How Big is a Binge?

Eating a chocolate egg

Eating a candy in Oxford

Often, I write on the bottom of my food logs for my dietitian “felt like a binge.”

Binges terrify me partially because I used to struggle with them. Restricting is awful, but eating out of control large amounts filled me with anguish instead of fixing my issues. Going back to that lifestyle still scares me.

There are two types of binges: subjective and objective. Both feel similar. You are often distraught, lonely, afraid, angry, or struggling with another emotion. When you eat, it feels uncontrollable, like you cannot stop. Afterward, guilt sets in as you remember your actions.

Food amount is what sets the two types of binges apart from each other. A subjective binge feels big to the person eating but not to an outsider. On the other hand, someone who struggles with objective binges will have enough food that others would agree the amount was too much.

Thus, one might argue that a subjective binge is not really a binge. After all, there is not that much food consumed. Today, for example, I had a small handful of trail mix. Nuts and dried fruit are two things that I love. However, eating this terrified me although I craved more. Did I really binge? No, but it sure felt like I did.

These feelings are important to note. Yes, someone who subjective binges eat less, but that does not erase the guilt and lack of control. Both types reek havoc on the lives of those inflicted. Restriction is awful but so is over-eating.


3 thoughts on “How Big is a Binge?

  1. mewhoami says:

    This sounds so familiar. I too suffer with subjective binges, what to others would be nothing to fuss about, but to me is serious. A binge to me is eating 3 cookies instead of 1, or a handful of chips instead of a couple.

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