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Compulsive Eating: Are You an Overeater?

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Did you know that the number of obese people in the United States has increased by 2.7 million since 2007? More and more people are developing eating issues for many different reasons. Whether it is because of emotional stress, traumatic incidents, or self-confidence issues, people seem to run to food for comfort instead of seeking professional help.


Overeating is often overlooked and cannot be easily diagnosed, because of the vast amount of people in this country that are obese and have weight issues. Overeating is diagnosed and classified when people eat uncontrollably for different reasons such as emotional issues, dealing with traumatic incidents, and self-confidence issues. An overeater eats when they are feeling sad and depressed, or when they are happy and in a great mood. In one way or another, food finds a way to play a tremendous role in an overeater’s life. Weight control and loss is the focus of an overeater’s life. An overeater’s life really does revolve around food, when they are going to eat, and what they are going to eat is what is constantly running through their mind on a twenty-four-hour basis.


Many people do not know that they actually have issues with overeating. The average obese or overweight person tends to think that the weight issues that they have are normal, due to eating unhealthy things on a regular basis, and not exercising enough. The reality of it is that one out of every seven people is an overeater. People that eat all the time, even when they are not hungry or are completely full need to keep eating because of habit, due to binge eating disorder that so many of these overeaters have. Food is the biggest factor that people develop eating disorders, because of the way it makes a person feel, whether good or bad, the relationship between a person and food can be very complicated, and is different for every person.


Diagnosing someone with a binge-eating disorder is not an easy task, due to the fact that so many people are overweight. The main way to diagnose a person with having binge-eating disorder is by asking questions and figuring out the real reason that they like to eat so much, and if they can control their eating habits. An overeater can not control their eating habits what so ever, they need to eat an abnormally huge amount of food several times a day so that they feel complete or satisfied. Overeaters do not like to eat in front of other people, simply because of the fact that so many of them are embarrassed or ashamed of the amount of food that they consume in one sitting, and that they really have no control on what they eat or when they will stop eating.


Overeaters are most commonly recognized when a person will not eat in front of others, or go to social events where there will be a lot of food, because they do not want to lose control of their eating habits in public. A person can easily be recognized as having overeating issues when he or she regularly has spontaneous weight gain or weight loss within weeks or months.


The biggest and easiest way to characterize someone as an overeater is when he or she withdrawals themselves from activities with friends and family, or is not seen as often due to weight gain. Any person that will cancel plans, lose a great amount of focus in a specific area in their life, whether it be school, work, or their social life, all because they are trying to lose weight is a sign of being an overeater, or person dealing with an eating disorder. When a person feels the need to give up a certain amount of energy in focus on every aspect of his or her life except for one is when someone is truly showing signs of developing or having a binge-eating disorder type situation.


A few other ways that an overeater may be pointed out by is when a person is consistently going on different diets, and never giving him or her self a break or time off from trying to restrict his or herself. Also when a person is constantly talking about how much better they will look in a certain amount of time, or after they are done trying a new diet or schedule of food that they will eat for any given amount of time.


The biggest reason that so many people develop eating issues, or binge-eating disorder is because of emotional stress. Most commonly because of depression, people run to food to make their selves feel better about whatever it is in their life that is hurting or is causing emotional pain to them. A lot of the times it is heartache, heartbreak, or stress with financial issues and work. Overeaters usually are depressed because of the amount of weight gain that they regularly undergo, and do not want to be around other people. Overeaters like being alone and try to ignore and block out the real issues that they cover or hide with eating food.


Another big reason that so many people seek comfort and relief with food is when dealing with traumatic incidents. For example, having a loss in the family or loss of a friend, car accidents, or near-death experiences that really have taken a toll on the person’s life. Instead of dealing with their issues or traumatic incidents in counseling or venting about what they have been through with professionals, they would just rather not think or talk about it and eventually develop the habit of making them selves feel better by eating food. Overeaters that have gone through or had a traumatic incident in their lifetime that has caused so much pain and emotional stress may also develop a lot of signs and symptoms of depression as well.


Some of the most sad and unfortunate things that people with overeating issues develop are self-confidence issues. The rapid and spontaneous weight gain that overeaters are forced to deal with regularly, emotionally affects them and in the end makes them think lower of themselves. Women who are overeaters tend to feel less beautiful, and think that no one will find them beautiful or valuable because of their outside appearance and basically just the way that they look. Men with overeating issues feel less valuable in the sense of being a man, not as strong, less confident, and not as appealing. Overeaters are more shy and conservative after gaining more weight as time goes by, by always trying to keep to themselves and not be in crowded areas or greatly populated areas where they feel like they will stand out. Oftentimes binge eaters, or overeaters, want to be alone and do not like to be in crowds because of shame or guilt that they feel when eating large amounts of food in front of others or when around other people.


Along with gaining weight overeaters face a number of medical and health issues that are consequential due to their eating habits. A few examples of that are diabetes, mobility problems, arthritis, sleep depravation, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and death. Binge-eating disorder is not something that should be taken lightly, seeing all of the consequences and damages that people are dealing with relating to their bodies. As for a woman that is an overeater and pregnant, she may develop toxemia, which can unfortunately cause medical risks to both her and the infant in the future if the case is serious.


Dealing with overeating, or binge eating disorder is not easy to do, either alone or with help. People feel embarrassed by the fact that they let food play such a huge role in their lives, and feel ashamed that their problems are so serious that they need to seek professional help or guidance from others to get their lives back on track and start eating healthy again. There are in fact different treatment centers, like Renfrew Center or Overeaters Anonymous, that an overeater or person dealing with uncontrollable food binges or eating disorders can go to and get help on a twenty-four-hour round-the-clock basis. They have the option to either stay there for a few weeks, depending on how serious the case may be, or a few months. In these treatment centers a person with eating issues can go to twelve-step meetings, do different activities to deal with their issues and habits, and receive counseling regularly.


If a person has eating issues or is developing an eating disorder, he or she also has the option to call a hotline that is open for people to receive guidance or help in a desperate times of need, like a relapse or close encounter with going back to old habits.


The best thing that a person can do to help an overeater or person dealing with binge eating disorder is by letting them know the different resources that are available to them year round. Binge eaters do not like to feel like they are alone, they want people to help them through their disorder and struggle, by letting them know that other people go through similar issues and challenges in life. Overeaters usually need to undergo many years of treatment to finally get their eating habits under control, and back to a healthy and regular diet. They generally need to take classes involving portion control and learning to start making healthy eating habits, and choices over time.


Binge eating disorder and overeating is a very serious and common struggle that many people today are facing, more than ever. The number of obese and overweight people in the country will continue to grow if people with known eating disorders and unhealthy eating habits do not start changing their ways of eating or start seeking professional help. Overcoming an eating disorder is not easily done, and rarely is done alone; professional and medical help really is the healthy and more realistic choice to go for in order to get better. Treatment centers, support groups, and hotlines for those diagnosed with eating disorders, are highly recommended on the rode to recovery. 

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