Binge Eating Therapy


Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States.

It is characterized by recurring episodes of eating large quantities of food (usually very calorie-dense foods like peanut butter, ice cream, or fast food), often very quickly and to the point of discomfort.

Individuals who binge eat often experience shame, distress, or guilt right afterward.

During a binge, you may eat even when you’re not physically hungry and continue eating long after you’re full.

You may also binge so rapidly that your body barely registers what you’re eating or tasting.

Unlike bulimia, there are no regular attempts to “make up” for the binges through vomiting, fasting, or over-exercising.

You may find that binge eating is temporarily comforting and helps ease unpleasant emotions or feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety.

However, right after a binge, reality sets back in.

Binge eating can also lead to significant weight gain and obesity, which only reinforces compulsive eating as a measure to take back control.

The worse you feel about yourself and your physical appearance, the more you use food to cope.

It becomes a vicious cycle that may seem to have no end.

But, as powerless as you may feel in breaking this harmful cycle, there are plenty of steps you can take to better manage your emotions and regain control over your binge eating habits.

Our therapists are trained in all types of eating disorder recovery, and will provide the emotional support you require to heal and reestablish a healthy relationship with food.

We will help you find a plan that best fits your individual needs, blending practical interventions with deep work to heal the underlying causes of your issues with food.

Together, we’ll forge a path that leads to healthy eating, self-love, and acceptance.

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Diagnostic Criteria for Binge Eating

Recurring episodes of binge eating (an episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following):

  • Eating in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period) and eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
  • Lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:

  • Eating much more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Consuming large amounts of food when not physically hungry
  • Eating alone because of feelings of embarrassment about how much one is eating
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty right after a binge
  • The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months
  • Binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa. 
  • The binge eating does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa

Research-based, personalized therapy.

At My LA Therapy, our warm and experienced therapists specialize in anxiety, depression, trauma, & relationships.

Warning Signs & Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, warning signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder include: 

  • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food
  • Appears uncomfortable eating around other people
  • Any new food practice or fad diet, including cutting out entire food groups (no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, vegetarianism/veganism, etc.)
  • Steals, hoards, or hides food in strange places
  • Creates lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions
  • Withdraws from friends and activities
  • Frequently goes on diets
  • Expresses extreme concern over body weight and body shape
  • Frequently looks in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
  • Has secret recurring episodes of binge eating (eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is much larger than most individuals would eat under similar circumstances)
  • Feels lack of control over ability to stop eating
  • Disruption in normal eating behaviors, including eating throughout the day with no planned mealtimes
  • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
  • Engaging in sporadic fasting 
  • Developing food rituals (e.g., eating only a particular food or food group, excessive chewing, and not allowing foods to touch)
  • Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating
  • Rapid fluctuations in weight
  • Feelings of low self-esteem

The physical health risks of binge eating disorders are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity, weight stigma, and weight cycling (aka, yo-yo dieting). 

The majority of people who are diagnosed as clinically obese don’t have binge eating disorder. 

However, up to two-thirds of people with binge eating disorder are diagnosed as clinically obese. 

The majority of people who struggle with binge eating disorder tend to be of normal or higher-than-average weight, though Binge Eating Disorder can be diagnosed at any weight.

To learn more about other types of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and emotional eating, visit their dedicated pages.

Our Therapy Methods for Binge Eating

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective for addressing Binge Eating Disorder.

Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page. 

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At My LA Therapy, our highly-vetted Binge Eating experts are selected not only for their clinical acumen but for who they are.

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