Before you read about the clinical definition of Binge Eating Disorder ... take a breath.

Reading this description will probably trigger your brain to automatically judge your self. Please, take a moment to ground yourself before you read so that you can practice non-judgment.

You are not your brain's thoughts. Binge eating is simply your brain's default "program" that repeats itself. 

binge eating

Please note - this is an arbitrary classification. About 3-5 % of adults in the US population fit these criteria. There is a huge range of eating behaviors. Some have episodes randomly and infrequently, others have episodes daily. What matters is how you are affected by it.

According to the DSM-5, an episode of binge eating is characterized by the following:

a) Eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances

b) The sense of lack of control over eating during the episode. You can't stop eating or control what or how much you are eating. 

c ) Eating much more rapidly than normal

d) Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

e) Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

f) Oftentimes eating eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating

g) Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating.

According to the DSM-5, an episode of binge eating is characterized by the following:


a) Eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances

b) The sense of lack of control over eating during the episode. You can't stop eating or control what or how much you are eating.

c ) Eating much more rapidly than normal

d) Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

e) Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

f) Oftentimes eating eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating

g) Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating.

Please note - this is an arbitrary classification. About 3-5 % of adults in the US population fit these criteria. There is a huge range of eating behaviors. Some have episodes randomly and infrequently, others have episodes daily. What matters is how you are affected by it.

binge eating

About Jared Levenson 

From Binge-eating Wrestler To Buddhist-inspired Eating Counselor/Coach

My journey in a snapshot: 

I began binge eating after wrestling tournaments in highschool. Before tournaments my weight would go down 5-10 lbs. I'd be starving myself. After tournaments my weight would go up 5-l0 lbs. I'd be secretly stuffing my face with high calorie foods because my body was in survival mode. I looked normal, but I was on an emotional rollercoaster.

Years of ups and down's later, there was a big hole in my heart. I had been raised to get A grades (anything less was not acceptable) and to achieve. But this way of living was no longer working. I was smoking pot everyday and was extremely socially isolated.

I decided to take a leap of faith.

I decided that for the rest of my life I would live as a Zen Monk. I left home and lived for 13 months at Tassajara, Zen Monastery located in the mountains off the coast of California near Big Sur. I meditated every day, did yoga, ate vegetarian, and had no access to internet.

A few months into my stay at Tassajara, I suddenly realized my urges to binge had gradually been reducing, to the point where I no longer would binge. 

- I stopped binge eating
- I started eating more regularly 

- I was free of intrusive food thoughts, sometimes for a whole day!
- I started to filling out my malnourished body frame 

You can see me in the top right corner when I started my journey as a Zen monk. I had anemia blood problems and weighed 122 lbs. My cheekbones were gaunt and I had no eyebrows.

my journey
my journey

My journey in a snapshot: 

I began binge eating after wrestling tournaments in highschool. Before tournaments my weight would go down 5-10 lbs. I'd be starving myself. After tournaments my weight would go up 5-l0 lbs. I'd be secretly stuffing my face with high calorie foods because my body was in survival mode. I looked normal, but I was on an emotional rollercoaster.

Years of ups and down's later, there was a big hole in my heart. I had been raised to get A grades (anything less was not acceptable) and to achieve. But this way of living was no longer working. I was smoking pot everyday and was extremely socially isolated.

I decided to take a leap of faith.

I decided that for the rest of my life I would live as a Zen Monk. I left home and lived for 13 months at Tassajara, Zen Monastery located in the mountains off the coast of California near Big Sur. I meditated every day, did yoga, ate vegetarian, and had no access to internet.

A few months into my stay at Tassajara, I suddenly realized my urges to binge had gradually been reducing, to the point where I no longer would binge. 

