We’ve all overeaten at some point, then dealt with the pain and regret afterward. Can you imagine suffering through that every day? Sadly, that’s the reality for people who binge eat, but they have much more to worry about than just stomachaches.
In this post, I’ll talk about the symptoms of overeating and binge eating, how you can reduce them, and when it’s time to seek help.
Is it a Problem to Binge Eat?
Binge eating isn’t simply eating too much at dinnertime. It’s defined as overeating past the point of discomfort while feeling out of control. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and has a huge impact on our mental and physical health.
Many people who struggle with binge eating fall into a cycle of binging and restrictive eating or dieting. But even when making an effort to eat well, binge eating can have many negative side effects. Also, this endless cycle can wind up consuming one’s life.
Symptoms of Overeating
Eating large volumes of food, especially high-calorie and hard-to-digest food, upsets the digestive tract. You may experience heartburn, bloating, and constipation afterward. It also causes severe discomfort or pain during and after binging.
The food can also end up weighing you down. You may feel tired, heavy, or downright ill due to fullness. Some people find during a food binge, they get uncomfortably warm and start sweating as well.
Since binge eating is often paired with feelings of shame and failure, it can have a poor effect on your mental health. You may find yourself withdrawing from your loved ones, so they don’t know about your eating. Supportive relationships which would otherwise help you are avoided. This isolation can lead to an onset of depression.
Generally, a binge eater will eat far too many calories to burn off. If your overeating leads to weight gain, it can bring on anxiety and make you want to isolate yourself even more. Weight gain can also cause other problems, like high blood pressure, a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and heart disease.
When battling with binge eating disorder, it’s easy to develop a poor body image. You begin to lose trust in your body and mind when food is around. Poor body image can lead to body dysmorphic disorder, making us see ourselves as ugly when we’re not ugly at all.
Also, binge eating disorder can lead to other eating disorders, like bulimia, to reduce the effects of the binge. This can be done to control weight and also to punish yourself for binging. Bulimia is far more dangerous than binge eating disorder, with symptoms such as nutritional deficiency, heart failure, and kidney failure.
What to Do After You Have a Food Binge
After overeating, it’s important to try to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Lay down in a relaxing spot, with some pillows if you want, wearing loose-fitting clothes. When you can, try to drink some water or peppermint tea.
Do not use compensatory behaviors like starving, over-exercising, or self-induced vomiting after a food binge. When you wait it out, you’ll find relief without hurting your body more. It just needs to take a little time.
Also, be compassionate to yourself when you overeat. There’s no need to punish yourself simply because you didn’t follow your diet plan. This won’t solve anything and can make you more stressed, which can lead to more binging. Forgive yourself for binging and move on.
For a more detailed list of ways to relieve the discomfort of overeating, check out my post, 7 Helpful Tips to Recover from a Binge.
When to Seek Help if You Binge Eat
There are many reasons why a binge eater should seek professional help. Here are a few:
- You’re developing thoughts of self-harm.
- It’s keeping you from having a happy life.
- You feel ill after eating.
- Your weight is becoming an issue.
- Your binge eating has created other mental illnesses or addictions.
- It’s worsening or turning into another eating disorder.
- You want to feel well again.
You are worthy of recovery, even if you’re a healthy weight. If you find that your binge eating is taking a toll on your life, seek the help of a dietician, doctor, or psychologist. If none of these are available to you, look for a supportive family member or friend. Having someone who you can trust to talk to will help.
In recovery, you’ll get to know why you binge and how to feel hunger and fullness again. You’ll find out how to respect your body, show it compassion, and forgive it for not being perfect.
Lastly, if you are at risk for self-harm, please seek help immediately.
Making Peace with Food
If you’re looking to give up food restrictions and have a good relationship with eating again, I have the perfect recommendation! Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison is a book that shows readers how they can take back their power from diet culture. It teaches you how to master intuitive eating so you can stop binging and dieting for good.
If you haven’t read Anti-Diet yet, I wholly recommend it. This book helped me learn to finally stop the binge/restrict cycle and move on with my life. Christy herself reads the audiobook, which puts genuine emotion into the words you’re hearing. If you’d like more information on the book, I wrote an in-depth and honest review here.
When we binge eat, we can cause serious harm to our bodies. There are many symptoms of overeating, such as weight gain, depression, digestive problems, and poor body image. The best way to find relief after binging is to get yourself comfortable and wait it out.
If your binge eating is causing you emotional or physical pain, do what you can to get help. Even if you feel like you’re not sick enough to need treatment. Getting help will lead you on the path to wellness so you can live your best life.
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