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Overeating vs binge eating | Balance

Do you feel like you overeat? Are you worried that you might be binge eating? It can be hard to tell the difference between overeating and binge eating, but it's important to understand the distinction.

Overeating is a normal part of life, but binge eating can be harmful if it becomes a regular occurrence. This blog post will help explain the differences between overeating and binge eating, so you can identify which one applies to you.

What is binge eating?

Binging can be defined as eating unusually large amounts of food within a relatively short period of time while feeling that one lacks self-control in regards to their behavior around food.

Binging is often secretive and done alone. Binge eaters often feel guilt and shame after binges, even if they cannot control these episodes. Binge eating disorder (BED) is further defined by the frequency of these episodes which, to meet clinical diagnosis, a person would need to have episodes of binge eating at least once a week for three months.

To quickly recap; binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following symptoms:

  • Eating much more quickly than normal

  • Eating until uncomfortably full

  • Eating large amounts of food even when not physically hungry

  • Eating alone because of embarrassment about how much one is eating

  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward

What is overeating?

Overeaters typically do not have an eating disorder diagnosis.

The primary distinction between overeating and binge eating is that overeating does not necessarily lead to extreme feelings of guilt, shame or other forms of negative / abusive self-talk . Overeating may include consuming too much food over a prolonged period without regard for physical hunger or fullness cues , but it does not necessarily entail a recurring pattern. In fact, in some instances overeating may be culturally appropriate (for instance, around Christmas or on one's birthday).<