Binge eating disorder (or BED) is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.
I’ve been struggling with binge eating for a few years now. I don’t remember exactly when it started, but it came about after years of restricting to the point of worrying about being over 100lbs. I restricted so much that I started eating anything at any point to have enough calories in the day. That lead to continuous snacking, which eventually lead to binge eating.
I’m sure my depression helped along with that as well.
It’s very much a mental health issue as well as a physical issue. That can cause problems because it’s a lot easier to beat physical ailments than it is mental ones, at least for me.
My Struggle With Binge Eating and How It Ruined My Life
Binge eating really destroyed my life. It took control, wreaked havoc, and left me in a puddle of my own emotions at the end, unable to get myself out of there. It left me stranded and so not in control of my life that things just spiraled into the mess I’m trying to clean up now.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might know that I’ve struggled with alcoholism in the past, and still do to some extent, and actually had an easier time quitting drinking than I did learning to quit binge eating.
It’s Mostly Mental
While the actions you do are physical, stuffing your face full of food, the cravings you have are mostly mental. For me, when I get a craving it’s mostly in my head versus in my stomach. I’m usually not hungry, but I can be at the time. I don’t control when the cravings come and go. But for me, it’s usually after I’ve eaten already.
You know sometimes you have cravings and you’re like “I could really go for a piece of chocolate right now”?
Binge eating cravings are like that but on steroids.
Nothing can quell the craving except actually eating whatever it is I’m craving. And when it comes to eating, I usually can’t have just one. It’s like a mosquito bite, the more you scratch the more it itches. So, the more I eat, the more I crave.
But, if I don’t eat what I’m craving it will drive me crazy. I’ll start to have anxiety over it. I might even start to get depressed over it.
I usually give into the cravings I have because it feels like if I don’t, I won’t be able to continue living. Not that I’m going to drop dead, but I don’t have the will power to stop the craving. Nothing works.
I’ve tried preoccupying my mind, doing something else that requires brain power to do, like a puzzle game, talking to a friend, reading a book… All of that just pushes the craving on to a later time.
It’s an intense need and want of something that I’ve learned I have no real control over right now. I’m learning and getting better at sticking to my daily calorie intake, but it’s still something I’m trying to battle daily.
It’s Almost Impossible to Ignore
When I have a craving it’s almost impossible to ignore.
Like I mentioned before, I have tried doing everything I can think of to distract myself to get rid of the craving. All that does for me is push it forward in time for me to deal with again in the future.
It’s like the only way I can satisfy a craving is to give in to it.
The other night I was craving a Italian cookies. I was contemplating ordering from a bakery on doordash but decided to compromise and head to the store to get something instead of spending like $40 on cookie delivery.
I tried waiting it out to see if I could mentally get over the craving, but the more time that went on, the worse the craving got. Until I was unable to bear it anymore and went to the store at like 8pm at night to get cookies.
I couldn’t even wait until I got home to eat them, I ripped open the package in the car and dug in right there.
And then the craving was satisfied.
It’s Random but Can Stay for Days
My cravings are random, in that there’s no real rhyme or reason, they just come and go when they want.
But on occasions, they can seep through into the next day or too. It’s a lot easier to over eat multiple days in a row. When you’ve already “screwed up” your food intake for the day, it’s a lot easier to reason that you can keep doing it again and again.
It’s how I managed to eat 4 pies over Thanksgiving weekend. I was craving apple pie, but couldn’t find the kind I wanted except for in a 3 pack of pies. So, I ended up getting all 3 and a 4th because you can’t not have pecan pie!
My binge eating weekends or few days are what caused me to gain about 40lbs in a few months. I ballooned because I depression ate my way through bags and bags of white cheddar cheetos because I just couldn’t stop eating them.
The cravings were real and I have little will power over myself, so it was an easy way to ruin my life.
When I start getting cravings for a few days in a row, it really causes a huge bout of guilt. And that leads to a lot worse.
It Causes Guilt Which Leads to Purging
After a binge, the guilt can set in immediately.
In fact, I’ve felt guilty about eating so much while eating whatever it is I was craving. But, while I’m eating I don’t feel as guilty as I do when I finally finish the pack of cookies or whatever delivery I’ve ordered.
In recent times my binge eating has caused for purging in return.
Purging is when you throw up the food you’ve eaten to expel the calories and food. My guilt has really gotten to me since I’ve started trying to lose weight.
When I realized my binge eating had brought me into the obese category in BMI, it really caught me off guard. I knew I had gained weight but was it really that much weight? Well, yes. I was already overweight when I started binging so adding an extra 35-40lbs was going to push me over the edge.
I’m doing well by counting my calories. But, it’s now a lot more apparent when I over eat because I’m making sure to log everything that goes in my mouth.
My most recent binge was actually the day before the cookie binge. I ordered from Mooyah Burgers a burger, fries, and a small shake. I thought I was ingesting less calories than ordering from Cheesecake Factory so I thought I was good. Turns out the burger I ordered was my daily amount of calories in one sitting. Add to that a milkshake and sweet potato fries, and well… I felt so guilty.
When I start to get so guilty it makes me nauseous (on top of the nausea I feel from over eating) I can’t help but purge. While this doesn’t happen often, it does happen. Mostly because I can’t handle being that full from food, but I can’t stop myself from eating in the first place.
That’s a lose-lose situation.
It Controls Your Life
I am not afraid to say that binge eating can and has controlled my life.
When I was at my worst, I was binging and depression eating everything I could get my hands on. All I bought at the store were snacks. And then I proceeded to eat most of those snacks within a few days, only to get more at the store to continue the cycle.
When I’m alone and have nothing to do, it’s so easy for the cravings to pop up. They don’t always happen then, but when I’m at my weakest it hits hardest. I started out stress eating and then it turned into cravings.
I’m trying to combat this by eating healthy, and eating well. I’m logging everything I eat on My Fitness Pal, and so far I’ve been logging for about 2 weeks straight and I’ve lost about 5-10lbs because I forgot to weigh myself before I started.
But, a craving can hit at any time and unless I force myself to go to sleep, it’s going to win over me and I’m going to have to try to fit that craving into my calories. If I can’t it’s going to start the cycle over because I’m going to feel guilt for eating over what I should.
However, in tracking my calories I’m learning how a healthy diet is helpful for cravings. When I have a set schedule for eating and have pre-planned meals ready to go, I have no problem. It’s when I deviate from that schedule when things go awry. When I finish my lunches for the work week and don’t have anything to replace it on the weekends. When I don’t have a dinner planned, when I run out of mangos for my breakfast smoothie, etc.
I’m slowly learning to control myself by eating right, going for walks, and occupying my mind so I’m not at a weak point for as long as before. Hell, I even bought a new book to start reading again because I need something to do with my mind to keep it occupied.
While binge eating may have ruined my life by causing me to gain weight and be controlled by my cravings, I’m learning to live with it and learning to conquer it.
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