What is a Binge?
Bingeing, when referring to eating habits, refers to consuming a large amount of food in a short period, often accompanied by a feeling of loss of control. It is often a behaviour that you feel the need to do in secret and brings with it a lot of shame.
It is important to distinguish between occasional emotional eating and a pattern of binge eating. Many people I see in my clinic may have a day where they eat more than usual and consider that a binge, but it important to understand that our eating habits naturally fluctuate and won’t be the same day to day. Eating more than normal is not always a binge, emotional eating is not always a binge. Bingeing is often characteristed by eating a lot faster than normal, not feeling present or in the driving seat of the behaviour, eating when not hungry and to a point where you feel uncomfortably full or sick.
A key to healing from this behaviour is to understand what triggers your binge episodes.
Why Do Some People Binge?
Several factors contribute to binge eating, and one key element is dieting. We live in a culture that is very thin-focussed and obsessed with diet culture, restricting our eating is often normalised. Restriction is often the main driver in bingeing. By telling ourselves we should go hungry or skip a meal puts our mind into survival mode which often leads us to feel out of control around food and then triggers a binge episode.
Another factor is restricting specific foods or labelling them as good and bad. This results in the ‘forbidden fruit’ effect where the things we tell ourselves are ‘bad’ become more attractive and therefore we are more likely to binge on them.
For some people bingeing is a self-harm behaviour, they have a negative relationship with themselves and binge to cause further harm.
What to Do If You Struggle with Binges
If you find yourself struggling with binge eating, it’s crucial to seek support as this can be resolved! Acknowledging the issue is the first step towards healing.
If you are bingeing every week and it is impacting your life then you could have Binge Eating Disorder. It is important to speak to your GP and discuss treatment options that you have in your local area.
Dietitians are a key professional that support people to overcome Binge Eating Disorder as the core work requires dietary change.
How I Support My Clients with Bingeing/Binge Eating Disorder
In my practice as an eating disorder dietitian, I’ve encountered numerous clients dealing with binge eating disorder. My approach revolves around fostering a regular eating pattern and reducing dietary restriction. Another key factor is to help my clients to understand what the triggers are and support them to develop alternative ways to cope with these triggers. This is often easier said than done and many clients may also need therapy alongside dietary change and may need some focussed body image work. I work with clients to rebuild a healthy relationship with food and body image work is often part of this.
In conclusion, overcoming binge eating requires acknowledging the problem and then seeking help. Treatment approaches include letting go of dieting, working on body image, and prioritising mental health. Remember, healing is a journey, and with the right support, you can break free from the cycle of bingeing and embrace a healthier, more nourishing lifestyle.
If you feel you would like to find out more about how support from a dietitian could help, then please reach out. I provide personalised guidance and support to help individuals like you establish a healthy eating and lifestyle routines.
You can book a free call with me below or get in touch with me here.