Binge eating blights many people's lives, leaving them depressed and disgusted with their behavior, but feeling helpless about how to fix the problem. However, if you occasionally overindulge, forcing your waistband to tighten, you don't necessarily have the condition. The behavior of binge eaters follows distinct patterns, and understanding them can help you recognize whether you need help or should curb your appetite now and then.
You don't have to be hungry to binge
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You might imagine hunger, at least initially, comes before bingeing. However, you don't have to be famished or even peckish to overeat. People with the condition often eat vast quantities of food, whether they are hungry or not.
You might embark on a feeding frenzy
Binge eating isn't always a slow affair. Indeed, feeding frenzies can take place where individuals feel doubtful, anxious, or overexcited. Typically, sufferers eat quickly, and notably faster than others when they aren't alone.
Binge eating can be a lonely affair
Although you will dine with others sometimes, if you have a disorder, you will also eat alone regularly. Indeed, you might have a special stash of food, which you tuck away out of sight because you don't want people to know about your eating habits.
You feel ashamed
Bingeing goes hand-in-hand with shame and guilt. Feelings of disgust and despair may arise, and people can go to great lengths to hide their behavior for fear of being judged and misunderstood. Depression might accompany eating habits, either due to shame or as a precursor to the condition.
You don't purge
Binge eating is different from bulimia, another eating disorder — bulimics purge, vomiting, or taking laxatives in attempts to get rid of excess food. People who binge may experience similar negative emotions to those who purge, but they don't have the urge to expel the contents of their stomachs.
You might compensate
You won't purge if you have the disorder, but you might try to offset your habit by eating less on occasions when you don't feel the compulsion to overeat. At such times, you may reduce your calorie intake, eat sparingly, or miss meals. Before you compensate, you might experience feelings of guilt. Alternatively, you may see compensation as a practical matter aimed at losing weight.
Your blood sugar spikes and falls repeatedly
When you overindulge and then eat too little frequently, your blood sugar rises and plummets, causing an imbalance. As a result, your brain urges you to eat when you don't need food, and the cycle of overeating continues. Additionally, if you binge on sugary foods, your immunity may be low, and your anxiety high. When you consume too much sugar, dealing with stress is severe.
If you eat until your stomach bulges and you're uncomfortable and consume food even when you're not hungry, you may have an eating disorder and need to get the best appetite suppressant pills. Similarly, stashing secret food, feeling ashamed, and eating too quickly are signs you could have a binge eating disorder. Are you concerned? Don't worry alone, visit your doctor for advice. You may be referred to a specialist such as a cognitive-behavioral therapist, be treated for depression, or given a chance to join a support group.