Ever feel like you sit in front of the TV with a box of cereal and, before you know it, you’ve eaten at least half the cheerios? Overeating happens to all of us, but for some, simply chowing down can become a regular activity that eats up thousands of calories in only one sitting. This is known as Binge Eating Disorder.
And unlike anorexia and bulimia, which plague women 90% of the time, binge eating disorder is equal in men and women and affects about 8 millions people in the US. So while it may not get the same publicity as other eating disorders, you certainly shouldn’t write it off.
What’s It All About?
Binge Eating is a clinical disorder that is defined as when:
- A person eats a huge amount of food within a short two-hour window.
- This occurs two or more times a week.
- The person feels out of control while eating.
- The person does not purge afterwards.
From Chowing Down to Losing Control
So when does someone go from just snacking to having a disorder that can be diagnosed? It’s a complicated question, but there’s a simple answer: emotions.
Basically, Binge Eating Disorder happens when food is connected to emotional stress and depression. People who have it will binge when they are feeling pain, or to stop them from feeling it at all. A lot of people with Binge Eating Disorder also use food as a crutch when they feel lonely, empty or lost. But since food can’t help you feel truly whole or happy, it just becomes a vicious cycle.
Not Just a “Girl Problem”
Though guys are just as likely as girls to binge, they are much less likely to get help for it. But why? There are a few explanations.
First of all, a lot of guys see eating disorders as “girl problems,” and thus are either too embarrassed to get help or just assume they’re fine. Second, though girls are often expected to eat healthy food in reasonable portions, it’s seen as totally normal for a guy to down a whole pizza by himself. Because of this, a lot of guys may not realize that their binge eating has gone from “being a dude” to an actual problem.
Then there’s the problem that there’s a lot less research and publicity about guys with eating disorders, and that can make it seem as though there’s nowhere to turn.
What Do I Do?
If you are a guy with Binge Eating Disorder, don’t feel alone – you can fight it! And while mustering your will power and just avoiding the kitchen will work in some cases, not everyone can fight it alone.
Speak up, and tell a parent, teacher or doctor about what you’ve been dealing with. There are plenty of treatment options ranging from therapies to inpatient programs, depending on your condition’s severity, that can help you break the pattern and gain control over food, rather than letting food control you.
The risk of obesity increases 1.6 times for each soda you drink.