Thursday, February 20, 2014

What is a Binge?

It's hard not to come across the word "binge" if you are reading about weight-loss  (blogs, websites, message boards, magazines). In several blogs I've followed, the authors have admitted to a "binge" or a struggle with "binge eating" ... and I've just wondered if we're on the same page with what we think a "binge" actually is.

I guess I first heard the term as a teenager, it was in conjunction with bulimia. Binge and purge. But obviously people can just do the former.  I found this definition of binge eating disorder, which does go along with MY thoughts on the topic (source) :

Now I have do have my own eating issues. I do keep my food diary on MFP private (although I am doing my best to honestly enter everything I eat there). I have had struggles with mindless eating, and stress eating. There are times I find myself eating something and if I stop and think about it, I know I'm really not HUNGRY.  I can, and do overeat (this past weekend was BAD).

But I really don't know that I would ever say I have "binged". I've never felt out of control (just the mindless, "what am I doing? why am I eating this" feeling). I am actually a fairly slow eater. I rarely feel disgusted with myself ... those times I overeat, I usually feel there was a reason, or it was worth the indulgence. I can eat a LOT and still not feel super full (it's rare that I get to that "stuffed" point, maybe I just have a huge tummy capacity). My overeating is certainly not anything that happens with regularity.

I've just been thinking about this topic for several weeks now, and thought I'd expound on it for the Thinking Out Loud linkup  (even though the majority of topics there aren't serious in nature). But I feel like "Thinking Out Loud" does describe what I'm doing here :)

As I read on a message board "Oh, I binged" and they describe the binge ... and to me, it doesn't really fit MY definition. I did want to look into it a bit more, research it a bit.  I didn't want to let myself off the hook if what I was doing was binging, but I continue to stick with my original feeling that luckily THIS isn't something I struggle with. I've wondered about those who DO seriously suffer ... if they are sensitive when the word is used in a minor, offhand manner? I know I probably use the term OCD too casually for those who really suffer from that affliction.

Also linking up with the NSV linkup ... This past weekend was NOT great, and the scale reflected that. I haven't quite gotten the scale back to where I was before this past weekend, but even though I overate, I did record it all. Tuesday, I was SO ready to get back to my routine of oodles of exercise and eating better. Today ... I went to a DIFFERENT Zumba class. That is pretty huge for me, as I'm a creature of comfort and familiarity. It was good and I'll try to continue to hit this one on Thursday mornings.

What are your thoughts on the word "binge"?
Is it something you feel you struggle with?


  1. I definitely think that people toss the word "binge" around way too casually. There have been a lot of times where I've eaten mindlessly, past the point of fullness, or just because I enjoyed the taste of something, but I wouldn't call any of those a binge. I think most people these days don't really have a good grasp on what a normal amount of food looks like -- everyone's been brainwashed by all these 1200 calorie diets, and so anytime they eat more than that feels like too much. That and 1200 calories is basically starvation, so of course the body is going to rebel and want to eat ALL the foods.

  2. I agree with Amanda. I don't know that what I have done is really binge eating. If I had certain foods in the house I would keep going back and eating them until they were completely gone. I would overeat on sweets. Sugar has been my downfall most of my life. Since last June I have almost totally given up sugar. I do have an occasional bite of something and it seems that is enough. I am always afraid one day that it won't be and I will be right back where I started. I think that might be what keeps me away from it right now. I have made the decision that I won't go back, but it still scares me.

  3. This was an interesting post. I go on "binges" but I don't think I "binge eat" - does that make sense? I might go through a phase where I start bringing junk back into the house and just eat like crap - it's a slippery slope once you start. Then I will get my head on straight again and commit to eating better. I cycle eat I guess. I agree, the word binge does get thrown around and people who have had an eating disorder know it's not to be taken lightly.

  4. I used to restrict and binge... ugh it was horrible. Now when I used the word binge to describe my eating habit, it's usually when I stand in front of the pantry and mindlessly eat like 500 calories for no reason other than I felt like it. I was in control, I just chose to overeat. I'm sure it's not the correct definition of binge, but that's what I call it to myself. (Maybe I should call it overeating!)

  5. Good for you for trying something new! I know how hard that is. I found your thoughts about binge eating really interesting. I think the term "binge" is thrown around a LOT - binge watching Netflix, bingeing on pop, etc...but I think you are right when saying that people often talk about overeating in terms of bingeing incorrectly. I know I have an issue with binge eating, but I'm not sure if I'd go far enough to say I have a binge eater disorder. Thanks for clarifying what it really means and giving me something to think about!

  6. I am actually a binge eater and I have to fight every day not to. I don't do it nearly as often as I used to, but I still have a time now and then where I will. Now I can't physically eat the amount of food I used to when I was over 300 pounds. There have been times where I've had binges over the course of a few hours. I ate half a container of ice cream (probably 2 or 3 bowls with 2-3 scoops in each bowl) a handful of chocolate chips, a granola bar, some crackers...That is how my binges were. I don't consider overeating at dinner a binge, and I do think most people don't get what a binge is. There are times I did feel like I could not stop eating. I thikn sometimes binges would be triggered from hunger. I am not able to eat much over 1600 calories or I gain weight, even with exercising. So, I am often hungry, like my stomach is growling at 9pm. Most of the time I am able to ignore it, but other times I feel like I am starving.


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