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Can you be thin and have a binge eating disorder?

153 Answers
Last Updated: 12/18/2020 at 1:52pm
Can you be thin and have a binge eating disorder?
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United States
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Melissa Strauss, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I am client focused and believe everyone has a strength. I feel confident in seeing clients with generalized and social anxiety, depression and relational goals.

Top Rated Answers
December 13th, 2018 6:48am
Yes. Being thin means you either have a very fast metabolism and thus, you can afford to binge, or, it can mean you binge and purge, and/or have periods of anorexia. Eating disorders stem from a sense that we have little control in our lives. These issues are often rooted in childhood. No advice, but if you have a tendency to use food as a means to ‘calm down’, or feel a sense in control you don’t otherwise feel, you’re not alone. Food is everywhere and necessary to live. It can be difficult to navigate; when is enough enough? Stems back to the question that underlies almost every problem we have: Why do we feel we are not good enough? Why do we feel the need to have this, and be that, and earn this, and do that? Life is about enjoying, not having. Being, not wishing to be. Learning, not earning. Doing, not ‘supposed to be doing’. Hope that helps.
January 5th, 2019 7:43pm
Yes, you can. Eating disorders come in many forms and variants. It's not uncommon to see someone with the food restrictive tendency seen in anorexia who will also indulge in the binge and purge cycle seen in bulimia. With disordered eating, it's more a mindset than any one behavior exhibited. There is a large, undercurrent dissatisfaction with the way they look, that may be skewed by a distorted view of themselves physically. There is a fear of gaining weight and of being 'fat'. There is a desire to control what they consume, how they consume it, where, when and the list goes on and on.
January 23rd, 2019 8:20pm
Yes, sure you can. Eating disorders are mental illnesses, meaning that only what happens in your head can show if you have these illnesses. As the therapists can't know what actually happen in your mind, they mostly rely on symptoms that show if you have this disorder or not. These symptoms are as binge eating, fasting, puke,.. Assuming if someone is mentally ill or not can't be done by looking at your body but your behavior. It is a mental illness and in contrary at many people's beliefs, you don't have to be thin to be anorexic, you don't have to be fat to be binge eating. You are the only one that can know what is happening in your head. So if you think that something isn't right, then please seek help!
February 23rd, 2019 7:00pm
One can be thin and have the disorder as the metabolism of the person can be really fast or or they may exercise a lot. They are various scientific reasons for this. People not realizing and dismissing thin people causes a lot of tension for the ones going through these disordera. After all acknowledging is the first step to curing any disease. It may not seem like a problem at first because the person is healthy and thin. But it does affect the person in ways she/he may not realize. For starters they can be excercising a lot because they feel they are eating a lot which may result in excessive work out at times.
March 23rd, 2019 5:23am
Definitely! There's this thing in society called stigma. Now stigma from society, social media, and education has been responsible for creating incorrect stereotypes of what characteristics of individuals with eating disorders typically hold, though we all know that these are so incorrect and definitely impact those who have eating disorders and/or body image concerns. People with Anorexia are 'supposed' to be thin, those with bulimia are 'supposed' to purge, and those with binge eating disorder are 'supposed' to be overweight. However, this is not true! Many individuals with anorexia are normal or overweight, individuals with bulimia are at a normal weight and do not purge, and those with binge eating disorders are all overweight. So please don't think that you can't receive help for a binge eating disorder because you don't meet the stereotypical characteristics as these stereotypes are not true!
May 1st, 2019 3:28pm
Binge eating disorder is a common eating disorder where you frequently eat large amounts of food while feeling powerless to stop and extremely distressed during or after eating. Some people relate this with being fat due to the calories consumed during a binge however you can be thin and have binge eating disorder. While the symptoms of eating disorders revolve around eating, they are more about coping with feelings than they are about food. If you think you have binge eating disorder then it would be a good idea to ask for help from someone you know well and trust.
