5 Reasons You Might Have Binge Eating

By Victoria Q

Everyone overeats from time to time. But binge eating disorder is different from normal overeating. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a mental illness in which a person, due to underlying issues and other risk factors, develops a pattern of binge eating which they come to rely on food as a way of coping.

Overeating VS. Binge Eating

Examples of overeating:

  • You have more than one dessert after a dinner
  • Finished a whole bag of popcorn while watching a movie
  • You skipped your last meal

Examples of binge eating:

  • You finished a whole cake in one sitting and then feeling guilty
  • You ate three burgers even though you’re already uncomfortably full
  • You eat alone because of embarrassment associated with how much you’re eating

Reasons You Binge

  1. Family History

If your parent or siblings have or had binge eating, you’re at a greater risk of developing it. Research shows genes that affect eating behaviour may be passed down through family members. Those genes can affect brain circuits that control appetite and mood.

2. Other Psychological Conditions

People with depression and anxiety are more likely to binge eating. People with depression might binge eating in an attempt to numb sad and hopeless feelings. They might feel depressed about their food habits and perhaps those feeling make them eat even more.

3. Stress

Sometimes people binge eating after going through a major stressful event such as losing a job or the death of a loved one. They might seek comfort by eating as a way of trying to deal with stress and distance themselves from emotional pain. When they do this often and becomes a habit, it will eventually lead to binge eating.

4. Extreme Dieting

Sometimes attempt to lose weight can lead to binge eating. When people follow unhealthy diets to lose weight such as skipping meals or extreme restriction on calories, this can increase the chance of binge eating. If they don’t reach their goal weight, they may feel so guilty and terrible about themselves that they eat even more.  

5. Negative Body Image

Often, people who have binge eating aren’t happy with the way they look. You might too concern about what others say which lead you to think badly about your body. You might even compare yourself with people on TV or social media that emphasize thinness. That gives you a negative body image such as low self-esteem which can lead to binge eating. After binge eating, a person feels guilty and shame because they ate too much. These feelings can cause more overeating.

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