than bulimia and anorexia. It’s known as binge eating disorder. If you look around I am certain you will see at every turn someone who binge eats. Do you? Millions of Americans are hiding, stealing, and hoarding food to secretly binge eat…
Most of my eating disorder patients (including myself) have binge eating disorder without purging food. After an episode of bingeing, often the person harbors guilt and shame, promising after this last binge they’ll get back to their diet and never engage in volume eating again.
Once my patients get past the fact they have a disorder, and that it actually has a name—binge eating disorder—they move into acceptance and a recovery plan.
So now, when you ask yourself, ‘Why am I bingeing’, you may want to inspect what’s going on in your life? Let’s be clear, if you spend the evening hunkered down in a coma-state watching television, and to your surprise, realize you inhaled an entire bag of potato chips, you are not automatically a binge eater. A binge eater frets over the fact they lost control over their food and may even fear they can’t stop eating once they start and an intense fear of weight gain. It’s not uncommon for a compulsive eater to hide their food and binge alone—filled with shame when the binge is over.
The cause and recovery strategy for compulsive eating is up for grabs—with many theories. Some say it is a chemical imbalance and name it food addiction. Some find it is an emotional crisis and bingeing is a way to avoid something bothersome. And still others find it is a spiritual deficit. I say, it’s a three-prong problem: spiritual, emotional, and physical.
Most of my patients contact me because they want to lose weight and they tried every “diet” imaginable and still can’t stop eating. Eating beyond full is common with a person suffering from binge eating disorder. What is causing this behavior? Perhaps you’re sensitive to sugar, flour, and wheat because of a chemical imbalance causing you to crave more and more food, especially from sweet and starchy food choices.
You may have trouble resisting a binge because you suffer from a food addiction and/or an eating disorder. The answer is not simple, and it requires a process that involves change in thoughts and behaviors. The first step for you is to get familiar with trigger foods and start weaning off of them. After a binge (or before would be ideal!) ask yourself a series of questions:
1. Was I hungry? When was the last time I ate? If it was over five hours, you most likely were hungry.
2. Was I angry about something? Is there something going on in my life that I feel out of control, anxious, hopeless, and/or helpless?
3. Am I lonely or feeling alone?
4. Am I tired? Did I get an ample amount of sleep?
5. Am I stressed? Do I have too much to do and little time for relaxation and fun?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be the first place to address your eating issues. Also, pay attention to the foods you’re eating. Perhaps you are sensitive to processed foods such as bread, cakes, cookies, flour, et cetera.
So, if you ask yourself, ‘Why can’t I stop bingeing?’ or ‘What is wrong with me I’m eating a vast amount of food when I’m not even hungry?’, you may have an eating disorder or a chemical imbalance that triggers uncontrollable cravings and volume eating.
There is a wide arena of help for eating disorders especially with a spike since the onset of the pandemic. There are treatment facilities along with private practitioners qualified to help you move through this debilitating disease. Seek a certified eating disorder professional who can help you address these issues and move into recovery and quality living.
Thank you for spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you. I look forward to sharing my next book with you on how to release your obsession with money. God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum of this blog. If you have something you’d like to say, I’d love to hear it. YOU are important and your words need to be heard. I’m here for you.
To learn more on recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, and aging, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
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Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.