Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder. It is defined clinically by
- frequent episodes of consuming large amounts of food (without purging);
- a feeling of being out of control during the episodes; and,
- strong feelings of shame or guilt regarding the binge.
The causes of Binge Eating Disorders are profoundly varied. Each person is different. There is no one road to binge eating. Genetics, epi-genetics, environment, complex trauma (generally ongoing, more than one incident), dieting and weight related bullying all play an important role in the development of Binge Eating Disorders. Stress related diseases, polycystic ovary disease (PCOS), diabetes, mood disorders, PTSD, OCD and ADHD are strongly correlated with Binge Eating Disorder.
Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder. It is estimated that over 5 million of people meet the criteria to be diagnosed with BED. In reality, there are millions more who have different binge eating patterns (for example, constant eating all day long).
Wow – what a challenge it is to be a person who eats in this culture. How do we learn to be an eater in a healthy way so that we can get up in the morning and live the life we are meant to live?
We can start by recognizing that there is a brilliant reason behind every binge eating behaviour.
If we can find a way to give that reason a big hug, we can start to release it’s hold on us. Binge eating doesn’t occur because you are a weak willed person.
The reality is the BED is a brilliant coping mechanism. Food is a source of soothing and attachment. It is important to all of us. In therapy, we will acknowledge any positive role BED has played in your life and then go on to expand your tool kit. People with BED tend to take care of everyone else before themselves. Sometimes a binge is the one place they set a boundary (ie lock doors) and experience some control in their lives. It can be a place where they can do just what they want to do right now in this moment – so the BED is really a way of getting needs met.
BED can be a way to feel power. Part of recovery is making the distinction between “doing what I want to do and doing what I am supposed to do”. Binging can be about disconnecting from the world. It can be a dissociative experience. It can be a way to shut out the worlds.
Binge eating can also be about a way to get sensations of pleasure. A place to gratify desires, especially when desires can feel dangerous.
The body is not a billboard to get approval. That only motivates shame. If the body becomes a place where you live, a sacred place to feel, love, live, laugh and feel their life essence – then your worth and value comes from within.
Generally people with BED are survivors. They are great adaptors. They have tremendous strength of character. Recovery helps you come into your mind, body and spirit. It doesn’t mean you will like everything you find. But when we work from a place of love and self-compassion instead of shame, the transformation is amazing.
An integrated therapeutic approach to Binge Eating Disorder can really help you explore your body, mind and spirit and develop a more loving, compassionate, kind relationship with yourself.