Emotion regulation for Binge Eating

Binge Episodes are defined as eating an amount of food that is definitely a greater amount than what the general population would eat in a similar period of time under comparable circumstances, over a discrete period of time. (Martins, 2021). In addition, there exists a lack of control over eating during the episode. In some cases, patients experiencing these episodes also happen to encounter overweight or obesity. According to WHO, overweight is when the BMI is greater than or equal to 25, while obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30. As obesity is a multifactorial phenomenon, there are several aspects, and the interaction between them, that contributes to the development and maintenance of obesity, such as biological, psychological and environmental aspects. (Martins, 2021). 

As a consequence of the impulsivity related to the aspects mentioned above, it is possible to manage it through emotion regulation. Since impulsivity is implicated in the onset, symptomatic expression and maintenance of obesity, and can be explained as to why people tend to overeat. (Martins, 2021).

As some might increase their intake of food as a result of stressors, there are some regulatory strategies that can be taken into action, for example if an individual follows the emotional episode of increasing eating habits as a result of stressors related to an exam-period. The individual focuses their attention on all of the exams and the fear of failing any of them, and senses the arousal of their body: tachycardia and sweat. Further they react by escalating the food intake in order to cope with the stress, through, for example, distracting themselves. Instead, it is possible to distract oneself with taking a walk rather than overeating, or using another strategy within attention deployment; mindfulness. It is possible to meditate or maybe do some yoga, because it is known that mindfulness usually decreases attention. Further, cognitive change can also be an effective way of handling the emotions, as one may use the strategy reappraisal by changing the current attitude of the possibility of failing towards how much one has studied throughout the semester and how much they actually know. 

These are just some examples of emotion regulation in order to manage binge eating that could result in obesity.


Martins, S. (2021). Psychopathology: Psychopathology of Impulses. [Slide 17 & 18]. UEM.blackboard. Retrieved from: https://uem.blackboard.com/

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