With Halloween 2016 in the books next up is Thanksgiving, a holiday where often people will indulge in the excess and no I am not referring to shopping after 6pm. I am referring to overeating. However, there exists a condition that has recently been discussed in various television ads and it has been talked about by a Penn State football player on ABC’s Good Morning America. This condition is known as binge eating disorder.
According to webmd.com, “binge eating disorder is characterized by excessive amounts of eating in which the person is not able to stop”. When one first reads that description, he or she might believe that I am describing bulimia, an eating disorder characterized by the excessive consumption of food but the food does not stay inside the body. However, these two conditions are vastly different. Someone who suffers from binge eating disorder will gain weight because he or she is not acting to expel the large consumption.
So right off-the-bat, one myth about binge eating disorder, is that it is not the same as bulimia. Another myth that I would like to address is that binge eating disorder is a condition made up by “overweight” people to excuse them for overeating. I must admit that not long ago, I fell into this camp. I thought that this was certainly an excuse that “overweight” people made to stop trying to lose weight. However, after watching Penn State football kicker, Joey Julius, discuss his battle with the condition, I have since changed my tune.
In past blog posts, I have documented my struggle with overeating, so I thought that this was a topic that I should look into and not something that I should “poo poo” as an excuse for “overweight” people to be “lazy”. It is stated on webmd.com that there are many symptoms of binge eating disorder and one is characterized by “frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount”. Another symptom is someone’s feelings of being out-of-control when it comes to their food consumption and eating when not experiencing feelings of hunger. In previous blogs I have mentioned that a weight-loss journey is just as much a mental project as it is a physical one and I believe that someone who struggles with binge eating disorder tackles the same challenges. He or she must be waging a mental and physical conflict within themselves. Perhaps the person wants to “get up and leave” the situation, but their mind is telling he or she to stay.
This leads into a possible cause of binge eating disorder: depression or mental conditions. According to webmd.com, “nearly half of all people with binge eating disorder have a history of depression”. Anyone who has dealt with depression (I personally can’t say that I have) knows that depression is an uphill battle in itself, but the seriousness of an eating disorder can only exacerbate the mental disorder. In my opinion, more has to be done in order to understand binge eating disorder, I must do research myself in order to not fall into that trap of thinking that “the overweight do it to themselves and they aren’t working hard enough or don’t want to lose the weight.” However, I feel that if I become more open-minded, I can do more help than hurt when it comes to understanding eating disorders.