Binge-eating disorder is probably the most prevalent eating disorder that affects about 3.3% of women and 2.0% of men. It is estimated that 10 to 15% of people enrolled in commercial weight loss programs suffer from this disorder. I would suppose that there are many others that have never been diagnosed or are not even aware that they may suffer from this insidious condition or occasionally fall victim to its effects on weight. The condition may result in a lifetime of weight gain leading to obesity. There is an established diagnostic account of the binge-eating disorder based on the following criteria:
- Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
- Eating more rapidly than normal.
- Eating alone due to embarrassment of how much you are eating.
- Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.
- The behaviors occur, on average, at least two days a week for six months.
Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.
The treatment focuses on the underlying psychological issues. Persons with this disorder will often be asked to record their food intake and note feelings and circumstances that prompt this behavior. The treatment can also include individual or group therapy and provide nutrition counseling on mindful eating. This approach can include paying attention to hunger and satiety cues, and slowing down the pace of eating to identify the triggers to this eating behavior. Sometimes it’s as simple as realizing that very restrictive eating and hunger is a contributor.
Judith E. Brown, Nutrition Now, 7th Edition
The article is a first-hand account of a dieter and her journey with an eating disorder as well as the complexities associated with weight control.