• Emma Green

Bingeing vs overeating.


These two terms are often used interchangeably but they have a number of differences. Here are 3 of them:⠀ 1. Sense of control: Bingeing involves a feeling of being out of control. The individual feels a loss of control over what and how much they eat during an episode. This is a characterised by ‘feeling 'driven' or 'compelled to eat,' feeling 'unable to stop eating once eating had started,' or feeling 'unable to prevent the episode from occurring'. Overeating does not involve feeling out of control. It is a conscious choice to enjoy food past the point of satiation. It is not experienced as a compulsion.

2. Secret vs public: Bingeing almost always occurs when the person is alone. The individual typically feels a sense of shame about their behaviour and do not want it to be visible to others. Although overeating can also occur when a person is alone, it is typically not in a secretive way. Most overeating occurs in social settings, such as when celebrating a special occasion.

3. Emotional response: Individuals struggling with bingeing are usually experiencing a lot of negative emotions, both those that trigger the bingeing episodes and those that occur after bingeing episodes. Typically these emotions such as shame, anxiety and guilt. In contrast, overeating is usually associated with positive emotions, such as enjoyment of a particular food or celebrating an event. However, sometimes people who overeat experience a sense of regret afterwards because of the judgement they’ve placed on themselves.

If you are struggling with either of these, know that it can get better. It takes a lot of hard work and patience but overcoming it is always possible!

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