Binge Eating Disorder: What Is a Binge Like?
One question I get asked frequently about my binge eating disorder boils down to, what is a binge like? The word "binge" is used exceedingly hyperbolically and often leads to confusion both from the person using the term and the person hearing it. What does it mean to binge? How is it different from average behavior? What is it like to binge?
What a Binge Is Like? The Word "Binge" Itself
To start understanding what a binge is like, it's helpful to define the word. The
dictionary definition of the word "binge" is do something excessively in a short period of time, and the dictionary notes the word is often linked to food. But the definition of a binge, as used to describe behavior related to binge eating disorder is not just eating excessive amounts of food in a short period of time, but also feeling a loss of control during this time.
Along with the feeling of being out of control, other feelings which can result are guilt and shame, often leading to keeping binges a secret or hiding food. This is not what happens at Thanksgiving when the average person eats too much turkey and makes jokes about not being able to move.
What Is a Binge Like? The Binge Itself
When examining what a binge is like, it's important to look at what is happening when the binge is taking place. Most people have binged on food at some point in their lives. But this doesn't mean most people have binge eating disorder.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binges and negative, impactful emotions which follow. It's not enough to overeat, it's not enough to binge, you have to have all of the symptoms combined within a certain time period to have a binge eating disorder diagnosis as a likely option.
What Is a Binge Like? My Binges
When discussing binges, my largest frame of reference has always been my own. My relationship with food has never been as simple as easily traceable steps to one disorder or another. In my late teens and early 20s, I went through fad diets, starvation diets, and determined that if I just lost weight, I'd be happier and stop having these feelings of guilt and shame I'd always associated with eating.
In my mid-to-late 20s I gave up on my idea of unattainable thinness and mourned the loss of this goal by bingeing almost every day for over a year. At the time, I had no concept of binge eating disorder, or food addiction. I had always had problems with food and this was just more problems. In a sense, my issues with food were just normal to me and when you think something's normal, you tend not to get help for it.
What Is a Binge Like? Getting Help
If what I've described in this article sounds familiar, talk to your doctor about your eating, go see a binge eating disorder therapist, and see if your problems with food are diagnosable and treatable. Whether you have binge eating disorder or not, everyone should be able to be comfortable with their eating and management of their lives.
LaBranche, S. (2016, January 28). Binge Eating Disorder: What Is a Binge Like?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2016/01/binge-eating-disorder-anatomy-of-a-binge