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5 Things to Know About Binge-Eating

If you are experiencing or struggling with binge-eating symptoms, or feel out of control with your food, please seek out help from a qualified dietitian, such as myself.

1. Dieting can lead to more bingeing

Diets are restrictive in nature, they restrict your energy intake so you are hungrier than usual. This feeling of scarcity in your energy intake can increase your desire to eat more.

Especially increasing your desire for high sugar, high fat, highly palatable foods *cough cough* the foods you're likely restricting.

2. Food labels increase cravings

Telling yourself that there are 'good' foods and 'bad' foods, and actively trying to be 'good' can create the forbidden food effect.

This is where the foods you 'can't' have are put onto a pedestal, and it increases the desire to eat it.

Think about it, if you tell yourself you can't eat chocolate, every time you go to the shops and see the chocolate bars at the end of the isle you're going to be thinking about them, wanting them, but telling yourself no.

These can become your trigger foods.

3. Portion control is a form of restriction

Similar to point 1, giving yourself a set limit of how much of a food you're allowed to have can decrease the satisfaction you get from eating just that amount.

If you're at a party and someone offers you a cookie, and you say "oh okay I'll just have one" you're more likely to finish that cookie and feel like you're still missing out.

4. There's no such thing as not enough will power

The thing about willpower and mental control that most people forget, is that it fatigues.

You may be able to control yourself and say no earlier in the day and week, but as time goes on, and after the stress of the day and making 1000's of different decisions, your brain fatigues.

And it's not something you can truly get better at. There's ways to manage, but when it comes to bingeing, it is NOT a lack of self control. In fact, it's more likely because you're so controlled with food at every other point that that tires you more quickly, and if you're already hungry and tired from dieting, it makes it even more likely to lost that control.

5. Bingeing can be a coping tool

Binge-eating can have a big tie in with coping with emotions.

Although it may give you a temporary feeling of comfort, this is an unhealthy coping tool.

Bingeing from emotions is different to emotional eating.

While emotional eating is defined as overeating in response to an emotional trigger, in which the act of eating can self soothe, binge eating due to an emotional trigger is more of a rapid and out of control eating often to the point of feeling sick.

It is important to recognise though, that this can occur regardless of feeling hungry, restricted or fatigued.


Binge-eating tendencies and symptoms can be a result of many different factors, there is no one size fits all reason here. Which means that the approach you take to resolve these issues must also be personalised and tailored to your experience.

A good place to start is ensuring that you are eating enough energy throughout the day, eating consistently enough to ensure you aren't getting overly hungry, and being inclusive of all foods.

Letting go of control can help you regain feelings of control and choice in the long term.

Please reach out for support if you are struggling with these eating behaviours

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