Ever felt like you should just pull a chair up to the fridge and park yourself so at least you’ll be more comfortable in your eating binge?
Or you realize you’ve blown through all of the spoons promising yourself that this last spoonful of peanut butter is seriously the last one?
Maybe had to tie up the trash and literally throw it across the street for fear you might justify eating the remnants you threw away hoping to rid yourself of any and all temptation?
For any food healthy individuals that last question would revolt them. For someone with a binge eating disorder (BED) or who is a compulsive overeater then that question most likely resonated a shameful truth. Perhaps a groan of recognition.
Hold tight dear girl.
The National Eating Disorders Association believes that 2 to 5 percent of Americans battle binge eating disorder which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize we are talking around 4 to 8 million folks. BED tends to be more common in women but is equal amongst whites and blacks. This eating disorder affects both heavier set folks and normal weight folks. It does not discriminate.
Symptoms are noted here as:
* Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
* A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
* Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
* Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.
Common reasons in binge eating are cited as attempts to manage unpleasant emotions such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear and anxiety. People who are depressed or have experienced depression in the past are at a much higher risk for binge eating. Did you get that? “Have experienced depression.”
I wonder if your brain neurons and all of the medically correct jargon I don’t know are at a more vulnerable level once your brain chemicals have been altered by depression. You think “great, I’ve now got that beat” and are finally feeling better only to start medicating feelings with food.
And it’s not like you can cut the culprit out of your life forever. We have to eat to live, so unlike thinking “I’ll just stay away from a bar” or “I’ll never go back to the meth den” it’s literally in your face at every meal, the topic of blogs, boards and magazines plus splayed upon billboards, advertised on TV and a part of almost every social situation you will be apart of until death.
And even at your funeral, especially if you’re Southern, someone’s gonna bring a casserole and a plate of cookies!!! Inevitably meeting your nemesis three meals and two snacks day in and day out.
Yet here I am again, literally shoving down whatever emotion it is I care not to feel with something that most definitely is not good for me. I’ve even tried replacing the “naughty” treats with the better choices, yet at some point even Skinny Pop popcorn ceases to be skinny based upon the claw to mouth servings scooped in.
My last experience with a certain “healthy” kettle corn resulted in my hurling the bag across the back fence into a dense forest knowing that at least the threat of poison oak to retrieve it might stop the insanity. Yes, I realize the littering and lack of care for my carbon footprint rattles the earth loving mommas reading this, but as they say, the struggle is real y’all.
Typically binge eaters don’t even realize that there is a named condition for their actions. To them it’s a shameful reaction to a stressful situation, an upsetting day, a wounded relationship or a lousy mood. The idea of bingeing frustrates them for their lack of control, their broken promises, their secretive self-destruction. Never is binge eating something done out in the open, unless of course you count the pig out moments in a sorority house or high school sleepover where this behavior is condoned because it’s a rarity. Or it should be a rarity.
But for the binge eater, this is a secret way of life living through binge cycles. First there’s the obsession about the binge: what to eat, where to get it, how to pay cash so there are no receipts, where to hide it if that’s an issue. Then for a moment food euphoria trumps all else, but it is always short lived and soon forgotten. Finally the torment after the actual food intake sets of a multitude of feelings such as shame, depression, anger, frustration, sadness and host of other emotions that this way of life creates. Loneliness and secrecy are always present in your suffering. Your better self never seems to beat your bingeing self.