May 4th, 2019 2:08am
Yes, of course. It's like having anorexia while being obese or overweight -- it's more about the mindset than physical appearance. If you're thin but find yourself constantly obsessing about food, feeling bored when you don't have food, and overeating really often, you likely have BED. It's possible that you exercise a lot, have an unnaturally high metabolism, or that your binges are not as large as your brain may make you believe. However, continuing to binge daily may make you gain wait rapidly. Talk to a counselor or trusted adult if you feel like you need help with your BED.
May 5th, 2019 6:33pm
This is very possible under one condition ( one that I know of ) if you have a fast working metabolism. When you have this, your body burns the food that you are eating at a quicker pace than others so it may look like you are still skinny while you’re binge eating. But one of the best things with this would be to go to a therapist ( or doctor ) and talk to them about it. Ask them if it is possible. They should, and probably do, know more about this and stuff with eating disorders. A doctor can tell you about the metabolism and should be able to help with both while a therapist may only be able to help with the binge eating
July 10th, 2019 7:10pm
Absolutely! Eating disorders do not discriminate based on weight or body type. Any kind of eating disorder can happen to anyone, regardless of how they look or what gender they are. Eating disorders can develop based on many different causes, such as how you feel and think about your body, or they can develop as a means to cope with other forms of stress. Just like with most other types of mental illness, an eating disorder is constructed based off of chemical differences in your brain or maladaptive patterns of thinking which are not related to your body type or weight.
July 13th, 2019 1:48pm
Totally, eating disorders are not dictated by how you look, anyone can have an eating disorder, regardless of how that individual looks, a high or low bmi doesn’t determine if someone suffers from an eating disorder because they are BEHAVIORAL Mental disorders! and that’s exactly why no matter how you look, your eating disorder is one hundred percent valid, i know how hard it must be to invalidate your eating disorder because you dont fit within the criteria of one. But you are valid. please get help before its too late, you are valid and loved, and your body is precious.
November 7th, 2019 8:25am
Yup! According to the DSM-5 (the standard for psychiatric diagnosis), there are a few criteria for binge eating disorder and none of them mention weight at all. The criteria are: 1) Recurring episodes of binge eating that include eating more during that time than a typical person would and a sense of not having control over the behavior 2) At least 3 of the following 5 things are also true about binges: faster than normal, uncomfortably full, a lot of food when not physically hungry, alone due to embarrassment, and feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after. 3) Distress about binge eating 4) Binges have happened, on average, at least once a week for three months 5) Another eating disorder or "compensatory behavior" like purging or using laxatives or over exercising is not involved
December 8th, 2019 6:31am
Absolutely. Eating disorders arent defined by body type. Everyone has different metabolisms that make their weight go up down or stay steady no matter how their diet is at any given time. Binge eating disorders can affect a thin person because they might be early on in their disorder or they might just have an incredibly fast metabolism that doesnt allow them to gain weight. Binge eatin also might be hard to notice or if someone is thin then binge eating could be hard to define as not much food might have been eaten originally. Eating disorders dont discriminate against anyone
February 6th, 2020 2:28pm
Yes, this is one of the things that I currently have. I'm able to eat so much food in one sitting to the point where I can eat non-stop for 2 hours at an all you can eat place and not stop until I'm pretty much kicked out. Otherwise, I eat very little. I don't starve myself but the amount of food I eat if monitored by someone close to me would cause some minor to major concern if they were close to me. Meal balancing and planning and enforcing rules on yourself as to what you should and shouldn't eat could be something that can become extremely helpful to you in your process to not binge as much!
February 29th, 2020 3:38pm
Yes. According to the DSM-5, there is no weight criteria for BED. And pending on a number of factors (i.e. a genetically fast metabolism), an individual may be thin and still suffer from BED, if they meet the criteria listed in the DSM-5. It is important to note however, that to be diagnosed with BED, an individual must not engage in regularly compensatory behaviors such as purging. If this is the case, and the individual is engaging in such behaviors, they may be suffering another eating disorder such as Bulimia, Anorexia Binge Purge Sub type, or one that is not otherwise specified.
