30/12/2012 11:22 GMT | Updated 28/02/2013 05:12 GMT

Binge Eating Over the Holidays: What Men With Binge Eating Disorder Are Up Against


Christmas and New Year can both be very difficult times in the year, especially for people who are struggling with eating disorders and more so for men with Binge Eating Disorder.

It is generally believed that everyone should be happy and have the time of their lives over this festive season, eat and drink in abundance, dance, laugh and reunite with family and loved ones. On the whole be happy and merry! Eat and drink as much as you can and come January, we are bombarded with New Year resolutions about losing weight and healthy eating.

A lot of people will be faced with their work's Christmas party, a friend's New Year's Eve party, parents or in-laws dinners and so on. There are school performances, presents, taking pictures, resolutions and family gatherings all wrapped up within a few days.

The one thing that is constantly present across all of these functions is food. As a result a lot of people overeat, binge eat and gain weight over the holidays. Yet, this time of year is not only difficult because of the abundance of food but also due to emotions. It is a heavy loaded emotional time of year. You have to deal with family and relatives who can cause a great deal of stress and tension, you have to deal with difficult relationships and family dynamics, you have to deal with work and colleagues. On the other hand, failed relationships with loved ones, family and friends can come to the surface highlighting feelings of loneliness even more. These heightened emotions can make us feel overwhelmed over the holidays.

Basically the festive season is an emotional time with easy access to excess food. It is a very difficult time to find yourselves in, if you are struggling with Binge Eating Disorder. One central feature in Binge Eating Disorder is the loss of control over eating. It is a fact that binge eating behaviours worsen over the holidays as it can be very easy to lose control over eating. Men who are struggling with Binge Eating Disorder may be faced with situations where they feel pressured to eat with and in front of others at parties. The over abundance of food might leave men baffled as to what they should eat in an effort to avoid trigger foods. Men might also feel pressured to eat and drink 'heartily' which can create great discomfort and further trigger a binge episode.

For different men, different types of emotions can work as triggers for their binge eating e.g. for some it might be anger after a argument with a loved one, for others it might be due to anxiety or stress for any given situation let alone an upcoming work party, trying on clothes for the dinner party and not fitting in any of them, feeling terrible for one's looks and body physique, blaming yourself and the Binge Eating Disorder for the weight gain which inevitable leads to having another binge episode. Some men might try to avoid all of this festive mayhem by not attending any festivities and isolating themselves. This in turn might exacerbate feelings of loneliness which in itself can trigger a binge episode.

If you are struggling this Christmas and New Year with Binge Eating Disorder please keep in mind that it is a VERY difficult time of year for a lot of people and there are men out there who are struggling with Binge Eating Disorder. Some useful tips that might be helpful to you:

•You need to acknowledge how difficult this time of year is.

•You need to keep an open mind when it comes to all of the messages we are bombarded by the media on what we are supposed to be doing and feeling over the holidays. It's just any other time in the year with ups and downs, good moments and bad moments; it is impossible to try and be happy all the time just because its Christmas and New Year.

•You can practice mindful eating.

•If you are attending a dinner party with a buffet and you are worried about how much you are going to eat a helpful tip is to put in your plate as much as you want to eat and when you finish, put your plate down. This will save you from nibbling off the buffet, going back and forth and worrying about how much you are eating.

•Don't diet over the holidays but try to follow a regular eating plan.

•Please do remind yourself that this time of year is not only about food. Try to find your own festivities meaning and place importance on things that really matter to you.

•Treat yourself with compassion.

•Surround yourself with people you want to be with.

•Share your thoughts and concerns with a loved one and do seek support with someone who can empathize with what you are going through.

•If you require any further support beat help lines (UK main eating disorders organization) will be open through the holidays, (

•You can also visit, Men Get Eating Disorders Too website, (

As a man with Binge Eating Disorder you are up against a lot with this eating disorder and also with the stereotypes that are linked to this. Remind yourselves the struggles you have gone through, where you have been and where you want to go. Binge Eating Disorder is treatable and a lot of people do recover from Binge Eating Disorder. Try and enjoy yourselves as much as you can over the festivities and take care of yourselves, your body and your wellbeing. May the New Year bring to you love, support and compassion and may it bring you closer to your road through to recovery from Binge Eating Disorder. Happy New Year!

If you are interested in participating in a research study about men and Binge Eating Disorder, where you will have the opportunity to share your own experiences and understanding of Binge Eating Disorder then please get in touch with me at Participation will involve a short interview with me and you will be reimbursed with an Amazon voucher for your participation. Also you can have a look at Binge Eating Disorder and Men facebook page I have set up.