Most of us are well aware that there is a very real relationship between binge eating and obesity. Unfortunately, these two terms are often classified as entirely separate conditions. This can be problematic when attempting to treat the underlying problem in order to maintain a healthy body weight.
In order to stop binge eating, it is therefore important to take a look at several variables. What are some of the factors that can lead to the development of this condition? How do food binges contribute to body weight on a metabolic level? Are there any ways in which this habit can be curtailed? Whether you or someone you know happens to suffer from binge eating, the information outlined below should be quite insightful.
What is Defined as "Binge Eating"?
Binge eating is commonly defined as the mass consumption of food over a relatively short period of time. Often classified as both a physical and psychological disorder, those who regularly binge eat will often consume between 1,000 and 2,000 calories in a single sitting. This is far more than the average meal. There are instances when binge eating may be planned and on other times, it might occur spontaneously.
The Causes of Binge Eating
There are actually many driving factors behind binge eating and these vary between individuals. Some binge eat as a psychological coping mechanism (such as a response to a stressor or during a depressive cycle). Others may consume a large number of calories as a form of a reward after dieting for an extended period of time.
The problem with binge eating in general is that it often results in what is known as a “feedback loop”. Those who binge eat tend to gain weight. This can lead to feelings of shame and even depression. As a result, they once again turn to binge eating in order to cope with such sensations; essentially repeating the cycle.
The Surprising Difference Between Binge Eating and Obesity
Believe it or not, not everyone who is obese is considered to be a binge eater. Studies have found that only between five and 15 percent of individuals who have been diagnosed as clinically obese engage in binge eating. To put this another way, there is not always a causal relationship between these two scenarios.
There are other factors to take into account when examining obesity. Some of these can include:
- Dietary habits.
- Physical activity.
- The amount of average sleep obtained overnight.
Having said this, any doctor or nutritionist will still need to determine if a patient is a binge eater when making an initial diagnosis.
The Long-Term Effects of Binge Eating
Due to the fact that this habit can develop over months or even years, it is often very difficult to simply stop binge eating. Unfortunately, the associated health risks are quite serious. Some long-term effects may include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Arterial plaque.
- Circulatory problems.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
- Inflammatory disorders (such as fibromyalgia).
This is why recognising that the condition exists is arguably the most important step for those who wish to modify their current behavior.
Breaking the Binge Eating Cycle
Let us now assume that you binge eat on occasion and you also suffer from obesity. What steps can be taken in order to enact a healthy lifestyle change? As with any other known medical condition, it is crucial to speak with a physician or an eating specialist. These professionals will be able to provide targeted suggestions as well as trusted medical guidance.
It is just as wise to recognise what might trigger a binge eating session. Will one occur as an emotional response or during a specific situation? What types of foods are consumed during this time period? Can these substances be replaced with healthier alternatives such as a serving of fresh fruits or vegetables?
Another powerful tool at your disposal involves the use of a Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. These devices are placed within the stomach in order to limit the amount of food that can be consumed. As a result, you will feel fuller for longer and your cravings will be reduced.
While there are many variables that will determine the relationship between binge eating and obesity, the main takeaway point is that adopting proactive changes will help to ensure that you can enjoy a long and healthy life.