April 17th, 2020 2:41am
The sad thing about eating disorders is that it is SO hard to see who has it because sometimes it might not come up in their physical side. So yes, answering your question, yes, you could be thin and have a binge eating disorder. This is why you can't assume if people do have an eating disorder or not, because it is so hard to tell! At this point, weight doesn't matter in an eating disorder. Maybe you binge eat but you have really high metabolism or you have certain genetics that wont make you gain weight. Either way, if you do have an eating disorder, get help immediately.
- Expert in Eating Disorders
April 17th, 2020 1:57pm
Yes. Eating disorders do not have any required size. Even so, binge eating disorder can start with any person at any time, and that means that you may be thin when you first develop the condition. Just like how anorexia nervosa or bulimia can manifest in those who are overweight. It's a complete misconception that you can only be affected or diagnosed with these conditions if you have specific body types. If you suspect that you have developed this condition or something similar, it's important to seek professional support from a licensed clinical provider who specializes in eating disorders. Good luck!
May 22nd, 2020 6:14pm
Yes it is possible. It depends on metabolism. Metabolism like in my family on my mother's end is for us to be thin and the genes I did inherit. If you were to inherit genes from your parents then such would be possible as well. As you may have read, eating disorders affect all kinds of people: young and old, thin and heavy, all races, males and females, etc. So, with all this information, I hope this question has been answered. If you have more questions you can look on Mayo clinic and college webistes or dot govs. Good luck.
June 7th, 2020 8:06am
Yes you can. Eating disorders are mental disorders, not physical ones - the problem is how you think not how your body functions. So, it's possible to have any sort of eating disorder no matter your size, including a binge eating disorder. If you think you have a binge eating disorder, or any other eating disorder, I really encourage you to get help. I know first hand that eating disorders can really mess you up and to beat them, it's best to talk to a professional about them. You are not your eating habits and your disorder doesn't define you!
June 19th, 2020 5:34pm
Yes, absolutely, eating disorder has nothing do with your body type. Being thin only reassures us that you have a good metabolic rate and all the excess food that you have been eating is getting digested. Binge eating disorder can happen to anyone irrespective of their body type. Binge eating is more about your mental and emotional state of mind and less of the physical state. Binge eating disorder has no relation to you being thin or overweight. Binge eating is more about emotional unbalance and not body disbalance. Controlling binge eating needs to balance emotions and not any physical aspect.
June 21st, 2020 11:02pm
Absolutely. The metabolism of people work in various ways, and although binging can lead to weight gain for some, it may have no effect on others. It is also dependent on other measures the individual takes, such as over-exercising or possibly self-induced vomiting. Eating disorders can look different on everyone, and every person may exhibit different signs, including weight gain or weight loss. People also binge different types of food at different times. For example, after not eating for a couple days or hours, one may start to binge. The fact that they have not eaten for a certain period of time may affect the body's reaction to binging.
June 25th, 2020 1:11am
Yes. An eating disorder is described by behaviors and thoughts, not weight and outwards appearances. Weight and size are side affects that come with the mental illness, which some people may not experience. This applies to all eating disorders as they are not about size, but about the persons mentality. Any person, thin or not, can still have a BED; the same as any person can have anorexia. Some factors that may cause a difference between two people's experience with an eating disorder are genetics and metabolism. One's weight should never be used to decide whether or not someone has an eating disorder. Everyone calling for help should be believed, even if you can't see the direct effects.
July 25th, 2020 6:09pm
Yes 100% eating disorders don’t have anything to do with your weight/ size. Anybody can have an earring disorder especially a binge eating disorder. It has nothing to do with size weight etc. binge eating is a common thing that is probably to Do with trauma etc I think that it’s perfectly normal to question if you actually have an eating disorder. Society and social media play a big part of displaying that only “thin” people have eating disorder when that is so far from the truth. Eating disorders are so complex and can be very tricky
July 30th, 2020 11:48pm
Yes it is very common to be thin and have a binge eating disorder. No matter the body size, eating disorders are a mental illness and anyone could suffer from it. Your weight does not define your mental health. It's impossible to know if someone has an eating disorder by looking at their body size. BED can range from a few binges to many. Regardless it isn't healthy and if you believe you have it seek help from a doctor. It's okay to admit you have BED especially if you need help. Once again, it can affect anyone; thin or not.
