What is the difference between binge eating and overeating?

What is the difference between binge eating and overeating?

Hi Fellas,

We've had alot of questions from our Fella's around the difference between overeating and binge eating. We turned to out in house clinical psychologist - Iakovina to help!

"Overeating is not the same as binge eating, even though these terms are often used interchangeably. Overeating involves instances where you may eat more than your body needs, and you may continue eating even though you feel full.

A typical example is how much we eat around holidays or special occasions. It may be associated with increased stress and guilt, but these feelings are fairly transient. Overeating only happens occasionally.

Not everyone who overeats will also binge. On the other hand, binge eating is characterised by a few things that overeating is not:

  • The key distinctive feature is that binge eating is associated with a sense of loss of control. 
  • Binge eating tends to occur more regularly than overeating.
  • Binge eating comes with an emotional upheaval before, during, and after the meal. Feelings people tend to report are shame, guilt, stress, anxiety, low mood. These feelings are not as transient as in episodes of overeating, and they tend to be part of a vicious cycle that fuels restrictive eating, which leads to more bingeing episodes. Binge eating tends to be significantly more emotionally upsetting than overeating. 
  • Binge eating is often characterized by eating quicker than normal, whereas overeating is not. 
  • Binge eating can often happen in secret or privately.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Dr Iakovina Koutoufa