Breaking the Binge- Me & My Eating Disorder
We are all guilty of overeating some days and there is nothing wrong with that. It may be that you are out with friends or family and you are celebrating, it may be that you are on holiday and enjoying the new food. Indulging here and there is perfectly normal.
Although, if you find yourself regularly overeating, for no reason and cannot control this urge just to eat on anything and everything it is possible you have a disorder called binge eating disorder.
Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have higher rates of anxiety and depression. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Scientific Congress have identified that women with PCOS are six times more likely to suffer from eating disorders compared to women who do not have PCOS.
A PCOS diagnosis brings with it many symptoms, many of which are embarrassing. As a result, this often leads to constant emotional feelings and stress. This feeling of not feeling comfortable or happy in your own skin can lead to an urge to seek food as comfort.
Eating disorders are often not spoken about but are very common and there are different types, from anorexia-nervosa, bulimia-nervosa, binge eating disorder and orthorexia, which is not officially recognized in the DSM-5, however, a common eating disorder.
Me & My Eating Disorder
I have gone through a cycle of disordered eating, which all began in college, around the time I was diagnosed with PCOS. I believe the stress of college was also a further factor, as well as my PCOS, for why my unhealthy eating habits began.
Growing up I was slim and athletic, I was very active, always playing football. However, once I started college I began feeling different, my hormones were all over the place. Feelings of anxiety, depression and loss of self-confidence were creeping in. I lost myself.
I went through emotional eating/binge eating, which caused me to gain some weight. As a result, I then began dieting to lose weight. In turn, I restricted my food intake, reducing your caloric intake is necessary for weight loss, however, I began restricting too much and my weight loss became and obsession and my relationship with food became unhealthy. I was following a very low-calorie diet, exercised excessively and avoided a lot of foods.
I was extremely weak, lethargic and miserable. But I just couldn't stop. My eating disorder had completely taken over me. I was obsessed and afraid of food, I could not enjoy it. I truly lost sight of food's real purpose, energy.
This obsession to be thin caused me to lose 6 years of my life. Instead of going out and enjoying myself, I was fixated on the number on the scale and the number of calories I was eating. That is no way to live your life.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
In 2013, the DSM-5 listed Binge eating disorder (BED) as a diagnosable eating disorder. Binge Eating Disorder is characterized as the urge to overeat on a regular basis. People that binge eat feel they have no control over their eating. A binge may happen privately, away from other people, often due to feeling embarrassed, disgust with their behavior or a result of feeling guilty after the binge.
What causes binge eating?
- It can be due to emotional feelings, such as stress, anger, loneliness, boredom
- Anxiety and depression
- Lack of confidence and low self-esteem
- Dissatisfaction with your body, a desire to be thin.
- Traumatic events in your past
Tips to help with binge eating
Stop Restricting Yourself
This is probably my number one tip when overcoming an eating disorder. Stop restricting yourself from food you want. Avoid labeling foods as good and bad, healthy and unhealthy. If you label foods and put them in groups you are creating an unhealthy relationship with food. Yes, certain foods are better for us and our overall health but food is food. We eat food for energy, however, we also eat it as a way to indulge and enjoy it. I feel that it is very important to enjoy the food you are eating. Make sure you allow yourself to eat 'bad' foods too. Satisfy your sweet tooth and your sugar craving, there is nothing wrong with that.
Eat More and Regularly
If you find yourself binging late at night, make sure you eat a bigger breakfast and more throughout the day, eating every 3-4 hours, this will ensure you are not too hungry and that you will not have the urge to overeat and binge late at night.
Avoid Dieting and eating low-calorie foods
Get out of the diet mentality, diets are unsustainable. Ensure you are eating an array of food and following a balanced lifestyle. Try and eat more calorific foods, more fat and protein to keep you satiated.
You do not have to avoid carbs if you have PCOS. Including carbohydrates in your diet can help with binge eating, as carbs are often what people binge on. Therefore, look to implement healthy grains, such as bulgur wheat, quinoa, and avoid or limit processed carbs.
Eat what you Crave
This is similar to my first point, but often when you do not eat what you truly desire and eat something else, whether it be because it is healthier or not, you end up giving in to eating that one thing you wanted which could end up causing you to binge.
Drink more water
Before you eat anything, drink water. It may be that you are dehydrated and often we mistake thirst with hunger.
If you know you are not hungry and just bored try and distract yourself by undertaking an activity. Read a book, watch television, go for a walk or a jog. Listen to some music or a podcast
If you find yourself in a stressful or emotional situation, turn to someone for support. Talking to someone can help and can often result in a solution to a problem. Turning to food will never provide you with any answers.
Kerchner,Lester, W., Stuart, P.S., Dokras, A.(2009). "Risk of depression and other mental health disorders in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a longitudinal study". Fertility and Sterility. 91(1), 207–212.
Lee et al. (2016), “Increased Risk of Eating Disorders in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Conference.
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