Big Issues

What Does Binge-Eating On Campus Actually Look Like?

According to Eating Disorders Victoria, binge-eating disorder is likely to develop over childhood and adolescence.

If consuming large portions of food past the point of feeling full is something you’re no stranger to, then you’re not alone.

According to Eating Disorders Victoria, out of the 4 per cent of people who have an eating disorder in Australia, 47 per cent of those have a binge-eating disorder. Most likely to begin around adolescence and early adulthood, binge-eating is an eating disorder that is prevalent among uni students.

This statistic certainly isn’t helped by the assortment of junk food outlets on campus which advertise cheap, cheeky food away from the prying eyes of parents, friends or anyone else who can call you out for problematic behaviour.

As someone who has struggled with binge-eating all throughout my adolescence, I have finally found ways to curb the behaviour while on campus. In light of this revelation, here’s what binge-eating on campus looks like through the eyes of someone who is no longer bound by their bad habits.

A Waste Of Time And Money 

What Does Binge-Eating On Campus Look Like?

If you weren’t born into royalty, chances are you’re looking to save whatever money you can. If you’re a binge-eater, however, you’ve probably turned a blind eye to the cash that’s gone to burgers, chips and whatever else you can get your hands on at uni.

Something that really got me out of this bind was biting the bullet and finding out just how much money was going to campus vendors due to my lack of self-control.

In my first year of uni, I somehow managed to spend $324 on food. And that was just on campus.

When you really start to weigh up the negatives like isolating yourself to eat in private and spending crazy amounts of money on things that don’t make you any happier, it definitely starts to lessen the appeal of secret snacks.

Through The Eyes Of An Expert 

I spoke to psychotherapist Eva Deligiannis to talk more about the impacts of this harmful behaviour.

“It’s important that when you notice a problem, or are worried about someone, that you approach the person you care about in a gentle way that is not judgmental,” she says. “Inquire about how they are feeling is the best way to start [a] conversation, rather than point[ing] out any problems you notice with their eating.”

starting a conversation with someone you trust is the first necessary step

Whether it’s you or a friend you’re concerned about, starting a conversation with someone you trust is the first necessary step. To be rid of binge-eating temptations, habitual changes have to occur both mentally and physically.

Kicking Problematic Eating: What Works 

So how do we actually get rid of these behaviours when on campus?

Though there is no definitive way to eliminate binge-eating triggers for everyone, here is what has worked for me, what is psychotherapist approved, and what is worth at least trying. 

Come To Uni Prepared

By packing your lunch from home you are much less likely to splurge on junk food at uni. The key here is making sure you pack healthy food you love. This way you won’t slip into the trap of dieting or the danger of bingeing on campus.

Cut Off The Source

Taking extra cash to uni can sometimes be a recipe for disaster if you’re a binge-eater. For me, leaving my debit card at home has literally saved me hundreds of dollars. 

Seek Professional Help

When all else fails, seek the help of a psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor or nutritionist. Ultimately, rallying support from the people around you and setting yourself up for success are essential to overcoming the hold of binge-eating disorder.

And remember, identifying an issue is the first step to fixing it, and getting right on that road to recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or mental illness, you can find help by seeking advice from a counsellor or calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.