This morning as I was getting ready to write today’s post, I was reading through some guest blogs that eating disorders therapist Esther Kane, MSW, sent over for the site. As I read, I was thinking things like, “Oh, yes, I remember how I used to do that” and “Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t suffer that way anymore.” Then I came across a little section she wrote about sneaking food and I thought, “Oh, sh*t, I kinda just did that the other night!”
John and I had eaten dinner much earlier than usual on Saturday night, and at about 10 p.m., as I was finishing watching Julie & Julia, I realized I was hungry again. John had already gone into the bedroom to relax and drift off to sleep, and I found myself going into the kitchen to look for something to nibble on—but feeling like I was sneaking.
Although I was legitimately hungry, I felt the need to be quiet in the kitchen and “sneak.” It was strange—as if I would’ve had to explain myself to John if he’d popped his head in and asked what I was doing. As if I would’ve had to convince him of my physical hunger.
I think there were several things that made me feel weird in that particular situation, and looking at them more closely I know what I can do next time to make things feel cleaner. See, I was watching TV late in the evening—a situation in which I have binged countless times in my life, so it’s no wonder that my subconscious was in sneak mode. I was also eating crackers, which I eat now sometimes, but didn’t eat for years because I used to binge on Saltines. And I also didn’t put my food on a plate—I was just snacking from the package, another thing that’s entirely too reminiscent of binge my days.
I want to remember this feeling so that next time, I can pause and make a couple of different choices, like eating something that’s not an old binge food, perhaps, and definitely serving myself on a plate! Not because I did something wrong on Saturday, but because I want to spare myself those weird sneaky and/or slightly guilty feelings anytime I can.
You’re never too recovered to learn something new about yourself and your relationship with food! Now, I’d like to share the info from Esther Kane that helped me make this realization:
This is a very important area to address, as there is a huge correlation between the phenomenon of sneak-eating and problematic relationships with food and body image. In the 10+ years that I’ve been working as a therapist specializing in disordered eating, I have not yet met one client who has made peace with food and their body without stopping the “sneak-eating” habit.
Write a list of the ways in which you eat less than what you want because you are in the presence of others.
Write a list of the ways in which you currently sneak food.
Write a list of the specific foods you sneak. Is there a pattern? What do you notice?
Write a list of the ways in which you hide your eating. Is there a pattern? What do you notice?
More Homework: Commit to not sneak food at least once this week and eat it in full view of others. Then write about the experience in your journal. What was it like to tell the truth about what you eat?
Do you guys ever sneak-eat or even just feel sneaky about your eating the way I did the other night? Share! xo…Sunny