Do You or Someone You Know Have Secret Issues with Food?

44400106 – woman eats sweets at night to sneak in a refrigerator

Guest Blogger Julie Latz:

Is there someone special in your life that seems to go from diet to diet but never really keeps off the extra weight for the long term?

If so, it’s very possible that your loved one is suffering from Binge Eating Disorder. As a matter of fact, this particular disorder is more common than both bulimia and anorexia. Yet only recently has it become more acknowledged and spoken about in the media.

Here are some behaviors to be on the lookout for which indicate that someone may be dealing with the effects of this affliction:

1.They Go from Diet to Diet
Binge eaters have no problem starting a diet, and may do well for a short while but before you know it they’ve abandoned that plan and are onto another one.

The reason they do this is because the worst thing a binge eater can experience is the deprivation that goes along with dieting. The willpower they try so desperately to hold onto can only last so long. They start out motivated to stick to their diet but once they are restricted from all their favorite foods, they cave in and make up an excuse as to why that diet just doesn’t work.

2.Their Weight Fluctuates Dramatically
Binge eating actually goes in cycles. When someone dealing with this disorder has been bingeing, they get to the point where they are ready to try a new diet. They have become so disgusted with themselves both mentally and physically and/or their clothing is getting really tight and they fear there won’t be anything left that fits!

They begin the diet and as mentioned above they may lose some weight but what ends up happening almost all the time, is that even if they’ve taken off some weight, they end up gaining it back plus more because life again becomes a feeding frenzy. They literally feel like they have no control over what they put in their mouths.

They will eat huge quantities of food whether they are hungry or not and the main thing is that they will hide their goodies from you and eat them in private. The behavior is so shameful and embarrassing that binge eaters generally don’t tell even their closest family members or friends what they’re doing because they don’t want anyone to know how much they REALLY eat. So, you may notice big swings in their weight depending on whether they are bingeing or dieting.

3.They Look for Any Reason to “Run Out” to Eat in Private
You may notice that your loved one is always the first to run out and do chores for you. This gives them the opportunity to stop at a store or a restaurant to eat while you aren’t around to see them do that. Sadly, they are obsessed with and controlled by food which makes them compelled to satisfy their cravings at any expense.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times over the 45 years I lived that way that I spent planning my binges. While in High School, I recall taking my car to the local Bagel Nosh (after eating lunch at school) and downing a bagel with tuna fish, only to leave there and indulge in a chocolate donut at Dunkin Donuts across the street.

It didn’t matter to me at the time that I would feel bloated and disgusting…I was compelled to engage in this behavior. The sad part was that I couldn’t tell my mom what I was going through because I didn’t think she’d understand. No matter how much I hated living the crazy life of a binge eater, I couldn’t figure out how to stop until I was 50 years old!

4.They May Cancel Plans With Other People
Because their weight fluctuates so frequently, binge eaters often cancel social plans at the last minute and don’t have an excuse that seems reasonable to you. I personally did this sort of thing frequently because I didn’t want people to see me as being heavier than the last time they saw me so it was easier to stay away from them.

The reason I would cancel at the last minute is that I always hoped I could take off the extra weight prior to our get together but sadly, from the stress of that, I usually ended up gaining more.

5.They Only Eat Healthy Foods in Front of You
When you’re with a binge eater, you notice that they seem to eat pretty healthfully and thus it doesn’t seem to be logical that they are so heavy. Again, this is because they are eating all of their goodies when you’re not looking!
I used to be so excited to go on baby sitting jobs. As soon as the kids went to bed, I would go to town on all the junk food in the pantry. I would of course come home feeling sick, depressed and promising myself that once Monday came, I’d start over again with a new diet.

My best advice to you as a loved one of someone who may be dealing with Binge Eating Disorder, is to be patient and kind. Because they are so embarrassed of their behavior it is very hard to get them to feel safe to talk about it.

I only wish that when I was younger, that my mom would have known what I was going through and approached me in a way that made me feel comfortable to talk about what I was dealing with. Let them know that you are there for them to listen without judgment to what they are experiencing if they want to talk about it.

Take control of your eating. First Step:
Download “The 5 Keys to Break Free from Binge Eating” – it’s free!

More about Julie Latz at Peaceful Eater

Image credit:
Copyright: evgenyatamanenko / 123RF Stock Photo

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