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B.E.D ... And no it's not the thing you sleep in at night

So this post is about something that is very close to my heart - B.E.D (and no, it's not the thing you sleep in at night - as much as I do love my bed and could definitely write a whole post about it.) Binge Eating Disorder. It can affect anyone and everyone no matter or size, gender or age. Most people don't even know this disorder even exists, as it is not highly publicised. I myself didn't know anything about it until I experienced it first hand for myself and started researching about it. Then after talking to a few friends about it, realised that it is a lot more common than I thought as quite a few have said that they have experienced this to some degree at some point.

Binge Eating Disorder is characterised by the consuption of large quantities of food in a short period of time, often when the person is not hungry and they continue to eat long after they feel satisfied. This is associated with a feeling of complete loss of control, followed by a feeling of disgust and guilt after eating. Yes at this point you're probably thinking ... "Ummmm how can people just binge; if you're not hungry, easy, just stop eating ... duh." But until I experienced these urges for myself, I did not think that such huge cravings for something that even now to me seems so irrational were possible. Many people who suffer from this, binge in private as they don't want people seeing what they are eating - the old saying "if no one saw it ... then it didn't happen."

Now everybody emotionally eats from time to time. I think I would be hard pressed to find someone that can truly say that they have not over eaten at some point. Opening that pack of Tim Tam's for one as a post dinner treat can easily turn into mindlessly eating the whole packet in front of the TV (trust me I know). We do this for a variety of reasons. To distract ourselves with food from a stressful situation, because we're bored or basically to procrastinate. When you are stressed, the body gets flooded with a hormone called Cortisol, which makes you crave sugary, fatty and heavy carbohydrate laden foods. Which is another reason why we turn to food to deal with stressful emotional situations.

From my personal experiences there are a number of ways to deal with a binge.

1. Don't beat yourself up about it - realise you're only human and that sometimes these things happen. No one is perfect as much as we may try to be. Making yourself feel guilty and upset will only cause you to want to eat and crave fatty foods even more.

2. Don't say "screw it, today is gone" and continue eating bad for the rest of the day - When people are on diets and they have they deam as a cheat meal they say "oh screw it, today is gone. I'll just start healthy eating again tomorrow." I know I've definitely had days when I would have loved to have done that. This will keep you in that binge eating mind frame for longer. Eating and planning a healthy meal for the next meal after a binge can help suppress and overcome the feelings after a binge.

3. Don't starve yourself or restrict your food to compensate - Starving yourself or restricting your food in the following hours/days to compensate will most often only lead to further binges. Go back to eating healthily and normally and make sure you exercise to get you back in a good frame of mind.

4. Drink plenty of water - Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger pains and often a drink of water can satisfy them.

5. Find your triggers - Whether it be the 3pm sugar fix, that after dinner ice cream on the couch or another situation, find out what causes the feelings to overeat to appear. Once you know these you can be much more aware and in tune to them when they appear and become more equip to deal with them.

6. Never go hungry - When you are hungry you are more likely to want to eat anything and everything that comes across your path. Eating smaller meals every 2-3 hours and never allowing yourself to get to that ravenous stage can help you have the mental will power to control those urges to binge if they arise.

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