Binge Eating

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Eating has been a popular past time since time immemorial. The Greeks were known to indulge in eating and be obsessed with food. Going back even further when man was just a hunter gatherer, food consisted of berries fruits and raw meat, which perhaps was not as appealing to the taste buds. The current civilization likely started after man discovered fire and started agriculture. Without these two, the question of sumptuous delectable food does not arise.  The right amount of  cooking and spices is what makes it delectable.

Food brings people together and makes gatherings fun and memorable. Especially when the recipes are delicious, we tend to relax and soak in the experience of eating.  Some of the most wonderful memories are of conversations around a meal.

However when we over indulge in the pleasures of the tongue, there are consequences to pay for.  Over eating is the main cause of obesity. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as during a holiday meal. But some people excessively overeat and are out of control, unable to stop.  When this becomes a regular occurrence it crosses the line to binge-eating disorder.  People suffering from binge eating disorder struggle with depression or anxiety. Binge-eating disorder is more common in women than in men. It often begins in the late teens or early 20s. The current societal expectation of staying slim and “beauty” associated with a slim figure, creates a negative self impression, which can lead to binge eating for those with that tendency.

Below are some risk factors to watch for:

  • Family history:You are at higher risk to develop this disorder if someone in the family has had it, indicating that it could be hereditary.
  • Dieting:Many people with binge-eating disorder have gone on some kind of diet. Restricting calories may trigger an urge to binge eat, especially if you have symptoms of depression.
  • Psychological issues:Many people who have binge-eating disorder have low self esteem and feel negatively about themselves. Carbohydrates and fats are addictive as they cause the release of serotonin in the brain.  Binge eaters naturally gravitate towards these foods.  These food groups are easily available which worsens the situation.

Sometimes it is hard for others to detect this behavior as the binge eater may be eating secretly.  Having an open and honest discussion will help acknowledge that it is a problem that needs treatment.  If your loved one is suffering from this disorder, offering help and support will encourage them to deal with the problem and take medical help.

Here are some tips for healthy eating habits

1) Avoid fancy diets.  They are notorious for triggering food cravings and deprivation of the favorite foods only make the binge eating symptoms worse.

2) Binge eating has a emotional component to it.  Be aware of how you feel and take care of your emotional needs.  Practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques help to deal with negative emotions in a healthy way.

3) Develop a healthy relationship with food.  Eat at specific meal times and in moderation.  A healthy amount of all the food groups will help keep those craving off.

4) Get on a good exercise regimen. Learn to distinguish between actual and emotional hunger. Getting exercise and taking charge of your health will give the much needed ability to control the eating portions

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