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Does Skipping Breakfast Cause Me to Binge Eat?

I think I may have binge eating disorder, and I'm trying my best to stop it. I'm a swimmer, and I exercise a lot. I find that I'm not hungry at all in the morning, so I skip breakfast. Is that bad?

The people who say it's not good to skip breakfast are right. Studies show that people who miss breakfast eat more calories during the day and and tend to be heavier and less healthy.

Skipping breakfast could affect your health in other ways, too. You may not have as much energy for swimming, and you could find yourself feeling tired, have aches and pains, and have trouble concentrating in class.

Even if you're not hungry, it's a good idea to try to eat something light in the morning to kickstart your metabolism. Eating breakfast, no matter how small, also can prevent you from feeling so hungry that you overeat later in the day.

Breakfast doesn't have to be a huge meal — an egg, a cup of yogurt, cereal, or a piece of fruit is a great way to start the day. If you can't eat first thing, try to pack a healthy snack like some almonds, a boiled egg, or a healthy granola bar (check the ingredients!) to eat on the way to school.

Everyone overeats occasionally. And sometimes people go overboard and feel like they are eating uncontrollably. A binge eating disorder means overeating happens regularly and could be a sign that you need help to get back on track with your eating. If you worry that you have a problem with binge eating, talk to a parent, doctor, school nurse, counselor, or therapist.

Signs of binge eating disorder include:

  • eating a large amount of food in a 2-hour period and having a sense of lack of control over eating during that time at least once a week for 3 months
  • eating more quickly than is typical
  • eating until you feel uncomfortably full 
  • eating a lot when you are not hungry
  • eating in secret or hiding food
  • feeling ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed about how much you're eating

Binge eating disorder is complicated and can be linked to other problems (like depression) — but there are lots of different experts who can help people get back on track with healthy eating.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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