Binge eating, also known as compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder is the most prevalent eating issue I help with in my Vancouver counselling ofﬁce. Sometimes binge eating is also referred to, but confused with, emotional eating, which may be related to the fact that certain emotional states can trigger folks to binge eat. Bingeing then becomes a form of self-soothing. It is important to distinguish, however, that not all emotional eating results in binge eating and that the two terms are not synonymous.
I deﬁne binge eating as an episode of rapid, uncontrolled consumption of an excessive amount of food, often with the purpose (conscious or not) of dealing with difﬁcult feelings, or avoiding particular emotions. Emotions may include anxiety, overwhelm, guilt, shame, anger, fear, or self-loathing. Sometimes binging also becomes a form of punishment or self-harm. Occasionally it is seen as a reward. Sometimes it is related to a history of trauma. There can also be physiological triggers such as food restriction or an underlying medical condition.
Bingeing should not be confused with other acts of overeating that do not appear to meet an emotional need such as unintentionally taking too much food and feeling over-full. People who binge eat may be overweight or at a normal weight.
If you are committed to stopping bingeing, therapy can help. It is often difﬁcult to recover from binge eating without support. Success in treatment is maximized when your therapy is supplemented by a physician’s and dietician’s care; therapy alone is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you are interested in getting started in counselling, I welcome the opportunity to hear from you.
Sensible discussion of the practice of person-centred intuitive eating. Realistic, not idealistic take on eating mindfully.
by Thich Nhat Hanh (2011). How to eat mindfully and intentionally. Because the primary author is a Buddhist monk, this book may have more appeal to those with Buddhist leanings.
by Geneen Roth (2003). Practical tips and strategies, mostly contained in the first part of the book.
A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.
National database for help in locating a registered dietician in your area.
Provides extensive information on eating disorders and food/weight preoccupation. Offers a telephone helpline: 1-866-633-4220