It's time to stock up on holiday goodies again. No matter that you and many
of your friends and relatives are counting calories this year. It would be a
shame to be caught with an empty pantry if guests dropped by. What could it
hurt to lay in a supply of fancy chocolates, just to be on the safe side?
It's when you look at your chocolate-smudged fingers and see four empty
candy wrappers that it hits you. You're on a binge.
Most people overeat from time to time, and many people believe they frequently eat more than they should. Eating large amounts of food, however, does not mean that a person has binge eating disorder. Most people with serious binge eating problems have some of the following symptoms:
Frequent episodes of eating what others would consider an abnormally large amount of food
Frequent feelings of being unable to control what or how much is being eaten
Eating much more rapidly than usual
The next day, you join your co-workers in the break room and indulge in the
frosted cookies and other holiday goodies you'd been avoiding all week. That
night, you go to a party where you end up eating like there's no tomorrow.
What happened? Your diet had been going so well -- at least since the last
Why Do Special Occasions Make Us Vulnerable?
What is it about special occasions -- holidays, weddings, birthdays,
vacations -- that invites eating well past the point of being full? Three
experts talked to WebMD about the problem and gave some advice on how to bounce
back -- and how to prevent the next binge.
Special occasions trigger binges for three reasons, says David L. Katz, MD,
MPH, FACPM, author of The Way to Eat.
First, they provide a social license to binge because everyone's doing it.
"Indulgence loves company," Katz says.
Second, they provide opportunity: "You're surrounded by foods like
chocolate candy, and exposure begets indulgence."
And third, they provide a festive feeling: "You think because it's not
something you usually do that it's OK. You can compensate tomorrow."
Special occasions are part of a complex web of hobgoblins that ensnare us in
spite of our good intentions. Stress, loneliness, boredom, and feelings of
deprivation all contribute.
Deprivation is one of the big ones for dieters, says Dee Sandquist, MS, RD,
CD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Dieting for some people means skipping meals and getting overly hungry,"
she says. "That could cause a binge. You'll crave the foods you're leaving