Eating Disorders

The Fitness Lifestyle and Binge Eating

As many of you already know, I’ve made it a priority of mine to understand the different types of eating disorders, how they originate, why so many of us find ourselves having to deal with them, and what can be done to end the struggle once and for all.

In my many hours of research on emotional eating, I’ve come across hundreds upon hundreds of articles and various research studies. The one thing they all seem to have in common when it comes to “cure” suggestions, is for the sufferer to eat only when hungry, and to do everything possible to keep the focus off food at all other times.

This made me realize something: If eating only when hungry, and not thinking about food at other times, are prerequisites to getting rid of the emotional eating or overeating disorders, then people who are serious trainees have a real problem!

Are Binge Eating Disorders More Prevalent in Fit Individuals?

Just think about it – people who eat by the clock, regardless of hunger levels; those who constantly think about food as they plan it days ahead of time, and weigh and measure every bit of food they put in their mouths – how are they to prevent this obsessive relationship with food, when their very lifestyle centers around being obsessive with it?

How do you NOT obsess when this is part of your day?

Then there’s the whole cycle of losing fat and gaining muscle, done in a yo-yo type fashion by most serious trainees and physique competitors. The average figure competitor, for instance, will go through a muscle-gaining “off-season” cycle, followed by a “cutting” period where she’ll follow a very low calorie, highly restrictive diet for 12 or 16 weeks.

Once that cutting cycle ends, she’ll allow herself the freedom to consume higher calories – along with some of her favorite foods once in a while, as she embarks on another “off-season.”

So, where’s the problem, you ask?

Simple: The simple fact that you’ve deprived yourself for a good 3-4 months, and (more often than not) followed a starvation diet, consisting of under 1,200 calories daily (as you did hours upon hours of cardio daily), has absolutely crashed your metabolism!

And there’s more…

Once you allow yourself to have more food; the second you tell yourself that it’s “okay” to indulge once in a while, as you’ve reached your goal – the minute you relax – your subconscious mind will begin to send intense “feed this starving body” signals that you, most likely, will find incredibly hard to resist!

This is why, no matter how well you realize the fact that you don’t actually *need* that entire box of cereal; nor will it disappear the minute you put down the spoon, and you can always have more later – you’ll have an overwhelming desire to finish it all off, as your body is trying to “fill up” on food while it’s “still available.”

After all, who knows when you’ll embark on another starvation period. Your body’s main goal is to survive. As you stand by the fridge late at night, eating peanut butter straight out of the jar with one spoonful after the next, all your body is focused on doing, is preserving itself.

Look familiar?

Survival.

That’s what it’s all about. And that, to me, explains the prevalence of binge and emotional eating in the fitness community.

In all honesty, I’m having a hard time with this idea. I like to think that we’re all very health-conscious individuals… and yet, if we’re the main cause of our own suffering, how aware and conscious are we, really?

Think I’m Wrong?

If you think I’m off base, I would absolutely LOVE to hear why. I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong. If you think I’m missing some major factor here, I really, really need to hear your thoughts.

And if you agree, or understand what I’m trying to say, I’d love to hear from you too… it’ll help me solidify my theory.

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