Do you eat perfectly in front of others, but sneak eat cakes, cookies, breads, or large quantities of “healthy foods” when no one is looking?
Maybe in the company of others, you eat small or moderate portions.
You seem to portray a sense of self control around food.
But behind closed doors- maybe the moment the guest leave the party and you’re left with the leftovers, you eat.. in secret..
Well this was me.. think you might be a sneak eater? Read on.
*More of an audio learner? Listen to this episode here.
My sneak eating started at a very young age.
I think I must have been 14 the first time I vividly remember doing it.
I went to visit my grandma in the USA, and I couldn’t sleep due to jet lag.
I remember creeping outside, on my tip toes- towards the pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookie jar.
It was thrilling, exciting and kind of scary.
But as I got closer to the cookies & pie- I could feel my dopamine level surge, like I was almost attaining my stash.
And when I started eating- in secret.
Ah, I felt a surge of ease & flow & relaxation as the sugar hit my bloodstream.
It was just me, and candy. In my own world.
And 2 minutes later, there was a tall figure behind me sternly saying “what are you doing here?”
Damnit, it was my grandmother.
Instantly, I snapped out of my high and fell into a circle of shame and guilt.
And this continued for years.
All throughout my teens, I’d secret eat at night- peanut butter & Nutella from the jar when everyone was asleep.
Biscuits from my grandma’s room- sometimes when she went to the toilet I’d sneak into her room and quickly eat what I could.
Up till I started working- and the office pantry became my area of secret eating.
Sometimes I’d be so embarrassed by my eating I’d take the cake to the bathroom to make sure no one saw me.
Up till 4 years ago, even after being in recovery for years- I still engaged in secret eating from time to time.
Sneak eating was kind of my “thing”, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give it up.
When my girlfriend was out, I’d order lots of KFC & pastries and binge on it in secret- and if she came home early, unexpected and caught me, I’d feel so much guilt and shame and embarrassment.
Because I felt like the secret eating, was MY thing.
It was MY secret.
I was clean and sober then from drugs and alcohol, so for me it felt like I was using- just with something legal.
I had to admit that I had a problem.
I was obsessed with looking perfect and like I had it together on the outside- like I was sooo good at following the rules, when really I was a mess.
I used to secret eat fried chicken all the time- so what I did is that I bought a giant container of it, and ate it in-front of my partner.
Just to get out of the secrecy.
Addictions are rooted in secrecy- and I had a behaviour I had been practicing for years in secret and I needed to make changes that impacted me.
Then I had to admit that I had both a process and substance addiction.
I was addicted to the process of self soothing with food.
I was addicted to the physical act of chewing and eating and decadent taste of highly processed foods.
I never secretly ate berries and broccoli, right?
And I had to get clean of the process part, but also certain substances that didn’t serve me.
People debate around this topic- but it’s very nuanced- the same way how 2 people can shoot heroine but not both will develop an addiction.
The same with food. It’s not something everyone will be addicted to.
I got clean from the substance addiction by abstaining from highly processed foods, and I live free from the process addiction by eating meals that have start and an end- so I’m not grazing and turning to food all day long like I used to.
Let’s be real, most of us who struggle with our eating have a very disordered relationship to food and usually don’t eat balanced meals.
I was of the false illusion that eating real food in normal quantities would make me “gain weight”, especially because of my secret eating episodes.
But it was not eating properly that was CONTRIBUTING to those episodes happening..
So for me, I had to invite structure into my eating.
That helped and helps me live in a body i feel healthy in, free or with very minimal cravings and food chatter.
It can seem scary at first, eating large full meals..
But I promise you- your body will know how to self regulate.
Nothing causes more weight gain than sneak eating and binge eating does.
I had to forgive myself and to move past the guilt and shame.
I had to get lots of support- change meant being 100% honest with another person about my food.
Not doing this alone.
Don’t suffer alone.
If you are looking to break free from sneak eating- and eat with confidence and self trust, I can help.
Book a 45 minute Radiant Body session with me where we will deep dive into a particular area with food & body where you may be struggling, and create a blueprint to get you there.