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We don’t all Binge Eat on Thanksgiving!

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is already here!  Where did time go?  It’s usually around this time that I start seeing news articles pop up that attempt to steal the joy from Thanksgiving by focusing on how many calories people eat, how “bad” the food is, how it’s too much, that the weight gain season has begun, that remind shame you on how much weight people gain, etc.  The Thanksgiving headline that annoys me the most says something like “America Binges on Thanksgiving.”  Repeat after me: “We do not all Binge Eat on Thanksgiving.” 

We might tend to overeat on Thanksgiving, but we do NOT all binge eat on Thanksgiving.  Binge eating and overeating are not the same thing.  People who binge eat do over eat, but people who over eat do not necessarily binge eat.  To say it another way- all people who binge eate are over eaters, but not all overeaters binge eat.  Binge eating has specific criteria that must be met to qualify as binge eating.  Guess what the first part of that diagnostic criteria is??  That a person eats more food than most other people would eat under similar circumstances in a similar period of time.  Since most people tend to overeat on Thanksgiving, this automatically rules out Thanksgiving as binge eating!


In addition to eating a larger amount of food, a person must feel out of control or like they cannot stop eating.  


This must also be accompanied by at least two of the following:

-eating much more rapidly than normal (not tasting the food)

-eating until uncomfortably full

-eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry

-eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much you are eating (eating in secret or hiding)

-feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty afterwards



While most people enjoy the food on Thanksgiving and do not want to stop, it isn’t the same thing as feeling unable to stop.  When someone is unable to stop eating it is an out of control, panicky feeling/experience with (typically) the need to hide how much you are eating because you feel guilty, embarrassed or ashamed.  Some people may also feel uncomfortably full and guilty after eating on Thanksgiving, however it still doesn’t mean that you binged.  The first criteria of amount and circumstances automatically rules Thanksgiving out as a binge.


This isn’t to say that people don’t binge eat on Thanksgiving.  It can happen.  For someone to binge eat the amount of food would have to be larger than most people would eat on Thanksgiving, a person would have to feel out of control, eat until uncomfortable, and feel depressed or guilty afterwards.   Therefore, listen to your body, enjoy your food, family and friends, and know that we don’t all binge eat on Thanksgiving!


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