–Do you eat in private where no one else can see?
–Do you eat healthy in front of others, but then in private change your diet?
–Do you stick to your diet and/or meal plan during the day, only to go off track once you’re home?
–Do you sneak food into your diet, keeping it from other people?
Closet eating can be difficult to talk about for a lot of people. Although it may be done in private, those who have a “secret eating life” can feel consumed and burdened by their actions. Why do we eat in private? Why do we sabotage our diets? Why do we feel guilty about what we’re eating?
I am a closet eater. I think I have trained myself to be a closet eater. When I was little, I use to eat very little, if any, in front of friends. Instead I’d over eat at home, even taking food up to my room in order to hide the amount of food I was eating from my parents. As an adult, I no longer feel that I have to hide from others but it’s still tempting. Any time a buffet is involved, the closet eater in me comes out. Buffets make me very insecure so it’s easy to eat very little at the event, knowing that I can just go home and eat a larger meal. At home, no eyes are on me. No one is there to “judge me”.
Last August, I shared with y’all a binge eating episode I had and how negatively it affected me and my body. Still now, it can be difficult to stay away from the foods that can trigger a binge episode (nutella, various ice creams, tortilla chips, etc.). I am doing a lot better, but it is and may always be a struggle for me.
Logging my calories on My Fitness Pal has helped me to be honest about what I’m eating (though I have made/had the time to log this week). I have gotten to a point where “hiding” what I’m eating isn’t as much of a struggling and honestly, having Neal in my life has impacted my diet in a positive way. I’ve shared my struggles with Neal and have even asked him to “check” on me if I’m ever in the kitchen by myself for an extended period of time. Having a partner in my journey has been great, along with the friends who support me in all of my endeavors.
Determining if you’re a closet eater is really the first step in developing healthier habits. Ask yourself, why do I feel like I have to hide? The truth is, if we’re hiding it, we probably shouldn’t be eating it.
Tips to Stop Closet Eating
1. Understand that weight loss is hard
Change is hard. Change requires us to go against what is normal or habit, thus causing various reactions to the change. You must accept that weight loss is hard.
2. Forgive yourself for the closet eating you have done in the past
Forgiveness is an important part of moving forward. Who you’ve been doesn’t have to define who you will be!
3. Make a list of the foods that temp you or trigger closet eating
As I’ve shared, I have a list of “no-no” foods. I have had to accept that these foods are too tempting for me.
4. Stop buying the foods that temp you
In time, you may be able to incorporate them back into your grocery list, but for now, accept that they are too tempting and are sabotaging your diet.
5. Share your struggles with a friend, partner, or significant other
Telling others about your struggles will be difficult, but it’s an important step in coming out of hiding. You may need to talk about ways their habits affect your own eating or how the changes to your diet may affect them. The key is having open communication.
6. Stop Tasting
Do you eat a full meal worth of “tastes” while you’re cooking dinner, only to sit down to a full meal when it’s ready? Closet eating doesn’t have to be the consumption of a full meal but can also happen through the various bites, tastes, and licks throughout the day.
7. Close the kitchen
This is difficult for me, as the kitchen is “always open”. Making a decision not to walk back into the kitchen after dinner can help you to stick to your eating plan.