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Overeating or Bingeing: What's the Difference?

Overeating or Bingeing: What's the Difference?

A lot of people have been asking about the differences in overeating and bingeing. Just because you overeat, does not mean you have a problem bingeing. Splurging on three pieces of pizza (and laughing about it with your diet buddies) is not necessarily considered a binge and it really differs on a case by case basis.

Here's the deal from The Center for Emotional Well-Being:

Eating more than you plan isn’t necessarily a binge. The exact amount will depend from person to person. This means that for one person a binge may be eating an entire packet of chocolate macaroons, but for another it could be a jumbo pizza, and a tub of ice cream with a beer chaser. Other indications of bingeing are three or more of the following:

  • Eating faster than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when you are not physically hungry
  • Eating alone or hiding eating to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling ashamed, disgusted, depressed, distressed or guilty about overeating

Bingers are also known to hoard food and hide empty food containers. If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder then please contact a professional who can help you with this matter. Check out to find a provider near you.


Join The Conversation
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 9 years
I legitimately have an issue of binge/purging, and from that I feel like I've never been fatter in my life.
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
really a struggle
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I've spent most of my life trying to get healthier attitudes about eating, and seeing the distinction here really made me kinda sad since it really is binge eating that I struggle with. I've had my weight fluctuate in the past 10 years (15 - 25) and I am a crazy healthy eater. 90% of the time. I'm a total calorie bomber, and would be probably a much healthier person if I were able to shed my issues with food. I eat faster and faster, more and more, and note in my food journal 'never again do I need to feel this full.' And then it will happen again. I hate having an instinctual feeling to eat alone, to sneak food and have some crazy shame. Not like anyone else would care if I ate a donut or some pizza... but I just feel myself freaking out. I have known a lot of gymorexics and exercise bulimics (southern cali has a lot of body issues) and I think it only makes sense to work out to negate those excess calories if I'm struggling with being able to eat less... I think the point is to find a healthy balance, where you're in control and not compensating. If I chose to eat and then work out, rather than lost a struggle and then had to, it would be healthier...
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I used to binge on really bad stuff...whole rolls of cookie dough (unbaked), entire boxes of poptarts, whole packages of Fig Newtons, etc. It was really bad when I started college because I was under so much stress. Once I realized what I was doing to myself, I stopped eating that kind of food. I started snacking on fruits and veggies and stopped eating to relieve stress. Instead, I started working out and keeping a journal of my feelings. I lost 90 lbs and have kept it off for 6 years. I think my mom has a problem with compulsive overeating...not sure if she technically binges though. She'll eat several dishes of ice cream a night, or she'll buy a container of her favorite peanut squares and eat them all in one sitting. I think she eats because she's stressed out...I wish I could help her get healthy, but I think she has to realize that she has a problem and needs to resolve it.
almostloli almostloli 9 years
i used to binge eat (when all i could think about was losing weight, and the more i think about it the more i crave for food, thats why) ah and im not proud of it. go healthy eating!
Michelle-StG Michelle-StG 9 years
winniebaby, I'm not a psychologist so I can't diagnose you but that is bulimia. It's referred to as "exercise bulimia" sometimes - do a google search and you can find out a lot more. Then, go get help. You do need it. I had bulimia (but with purging) and I wasn't thin and not obese - so it didn't seem like I had a problem, but I knew I did - kind of like what you described. I had a psychologist and it helped me sooo much. Good luck to you.
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
I dont know if what I do is called binging, but, when I feel down, I stuff my face...I try to never let myself get sooooooo down, but sometimes, u cant always turn lemons into lemonade.
winniebaby winniebaby 9 years
I have the same problem with binge eating. I start out everyday resolving not to binge, but by the end of the day, it just seems hopeless... Everyday is a battle, sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. What bugs me is that because I work out a lot to compensate, I am not overweight. Other people don't believe that I have a eating problem, or they make comments like oh you have a high metabolism. Sometimes I just want to tape my mouth so I will stop eating. I actually didn't know this is an eating disorder... It's good to know that there are others out there who are struggling with this as well.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
Good luck kiddylnd. I'm sure it's a struggle to stay clean every every day - stay strong!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
My big thing was when my kid was away at Grandma's I'd hit up 3 drive thru's and get a BIG size meal at all 3, come home and binge/purge in shifts. It was horrible. Shame was often only felt when I was spending $35 in one night on food for only myself. This is still something I stuggle with NOT doing every day of my life. It's a disease people, so don't tell me to just stop. Intense therapy and family support is what keeps me going, but like an alcoholic, I will always be what I am. I just have to keep clean.
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