Are You a Compulsive or Binge Eater?

Do you struggle with your weight? Find out more about compulsive and binge eating.

BY: Dr. Linda Mintle

Heart lollipop and woman with candy surrounding her head
 

Are you a compulsive overeating? Do you binge eat? What are the signs of emotional eating?

Julie is frustrated with her weight. She has been steadily gaining for months and can’t stop bingeing on candy. The more her weight goes up, the more depressed she becomes. Every night Julie promises herself that she’ll be “good”. Tomorrow she’ll start a diet and get control of her eating. But tomorrow turns out like today–she eats compulsively. It’s hard for Julie to tell the difference between physical hungry and eating out of boredom or stress. She hates feeling this out of control and won’t look at her body in the mirror.

Julie is a compulsive overeater who doesn’t binge eat but “grazes” all day on food. She picks a little here, a little there, until she has grossly overeaten and gained weight. The compulsion to eat is emotionally based but adding physical pounds to her 5’2” frame. Julie reports she can’t get control, vows daily to diet and fails.

Compulsive overeaters usually:

· Overeat due to emotional issues and stress, not because they are hungry · Diet often because of guilt and weight gain · Feel out of control when eating · Feel disgusted with their bodies because they are overweight · Binge eat or overeat throughout the day Another type of compulsive eating is called binge eating.

Binge eating is similar to bulimia because the person experiences uncontrolled eating episodes (binges). The difference is that compulsive binge eaters don’t purge. They eat until they are uncomfortably full. Most binge eaters are obese and struggle with weight fluctuations. About 2% of people are binge eaters with about one-third of those people involved in medically supervised weight control programs. Look for these signs if you think you may be a binger: ·

Recurrent episodes of binge eating · Feel out of control during a binge · Eat fast and feel uncomfortable · Eat large amounts of food when you are not physically hungry · Eat alone because you are embarrassed by how much you eat · Feel disgusted, guilty or depressed by the way you eat · Are distressed by the above · Binge at least 2 days a week for a 6 month period · Don’t purge to get rid of the food

The tell tale sign of compulsive overeating is usually overweight or obesity which can have serious medical consequences. If you or a loved one struggles with compulsive or binge eating, get help now. There are no magical shortcuts but you can get control over food and learn to eat healthy

 

 

Dr. Linda Mintle writes the relationship and advice blog  Doing Life Together on Beliefnet.

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