What is Binge Eating?

7 Nov

As I have worked on developing a healthy lifestyle, I am constantly misunderstood when I say that I am a binge eater.
I’d like to take some time to really make it clear what binge eating is. Anorexia and Bulimia (not discrediting the seriousness of these two disorders at all) are the only eating disorders that are discussed, but they are not the only ones that exist.

Have you ever eaten because you were feeling upset, happy, anxious, hurt, or bored?
Have you ever eaten so much food in one sitting that it has caused you to vomit?
Have you ever eaten too much too soon after consuming a large meal?

If so, these are some of the signs of a person that is a binge eater.

As stated earlier, my negative relationship with food started when I was ten. I ate to make myself feel better for being teased at school. I did not have to dwell on feeling like an outcast when I reached into my food stash late at night. It was comforting and temporarily erased the pain.
Food, for me, became like a drug addiction. At first, I only needed an extra handful of chips. I only needed a large-sized order of fries. I was still, seemingly, in control.
Quickly, I discovered I was shoveling in more and more food. By the time I was leaving middle school, I was finding it difficult to find clothes (in teenager sizes) to wear.
Now most binge eaters go through cycles of starving themselves. A person that has no concept of what is too much certainly cannot lose weight properly either. I spent my summer vacation before ninth grade consuming about 400-600 calories a day and then burning well over double that amount. I kept a stationary bike in my room and the majority of my calories came from Slim Fast. Needless to say, I lost between thirty and fifty pounds.
Here’s where the heart of binge eating comes into play. I did not resolve any of my food issues. Food had started as a comfort, a friend, and a companion when I needed. Then, food morphed into a punishment. Food became the enemy, but eventually I became hungry and emotionally distressed yet again. My family and I moved and I hated my new school. I felt isolated again. I had no friends and could not see any silver lining to my current situation in life. What did I do? I turned to food in the most feverish way.
To make matters worse, I started working at a fast food place. Before this job, I had to rummage around my home to find extra food for my binge moments but at my job I had unlimited options.
A common day for me at 17 years old consisted of:
Before school: a venti caramel frap w/ extra caramel, four tacos (jack in the box), and a large curly fry
Lunch: four-eight tacos, a large curly fry, a venti caramel frap w/ extra caramel
Then, I would head on over to work and could eat whatever I could shove into my mouth. I worked for a KFC/Taco Bell and I found myself taking advantage of the food choices. Usually in one shift, I would have a nacho bellgrande (much larger since I could make it on my own), two tacos, and a biscuit. Sometimes, I would take a shorter extra break to eat a chicken leg or two.
I would get home around eleven at night and proceed to eat whatever my mother had made for dinner. No, I did not skip the desert!

Food was clearly the focal point of my existence and this only became worse as time wore on.
I had problems with my family and maintaining friendships. My family was dysfunctional, at best. While my friends and I were choosing different paths to travel. Instead of taking care of these situations and trying to find solutions to my problems, I ate.

Over the next couple of years, I learned how to eat more calories in one day than an average person should have in three-five days. I ate in secret. I ate to feel better. I ate because I was ashamed of eating. I ate so much I would be trapped in the bathroom for hours with stomach pain, praying I would finally have dirreaha and/or vomit.

There is no reason a person should order the following at McDonald’s: a large filet o’ fish meal, 20 nuggets, and two mcchickens. When I look back n how much food I was consuming, I am shocked.

How am I not diabetic? How did I not become bigger than 280? Why did I decide I deserved to slowly kill myself?

So…binge eating isn’t going out and having that big yummy desert with dinner. (Which sometimes a recovering binge eater will begin to think is a binge….but that is for another post)

Binge eating is the utter loss of control in regards to eating. Binge eating is a coping mechanism for people that are struggling with life. Binge eating is ugly. Binge eating is a big uncomfortable secret that do many people live with.
I’m hoping that with more support and awareness, more people can get the help that they so badly need.


4 Responses to “What is Binge Eating?”

  1. wartica November 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I used to binge eat as well–a few years back–and I would eat every meal until I was stuffed; nowadays, I eat just for nutrition:))

    • runnerheather November 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      I’m happy for you. It’s an ugly situation and it can be so hard to switch establish habits like that. Eating for nutrition is much more satisfying.

  2. myfitfoot November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Great post Heather …

    I have binge eaten for years….that is until this year when I finally told my boyfriend, brother and a friend as well as starting my blog. I’ve found that by sharing what I did (I’m hoping I never have to say do again) it’s no longer a secret which somehow makes it harder to do. I am now accountable to more than just myself.

    Janice @ fit foot

  3. Alfonzo Aliment November 13, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

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