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What is Binge and Emotional Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is not the same as overeating, and it’s not a personal choice. It is a mental health condition and highly treatable.

If you experience repeated episodes of eating large amounts of food in one sitting, and you feel out of control of your eating and maybe even hide your behavior from others, you may have binge eating disorder (BED).

What is important to keep in mind is that, though the disorder may cause you distress:

  • It’s not your fault.

  • It’s not a choice.

  • You’re not alone.

3 key personality traits of clients with emotional or binge eating

There are some key personality traits that thread someone who is living with binge and emotional eating. There are enduring, common personality types we see in almost all individuals who struggle with long-standing emotional eating and binge eating disorder.

Worried YOU fall into this category?

Let’s take a look at 3 key personality traits that are often a key part of the maintenance of their unhelpful relationship with food! 


A Perfectionistic individual struggles with accepting failure, as their 'all-or-nothing' mindset only deals in polarities - right/wrong, black/white - and 'failure' is not an option. It is often hard to commit to doing something unless the outcome is relatively sure, and this can result in a pattern of indecisiveness and/or holding themselves back. They are very routine-oriented, and often their need for routine is a trigger for binge eating. For example, the weekend is a problem because “I’m out of my routine”.  However, the high need for routine is a deeper need for control, often because of an experience of not being in control or having lived through a period or experience of chaos in the past.

A perfectionist is an individual who cannot stand the idea of ‘failure’, and finds it very hard to say no. They barely understand the meaning of the phrase ‘self-care.’ This is what maintains emotional/binge eating – trying to reduce their stress/distress, trying to numb out from feelings of anger and resentment at being taken advantage of, and exhaustion from being all things to all people – except themselves.


People Pleasing

People pleasing is a common trait in individuals with emotional eating and binge eating disorder. This trait is very often rooted in old trauma or adverse experiences.

These individuals often struggle to engage in self-care, which is often due to past trauma and/or neglect. When an adult comes from a background of chaos, unpredictability, poverty, or high stress, it is unlikely that they ever saw good self-care being modeled as they grew, or being communicated to them. This means there is an 'un-learning' to be done, before new learning and habits can truly take root and develop.

It also makes sense that a person whose default is to ‘over-function’, will struggle to put themselves first. Poor boundaries are part of the issue.

Both Perfectionism and People Pleasing are deeply connected to the client's 'over functioning,' poor boundaries, which are spread across their work, family and/or friend groups.

Strong Inner Critical Voice

 Individuals with a strong inner critical voice often have negative self-talk. They often cannot identify “whose voice” it really is that they hear on repeat in their head. Often it is from their past, internalized over time. The voice they hear changes from mean to motivational and from critical to caring. These individuals are their own worst enemies. Often their self-worth is minimal as well.

Individuals who carry a strong inner critical voice are generally not good at self-care or self-compassion.


If you feel that your eating habits are unhealthy and/or if your eating is causing marked distress, there is good news. Effective treatments are available that can help people manage their eating behaviors and overcome binge eating. These treatments may include psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both. The Eating Freely program at KKW can help.

Join our Seminar with Coach Chrissy and Rachael on July 29th at 7 PM - titled Dig Into Your Food Mood



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