August 9th, 2020 6:20pm
Of course! Binge eating disorder involves so many factors, and cannot be linked to one gender or body type. In many ways, this makes it more difficult to identify in others. Those with binge eating disorder typically large amounts of food in one sitting, and then feel guilty afterwards. This guilt can involve actions like obsessively exercising the weight off, or purging. It is important that those with this disorder seek help. Seeking help allows one to admit their strengths and bravery, rather than admitting weakness. By being open and honest about the struggles we face, we can better shape our society and erase hurtful and untrue stigmas.
August 14th, 2020 3:58am
Absolutely. Binge-eating is an unhealthy disorder and can be life-threatening. Some people who suffer from that disorder are thin because they could end up purging the food that they just ate. It is a mental disorder that messes with your mind and your perception of yourself and food. Anyone suffering from a binge-eating disorder should seek medical and professional help. It is important to not judge people just by the way that they look. You can't tell anyone's story by their appearance, so anyone thin could also have a binge-eating disorder. You never know. Developing a healthy relationship with food is the most important .
August 26th, 2020 4:51pm
Yes, a binge eating disorder does not always accompany being overweight. All body types handle and process food differently because we all have different metabolisms. It is important to know that any body size can struggle with binge eating. It is important to know what your body needs and does not need and seek help if you feel like you are struggling with food. Binge eating is characterized as consuming large amounts of food in one sitting and not being able to stop. Meeting with a specialist in this field can help you understand more about this diagnosis and self image.
September 7th, 2020 2:06am
Yes, some people have a high metabolism and can have binge eating disorder. Some people have this mental illness can look like it doesn't impact them because they still stay in a fit/slim state. This may be caused by a fast/high metabolism that means the food is processed quicker than others. Many people underestimate the impact that this causes on the individual and can seem like it doesn't affect them from a person viewing them from the outside unaware of the situation that they are in but the person isn't seeing their metal state and only seeing them in their physical form.
October 21st, 2020 6:46pm
Yes, you can be any weight and still struggle with any eating disorder. There is no weight limit, or required appearance for an eating disorder, all of them come in all shapes and sizes, including binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder, similarly to other eating disorders, leads to a strained relationship with food, and like other eating disorders, is often accompanied by different weight maintenance efforts, in some cases including purging. Also, we all react differently to food, and our bodies process it differently, so it is reasonable to be considered "thin" and to still binge and overeat. Although we don't commonly associate the two, that doesn't mean it is not valid! Eating disorders can be very scary, and difficult to deal with, but that doesn't mean that we have to limit ourselves to fit a specific definition of what we perceive a specific eating disorder to be!
November 4th, 2020 6:46pm
Many people think that different types of eating disorders have to "look a certain way". However, even though certain stereotypes may exist, everybody (and every BODY) is different. This means that while you might expect that a person with a binge eating disorder would look a certain way or have a certain body type, that's just not always the case. Within the population of people with binge eating disorders, there is a lot of variability and variety. People have different types of foods they like to binge on and people also have different metabolisms. Therefore, it is possible that a person with a binge eating disorder could, in fact, be thin.
November 29th, 2020 2:16pm
Yes, you can. I know someone who keeps eating and eating, but they are thin. I don't know if they sport a lot or just naturally don't gain a lot of weight. But to have an eating disorder you don't need to look a certain way. If you can't stop eating or if you skip meals, you, most of the time, have an eating disorder. For some people, an eating disorder is worse than for others, and how you look has nothing to do with that. So to come back to my friend who has a binge eating disorder, maybe they don't eat dinner or breakfast, maybe they exercise a lot, but they have an eating disorder.