What is Binge Eating
In this article, we will talk about Binge eating disorder (BED). It is a debilitating, life-threatening, and treatable eating disorder marked by repeated episodes of eating substantial quantities of food (often very rapidly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of lack of control during the binge; then experiencing embarrassment, anxiety, or guilt; and not routinely using unhealthy compensatory steps (e.g. purging) to counter the BED In the United States, it is the most common eating disorder.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a pattern of binge eating that is triggered by the act of hunger or an intensely strong sense of stress. A “binge” can be defined as consuming an unreasonable amount of food within a short period of time, with no intention to stop.
Unlike bulimia, which often occurs in private and under strict control, episodes with BED usually involve more vulnerable circumstances; for example, the episodes may happen in the presence of other people. Though they still feel shame about them afterward.
Monitoring your daily eating patterns has been one of the most powerful therapeutic strategies to stop binge eating. And, no, I’m not talking about calorie tracking!
By monitoring, I mean writing down what you’ve eaten, where you’ve eaten, how much you’ve eaten, and what precisely you were thinking and feeling during the times you were eating.
You might understandably be thinking “why on earth would I want to do this?”. ⠀
Well, let me tell you how and why self-monitoring is a fundamental strategy for stopping binge eating. ⠀
1- Monitoring provides you with crucial information about your eating problem: If you write down all of those things I mentioned earlier, then you’ll be able to fully understand all of the things that are triggering your binge eating. You’ll start to notice things that weren’t so obvious earlier. For example, you might recognize that your binges are occurring only when your mood suddenly drops, you have an argument with your friend, you break one of your diet rules. All of this information is needed in order to stop binge eating! ⠀
2- Monitoring helps you change: Monitoring your eating accurately will reveal why it’s happening. You’ll realize that you don’t need to binge whenever you feel sad or angry or break a diet rule. Monitoring will show you that you’ve got other options to deal with these negative events. ⠀
Try and record your eating behaviors and thoughts for a week and see if you can notice anything. This might be the catalyst you need to break binge eating!
Why Self Monitoring is a Fundamental Strategy
Self-monitoring is a powerful psychological strategy because it so elegantly combines the use of psychological strategies with the power of our own physiology. As David Zinger, Ph.D., describes in this article about self-monitoring for weight loss, “If you can monitor what’s happening to you (and your indicators) during the day and know how each thing affects your body, then over time you’ll get better at predicting when things are likely to go better or worse.” David goes on to discuss ways that he teaches people to observe themselves through taking note of their moods and other bodily reactions throughout the day. He also talks about pacing themselves for optimum energy consumption based on observing changes in hunger cues like lower stomach acid levels before eating.