Health Topics

Healthy Living

August 2010
Haunting Hunger
Binge Eating Disorder
Prathima Deepak
Everyone overeats from time to time, but if overeating is a regular and uncontrollable habit, we may be suffering from binge eating. Binge eating is characterised by overeating in a certain period of time. Often, the binge eater will eat very quickly, past the point of being satiated, and due to this they feel physically uncomfortable.

This habit is actually classified as a disorder; Binge Eating Disorder (BED), it is a central feature of bulimia nervosa (Excessive appetite).

Medical Complications
BED leads to a wide variety of physical, emotional, and social problems. People with binge eating disorder report more health issues, stress, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts than people without an eating disorder. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are common side effects as well. It also leads to numerous medical complications like
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sleep apnoea
The good news is that binge eating is treatable. With professional help and support, we can wean ourselves out of binge eating.

Overcoming Binge Eating
Overcoming binge eating disorder also involves getting emotional eating under control. Eating right and listening to your body is an essential step in stopping binge eating. Other strategies that help, include practising relaxation techniques, staying connected to family and friends, and making time for things you enjoy as part of your daily schedule.  
Here are a few tips you can practise to help you munch less:
  • Eat Breakfast on time.
  • Avoid temptation.
  • Stop dieting.
  • Say “No” to processed and preserved foods.
  • Fill up on colourful fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit sugar, salt, and refined grains.
  • Plan quick and easy meals ahead.
  • Keeping a food diary.
  • Exercise.
  • De-stress.
With these tips in mind, it’s guaranteed that you rule your mind and body, not your hunger.

Snacks that fill your Tummy
  • Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.
  • Spread celery sticks with peanut butter and top it with raisins.
  • Microwave a small baked potato. Top with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and pepper.
  • Toast a whole grain waffle and top with low-fat yoghurt and sliced fruit.
  • Spread peanut butter on apple slices.
  • Make a mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on a dinner roll.
  • Fill a waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat yoghurt.
  • Make a whole grain cereal roti and apply mixed fruit jam. Roll it and enjoy.
  • Spread mustard on a cold cut meat slice of your choice. Wrap around a sesame breadstick.
  • Layer yoghurt and oranges or berries in a tall glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola.

Prathima Deepak is Nutritionist, Apollo life, Chennai.

  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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