11 Important Facts about Binge Eating Disorder


Many times we hear, say or form opinions about others based on their size.  We might even be the ones who are judged.  This is not only unnecessary, but is also an ignorant way to go about life, just like regarding anything that has to do with ‘judging a book by its cover’ is not helpful.  Some common thoughts about whether someone who is overweight has willpower or self-respect are downright damaging and hurtful.  And, assuming that someone doesn’t struggle with overeating issues because they’re thin is just as ill-informed.  Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder are topics that we too often turn a blind-eye to because of the attached stigma.  In order to stop this cycle, we need to know that facts. Listed are 11 important facts about binge eating disorder:

  1. It’s a true disorder. Binge Eating Disorder, or BED, is an eating disorder.  We might be used to forming a stereotypical image about what someone with an eating disorder looks like (underweight, for example), and assume the term only applies to those with bulimia or anorexia, but those who suffer from BED share some similar behavioral patterns with the other more understood groups.
  2. Being overweight does not equal having a problem with binge-eating or even overeating.
  3. Just because someone is thin or underweight doesn’t mean they don’t have BED or problems related to overeating.
  4. It’s similar to other eating disorders. People who compulsively overeat or have BED usually follow strict diets in the day and then binge at night.
  5. Shame and anxiety are common when it comes to eating around others. It is often felt that others are judging their food intake and habits.
  6. Overcoming is not about self-control or discipline. It’s important to understand how a person with BED started using food (or restricting food) to survive emotionally.
  7. Binge eaters are not any more out of control than someone with another eating disorder or addiction.
  8. They’re not lazy. The fact is, a lot of people with BED and compulsive overeating habits are workaholics and perfectionists, similar to those with other eating disorders.  Managing their lives, including binge eating, is not easy work.
  9. They feel shame. An incredible amount of this feeling is attached to their body and behavior.  A lot of people with BED say they feel as if they’re not as good as others and they feel somehow damaged.
  10. Telling someone with BED what they should (or shouldn’t) do is not conducive to positive, lasting change. They already know what needs to be done.  Compassion and education about the disorder are important in order to help loved ones who are in trouble.  Simply making judgmental comments and demands is not helpful.
  11. The brain releases dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, and opioids when binge eating and engaging in other eating-disordered behaviors. Disordered eating is literally addictive!

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