Nine percent of the US population will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. That may seem like a small portion of the population, but it actually equates to nearly 30 million Americans.
Binge eating is one of the disorders that a person may develop over time, and it’s just as damaging and dangerous as the others with which you’re more familiar. A binge eater will regularly eat a lot of food in a short period of time, making themselves uncomfortably full. However, most hide their binge-eating episodes, which means it can be hard to notice if someone you love is partaking in this unhealthy habit.
Still, there are ways to pinpoint if a person may have this eating disorder. Here are three major signs of binge eating:
1. Fluctuating Weight
As we said before, binge eaters tend to eat large amounts of food in short stretches of time. They cause themselves to feel painfully full from all that they have consumed.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but eating this many calories in such a short stretch of time is not easy for the body to process. That’s why so many binge eaters tend to have fluctuating weight. Most experience weight gain, which can be a sign for you to look out for if you suspect someone you love is binge eating.
2. Regular Dieting
One of the facts about binge eating is that a diet alone won’t fix this disorder. Most people who binge eat will need therapy and treatment for the disorder from a trained professional who can help pinpoint why they do this and how to stop.
This fact brings up another sign to look out for in someone you think may be bingeing. Many people who binge eat are often outwardly on a diet.
Now, this likely goes hand-in-hand with the above symptom of binge eating. Most binge eaters feel embarrassed about their habits and how their bodies change. Being on a constant diet may be their way of trying to fix their unhealthy eating patterns, although, as we said, this usually does not help for long.
3. Changes in Eating Habits
Finally, you may be able to find out if someone is binge eating by changes in the way they eat. For example, if you notice someone you love will no longer eat with you or any other people they know, they might be trying to hide a disordered way of eating.
Binge eaters might also skip meals or start to eat at unusual times. Again, they often do these things so that they can eat alone and without anyone watching them as they binge eat.
Parents, partners or roommates may also be able to tell if someone’s a binge eater if they find hidden food stashes or wrappers. Of course, you don’t want to go snooping and invade their privacy. However, happening upon hidden or discarded food wrappers can be a big sign that someone’s eating habits have changed and they’re perhaps overeating in private.
Help Someone Who’s Binge Eating
These three symptoms can help you determine if someone you love is binge eating. What do you do after pinpointing the problem, though? Your best bet is to handle the subject delicately — and ask an expert for help when you get past that first conversation.
Need more health and lifestyle advice? Be sure to check back with us for more.