How Do You Describe Your Weird Relationship With Food?

The most recent draft of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists Binge Eating Disorder as an official eating disorder of its own. It used to be part of a diagnosis called Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified, which we’ve talked about here at and I’ve blogged about on

This change means a lot to me, since I identify myself as having recovered from binge eating disorder. These labels are obviously just words, but they still somehow mean something important to each one of us. I also call myself an emotional eater: although I am no longer actively bingeing, I still have those tendencies and have to take good care of myself to make sure I don’t give in to them.

Thinking about all of this—and working on my book so much these days—has made me wonder how the rest of you describe your issues with food. Do you call yourself a binge eater? Emotional eater? Just plain overeater? What do you relate to most?

Do me a favor and take this quick poll…what you choose may end up being the phrasing I use in the book!

[polldaddy poll=2743247]


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7 Responses to How Do You Describe Your Weird Relationship With Food?

  1. Tamara says:

    My “other” would be something along the lines of restrictive bulemia. I never purged in the traditional sense, but I would gorge one day and then run ten miles and/or starve for the next two, then repeat. Eventually it gave way to pure binge eating. Now I just have episodes of emotional eating every couple of months, but who doesn’t?

  2. Trish says:

    I am/was an emotional overeater. Here’s the cycle when I get upset:

    1. Event that upsets me — no eating AT ALL; i am usually too upset to eat and I go without for days.
    2. Two days without real nourishment: Binge and overeating to replenish after my starvation period.
    3. Purging because I am still upset about whatever happened to me, PLUS I’m super guilty that I just binged and overate.
    4. The cycle continues until some external event or person snaps me out of it.

    Honestly, this cycle has become more and more rare for me. I’m proud to say that when something upsets me now, I try to get away from food and find another activity to help me release my emotions. I’ve found that going to the gym and working out not only helps me feel less upset, but boosts my confidence enough to get me out of the “danger zone” for overeating.

  3. Ang says:

    I think it would be hard for me to outwardly categorize myself as anything. I know deep down, I’m a binge eater, but I don’t think I’d ever want to outwardly label myself as one. I’d say “overeater” or “emotional eater” before I said “binge eater,” even though that’s not really the truth, but just because I feel as though those are more socially accepted. When I was younger I was treated for anorexia/bulimia, and even today, I don’t really think that I was once a “bulimic,” I just had bulimia-like habits. Labels come with stereotypes and stigmas, and I didn’t want that. I do think it’s good that binge eating is being recognized as its own disorder though!

  4. Kate says:

    I say I’m was a emotional overeater for most of my life. However, 2008 was a hard year and my dieting + stress + emotional eating tendencies mixed and until I was full blown binging (but not purging). Since quitting the diet I seem to have settled back into a compulsive/emotional eating pattern with only a few binging episodes (and I usually eat far less than in 2008.)

  5. Shady says:

    I would say I’m an emotional binge eater. I routinely binge eat and find that its normally associated with boredom or stress or even excitement (as in I’ve accomplished something, time to celebrate). But I am also now starting to see that my binges are easier for me to control if I’ve been in more control leading up to it. For example, I binge more easily when I eat a sugary treat in the afternoon. I don’t know if that’s some sort of psychological reaction to the sugar crash or me justifying my high calorie binge based on my behavior earlier in the day.

  6. Monx says:

    I don’t know what to call it. I can starve and obsessively exercise for days.. and then completely binge to the point that I feel sick.. but I can never throw it back up. I never really thought I had an eating disorder until I stumbled upon the Glamour website that talked about “ednos.” It’s so hard because I am of normal weight.. but I am never truly satisfied.

  7. Lauren says:

    Definitely eat in response to emotions - frustration, anger, sadness, and when I feel helpless in response to something someone has done (usually my partner).

    Used to purge, but haven’t done that for quite a while.

    If I ask “What do I want this food to do for me?” before I start a binge, and can identify the feeling/need; that allows me to do something constructive about the problem (e.g. a nap, a shower, a walk;).

    Or at least O have the choice of sitting with the feeling, learn the lesson - if there is one, and remember as uncomfortable as the feeling may be, it will pass.

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