what is binge eating disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. It is defined as recurrent episodes of binge eating and typically presents with the following criteria:
- Eating, in a discrete period of time (for example, within any two-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (for example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
- Eating much more rapidly than normal
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
- Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
- Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
- Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterwards
- Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months and is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (for example, purging) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.
It is extremely important to note that weight or appearance is not part of the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder [**]
Approximately 62.6% of those diagnosed with BED experience functional impairment either in social, familial or professional relations [*].
how can binge eating resources be helpful?
Despite the intense struggles that those with BED experience, it can be very challenging to seek treatment. Many of our clients have found that resources have been a great way to feel heard, seen and understood before or during treatment.
However, given that we are living in diet culture and most everything we do is drenched in weight stigma, finding weight neutral resources can be a challenge.
With any literature, there are some definite red flags that you can look for to determine if this source may be right for you during your recovery process. We’ve outlined them below.
Red Flags to Look For in Binge Eating Disorder Resources:
It prescribes a specific diet plan
If the book is promoting a specific way of eating - this may not be the best option for you for binge eating recovery. While many believe that controlling your food options will be helpful to reduce binge urges - it actually can exacerbate symptoms. More on that here. So if a book is recommending a specific diet plan - it may not be the best for you.
it prescribes weight loss as the "end goal"
if there is language about "good" vs "bad" foods
Whether or not a specific diet is prescribed, if the resource is talking about food in a “good” or “bad” way this may be one to skip. Labeling foods with these moral terms can only exacerbate the shame or guilt that you may feel when consuming them. A huge part of the recovery process is neutralizing the types of foods consumed.
the research presented is non-existent or sketchy
Many books will site multiple sources which may make you think they’re more credible. However, getting critical about the research provided is imperative! Here are some things to start to think about when looking at research papers:
- There is an adequate sample size - the more the better!
- Ensure it is randomized for biases and placebo controlled. A double blind experiment is considered the gold standard.
- Check the duration of the study. Longitudinal studies will provide information over longer periods of time.
- Ensure there are multiple trials for repeatability.
- Make sure to check the funding source! Many corporations will pay big bucks to ensure the research that is being put out into the world aligns with their mission so get curious about who is funding the research you’re reading.
With all this in mind - some of the resources you may want to check out are included below:
best binge eating books
- I Can’t Stop Eating: How to Break Free From the Cycle of Bingeing by Sarah Dosanjh, CSA, MSc linked here
- Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch linked here
- Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating by Rachel Hartley linked here
- More Than a Body: Your Body is an Instrument not an Ornament by Lexie and Lindsay Kite linked here
- The Mindful Eating Workbook by Vincci Tsui, RD linked here
- Unapologetically Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life By Alissa Rumsey Linked here
- Just Eat It by Laura Thomas linked here
best binge eating podcasts
- ED Matters
- Food Psych
- Breaking up with Binge Eating
- Behind the Binge