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Over-eating or binging- is there a difference?

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:22 PM   #1
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Default Over-eating or binging- is there a difference?

Last year, I became involved in OA- went to online meetings, read their magazine, had 2 online sponsors, was reading the AA book and trying to begin to work the steps. My husband swore up and down that I wasn't an over-eater and that I didn't binge eat like I thought I was doing. I sorta came to a point where I was like "well if he doesn't think I am... and medically speaking I'm not, maybe I should stop?" So I did stop and I have gained almost 20 lbs since then- which on top of me missing the online meetings and the support- makes me think maybe I should get involved again.

Here's the deal- when I looked up the Mayo Clinic information on binge eating it says the following symptoms-
  • Eating unusually large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you're full or not hungry
  • Eating rapidly during binge episodes
  • Eating until you're uncomfortably full
  • Frequently eating alone
  • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
  • Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating
  • Experiencing depression and anxiety
  • Feeling isolated and having difficulty talking about your feelings
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
  • Losing and gaining weight repeatedly, also called yo-yo dieting
Most of these fit with what I'm dealing with.

Except I'm not sure if there's some kind of "cut off" line on what is meant by eating large amounts of food. Some days yes I won't stop eating- I'll just consume a large amount of food- for myself- without being concerned about if I'm hungry or not or if I'm full or not. Other days I'm totally not eating anything because I don't feel hungry.

So can I still be considered a binge eater if my normal routine is to eat large meals and snacks often throughout the day without consideration to if I'm full or hungry? Or do I need to fit into a certain amount of calories consumed? Are there levels to binge eating?

I'm coming to a point of where I feel like I might just go back to doing parts of OA that were really helping me and not be too concerned about if I'm this or that.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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We have discussed this a few times around here- I think that binge eating is binge eating because there is a feeling of a loss of control or anxiety. For example- on Christmas I probably ate 4,000 calories. But it was because I wanted to have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and M&Ms for dinner with some other goodies thrown in. I didnt hide anything, I wasnt eating to numb myself- and I really didnt feel guilty about it afterward.

Did I overeat? absolutely. Did I binge? No.

fast forward to New Years Eve. I was stressed, I was feeling blue-- and I was HUNGRY. I snuck to the gas station and ate a bunch of goodies as fast as I could. I inhaled a pint of arctic zero while DH was in the shower. I was out of control, and careful to make sure that only I knew what I had really eaten. My total calories for the day ended up around 3,000.

THAT was a binge.

I think its more about a state of mind than food. It's not- "I slipped up on my plan and ate two cookies". Its more of an "I ate until I was sick because I wanted to numb some other feelings I was having, and afterward- I regret every bite."

If OA worked for you- I dont think it matters if you are technically a "binge eater" or not. You just have to do whats best for you!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
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I agree with danzingurl77. Couldn't have said it better myself.

While there's certainly a difference between binge eating and overeating, if the OA support was helping you, then keep doing it.

Good luck and Happy New Year!
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by danzingurl77 View Post
I think it's more about a state of mind than food.
Yes, this exactly. I also feel that binging doesn't have to do much with calories, or even with how fast you eat (I always tend to eat quite slowly).

I could easily eat the exact same things, and depending on circumstances could count it as an unhealthy binge or just a cheat meal, something that can be part of perfectly healthy eating. Generally speaking for me personally what I count as a binge is secretive eating that I do alone, something that I hide from others, and wouldn't want them to know about. I usually feel bad about myself afterwards, almost as if it hadn't been me who made the decision to eat - there's the feeling of the real me having left the present moment, and then when she comes back after eating, she feels bad about what just happened. It's clear that the real me didn't make the decision to eat, because if she had done that, she'd be content with her decision still after eating and wouldn't feel bad about herself.

Then if I eat the exact same amount of food with friends, for example... there's nothing secretive about it, it's just an enjoyable thing I share with the people I love, have a great time, and have the feeling that it was I who made the conscious decision to eat, and so after eating I feel good about myself because the real me never left, if that makes sense. Because the real me was the one who made the decision to eat and she was there all along, she continues to be happy about her decision to eat.

I hope that didn't sound too weird, hehe... Some things are difficult to explain.

I'd say that since OA helped you and you feel like you've a problem with eating, stick with OA, Angeldove. Even though someone close to us wouldn't see we have a problem with eating, doesn't mean we cannot have a problem with it... I don't think anyone in my offline life would know I have a problem with food because I hide it so well.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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Thank for posting that, very interesting! For me, I guess I'd consider overeating to mean eating past the point that I'm satisfied and/or taking in more calories than I know I need just because I want them. I overate last night, but I didn't binge.

Bingeing is when I eat four cheese sticks, 4 eggs, 5 pieces of bacon, some sour cream, some peanut butter, some chocolate, 3 bananas etc lol. It's just taking in an insane amount of calories due to boredom or an emotional trigger. It's just eating and eating and eating until I feel awful.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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In addition to all the contributions in this thread, I find binge eating is usually accompanied by a kind of "zoning out" - a lot of people binge in the car, or while watching TV, or while standing and pretending to do something else around the house - because it's too painful to really be cognizant of what you're doing in the moment. I remember sometimes when I lived alone I would binge, and make it like a party - I'd put on a string of carefully chosen TV shows after collecting a ton of food (all the while worried it wouldn't be enough, and sometimes it wasn't) and then make myself a nest and just eat it all mindlessly as fast as I could while getting distracted by TV.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:45 PM   #7
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Interesting thread, and I can't improve upon anything that anyone has already posted.

