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Mind over Hunger

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

Do you emotionally eat? Do you binge eat? Is your self esteem deeply impacted by these two and generates a vicious cycle of overeating and self blame?

Before we endeavour into weight management blogs I would like to assign a separate blog entry to BED (Binge Eating Disorder). Unfortunately, the greatest group of people who suffer from an eating disorder are under diagnosed and suffer in silence.

BED is a condition characterised by frequently eating excessive amounts of food, often when not hungry. It is frequently confused for overeating. BED is not the same as overeating, as it is recurrent and more serious, with feelings of guilt, disgust and depression often following a bingeing episode. It differs from Bulimia as it lacks the compensatory purging actions followed by a binge episode.

An estimated 47 percent of Australians with an eating disorder have BED. BED doesn't discriminate by gender or age.

The most commonly discussed symptoms of BED include:

  • A frenzied or frantic feeling around food

  • A loss of control over both the amount and speed with which food is consumed

  • Using food as a source of coping

Obesity can be one of the long-term effects of binge-eating, restrictive-eating and weight cycling. People who suffer from BED and are overweight undergo many layers of bias, stigma and are subject to discrimination.

For people who experience negative social cues for obesity, consider the shame of being affected by this disease and having a shame-inducing secret about food and mental health. Consider the thought of never, even in private, feeling “good enough” for basic human needs like food, rest or companionship. That’s what an eating disorder, on top of social cues about a large body, sounds like.

With a qualified treatment provider, ideally a BED specialist, individuals who are struggling can learn that food is not the enemy, and that binging has less to do with food, and more to do with unmet needs. A therapist trained to treat BED will never suggest putting their client on a diet, because it is counterproductive to building the healthy food relationships that our bodies and minds need. A good BED therapist will assist in identifying emotions and disconnecting them from harmful behaviours. They can also assist by separating you from the urge and teaching the ability to dismiss them.

A good starting point to sought help is your GP, psychologist or dietitian.

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