Have you ever seen that show “Secret Eaters”? In the show, Anna Richardson (a very funny English journalist, presenter, and writer) and her team would find people who were usually in denial about how much they were eating and could not understand why they looked the way they do. The team would set up cameras in their houses and have people follow them around and take pictures of them whenever they ate and bought junk food.
The spies would even go to the store or fast food place and order what the people had ordered.
Think the people were safe at work? Oh no. The show gets other employees to watch the people and then report back. The team also counted all of the calories and, after a week, would bring the secret eaters to a room filled with surveillance images and a table with a lot of the foods they had eaten displayed on it. It was quite hilarious to see just how many people would secretly have snaccidents in the kitchen, eat in their cars, etc.
Confessions of a Secret Eater
Eating in secret is a habit that I share with many overeaters around the world. It can feel embarrassing when it seems as if you cannot control how much you are eating.
Let me tell you a secret: in the past, when we had already eaten dinner, but I still wanted to eat more, I would anxiously wait for my husband to leave the room, so that I could eat something in secret.
Sometimes, when you really want to hide how much you are actually eating, you plan your route on the way home according to what snacks you want to buy along the way, and then just make sure that you get rid of the evidence in a trash bin close to your house before you get home, just in case your partner looks inside the car.
I could hide it at the bottom of the trash at home, but do you want to risk the trash bag breaking or falling and then stuff falls out and whoever you are hiding your food sins from can see the items?
I have eaten in secret so many times in my life. It is quite funny if you think about it. I downloaded an app a few months ago that is supposed to help you analyse your behaviour around food if you have an eating disorder.
It asks you a lot of questions, such as: “How did you feel before the meal?” or “Did you feel the urge to binge?”
While I was showing my husband, I scrolled past the question: “Did you eat in secret?” He asked me if I do eat in secret sometimes. I said yes, and he immediately followed with the dreaded question: “When was the last time you did?”
Embarrassed, I confessed: “Two days ago.”
Amused and fascinated by the idea that someone would eat in secret, he burst out laughing. He wanted to know what kinds of foods I would eat in secret, as well as how and when I would do it.
I told him everything. From the way I hold my hand to try and hide the fact that I have taken food out of the cupboard and do not want him to see, to the fact that I would often go and eat whatever I was eating in the hallway or our room.
As I said, I would wait for him to leave the room and then quickly take something and eat it before he came back. If he returned too quickly, I would crouch down and pretend to fetch something out of the cupboard, so I could hide behind the kitchen counter until I had finished eating.
Freedom In Speaking Up
When I finally told my husband that I ate secretly, instead of him judging me as I had always feared, he laughed and found it amusing. When I started mentioning it to other people, I realised that I was not the only one in my inner circle who would eat around the corner while nobody was watching. There was a sense of relief as we laughed about it.
Sometimes, you really forget that whatever you are going through, someone else is currently experiencing the same thing or has gone through it before.
Like most addiction, food addiction can lead to secretive and compulsive behaviour. I have a lot of sympathy for anyone dealing with an addiction. It really feels as if it takes over your brain sometimes.
Unfortunately, unlike a lot of addictions, you cannot avoid the thing you are addicted to if it is food. But that only means that you have to try and come up with strategies to help you stay as healthy as possible while you are dealing with it.
Are You a Secret Eater?
If you are struggling, you do not have to hide it. The people in your life can help you. In fact, you might even realise that you had nothing to hide or be embarrassed about in the first place.
Do you have any secretive behaviour around food? Is there someone you love you could talk to about it over a nice, healthy dessert?