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Nourish Family Nutrition & Therapy

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Binge Eating Disorder: Q & A with Erin

Our Food Peace dietitian Erin Breslin answers some of our most commonly asked questions about Binge Eating Disorder.

Q: What is Binge Eating Disorder? 

A: Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder where people have frequent and regular episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short period of time, feeling out of control during these episodes and feeling distress about binging.  

Q: What is the difference between binging and overeating? 

A: With binge eating, there is a lack of control over the amount eaten and the individual feels as though they are unable to stop. Overeating may still be a large amount of food however the individual feels aware of what they are doing and able to stop eating. Binge eating also includes eating at a fast pace until feeling uncomfortably full, or even sick. Overeating may still lead to feeling uncomfortably full, but often not to the degree that binge eating does. A person with BED experiences shame or disgust after a binge episode and while this may happen in overeating as well, binge eating usually causes higher levels of distress. Lastly, binge eating happens in secrecy whereas overeating most often happens in social settings such as restaurant outings and holiday parties. 

Q: Because I always binge at night, should I try to limit my intake during the day? 

A: The short answer is no. Restricting your intake during the day can actually be a trigger for binging later on. Binging will not stop immediately, however eating consistently throughout the day can help prevent future binge episodes.  

Limiting intake during the day is not the only trigger and there is often an emotional component to binge eating. It is helpful to have a team of an eating disorder therapist as well as a dietitian to explore how you may be using food to cope with emotions. It is more than just the food! 

Q: What do I do after a binge? 

A: The best thing to do after a binge is continue with a regular eating schedule. It is important not to skip the next meal or snack (even if you are not hungry or feel the urge to compensate.) Remember that restricting after a binge continues the binge/restrict cycle that you are trying to break.  

Binging brings on a level of distress. Practicing self care and being gentle with yourself is crucial! Your next meal is simply another opportunity to nourish yourself and practice mindful eating strategies. Your dietitian can support you in determining what skills may be most effective for you. 

Q: Should I keep binge foods in my home? 

A: Yes. Allowing yourself to eat a variety of foods, including binge foods, can help reduce the urge to binge overtime.  This may feel overwhelming and scary to do at first. Your dietitian can help provide structure around including these foods into your regular diet in a way that feels more comfortable. 

When you are just beginning to heal your relationship to food, the idea of total food peace can seem far fetched! While total food peace is a long term goal, your dietitian can help support you in taking small steps toward that goal! Click here to schedule an appointment with a Nourish Food Peace dietitian.

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