Let's binge no more

Break the habit

Let's binge no more
Bingeing, as we commonly call it, is not the same as splurging. Indulging and splurging on high calorie foods, once in while, is normal. Binge eating, on the other hand, is graver than simply overeating on occasions. This a condition where the brain is not in harmony with the stomach, and you keep on eating without realising that you are uncomfortably full.

In these cases, the foods you binge on are mostly high calorie, and the trigger to the brain in any eating disorder is mostly depression. Sweet, creamy, fried and calorie-dense foods are considered “feel-good happy hormone releasers”. This eating disorder is a serious addiction and the toughest to correct among all other addictions.

Symptoms & causes

Every disorder stems from negative emotions. Eating disorders have never been about what you eat, they are about what you feel. Anger, depression, stress, fear, anxiety, moroseness, loneliness, failure, sorrow, or in some cases, the cause can even be genetic.

The most common symptoms:

Eating abnormally large amounts of food frequently

Being unable to control what or how much is being eaten

Eating hastily without any interruptions or looking elsewhere

Eating beyond being full, not realising when to stop

Eating large amounts of food soon after the previous meal

Eating alone or in hiding

Emoting negativity, depression, hatred, anger, disgust followed by high calorie indulgences

Suffering from low self-esteem and feeling of being unwanted/insignificant
Crying while you are eating

The effects on health

Binge eating disorder can prove devastating, as it has less to do with food and more to do with feelings. The person usually binges to distract, punish or relieve himself from all the negativity. These negative feelings only become worse after the binge is over and reality strikes. However, this vicious cycle has already taken hold, and it only weakens the person emotionally. Physical, mental and emotional trauma can set in varying degrees in individuals leading to self-destruction, abnormally high cholesterol and sugar levels, hormonal imbalances and out-of-control behaviour patterns. Suicides are common in extreme cases.

Overcoming the disorder

This is probably the hardest addiction to correct and you need a lot of support. A nutritionist alone can’t help the patient entirely. Family, friends, counsellors and life coaches are equally important in treating this disorder. In case of an eating disorder, which stems from emotional disharmony, the person needs to feel happy first to feel healthy. So, like any other addiction, the one thing you should never stop a binge eater from doing is eating. Let them eat the quantity, but modify the quality first.

The key here is to make the patients aware, counsel them, reach out to the cause of their stressful eating, and gradually help them identify themselves and the relationship they share with food. It is important that they realise their self-worth, and the fact that they are loved. A positive body image backed up with a happy eating plan go hand in hand. The binger needs to decide that “enough is enough”, and that’s how he or she can transition smoothly from this condition. Wellness diets play a major role in such situations, whereby we continue to administer food addicts their favourite foods, and gradually wean them off the unhealthy to healthy eating pattern, with essential support.

(The author is a fitness & wellness consultant.)

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