For me, the secrecy is the big thing. I used to eat far more when I binged, and I usually purged, too. It's easy to see something is wrong there. But it's a little more subtle when I only eat 2 Reese's Peanut Butter trees (DARN you, Reese's people! Darn you to heck!), yet those are eaten behind a closed door and I hide the wrappers where no one will find them.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:17 AM   #8
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For me too, bingeing is linked to loss of control, secrecy and regrets afterwards. While overeating is simply eating too much--something that happens to probably ev eryone at some point or other, like when we enjoy good homemade food at Christmas, and so on.

For instance, I definitely overate on New Year (well, alright, we had raclette cheese, and anything over 3 slices is already too much for my stomach, so I guess reaching the point of overeating was bound to happen quite fast *lol*). And I ate several homemade little cookies over the whole day. So for me, it was 'eating more than usual/overeating'. On the other hand, I didn't sneak any of those cookies (yet the boxes were all in the same room where I slept for two weeks!), there was no feeling of shame or loss of control (everyone else around me ate the same way), and I wouldn't consider this a binge, even though I did eat past what was usual quantities for me.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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Krampus- I so identify with what you said! I definitely have had those "parties of one." I'd also make sure I didn't have to pee before I sat down to binge so I could make sure I was totally comfortable! And then I'd eat myself sick and usually flop down and take a nap right afterwards.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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I kind of miss that sometimes, but I don't miss the guilt and the GAS!

Here is something interesting about binge eating and "concoctions" - I definitely have done this. http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/01...medium=twitter
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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For me, bingeing always meant that I felt an urge, and some strong force that wasn't quite "me" spurn me on to keep eating well past the full mark. It didn't matter if I had just had a filling meal and was satisfied. This little monster would come out of nowhere and put thoughts into my head that eating an entire row of chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and a few donuts in one sitting would be a good idea! WHAT?! And like an idiot I would follow that little voice until I was stuffed, bloated, sick, and feeling guilty.

As a kid on Halloween night, I would often sit around with friends and we would devour half our bags in one night! Would I call this binge eating? Heck no! I didn't even know what bingeing was at that age, and had no concept of food issues or eating disorders (the good old days...). We were just having a good time. Back then, it never would have occurred to me to associate food and guilt, and now that I am getting over my food issues, guilt where eating comes in, STILL makes no sense to me. No one was murdered after all.

Overeating to me, means, my dinner was so good so I decided to eat an extra helping. Ok, so now I feel full and a little bloaty, but nothing to put me out commission for the next few days either. Big deal. Besides, the decision came from *me*, not the little voice. It's completely normal to overeat a meal from time to time and move on. It is not normal to binge eat.

Grazing all day to me sounds like compulsive overeating. Binge eating to me has always meant eating a large amount of food (subjective) than one would normally eat within a 2 hour time period. Usually it's one long sit down with lots of food cramming.

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krampus View Post
Here is something interesting about binge eating and "concoctions" - I definitely have done this. http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/01...medium=twitter
Quote:
Examples of different connotations include mixing mashed potatoes and Oreo cookies, frozen vegetables mixed with mayonnaise, and chips with lemon, pork rinds, and Italian dressing and salt.
I think my inner (and outer) French woman has just died a little. T_T
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:41 AM   #13
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I kind of miss that sometimes, but I don't miss the guilt and the GAS!

Here is something interesting about binge eating and "concoctions" - I definitely have done this.

Ooh geez- no I don't do that. I can't do that! I'm sorta OCD about how I eat food on my plate. I like things sectioned off, although I don't mind sections touching each other. But I have to finish one section before moving on to the next one usually- I don't like having a bite of salad, then protein, then carb, I have to eat all of my salad, then move on to eating all of the protein, etc. (Oddly enough the only type of food I can mix is like Mexican stuff- like rice and beans, veggies, meat that come on a platter)

I realize though with my way of eating that I sort of feel like I have to get to the finish line- if I want some of that meat I have to finish this and that section first. It's stupid, I know, but even if I do mix up my food, I then have issues with having to finish it so I don't waste food (and I don't like eating reheated food).

So much to deal with...
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:56 PM   #14
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... I'd put on a string of carefully chosen TV shows after collecting a ton of food (all the while worried it wouldn't be enough, and sometimes it wasn't) and then make myself a nest and just eat it all mindlessly as fast as I could while getting distracted by TV.
This EXACTLY.

I never did the concocting thing though; I am so uncreative during a binge that I can't even be bothered to actually cook anything -- it all comes out of containers and packages.

It's sad actually that sometimes I would be craving some sort of recipe (as an example, maybe s'mores or something that requires a bit of assembly on my part) but I would never get to the s'mores making because I can't buy them ready made! I would never get to satisfy whatever the original craving was!

I'm a convenience store binger; Walgreens or a gas station are my go-to's because they tend to have a lot of single servings of things that are easy to eat right out of the package.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #15
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I could have a perfectly, healthy , low calorie plate of food in front of me and overeat, this is not a binge. A binge to me is uncontrolled, mindless eating and in my case odd choices of food, I might eat a box or most of a box of Cheerios and I don't actually like Cheerios that much, or I might eat a loaf of French Bread loaded with butter an urge just comes over me and I know I will regret it but can't seem to stop. I don't do this very often, though.I am getting better but I know it can happen any time, there s no sense to it, actually..
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