What is Binge Eating Disorder? (+ how I stopped binge eating)


Binge eating disorder controlled my life for 10 years.

During this time, it felt like food controlled me. I was always trying to lose weight. I didn’t want to binge eat but I didn’t know how to stop.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder officially added to the DSM5 in 2013. Binge eating disorder is characterized as: 

  • Recurrent episode of binge eating (i.e.at least once a week for 3 months.)

  • Eating an amount of food much larger than most people would normally eat, within a short, discrete period of time.

  • Feeling a lack of control during the eating (“I know I should stop but I can’t stop eating”)

  • Eating more quickly than usual

  • Eating until you feel uncomfortably full

  • Eating large amounts of food when you aren’t hungry

  • Feeling ashamed, guilty or depressed after

If you can relate to most or all of these, you may have binge eating disorder.

If you can relate to some, but not most or all of these, then you may still be a binge eater but it hasn’t progressed to an eating disorder. Yet.

Please don’t wait for it to become binge eating disorder. I wish I got help sooner. 

If you struggle with binge eating disorder or binge and emotional eating, my 10-week online Keep It Real program can help you.

How do you develop Binge Eating Disorder

Most often, you’re trying to lose weight.  You’ve spent the whole week eating ‘clean’ because you believe “summer bodies are made in winter” (that’s wrong – but that’s a whole other blog post). 

Unlike previous times when your willpower let you down, this time you are determined to succeed, lose weight and finally have the perfect body like {insert dream body type here}. 

You made a commitment to yourself that this time will be different. According to #instafamous fitness models, you are doing all the right things… 

Is this how you lose weight?

You have been working out rigorously. Sweat is fat crying, isn’t it? You signed up to boot camp to help get your sexy back. You hate waking up at 5am in the morning but you are willing to sacrifice your sleep-ins for a concave stomach. 

It’s all about inspiration, right?

  • You made an album on Pinterest of what you want your body to look like and you’ve started following bikini models on Insta. Whenever you feel unmotivated, you will look at these images and remind yourself how far you still have to go. 

You’ve quit sugar/fat/fun and avoid fattening foods

  • You haven’t eaten any junk food in 7 days, 11 hours and 4 minutes. Not a granule of sugar has passed your lips – let along fruit! You read somewhere that sugar is more dangerous than riding a unicycle naked so you avoid the stuff like the plague. 

You are following a meal plan

  • You are strictly adhering to a  meal plan that includes six small meals a day. The founders of the Instagram/Facebook account who you bought the plan from look so good in a bikini so it must work.

  • She also makes millions of $$$ off your desperation but you ignore that. Apparently, unlike all the other diets – this diet actually works! You hate protein shakes and they make you fart a lot but you’re willing to drink them.

You’re hungry ALL the time

  • You’ve gotten accustomed to feeling lethargic and moody. When you feel hungry, you suck on ice-cubes or have a nap because that’s ‘healthy’. Perhaps having a fast metabolism makes you very tired? You blame it on sugar and carb and everything withdrawals and decide to sleep more and not see other people. Seeing friends and being healthy becomes too hard.

Your diet is going really well (in your opinion) and in just over a week, you have already lost a bit of weight on the scales. Hooray!

All is going well until…

One day you find yourself home alone and then suddenly, your willpower has been replaced by peanut butter, cereal, bread, leftovers, some stale chips, yoghurt from the container and several large mouthfuls of cookies and cream ice-cream. And then some… 

Are you an emotional or binge eating? Does this sound familiar?

Today, I am going to be sharing with you what I have learned about binge eating disorder and emotional eating and give you some key tips to break the vicious cycle.  

5 things you need to know about binge eating

1. Most often, diets cause Binge Eating. 

Binge eating is caused by dieting. When we diet, we restrict and feel obsessed by food. 

The body doesn’t like being underfed.

A very important role of the body is to ensure we don’t starve. Unfortunately, diets simulate starvation which aggravates binge and emotional over eating.

In some cases, binge eating can be caused by other underlying issues like anxiety and depression, not dieting. But dieting is a big one. A very big one. 

Diets and exercise programs where we make ourselves do things we dislike are particularly bad…. such as eating a salad when we really want a sandwich or waking up at 5am when we are not really a morning person.

2. You must enjoy eating healthily

If you want to stop binge eating, don’t cut out foods you love. Don’t exercise as punishment for eating.

You must eat well and move your body because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself. You have to make healthy eating enjoyable (that sometimes means add back in the calories).

When healthy food tastes good, you don’t need to rely on willpower. 

3. You can’t starve yourself skinny

When you diet, your body thinks you’re starving. 

Binge and emotional eating is your bodies way of ensuring you do not starve. 

This may explain why you binge on high energy foods like peanut butter, chocolate, ice-cream and chips. 

If you begin to feed your body properly, it will begin to trust you again and you’ll stop being able to eat the whole pantry. 

Stop dieting, start listing to your body and cravings will subside. 

I teach you how in my 10-week online program Keep It Real which can help you stop emotional and binge eating. 

 Via The Nude Nutritionist Instagram -  @nude_nutritionist  Via The Nude Nutritionist Instagram – @nude_nutritionist

4. You are not lazy or have ‘poor willpower’ if you binge eat

Binge or emotional eating does not make you weak or lazy. Nor does it mean that you have no willpower.

Your body has developed a very powerful defense mechanism to combat your under eating.

When you restrict what you eat, your body decides to ‘turn off’ the rational parts of your brain that self-manages food intake and you are not longer in control. 

Ironically, telling yourself that you are weak and lazy (and feeling guilty after eating) only encourages more binge eating.

Leave the food guilt at the door. Embrace everything in moderation. 

5. Binge eating loves being home alone

Binge eating most often happens in private.

In a world where fat is feared, it is really hard to admit that you can’t control what you eat. People are judgemental. The problem is that the more we eat in private and the longer we keep our eating a secret, the worse your binge eating gets. 

Let me give you permission: ‘Junk food’ is not off limits to you anymore. But, when you enjoy treats, be sure you’re with people, at a social occasion.

Don’t eat in secret anymore.

It’s scary to think that people will ‘judge’ you if they see you eating junk food but it’s crucial and so worth it. 

As I’ve said in an earlier post, stop waiting for the weight. If you want to lose the weight, stop waiting.

Get out. See friends. Make plans. Buy a bikini. Go to the beach. People who do fun adventurous things think less about food because they are too busy having fun to care.

The chances of the weight coming off when you’re out living your life is much greater than when you’re at home alone, watching TV (next to the kitchen).

And even if you don’t lose the weight by getting out there, at least you wouldn’t have missed out on your life whilst you waited for nothing.


If want to stop binge eating forever and end emotional eating, then let’s do something about it. Check out my Keep It Real Online Course to help you stop binge eating. 

If you have binge eating disorder, I recommend speaking to your GP who can also refer you on for specialist support.