ED and Bingeing

A lot of times people hear the two words “eating disorder” and think either “anorexia” or “bulimia”. Bingeing without purging is also an eating disorder and something that I still struggle with.

So what does a binge look like? For me, a binge is triggered by stress, anxiety, boredom, tiredness, thirst, or actual hunger.

During my binge episodes while still dating ED, the following were always a constant:

  1. Bingeing is not thought out prior, it just happens
  2. It was done in secrecy- no one was home
  3. It was done usually around lunch time
  4. I would stand while eating, ate in a hurried manner
  5. Binges would last about 20 minutes
  6. I would guestimate that probably 2000-4000 calories were consumed in one sitting
  7. Exercise was always done afterwards
  8. Guilt immediately followed

Here is what my current bingeing looks like:

  1. Before a binge, I am well aware that I plan to binge and try to hold off as long as I can
  2. More often that not, I will binge if I am the only one home, however, the presence of my husband will not deter me if the overwhelming desire to binge is there
  3. Usually done after dinner
  4. Still stand; eat in a hurried manner
  5. I do not exercise afterwards
  6. Binges last shorter than 20 minutes
  7. Calorie intake is less
  8. Guilt immediately follows

For an example, I binged last night. Here is what it looked like:

Normal dinner- salad with chicken sausage and 1/2 baked yam, 1 cider

Binge: 10 pieces of Halloween candy (small size: 4 kit-kats, 3 M&Ms, 2 snickers, 1 Reeses), one brown rice tortilla with maybe 1/2 cup cream cheese, spoonful of hummus, protein rice chips (100 calorie pack), maybe 1/4 cup pistachios, spoonful of peanut butter.

Old binges with ED were probably double or triple that amount.

Last night’s binge was triggered by anxiety mixed with really wanting cream cheese. So then it spiraled out of control. The main difference is that 1) I do not purge myself afterwards and 2) I did not starve myself or over exercise the next day.

I am continually working on this. I would say lately I average 4-6 binges per month. Binges can range from small to large. I would classify last night as large. Some days I am just triggered more than others, so I am still learning how to cope with the desire without giving in. A part of it also goes back to just eating what you really want in the first place. Perhaps if I had eaten a tortilla with cream cheese and a chicken sausage for dinner, then perhaps the binge would not have happened. It usually always goes back to some type of deprivation. I would have consumed way less calories doing that, than doing what I did.

I always think after a binge ” I should just starve myself now”, but I don’t actually do it because I know that that is not the way to overcome my bingeing episodes. Having an “escape route” after a binge (starvation) is just emphasizing the ED behavior. It is OK to have hiccups along the way during your recovery. It is what you do with the hiccups that really determines how far you have come.