When you struggle with binge eating, there are a number of complicated factors involved. It is not a simple lack of willpower or a personal character default, as advertisers would have you believe. There is an interplay of nutritional needs (may be very misunderstood) with emotions (may be completely ignored) that needs to be appreciated.
Do you ever feel...?
You've tried everything and nothing works
If you could just change your body, your life would be awesome
You have to hide what you eat from friends or family
You avoid seeing people because you don't want them to notice your body
Nutrition for binge eating disorder
At Austin Counseling and Nutrition, we use an Anti-diet, Intuitive Eating approach to normalizing eating. It is hard to make such profound changes in beliefs and attitudes about food. Many people have explored these methods on their own and found they need the guidance of a dietitian to help them permanently change their relationship with food.
Our dietitians provide a safe, gentle support for our clients. We are size-inclusive and work from a Health at Every Size lens, meaning all people should have access to health, but there is no moral imperative to pursue behaviors in the name of health.
Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder
Counseling for binge eating disorder recovery involves really helping you understand what is going on internally. Many people are completely tuned out regarding emotions, and don't know what they are feeling or needing at any given moment.
If you don't know what is driving you to eat, you certainly won't know what to do about it. Further, if negative feelings about your body are contributing to binging, it is important to get help with those body image issues.
Call or Text (512) 655-3878
Binge Eating Disorder Facts
Binge eating is a characteristic of binge eating disorder , though many who do it don't realize it. There are many people of all shapes and sizes who struggle with binge eating. This can appear to be just an issue of emotional eating, but binge eating disorder has a major impact on your life.
Binge eating disorder often develops as a result of dieting. After the psychological and biological deprivation of diets, people often feel a complete loss of control with food. Because of the emotional regulation food offers, this develops into an addictive behavior.
Typically criteria for binge eating disorder is as follows:
*Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is uncomfortable.
*A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
1. eating much more rapidly than normal
2. eating until feeling uncomfortably full
3. eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
4. eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
5. feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
6. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
7. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.
8. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (i.e., purging) and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.
Historically to meet criteria, binges were to occur at least 2 times per week for 6 months. There are a lot of people who meet that criteria. I believe the reported percentages of those affected with BED are inaccurately low, based on my professional experience.
Emotional eating, stress eating and binge eating are difficult to deal with alone. You may tend to feel totally out of control with food. Research has shown it can be overcome with help. Effective methods include nutritional counseling and emotional eating programs . I've seen firsthand the improvement in the quality of life through overcoming overeating. Do not continue to suffer alone. You can take your life back from compulsive emotional eating, and we can help.
Emotional Eating in Binge Eating Disorder
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Emotional eating is the gorilla in the room. It is something nearly everyone does, but hardly anyone talks about. People would rather count things (points, calories, pounds) than try to disentangle their food and feelings. Binge eating disorder is typically partly driven by emotions and emotional eating, in addition to some kind of restriction (mental or physical).
Emotional eating is one of the most common concerns I see with my clients and in the general population. People struggle with feeling out-of-control around food, and they can find it distressing.
To be clear, eating for reasons other than hunger, like self-soothing, is not a bad thing. It can be an effective way to manage emotions when you don't know what else to do. It can also be helpful to learn to recognize feelings and needs in order to have additional methods of coping available to you.
Many people do not think they emotionally eat because they do not recognize an emotion. You may think stress eating is done when you know you are stressed and you choose to go eat because of that. The sneaky thing is, you usually don't know you are emotional. The purpose of the food is to avoid and soothe the feelings.
Here is the scenario: you are watching tv (or on the computer, or at work, or on the phone with mom), when suddenly, and without hunger pangs, you want to eat something. You are not aware of any emotion. But if you look closely, you are not hungry...so why do you want to eat?
You may say, "I just love food," or "It was there, calling to me." When people understand the food and feelings connection, this doesn't usually happen. You become clear on the fact that food does not have any kind of hold over you. It is, in fact, an inanimate object. There is something going on underneath the urge to eat when you are not hungry.
People are typically unskilled at determining their feelings. We are taught from an early age to escape any uncomfortable feelings through any means necessary.
Emotions commonly associated with eating:
~ Sadness or depression
There are many emotions involved in emotional eating. Even positive emotions can evoke an eating response. This is because when you are not comfortable with feeling, even feeling good is hard to handle.
Using food doesn't fix anything. It provides only a temporary relief, usually followed by the more of the same feeling compounded with guilt about overeating.
At Austin Counseling and Nutrition, our Austin therapists and nutrition counselors specialize in helping people with emotional eating or binge eating disorder. We can help you understand what you may be feeling or needing, and we can help you determine the best ways to address this.
Our binge eating disorder dietitians can help normalize the relationship with food and ensure nutrition is adequate throughout the day. We provide a safe, gentle approach to healing the relationship with food and body.