Did you see the sad case of Georgia Davis age 20 in the Sun Newspaper on April 7th 2013?
Georgia has battled with her weight all her life; at the age of 15 she weighed 33st. She lost 14st 6lbs in 9 months at a kid’s weight loss camp in the US. Unfortunately she piled it all back on plus some; she went up to 63st. Georgia then dropped to 40st 6lbs but again piled on the lbs. She is now critically ill in hospital with cellulitis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
B-eat charity says more needs to be done for those who suffer from emotional or compulsive overeating.”People need support to get the root cause of the problem and at the moment there just isn’t enough” says Leanne Thorndyke.
Georgia Davis is an extreme case of overeating/compulsive eating however there are more and more cases like her’s. Lifelong dieters suffer from yo-yo dieting and can relate to the weight loss and weight gain scenario.
Losing weight and keeping it off is not just about calories in v calories out, it is about your mindset, your environment, your support network. It is about understanding who you are, where you are at this moment in your life, knowing where you want to be and having a plan of action to get you there; especially when times are tough.
Let’s have a look at compulsive eating in more detail; does any of the following relate to you?
Compulsive eaters refer to people who consume more food than their bodies can use. Although all individuals have overeaten at some point in their lives, compulsive people are addicted to food (Choong, n.d.). They eat even if they are not hungry and continue eating even if they are already full. Unlike bulimics, though, compulsive eaters do not purge the food they eat. While many of them are overweight, some stay thin by fasting or exercising for unreasonably long periods of time.
Why do compulsive eaters behave the way they do?
Compulsive eating has been attributed to the following causes:
- Biological – Studies show there is a possible link between compulsive eating and biological abnormalities such as hormonal irregularities and genetic mutation (Ekern, 2012).
- Depression – According to the NHS (2013), 50% of compulsive eaters had a prior history of depression.
- Stress – Stressful situations (loss of a job, divorce, death in the family, etc.) can trigger various negative emotions in people (anger, boredom, anxiety, sadness, etc.). These emotions, in turn, drive compulsive eaters to overeat. Compulsive eaters view food as a way of soothing themselves or not having to deal with negative emotions.
- Dieting – In a desperate attempt to lose weight, some people will starve themselves for long periods of time. But they will eventually give in to extreme hunger and overeat as a result.
- Food additives – Corn syrup (a main ingredient in soda) and processed carbohydrates (crackers, chips, etc.) can trigger compulsive eating (Kvist, 2013).
- Nutritional deficiencies – Compulsive eating has also been traced to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals in the body. Such vitamins and minerals include Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium (Something Fishy, 2007).
Many compulsive eaters prefer to hide their condition from their family and friends instead of seeking help.
Below are ways in which compulsive eaters hide their condition:
- Avoiding social interactions that involve food (birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, etc.)
- Insists on eating alone (no matter how inappropriate)
- Insists on personally buying food (no matter how impractical)
- Buys food from different stores or eats at different restaurants (no matter how impractical)
Fortunately, there is help for compulsive eaters. Below are some tips on how to overcome compulsive eating:
- Manage stress – Find healthier ways of dealing with stress (meditation, hobbies, talking to friends and family, etc.).
- Eat 3 balanced meals a day with healthy snacks in between – Infrequent eating and irregular mealtimes can cause intense hunger, which, in turn, leads to overeating.
- Avoid temptation – Get rid of unhealthy food items in your house. Substitute unhealthy snack foods (chips, crackers, candies, etc.) with healthier ones (fresh fruit, whole-wheat bread, etc.).
- Exercise – Exercise can relieve stress and improve one’s mood without having to resort to compulsive eating.
- Seek professional help – A strong support system can hasten recovery from compulsive eating.
If you need help? Support? Advice you are more than welcome to join our secret facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BCwithSS/.
If you would like to comment on this article please email me email@example.com
Choong, W.C. (n.d.). Compulsive Eating. Aeon Wellness. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from
Ekern, J. (2012, August 13). Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Treatment,
Help. Eating Disorder Hope. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/binge-eating-disorder
Kvist, D. (2013). The Science of Compulsive Eating. Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Retrieved
National Health Service. (2013, February 17). Binge Eating-Causes. Retrieved April 8, 2013,
The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders. (2007). Vitamins, Minerals and Deficiencies.
Retrieved April 8, 2013, from http://www.something-fishy.org/dangers/vitamins.php