Are you a woman who lives with a secret shame called Closet Eating?
A closet eater is a person with a complex about eating in full view and in front of others. For a closet eater, the idea of eating food in public creates an excessively uncomfortable feeling in their body generating fears and beliefs that people are always watching them and judging what they eat.
Most people speak to themselves over 10,000 times a day and according to research done, studies show that the majority of what we tell ourselves is based on criticism and negative input.
If you are a woman who’s unhappy with your body and frustrated with your weight, you most likely are beating up on yourself with critical self talk. Since you are already conditioned to think of yourself in negative terms, you tend to think or believe that others share your negative opinions and judgments.
If you struggle with feeling ashamed when you eat in public, you are most likely replaying memories in your mind of actual events that have occurred in which you felt uncomfortable eating around people.
For example, as a young teen, like me, you may have had a very critical Uncle Don, who felt that he was doing you a big favor by criticizing your body and commenting on what you ate.
As you sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, with a full plate, eagerly anticipating enjoying your food, your Uncle may have made comments about how fat you were and how the food you’re about to eat will only make you fatter.
Since your brain is always searching to make new connections, you associate Uncle Don’s scathing criticism with the awful feeling of shame that you now have in the pit of your stomach.
In NLP, we call this a kinesthetic anchor. Each time, you are reminded of feeling criticized or judged, your body, sends a signal to your brain flooding your body with stress chemicals designed to alert you to danger. Your body sends a signal that stirs your brain to remember this feeling of anxiety, whenever you are in situations involving social dining.
In specific, your ears sent a signal to the brain that, “You’re going to get as fat as a house one day if you keep eating that food.” You already look like a truck driver from the back.
Desperately wanting to get away from this threat, you seek to find a way to eat the food you want without being noticed. By doing so, you create a new connection in your brain that eating in secret keeps you safe and in control. Yet because of the flood of stress chemicals that the negative memories create, and societal pressures to dine with others, you feel awful hiding and eating in secret.
Therefore, instead of eating Thanksgiving Dinner in front of everyone else seated at the table, including your Ugly Uncle Don, as many people would do, a closet eater will pick at their meal, often claim that they are not very hungry, and find a way to sneak the food away and eat it in a place where they can be all alone, feeling safe and protected from harm.
Until I finally stopped dieting, and learned to trust myself around food and began to honor my feelings as well as my body, I’m sad to say that I wasted years eating in secret too.
I used to be very strategic and clever in thinking up so many wonderful hiding places for food. I had stashes of cookies in my coat pockets, candy bars under the bed, wrapped snack cakes behind the toilet. I would eat in public bathrooms, closets, behind locked doors, in laundry rooms, anywhere that I could be assured of being alone.
For years I put on a show for everyone, including my Uncle Don that I was doing my best to diet and lose weight. Yet, the moment that I was left alone, I would desperately reach for the food that gave my life comfort and joy. I felt caught in a cycle of self abuse for decades, silenced by the secret shame that I felt that I had no control around food.
Today I’ve found a solution that can help you to end your secret shame. I want to help you.
As a Professional Coach, I now understand that closet eating is an example of an eating disorder. Unlike the purging behavior associated with bulimia or the purposeful acts of starving connected with anorexia, closet eating is just as insidious in that it undermines the individual and reinforces negative messages to their brain, making them feel shameful and sinful.
If you’re suffering from this painful and shame filled behavior, there is hope for you. One of the things that I recommend doing is learning a process called Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT. EFT will break the connection that eating in public is shameful and threatening.
EFT is based on the science of Acupuncture and often considered to be it’s emotional equivalent without the pain of needles. Anyone can use it anytime to balance their energy, feel better and overcome negative emotions and fears in minutes.
The reason this re-balancing of energy is necessary is due to the fact that when we experience stress and pain, our bodies hold on to the memory of that event.
Consider that your body is like a smooth running current. When things are going well, the current is flowing gently and evenly. Yet when pain, upset or disease occurs, it’s almost as though a monkey wrench has been tossed into the works.
This disruption short circuits the entire system, causing arcing and blow outs to occur everywhere. That’s when everything goes wonky, your eating goes out of control, and you feel miserable. That explains why you’re reaching for that food as soon as someone’s back is turned. There are parts of you that are short circuiting. If you want a quick easy, painless way to smooth it all out again, EFT can surely help.