Now I know this isn’t a comfortable thing to talk about, especially if it’s something that you find yourself doing from time to time. But once you admit and acknowledge your actions, even just to yourself, then you’re able to accept and move on to healthier habits.
Do the following statements describe you?
- I prefer to eat in private, where no one else can see.
- I eat healthy in front of others but then indulge recklessly in private.
- I follow a healthy diet during the day, only to fall off the wagon at night.
- I sneak food secretly and eat it away from others.
If you can relate to any of the above statements then you may be engaging in closet eating. This “secret eating life” of yours sabotages your fitness goals, making it impossible to achieve the body that you want. Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to approach yourself from a place of love and respect. Resist the urge to look at yourself as a failure as you strive to discard unhealthy eating habits. Use the following 5 steps to curb your closet eating once and for all:
Step #1: Learn Your Triggers
Journal about the feelings you experience before, during and after an episode of closet eating. Was there a particular trigger that caused you to feel stressed, or angry, or helpless before the urge to eat in secrecy hit you? Refer back to your journal after a handful of episodes and try to determine a pattern. This will allow you to prepare yourself with an exit plan before the next potential episode. For example, if you find that your closet eating occurs mainly when your spouse goes out of town on business, then make plans to visit with friends rather than be alone at home with food.
Step #2: Log Every Calorie
Let’s face the facts. Just because no one sees you eat it, doesn’t mean that the calories don’t exist. The simple act of tallying each food item that you eat will force you to be more mindful of your eating habits. Find your ideal calorie range by consulting your doctor, and be aware of how close you come to that range each day. Resist the urge to not log foods that are eaten in secrecy. The point is to bring accountability to the situation, so be vigilant.
Step #3: Carry Healthy Snacks
When the urge to eat in secrecy hits you, it may be useful to allow yourself the snack, but change the script slightly by making it healthy and portion controlled. Eat one of these snacks every few hours to prevent from becoming overly hungry, thus more susceptible to reckless eating. Look below for a list of healthy, portion controlled snacks to incorporate into your diet.
Step #4: Don’t Stock Bad Food
Most cases of closet eating are said to occur in the comfort of your own home. Be proactive by not stocking your favorite indulgences in the kitchen. When you have the urge to sneak a few bites of ice cream before bed, you’ll be unable to do so if there isn’t any ice cream to be found. Be careful not to fall into the trap of “buying it for the kids,” as this is a slippery slope. No one in the family benefits from having junk food stocked in the house. Get it out.
Step #5: Exercise Regularly
How can exercising regularly help you overcome closet eating? It’s simple. When you are actively working towards a goal, and are supported, you’ll be less likely to self-sabotage. Fitness plans are designed to get you to your desired weight loss goal quickly and efficiently. There’s accountability, encouragement and measurable results to keep you on track.