Have you gone to a professional and been given just appalling advice that really knocked your confidence? People who do not understand this condition, do not realise how it affects your life and that it is not an easy thing to stop. It is a condition, a disorder that has developed over many years. Knowing more about your condition helps you to go to professionals for help and will give you the confidence to state your conditions and not accept it if they are trying to fob you off or give you unsound advice. Knowing these binge eating myths helps you when having to explain your condition.
Common Binge Eating myths
1. Just stop eating.
If it was that easy, of course you would have just stopped eating. The thing is, you are going for help because it is not easy. People who suggest this to you, do not understand the condition and are really belittling your experience. They are not taking you seriously. You know yourself when you feel a binge coming on and have no doubt tried many times to stop your binges.
2. Just lack willpower
You believe that if you just had a bit of willpower that you would be able to control yourself. Here’s the thing, willpower has nothing to do with it. It is a disorder. There are so many elements that go into binge eating, such as our past and our beliefs. To believe that willpower will stop it, it is like saying a stop sign is going to stop an artic truck hurtling down the motorway with no brakes. It is too simplistic and damaging to believe that.
3. Go on a diet
A diet will tell you what to eat and when to eat it. Sorry, this is not the answer. Firstly, by going on a diet you are giving over your autonomy to a diet. You are looking for a diet to fix your eating. It makes logical sense you eat more then you want to, so eating less will balance it out. Only we are not dealing with the logical. We are dealing with an addiction. An addiction is not logical. Binge eating is fuelled by the beliefs and emotions that we have around it. Emotions are often what cause us to choose what we fancy to eat, hunger is driving how much we want to eat and learnt behaviour is driving our eating patterns. Following a diet is not going to change that. It is like reading instructions to a game, only the game in the box is not the same as the instructions. They are different things.
4. It’s just overeating.
All you need to do to stop binge eating is cut back. Eating too much could be at dinner time and you get a really nice dinner so you just overeat. It could be eating 4 biscuits instead of the 2 you said you would have. The biggest difference is the feelings that come with this. With overeating there is no urge to eat lots. The feeling of wanting to binge is this huge urge, you must have your foods. With overeating that is not there. You are eating your food and it tastes good and is so good you just want to eat more of it. You eat a bit more until you are full or just past full and then it gets uncomfortable so you stop. With binge eating you ignore the full feeling and keep going.
5. You’re not overweight, so you don’t have a problem.
What? Where did this one come from? Why do you have to be overweight to suffer with an eating disorder? I think the perception is that you binge and eat way too much so therefore you must be overweight. The thing with binge eating, is that very often it comes with a lot of restriction. A person can be of normal weight but have irregular eating patterns or binge and restrict. They do not have a problem with weight, in fact weight has nothing to do with it for them. It is that the pattern of eating takes over their lives.
Now that you know these Binge Eating myths, hopefully it gives you some ammunition to help you when going to a professional for help. It also boosts your confidence in understanding your condition better.
Beat is an excellent charity for eating disorders. Read this article about their view on Binge Eating myths.