- I stopped binge eating
- I started eating more regularly 

- I was free of intrusive food thoughts, sometimes for a whole day!
- I started to filling out my malnourished body frame 

You can see me in the top right square in the picture (above) when I started my journey as a Zen monk. I had anemia blood problems and weighed 122 lbs. My cheekbones were gaunt and I had no eyebrows.

enlightened eating


In the bottom left square (from the picture above) I had learned to detach from my cravings. I was no longer dangerously underweight either. I was smiling and had my eyebrows 🙂

Now you can see me in this picture directly above where I look normal.

This transformation all started because I had an eating enlightenment; a lightbulb moment where I changed my perspective and saw food differently. Here's what I realized:

- I was still insecure.
- I was still lonely.
- I was still a people-pleaser

However, my brain was no longer having insane urges. I was 95% free from intrusive critical thoughts.  And I was no longer was binge eating.

With binge eating increasingly in my rear-view mirror, I was ready to leave the monastery. I no longer needed to hide my true, imperfect self. 

I made a couple of decisions which would radically change my life.

(it's really, really crazy how your life will pivot in directions you never saw coming a few months after you stop binge eating)

1) I became a personal trainer at Thumbtack. I didn't know about binge eating back then. All I knew was that people wanted to lose weight and change their body. Since I had changed my body I thought I could help...

People loved the excellent support and customer service I provided. I was awarded "Top Pro" in 2018 for helping people lose weight with over 31 reviews and a 4.8 average rating.

But something was wrong. The same people I helped would come back to me. They told me things about losing control ... and as they shared their stories with me I was triggered into remembering my wrestling days which I thought I had put behind me.

2) I realized that diets and emotional eating were a huge problem. I stopped working as a personal trainer and I ditched the 'weight loss' model which in reality only causes harm.

I started going to school. I wanted to learn everything I could about how to help people change their bodies the right way.

- I got my Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology
- I became a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
- I obtained certifications in Yoga and Wellness Coaching

3) I started Eating Enlightenment. I started interviewing women and men who had recovered from eating disorders (over a dozen interviews you can watch here)
- I started hosting Mindfulness Dinners in South Bay Area (we put our hands together in "namaste" for the picture)
- My counseling/coaching practice grew & became featured in a San Francisco news story.

1) I became a personal trainer at Thumbtack.

I didn't know about binge eating back then. All I knew was that people wanted to lose weight and change their body. Since I had changed my body I thought I could help...

People loved the excellent support and customer service I provided. I was awarded "Top Pro" in 2018 for helping people lose weight with over 31 reviews and a 4.8 average rating.

But something was wrong. The same people I helped would come back to me. They told me things about losing control ... and as they shared their stories with me I was triggered into remembering my wrestling days which I thought I had put behind me.

2) I realized that diets and emotional eating were a huge problem. 

I stopped working as a personal trainer and I ditched the 'weight loss' model which in reality only causes harm.

I started going to school. I wanted to learn everything I could about how to help people change their bodies the right way. 

- I got my Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology
- I became a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
- I obtained certifications in Yoga and Wellness Coaching

3) I started Eating Enlightenment. ​​​​

- I started interviewing women and men who had recovered from eating disorders (over a dozen interviews you can watch here)
- I started hosting Mindfulness Dinners in South Bay Area (we put our hands together in "namaste" for the picture)
- My counseling/coaching practice grew and became featured in a San Francisco news story.

What Now?

These days, my attention is focused on...

  • Astonishing my 1:1 coaching clients, helping them master their minds so they can embrace the emotions they are facing while actually enjoying the ride.

  • Supporting the Eating Enlightenment community with podcasts, blog articles and videos that share actionable ideas for optimal eating, living and recovery.

  • My own physical, mental, and spiritual growth and development. Waking up each day ready to love, do, move, serve, and be just a little bit better.

I'm not always taking on new clients. But I am always open to connecting for powerful conversations.

If you're interested in facing some of your fears, learning some new food skills/mindsets, and squeezing more juice out of life, click here to apply for a session.

I look forward to getting to know you!

Warmly,
Jared