Things I Wish People Knew About Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

First of all, people think they know what a binge eating disorder is because they know the words binge, eating, and disorder. Well, I am here to fill in the gaps. Let us start with the medical term, “disorder”. It is defined as something that disrupts the system and functioning of something else, or simply when things are ‘out of order’ causing disruptions to everyday life. Any BED sufferer can tell you that a binge eating episode feels exactly like that; a haze of overwhelming urges to get as much food as possible into your mouth until your higher, conscious brain gets through to you, and your system starts functioning normally again. The word “binge” is thrown around so often now that when used as describing a mental illness people don’t take it seriously. We aren’t talking about sitting around and binge-watching Game of Thrones all day or even binge-drinking during a game of beer pong. Binge-eating is a challenging, overwhelming, desperate mental battle that a sufferer faces every day. If you are someone trying to understand a loved one with BED, try this: Think about something that troubles you. Now, consciously keep it on your mind for the rest of the day. Try to come up with solutions, and try to argue with yourself over all sides of the problem. It’s exhausting, right? Now do it for two days, a week, a month, 5 years, 20 years even. During this time you’ll feel extremely weak, because you can’t stop it, and because the only thing that seems to give you relief is also something that worsens the original problem– food, which is something we as humans have to face every day. Binge eaters don’t begin binging to deal with their binging, but that’s where they end up, and that is when the vicious wheel starts turning. 6 Shocking Facts of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) - 1%-5% of the population has binge eating disorder–approximately 1 in 20 people. It is more common than anorexia or bulimia combined. - You don’t have to be overweight to have BED. People of all sizes suffer from the disorder. - Roughly 40% of BED sufferers are men. - It’s estimated that 50% of binge eaters are also suffering from clinical depression. Most often, bingers use food to self-medicate an emotional void. - BED is still majorly unknown because it is a newly classified disorder, only being distinctly categorized in 2013. - Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder, even more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. 3 Things People Need To Know About Binge Eating Disorder (BED) I can only imagine a life without binging, but for many non-bingers, this is their reality. It’s easy for them to tell us that the binge eating comes down to willpower, but it’s so much more complicated than that… 1. It’s Not About Will-Power Does anyone truly believe that someone would choose to have an eating disorder? Don’t you think if I could just “eat normally” and “just stop thinking about it so much” I would? I will scream it from the rooftops if I have to–EATING DISORDERS ARE MENTAL DISORDERS. I wish it were as easy as controlling the urge, but the more you try to control it the stronger it gets and the more out of control you feel. When I placed restrictions on myself it only strengthened the urges, which then made me feel much worse when I binged because I thought I was too weak to follow my own rules. This cruel cycle of binging and restricting does not help anyone. The mind is what has to change. 2. Victims of BED Suffer in Secret Binge eaters know that what they are doing is not good for them. No one eats an entire carton of Oreos in one sitting and thinks it’s healthy, nor feels mentally of physically good about it afterwards. This is why most binges happen in secret, because when no one is looking, no one is judging, and you can try to pretend after that it didn’t happen. For girls particularly, binges happen when we are hiding from the eyes of the outside world who think we should be a certain shape or size. Many bingers hoard food in secret, hide wrappers and empty boxes, and even replace the food they ate, hoping no one notices. It’s a behaviour that BED sufferers feel ashamed of, which is why it’s so important to reach out for help. Reaching out was one of the best things I ever did. I guess I was scared that nobody would understand. Not everybody can understand it, but in my experience, contrary to popular belief, people care–it’s human nature. 3. It’s Not What We Want If you can’t tell by now, having a binge eating disorder is not fun. It’s not a food free-for-all with no consequences but a tummy ache. Yes, the original urge tells us how satisfying it’s going to be, but that urge is a liar, and our rational brain knows it. During a binge, the mind is crazed, manic, and overwhelmed with nothing but the thought of food. That allure, that numbness to any thought or feeling is what sucks binge-eaters in in the first place, but it’s not enjoyable, not really. It’s mere moments that we are unfeeling, but then as soon as we stop the guilt sinks in, and that guilt only dissipates with more food and more numbness. The cycle never stops until you start your journey to recovery. Please know that Binge eating disorder IS curable. It sounds impossible if you’re currently suffering from an episode, but I promise you, food won’t control your life forever if you take action against the disorder. You can message me for support via my Instagram if you feel like you need support from somebody who understands you. Also, feel free to join my Binge eating disorder recoverers community group on Facebook ‘Active against B.E.D’.