Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating

The symptoms of binge eating, overeating and emotional eating are not simple weight gain and a desire to eat. Those who binge eat or struggle with an overeating disorder feel compelled to eat large amounts of food and are unable to stop. It is not uncommon for sufferers to eat until they feel sick or very uncomfortable. For some this provides a temporary sense of relief but often this relief is quickly replaced with guilt or shame. This is part of the vicious cycle of binge eating and it is important to find help.

At Life Works, we know that compulsive binge eating is an illness not a choice. This is central to our clinical philosophy and underpins our approach to treatment. We use the latest neuroscientific thinking to inform our understanding of how problems with binge eating, compulsive overeating and emotional eating affect the individual and how we can provide effective treatment of these problems.

If you are ready to start binge eating treatment, please call 0800 081 0700 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.

Common signs of binge eating

  • You regularly eat large amounts of food, even if you are not hungry. You feel powerless to stop and continue eating until you feel so full you could burst. Afterwards, you are left feeling guilty or ashamed
  • Binge eating gives you a temporary sense of relief from the stress in your life – but afterwards you feel increasingly out of control
  • You often feel compelled to eat large amounts of food and try to resist - but eventually, you give in and eat
  • The urge to binge eat is becoming harder and harder to resist and often distracts you from your daily activities
  • Your binge eating has become more frequent and is getting out of control. You keep on overeating even though you don’t want to do it and you can’t face how you will feel afterwards
  • You conceal your binge eating from friends and family – for example, you may eat normal, healthy portions with others but then overeat when you are alone
  • You often hide food from your partner or family, in places all around your home – for example, behind cupboards, in drawers, in the garage or shed
  • You dispose of the evidence of your binge eating – for example, food wrappers, packets or boxes - away from your home
  • You often get up during the night and eat
  • You have experienced dramatic weight gain or obesity as a result of your binge eating
  • You are doing less of the things that were important to you, for example, going out or enjoying hobbies
  • Your relationships are suffering as a result of your eating disorder – for example, you have missed family birthdays or meeting up with friends so that you can be alone and eat what you want, away from other people
  • Your health has been affected by your binge eating – for example, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, development of diabetes or joint pain
  • You feel ashamed or disgusted with your appearance – you can always find flaws
  • You may stop on your way home from work to buy foods to binge on
  • You hide or dispose of wrappers and other evidence after a binge

Symptomatic denial

Denial is common and symptomatic of compulsive binge eating, so you may deny that you have a problem both to yourself and to others, through:

  • Minimising the impact of binge eating on your health
  • Criticising those around you for making too much fuss about your eating habits
  • Concealing your binge eating from your loved ones
  • Placing the blame for your binge eating on other people or situations in your life, such as “I eat because my job stresses me out”

Contact us

Life Works provides first rate support and guidance in the treatment binge eating. To discuss how we can help you, please call 0800 081 0700 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.


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Situated within the grounds of Life Works, The Cottage is the UK’s most exclusive private treatment for addictions, eating disorders and mental health disorders

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