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Reviews 3 eating disorders and discussing similarities, differences, causes, solutions, etc. If you've had trouble staying on a diet until you reached your goal weight, this may be why.

Binge Eating And Compulsive Overeating

Difference Between Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating: The Overeating disorders (Including Compulsive Overeating, and Binge Eating) are where my downfall resides.  I can talk with clinical objectivity about Anorexia and Bulimia because I don't suffer from them.  I can't be objective when it comes to overeating because I suffer here, and have failed to get it completely under control.  Even Diabetes didn't stop me...I just decreased by 60 pounds what my acceptable overweight condition would be and then, when I dropped below it by a substantial amount, would overeat until I got to that weight again.  This disorder is an obsession with overeating.  Typically, we either chronically overeat or periodically binge from some emotional trigger.  The chronic overeating is an addiction (compulsion) to food, like any other addiction.  Binge Eating is a little different.  Binge overeating can be "triggered" by general life condition, specific events or emotions, not always obvious.  If you've resorted to "purging" to counter your overeating with vomiting, exercise, or laxatives, visit Dangers In Bulimia for more information.  Here are some great books on binge and compulsive eating.  I notice I'm less in control of my eating when I'm under stress.  Someone suffering from an overeating disorder is obsessed with (addicted to) food.  We often eat when we're not hungry, out of boredom, etc.  Stress, conflict, problems, emotions, etc. can trigger overeating.  We often eat to the point of pain.

Causes of Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating:  Like any addiction, Overeating is generally caused by a low self-esteem.  The food acts as a substitute for something we feel is missing in our lives.  Until we get to the root cause, we will have trouble controlling our addiction, because we can't abstain from food.  I'm sure many would disagree with the cause I mentioned, saying it's genetics, upbringing, chemicals, etc. but most would agree, even if they feel self-esteem isn't a's always present in an obsessive overeater.  One thing I can say about the genetics idea, from observation of my family, genetics seem to play a role.  Most would agree that Overeating disorders are not about food or eating.  One person asked me how he could show me love, and one of the answers I gave him surprised me.  I said, "Give me something to eat."  For me, a very dangerous situation exists where I unconsciously equate food with love.  I guess when I feel unloved, I can make up for that deficiency with food, at least until it kills me.  A negative self-image, a feeling of emptiness and unworthiness or lack of love causes us to excessively eat in an effort to feel better about ourselves.  We feel worse as we increasingly try, and fail, to improve this situation with food (too much or too little).  Unless we find a way to stop this, we will have to face the consequences below.  The good news is, the cycle can be interrupted...we can have a positive self-image. 

Physical Effects of Overeating:  The number and names of eating disorders vary depending on who you talk to.  We lumped Compulsive Overeating, Chronic Overeating and Binge Eating into one overeating category.  The descriptions, signs and symptoms cover a wide area.  The focus begins to narrow when we talk about the effects.  All of them cause involve an immediate nutritional imbalance as the body becomes less and less able to handle the flood of fat, salt and carbohydrates.  This causes fatigue and severe deficiencies of required nutrients as the disease continues.  The overeating causes Acid Reflux, heightened cholesterol and triglycerides.  It becomes harder to exercise, complicating the problems.  Hypertension, stress, asthma, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, muscle and joint problems develop and eventually cripple us.  Then our organs begin to be damaged...then we die.  Stroke, Diabetes, heart attack, kidney disease, cancer, and many other diseases are dramatically increased in Overeaters.  We don't have to live this way!  This is something we do to ourselves. Let's embrace a solution and stick with it, so we and our loved ones don't have to suffer needlessly.

How To Stop Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating:  I'll get to the root of the solution in a minute, but a couple management tricks that work for me every time I follow them are these:  1.  Don't bring the compulsive foods home (chips, candy, ice cream, whatever).  You can't eat what isn't there.  2.  Put the right amount of each type of food on your plate and stop when you've eaten that.  3.  Have healthy snacks prepared (fruit, unsalted nuts, cottage cheese) and have a serving in between meals so you don't get hungry.

If you haven't got that void filled inside you, it's the best hope any of us have at recovery.  That way we can have the positive self-image we were "designed" to have.  What do we fill our void with?  God!  He designed us to have Him in our lives to fill the void and help us see ourselves the way He sees us, with love.  No matter what your current treatment, God can give you a positive self-image and heal you from any disorder.  Everyone with an eating disorder needs to hear these words from Him:  "I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry..."  If you want His help just click on God's Help.

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