binge eating disorderBinge Eating Disorder Week is finally here! This week, Beutiful Magazine teamed up with Binge BehaviorBinge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) and Kari Adams of Killer Confidence to engage in a week-long education and awareness campaign of Binge Eating Disorder. First, how do you know you have a Binge Eating Disorder? HelpGuide.org has assembled the following guide of behavioral and emotional symptoms to help identify a Binge Eating Disorder. Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating

  • Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
  • Rapidly eating large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you’re full
  • Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
  • Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
  • Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes

Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating

  • Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
  • Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
  • Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot
  • Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
  • Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
  • Desperation to control weight and eating habits

You can also take this simple quiz: Do you have a healthy relationship with food? binge-eating-disorder-250Eating disorders are not necessarily caused by issues with food, but can often be a product of past trauma, or underlying emotional issues. These issues play out in an unhealthy and often destructive relationship with food. Therefore, treating eating disorders involves not only dealing with the underlying issues responsible, but also on reestablishing a healthy and nourishing appreciation for food. Nutritional rehabilitation is not easy, and can take many forms. The internet is filled with great articles and resources, and from a few of them I’ve compiled my favorite tips on how to unlearn your bad habits and learn to love food again. 1) Self-awareness. First, know your triggers and temptations in order to diffuse the emotional power food has in your life. If you know that you eat when stressed, acknowledge your stress and try and make your decision to eat or not eat, free from any guilt. 2) Give yourself permission to eat whenever you want. Don’t place restrictions on your time. If you feel hungry after 7pm, ignore what Oprah and your diet books tell you and eat. Stop when you have enough and over time you will learn that there is always another chance, it’s not now or never. Honor your hunger-which is the first step in learning to honor your fullness and knowing when to stop eating. 3) Mix in realistic goals that match your readiness for change. Avoid setting yourself up for failure- take on only as much as you are prepared for. 4) Eliminate deprivation. Spice up your diet with foods that you consider “bad” for you. The more you long for food you can’t have, the more you’ll overeat when you finally have a “weak moment.” 5) Be patient with yourself. Learn compassion towards yourself. It took your entire life so far to learn your unhealthy behaviors –  give yourself the time you need to relearn healthy habits and eat mindfully. Treat yourself as you would your best friend. eating disorders6) Don’t rely on willpower. Preplan- avoid going more than 3.5 to 4 hrs without eating. Keep your energy up to avoid vulnerable moments. 7) Stop comparing yourself- your weight, how much you eat, with others. Each body is built completely differently. There is no shame in giving your body what it needs, and it’s needs are dependent on a whole range of factors including height, muscle mass, or activity levels. Learn to listen to your body and not to all the negative influences in your life. 8) Have a great but selective support system. Family, friends and even the internet can all be part of a great support system. But too much information can be overwhelming and destructive, so be selective about your sources. Everyone thinks they’re an expert on nutritional information because they watched an episode of Dr. Oz, but bad information can be more damaging than none at all. For more information on binge eating, the following books are some great resources assembled by BingeFreeForMe on Tumblr:

Information resources: Helpguide, Beutiful, Huffington Post, Alive.com, Renfrew Center, Something Fishy If you are interested in following along with BED Week,  you can join the event on facebook or follow it on twitter by using the hashtags #BEDWEEK, #DSM5, #BEDAWARENESS, #EATINGDISORDER and #ED.