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Binge Eating Disorder, Pt. I: Watch out if you're eating in secret, embarrassed from overeating

Binge eating is the most common eating disorder that we find in the United States and many cases are undiagnosed.

“We’ve been more conditioned to say that it’s ok to do this emotional eating," said Relevé Counseling therapist, Alex Gonzalez. "We eat when we’re happy. We eat when we’re sad. We eat when we’re angry, and that’s just become part of our norm.”

Everyone overeats on occasion.

“You think about holidays, you think about get togethers with your family, a lot of that is centered on food.”

Oftentimes, people focus on those who are over or underweight with eating disorders. But, binge eating can affect people of all sizes.

“If you’re experiencing periods of high stress [or] emotional discomfort, you can literally eat your feelings as it were and feel that sense of completeness, of satisfaction, of calming, because eating also brings about good memories too.”

A few of the red flags to watch out for include:

  • Eating large amounts of food in a short period of time

  • Eating even though you’re not hungry

  • Eating alone or in secret

  • Feeling depressed or embarrassed about your eating

“Even if it makes you feel good in the moment, it will catch up to you. You’re going to feel that guilt, that shame, and that feeling of emptiness that’s not being fulfilled.”

The cause of binge eating disorder is unknown. However, the common risk factors include a history of eating disorders in your family or if you often find yourself dieting.

“In general, with eating disorders, regardless of the treatment modality, you definitely should be following up with your [primary care provider] and/or dietitian to discuss healthy food intake, making sure you’re following a recommended meal plan.”


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