By Tasha Pyne
Secret binges in the car? Hiding sweet wrappers in your knickers drawer? Stealing your housemate's food as soon as their back is turned?
As someone who faced all the above battles (and many more!) I know just how devastating it feels to be caught in a cycle of secret eating. The shame, the regret, the total loss of control... It's ALOT to carry.
Before we delve into the juicy secrets of how to end this behaviour permanently, let me reassure you as an expert in this field, that this is an EXTREMELY common issue. You will absolutely know (at least) one other person who is battling this too.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
And the good news? You can absolutely 100% can overcome it!! (HURRAH!)
Let's look into the behaviour a little more..
According to recent studies, 67% of women in the 30-60 age group battle with secret eating. Research also indicates that 80% of these women feel a profound sense of shame during and after episodes, creating a destructive cycle that is challenging to break.
Shedding Light on the Shame:
Why is shame such a key factor in the battle against secret eating? It's essential to understand that shame thrives in a secretive, isolated environment. It's the unseen force that whispers destructive narratives, fostering a belief that our actions are inherently wrong or unacceptable. By acknowledging the role shame plays, we can begin to lift this veil and free ourselves from the weight shackles of it.
Who Are You Really Hiding From?
In moments of secret eating, it's crucial to pause and reflect: Who are you truly hiding from? The truth may be uncomfortable, but introspection is the first step towards breaking free. More often than not, the person we are concealing our habits from is ourselves. The inner critic, fuelled by shame, convinces us that we are unworthy or that what we are doing is ''wrong'' or ''disgusting''. However, it's time to challenge this narrative.
Would they really be bothered?
Consider this: would the person you are hiding from (your partner, friend, kids, work colleagues etc) truly be bothered that you went back for another biscuit? Like, really? In most cases, the answer is a resounding no. So then why are we doing it in secret?
Maybe, just maybe. It is not them we are trying to hide from.... But rather, ourselves.
The Path to Liberation:
The secret to overcoming secret eating lies in combating shame head-on. Here's a roadmap to guide you on your journey to liberation:
Raise Awareness: Acknowledge and identify the moments when shame creeps in. Shine a light on the patterns and triggers that fuel your secret eating episodes.
Challenge Negative Narratives: When shame whispers that you are unworthy or flawed, challenge those narratives. Question them, challenge them. Even replace them with more constructive ones.
Say ''no'' to secrecy: Have the biscuit, buy those sweets but this time OWN IT. Enjoy it on the sofa, snuggled up with your partner or kids and give the middle finger to the disordered part of your brain telling you that theres ANY shame whatsoever in enjoying that food.
Seek Support: You don't have to face this journey alone. Connect with others who understand your struggle, whether it's through friends, family, or professional support.
Binge eating recovery coach