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Causes of Binge Eating Disorder and Ways to Cope with It

Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which a person consumes unusually large proportions of food and is unable to stop themselves from eating.

Aarushi Chadha
Unlike other eating disorders such as bulimia, people with binge-eating disorders do not vomit, use laxatives, or exercise excessively to compensate for the extra calories they are eating

Everybody overeats on occasion. However, for some people overeating can almost feel out of their control and is a regular occurrence. A person who frequently consumes unusually large proportions of food and feels as if they are unable to stop eating is suffering from a binge-eating disorder. Many people with binge-eating disorder feel the compulsion to overeat and are unable to resist such urges.

Unlike other eating disorders such as bulimia, people with binge-eating disorders do not vomit, use laxatives, or exercise excessively to compensate for the extra calories they are eating. But they do go on frequent diets and become frustrated with themselves when they are unable to lose weight. The severity of the binge-eating disorder is determined by the frequency of binge episodes.

Causes of binge-eating disorder:

Binge eating can be triggered by dieting, negative body image, stress, and even boredom. BED can not only increase the risk of obesity in people but it can also cause sleep problems, irritable bowel syndrome, and is associated with fertility problems. While the causes of binge-eating disorder are neither well defined nor understood, however, there are certain risk factors for it-

Emotional trauma- Studies indicate that stressful life events such as childhood bullying due to weight, sexual or physical abuse, unexpected separation from a family member, or sudden death contribute to binge eating.

Poor body image- Studies conducted on people with binge-eating disorder indicate that they have a very negative body image and compensate for that with extreme dieting and vigorous exercising.

Other mental illnesses- The prominence of binge-eating disorder is high amongst people with at least one psychological disorder, such as anxiety, substance abuse, depression, or PTSD.

Tips to Cope with Binge Eating Disorder:

Like most eating disorders, coping with binge eating can be tough. This is because the person is meant to build a healthier relationship with food, which is important for survival, rather than stop eating completely. Developing a healthy relationship with food is important so that you look at food as a means of sustenance and not as a tool to meet your emotional needs. Going to regular therapy can help you understand the psychological reason behind binge eating.

Stop restricting yourself- Do not go on diets and stop restricting food. Food is not the enemy. It plays an important role in the functioning of our body. Without food, we cease to exist. By restricting yourself and going on extreme diets you are increasing your chances of having cravings and triggering binging.

While reaching a healthy weight is important, however, that does not mean significantly reducing your calorie intake. Eating a diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains whilst reducing your consumption of processed foods is a way to promote better health.

Do not skip meals- One of the most effective ways of overcoming binge eating disorder is having a regular eating schedule. Skipping a meal can increase your risk of overeating and contribute to cravings. It also stimulates the production of ghrelin, a hunger hormone. By sticking to an eating schedule, you maintain your metabolism and energy levels.

Drink plenty of water- Staying hydrated reduces overeating and curbs craving. It also boosts our metabolism, reduces our risk of dehydration, and makes us feel full, thus, contributing to weight loss.

Become a mindful eater- Focus on what is on your plate. Savour the textures and flavours of the food on your plate by slowing down and becoming mindful of what is on your plate.

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