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Craving Clarity

Navigating the Fine Line Between Overeating and Binge Eating
Foods for Mental Performance
Foods for Mental Performance

By Ruby McMullen, Personal Trainer at Mona Vale

Binge Eating vs Overeating - Is There a Difference?

What is Overeating? Overeating is eating past the point of fullness. This is a normal, common experience in our society whether it was eating too much out at dinner, going back for seconds or thirds at Christmas lunch or just mindlessly snacking due to boredom or stress. Who has ever had the intention of just having 1 square of chocolate then next thing you know half the block is gone? Overeating on occasion is very different to Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

What is Binge Eating Disorder? Binge Eating Disorder is regular overeating or consuming a large amount of food to the point of pain and discomfort. It is accompanied with a feeling of loss of control followed by guilt or shame. BED is the most common eating disorder, 47% of people with an eating disorder suffer from binge eating disorder.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

  • Loss of control or inability to stop eating
  • Eating normally in the presence of others but binging when alone
  • Never experiencing satiety no matter how much food is consumed
  • Continuing to eat when full
  • Negative feelings associated with binging
  • Not feeling physiological cues such as hunger and satiety

Tips To Prevent Overeating

If you find yourself struggling to stay compliant to your calorie deficit and overeating more frequently then you would like it’s time to have a look at what you are trying to achieve.

  1. Revisit your goals: Are they still important to you? What is the outcome you are hoping to achieve? Do you have a clear timeline in place? It may be a good time to sit down with your trainer and complete a new goal session to ensure your goals are still a priority.
  2. Mindfulness: What is coming up for you at times of overeating. Hunger? Boredom? Stress? Implement Strategies e.g. if you find yourself snacking at 3pm can we adjust our meals for the day to have a meal here when we are hungriest?
  3. Eat Slowly
  4. Go to Maintenance: If you find yourself constantly overshooting your calorie targets it may be time to get out of a calorie deficit and come back to it when you are ready to commit. Magic can truly happen at maintenance if you switch the focus to nourishing your body and working hard in the gym.

Seeking Help

If you think you may have binge eating disorder it is important to seek health from a medical professional. Do not try to lose weight or diet as this will do further harm, it is very important to keep your trainer in the loop and they will help adjust the goal and program throughout your journey. A GP is a good place to start and can then refer you to a mental health professional who will be able to diagnose and start a treatment plan.

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