How Binge Eating Affects the Body

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Binge eating can take a toll on your body both mentally and physically. Of course, there are the obvious outcomes of weight gain and the possibility of obesity, but there are some other effects that aren’t so obvious. In this article, we will discuss how binge eating affects the body.

how binge eating affects the body

What are the Binge Eating Effects on the Body?

Binge eating definitely affects both our emotional wellbeing and our physical well-being. It’s easy to focus on the obvious impact such as weight gain, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, but not everyone who binges is obese or experiences these effects. People who struggle with binge eating can be at a healthy weight. There are other physical and mental effects of bingeing.

Effects on the Hair and Skin

When people binge, they may consume foods that aren’t healthy. Nutrient deficiencies caused by a lack of nutritious foods or calorie restriction can cause things like dry, brittle hair (or loss of hair) and dry, dull skin.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Eating large amounts of food can cause you to feel uncomfortably full and sick to your stomach. You might also experience bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain. Eating large amounts of food can also contribute to acid reflux, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and IBS.

Endocrine System Effects

Binge Eating Disorder may cause high blood pressure (hypertension). Being overweight and having diabetes are common health conditions that contribute to high blood pressure. (Again, just because people have binge eating disorder, they may not be overweight.) Additionally, consuming large amounts of salty, fatty foods can contribute to high blood pressure.

Mental Effects of Binge Eating Disorder

Many people who suffer from binge eating disorder experience self-hatred, shame, and self-loathing after a binge. They may also struggle with anxiety and depression. Due to shame, many of those with binge eating distance themselves from other people, which adds to feelings of sadness and depression, which in turn can trigger bingeing. It’s a vicious cycle.  

Binge eating disorder can contribute to relationship issues with family members. This is especially true if well-intentioned loved ones behave like the food police, focusing on food, which is shaming and therefore can also trigger bingeing

What Can We Do?

First, be kind to yourself.  Understand binge eating is not about willpower or control, and it’s not even about food. Bingeing is a way of coping, but it’s a “frenemy” because it protects and helps us in some way, but it’s an enemy because it also hurts us.

You are binge eating to protect yourself. You might be thinking, “Protect myself from what?” 

We often binge to avoid emotions and deal with those feelings.

Think about the times that you turn to food. What are you feeling in those moments? What was going on in your life? Really try to nail down what is bothering you and give your feelings a voice. 

Were you feeling bored or lonely? Did you go through a breakup recently? Did you lose your job? Did a family member pass away? Think about what is currently going on in your life and see what feelings come up. 

Once you have narrowed down the “why” behind your binge you will start to feel a weight being lifted off of your shoulders and you can start to enjoy food again. 

To Wrap It Up

To conclude on how binge eating affects the body, it affects both our physical and mental health. Restrictive diets aren’t the answer. Take some time to consider the “why” behind your eating so you can heal your relationship with yourself and with food for good.

You don’t have to go through this alone. You can get support and be a part of a larger group of people who understand what you are going through. Head over to my free Facebook diet-free community where you can get support on your journey to healing.

 The Author



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Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin is a psychoanalyst, author and radio host specializing in binge eating disorder. She is the author of The Binge Cure: 7 Steps to Outsmart Emotional Eating and Food for Thought: Perspectives on Eating Disorders, and co-editor of Beyond the Primal Addiction. She hosts The Dr. Nina Show radio program on LA Talk Radio. Her recent TEDx talk is Why Binge Eating is NOT about Food.