Compulsive/Binge Eating or Overeating

Have you ever eaten food just to eat food? Not because you were hungry. Because it would taste good, or because you needed something to crunch on? We all know that healthy snacking between meals is a good thing to lose weight… but it really depends on what your snacking on.

When does your snacking/grazing become Binge or Compulsive Eating? When does it become Overeating?  I’ve been there before. Believe me, I still struggle with it. Yesterday I ate a few cookies, not because I was hungry- but because they were there, they looked good and I knew they would taste good. I supposed I could blame the chocolate craving on my period… but that would be an excuse. I ate them ultimately because I wanted to eat them.

For me, understanding the science why I do something is the first step towards correcting a behavior.


The word com·pul·sive

1. compelling; compulsory.
2. Psychology.
a. pertaining to, characterized by, or involving compulsion: a compulsive desire to cry.
b. governed by an obsessive need to conform, be scrupulous, etc., coupled with an inability to express positive emotions.

3. Psychology . a person whose behavior is governed by a compulsion.

The word binge

1. a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence, as in eating, drinking alcoholic beverages, etc.; spree.

verb (used without object), binged, bing·ing or binge·ing.
2. to have a binge: to binge on junk food.

Have you ever eaten something and then felt guilty afterwards? This is because you know you shouldn’t have eaten it. You’ve heard of binge drinking, or even binging and purging. Binging and purging is Bulimia. That is an eating disorder. Binge drinking can be considered alcoholism also a disorder.

So, have you heard of Compulsive Eating Disorder? I’ve always hated eating in front of people, mostly because I felt ashamed of what I was eating or how much I was eating or just the fact that I was self-conscious. But when did it become a secret? When did I start feeling guilty? This is why I’ve seriously tried to steer clear of the word “Diet”… because I’m not on a diet, I’m trying to change my lifestyle, I’m trying to break my bad habits and build good new ones. If you have the mindset that you are on a “Diet” then you will feel guilty about everything that isn’t “diet-approved” I think this will lead to more compulsive behavior. Because when someone doesn’t have control but is forcing something on themselves they tend to have more break downs or times when they lose control. I have been approaching my compulsive eating with the knowledge that, I will make some mistakes and I just can’t repeat them. I felt bad after eating those cookies, but I know it wasn’t the end of the world, I just can’t eat cookies everyday. I’m not saying totally deprive yourself, no one can do that- that leads to more binging which could be more damaging than eating a few cookies, and knowing when to stop. For example: If I had lost control I would have eaten the whole bag of cookies, instead of 4.

If you’ve had one eating disorder, you can develop another. A person that has any compulsive behavior (whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs, or even OCD) can develop another behavior simply because that person is looking to control something in their life or because they want to lose control. I can admit, that when I was in middle school – I was pretty obsessed with being skinny. I wanted to be skinny – my sister teased me and said I had a big butt. “You’re really small except for that big butt” I remember it so clearly because it effected me. The result, I stopped eating and I exercised religiously. Some would call that anorexia. I drank some milk and only ate 1 nutty bar at lunch so my friends wouldn’t suspect anything. I did that for 2 years.

It wasn’t until high school and when I was suffering with depression – did I become a compulsive overeater. I also only ate after school, rarely ate breakfast or lunch. I didn’t have any friends really- and my mom knew I didn’t eat lunch so we usually went out to eat right after school and then I ate dinner. Have you ever eaten so much that you threw up? Not because you were trying to… but because you were so full – your stomach couldn’t hold any more?? That was me in high school.  I was trying to fill a mental and emotional hole with food. My brother once snapped on me “Stop eating, I’m not going to push you around in a wheelchair!” That was something that stuck with me too, at the time it upset me- but I realize now it was coming from a good place. I was a size 26 when I graduated high school, I used to make my clothes because I hated trying on clothes. I developed a lot of bad eating habits that I’m still fighting to break.

The title of my blog is “Food my Frenemy” It describes my love/hate relationship with food. The poor choices I make with food makes it my enemy, the good choices that I’m making makes food my friend.

I’m learning to make healthy choices. A big part of my rehabilitation is portion control. If I choose eat mini meals for snacks (chilli or cereal) – I use one of my toddler’s bowls. Other snacks I eat are homemade trail mix, or a hard boiled egg, I also have baby carrots. If it were up to me – there wouldn’t be sweets in the house, (that’s the best way to not eat them) but my husband has a major sweet tooth that I can’t break for him… so it makes my job kinda hard sometimes. I used the word rehabilitation, because like drug addicts and alcoholics… people with food addiction/Compulsive Overeaters/Binge Eaters will always be “In recovery”. It is a compulsive disorder. There are so many people who struggle one or more symptoms of compulsive eating. Our society is built to indulge, it’s hinged on excess – think of everything being “Super Sized”. It’s easy to not have control when everything being sold to us is 3 or 4 times what our body needs. When my family and I go out to dinner, my son and I share a meal and we have leftovers (which usually feeds us 2 more times)… so that 1 meal is about 5 servings! I’ve included some links that should be helpful.

In addition to making wiser choices in eating. Your body will continue to crave food or give you the hungry sensation or send a signal to your brain telling you are hungry if you aren’t getting the proper nutrition your body needs. The Body by Vi Challenge has really helped me with this. I don’t have to think about eating, or making a whole lot of choices about food. I have 2 shakes a day, and 1 meal, and 3 snacks. Also a lot of times you think you are hungry- you might be thirsty. Drink water! I’m trying to drink a gallon of water a day. I have a cup that I use, if I drink 5 of them it’s a little over a gallon of water – I make tally marks on my calendar each day to reach that goal. And if you absolutely have to chew on something… sugar free gum is your best friend! Or ice if you need a crunch!

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4 responses to “Compulsive/Binge Eating or Overeating”

  1. Liezab says :

    This is so helpful, and something that I think people don’t talk about enough! Thank you for writing it.

  2. Jenn says :

    This is really interesting. Some of this about you I knew from you telling me, some I didn’t know, or didn’t know was a problem. I’m glad you’re figuring it out!

    Changing your mindset about food is tough–and I’m sure tougher for someone with compulsive eating disorder. I have changed my mindset about food SO much in the past few years… First being aware of the content of food–what’s in it calorie wise, and how much is “too much”…. to what is actually IN our food, from nutrients to harmful chemicals. I’ve been pescetarian for 7 months now. I feel very in-control. Mostly because when my brain goes CHICKEN WINGS!! I say… no, I don’t eat that anymore… So it’s not even an option.

    I also have a gym membership! Although I haven’t been recently because I’ve been sick… I can’t wait to go back because, like your image says, it’s such a good anti-depressant! I don’t love working out, but I do love how I feel after doing it. Also, I sleep so well. I always think that anyone who ever has sleeping issues should try getting their asses kicked at the gym.. I guarantee you you’ll sleep. Ha! 🙂

    Anyway–thanks for sharing and educating people about this!

    • naomisilas7 says :

      Not gonna lie, I had to google pescetarian! That’s good for you! You know how much I love chicken! I think I’m a chickenatarian! Lol I have replaced ground beef and turkey with ground chicken… I’m trying to include more fish in my diet.

      I’m glad that you are more health conscious about food- it will be interesting to eat lunch or dinner together when we see eachother! Haha! We used to eat some horrible things!

      Also it’s so true about working out. Somedays it’s hard to do something but I know the days I don’t work out I don’t sleep well. I think that’s why I like hiking so much, I’m outside and I’m working out and I’m getting a good workout- but I’m just walking (up a mountian) lol…

      Thanks for the comments! I always appreciate your feedback! 🙂

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