Weight Loss Support - Quit Labeling (Emotional Eater, Binge Eater)

05-25-2010, 04:27 PM
I've always labeled myself an emotional eater and a binge eater. I can remember doing these things as far back as 10 or 11 years old, although my weight gain didn't start until my senior year of high school. Now as my weight loss is coming to an end, I've said well, I'd better get these issues under control or I'm sure to regain. While I fully believe this is true I'm wondering now as I'm older and wiser if I've just continued to "label" myself in this fashion to give myself permission to eat when I'm stressed, not hungry, bored, out of control, etc. Or rather convince myself that I'm supposed to feel the urge to eat in these situation because I'm a binge eater or an emotional eater. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this, I haven't really sorted out the thought, but wanted to through it out there. I mean what would happen if I didn't think I was these things? Would the urge to eat disappear?

05-25-2010, 05:25 PM
It's probably useful to learn more about what binge-eating disorder really is. Here's a good link:


Many of these terms, like bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder, have medical definitions that are sometimes different from how people use them in casual conversation. Some people say they "binged" when all they mean is they overate on something.

My own feeling is that a label isn't necessarily helpful, and especially if one is self-diagnosed. It might be more helpful to take an approach of "I don't know" and just look at food from a practical point of view and see what happens. And if the emotional issues seem overwhelming, seek counseling. It's OK to get help. :)


05-25-2010, 10:35 PM
I accepted the label I was a boredom eater and then I took steps to STOP DOING THAT. I think the label was helpful for me to understand why I had a proclivity to do something, it gave me actual tools for a specific situation.

05-26-2010, 08:41 AM
There are some clinical labels such as binge eater and such that are definitely overly used in a casual way or self-diagnosed. I have a tendency to overeat if I let myself. I can eat a ton. However, I have never really fallen under the clinical definition of binge eater. I don't restrict excessively and then eat massive amounts (like 7,000 calories) in an hour. I've had a few screw up days along the way that I call "binge days," but they aren't true binges.

That being said, there are a few members on here that most likely are textbook examples of binge eaters. Or anorexics or bullemics or even clinical food addicts. Hopefully, since they're here, they're all at some stage of the recovery process.

I do think it's important to label ourselves to an extent. I call myself a boredom eater and a stress eater. This doesn't make it okay for me to eat when I'm bored or stressed just because that's my habit and that's what I call myself, but it helps me face and recognize my issue. The first step is to admit you have a problem. At AA meetings, they all say "hi, my name is <blank> and I am an alcoholic." It's important for us to recognize our weaknesses so we can learn how to deal with things.

05-26-2010, 10:32 AM
I think ncuneo & mkendrick both have excellent points. We need to recognize and address our issues, but not allow them to become a crutch or excuse. I'm a stress eater. I can accept that and take steps to deal with my stress in a more healthful way, or I can say "oh well, I'm a stress eater...it's what I do" and leave it at that.

05-26-2010, 10:58 AM
Along the line somewhere I heard or read that we need to think and eat like a thin person. Kind of like putting a label on ourselves as a "thin person" Although there are thin folks that aren't healthy or don't eat healthy... so I think I like the label of a "healthy eater"

Good thoughts here folks!

05-26-2010, 01:27 PM
I am an actual binge eater. I have what is considered an eating disorder. And yes I agree that the term is highly misused and overused.

That being said, learning to identify myself as a person with a binge eating disorder has really raised my awareness. I actually used to think that what I did was normal…wow. What I do is by no means the norm and through research and talking with people (mostly here), I’ve learned that. I recognize that I have a problem. Before, I would just say, “Ohmigod, I pigged out last night…blah blah blah.” But that wasn’t covering it…skinny girls say that when they eat an extra slice of pizza. What I was doing was eating “perfectly” all day and then going home and eating until I was sick and not being able to control it. There’s a big difference between a lot of people’s pig-outs and mine and it IS important that I know that.

I feel…safer now? It’s weird, I can’t put it into words. But by identify myself specifically as a binge eater, I sort of don’t feel so alone. Even though I knew people did this, I didn’t include myself in the group…now that I do, it’s help relieve some of the anxiety associated with binges. It’s a process…I’m learning.

So yes, in a lot of ways I think labels are important. You have to be careful with them, but they can help.