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So what can I tell you about Chapter 1 of “Overcoming Binge Eating”? Firstly, I had no idea how widespread this problem actually is today. According to Dr Fairburn, 1 out of 5 women are binge eaters, that is, they experience “an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence” in eating. That’s a lot of bingers! Of course, not all of them binge in the same way, some of us do it regularly (more than twice a week) while others only do it occasionally. Some purge, others don’t, and just so you know, I don’t purge.

So what defines a binge, as opposed to just plain overeating? Well, apparently there are 2 main characteristics that apply to a binge:

1) eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time, eg. within 2 hours.

2) a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode, eg. feeling that one cannot stop or control what or how much one is eating.

These 2 things certainly apply to me …

And there some introductory notes about binge triggers that I can also relate to – all revolving around unpleasant feelings – tiredness, depression, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, breaking a diet, feeling fat and gaining weight (yes, really!)

The book includes many first hand experiences from people that convey their different experiences of binge eating. It’s mildly comforting to read what these women do and how bad they feel about it; it gives me some encouragement to continue reading, knowing that I do and feel things in a very similar way – eating mostly “forbidden foods” that require no preparation, eating in secret with no sense of control and feeling sick and disgusted afterwards. If these experiences are included and they match mine so closely, the author surely understands the issue and will be able to help me sort it out, right?