Gorging on junk food has an acceptable and even quite a jokey reputation. In fact, most of us will laugh off a bingeing session after a bad day at work or if we’re feeling down in the dumps. Or perhaps you’re hungover or have been really good all week and are allowing yourself a cheat day where you eat everything in sight.
Whilst this may sound perfectly normal and acceptable to a lot of us, experts are warning that this is in fact a form of disordered eating that can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Despite being relatively unheard of, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is not only a real thing but it’s believed that it is also the UK’s most common form of eating disorder.
It is becoming increasingly common as we struggle to deal with everyday stresses, anxieties and workloads. Food is being used as a form of stress relief to deal with emotions such as loneliness or anxiety in the same way that people might use drugs or alcohol.
Author and Nutritionist, Amelia Freer commented:
“I have clients who work hard all day, appear effortlessly in control of their busy lives and health and then, after a stressful day go home and eat ice cream until their stomachs hurt.”
The types of foods that bingers reach for when they’re feeling such emotions tend to be high in sugar because sugar releases an opiate-like feeling that’s calming and soothing. Freer continued:
“The problem is that these feelings are short-lived and are quickly replace by guilt or disgust. And so begins the cycle of bingeing, guilt, shame and more bingeing. I tell my clients that binge eating, even in small doses, isn’t normal or ok and it’s a form of disordered eating that they should address.”
If you think that you or someone you know could have an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.