This week in both the Haven program and the ‘Weight Loss, God’s Way Challenge’ the topic of sneaking/hiding to eat came up in our discussions.
These discussions took me back to all the times when I would wait for dinner company to leave before I would devour all the left-over desserts that I told the guests I was ‘too healthy’ to eat or when I would wait until my son went to sleep and plunder his Halloween candy until I was just about sick. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re still there now. Read on to learn some practical strategies to help.
What is a closet eater?
A closet eater is someone who may:
- hide/sneak to eat food in private ( in their car, bathroom or hide in a closet) and not tell anyone
- eat healthy in public and then binge on junk food in private
- follow a healthy diet all day and then ‘go crazy’ at night
- have a secret stash of junk food hidden somewhere
Closet eaters are usually filled with guilt, shame and self-loathing. They beat themselves up even more than the average dieter because of the added pressure of living this ‘secret life.’
If this sounds like you, here are some things you can do right now to stop:
Get Accountable to Yourself
Keep a food journal- many of us don’t realize just how much we’re eating until we see it on paper. Use an app, or just an old fashioned piece of paper to track what you eat everyday
Notice what’s going on: Much of our binge eating can be unconscious. A feeling comes over us and our automatic reaction is to eat. Feelings of boredom, anger, frustration, loneliness, depression, anxiety and over-whelm can subconsciously trigger us to eat as our automatic response is to stuff the feeling (fear) with food. The next time you find yourself wanting to closet eat, stop for a second and notice what the emotion is that you’re trying to stuff.
Get rid of your stash: Go through your drawers purses, secret places in the cupboard and throw out all of your snacks. When you know the food is on hand, its easy to obsess about how good its going to taste.
The enemy’s plan is for you to eat in secret. He knows that when there is no-one else to contradict the lies he is whispering in your ear then he has you. Hiding brings shame, guilt and condemnation.
Get Accountability with God
Why is God often our last resource for help even though he knows us better than ourselves and what we’re going to do even before we do it?
The bible says: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account Hebrews 4:13
If you’re in the midst of bingeing, take the focus off yourself and your weakness and put the focus on God — He promises us that His grace is sufficient. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Pray before you start your day – Every morning, remind yourself that you control your appetite and acknowledge your dependence on God, and your faith in God.
Understand that it is a spiritual issue that only God can fix – All physical hungers when taken in excess such as over-eating, unhealthy sexual behaviours, addictions etc. all result from our soul crying out to be satisfied; crying out for something more; something that only the love of God can fill. Ask Him today to heal that place in you.
Get Accountable to Others
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 NIV
There’s power in sharing what’s going on with you, with a trusted friend or group. They can help you gain perspective on what’s going on as well as help to prevent the downward spiral of guilt and condemnation that usually leads to more over-eating.
I want to say that the next time you’re about to eat, consider telling someone but from my experience, after you’ve already made the decision in your mind, there’s nothing in the world that can stop you but you can mitigate the damage by letting them know as soon as you can.
Ask them to pray with you. A member in Haven let the group know that she was going on vacation and requested prayer prior to leaving and even checked in with the group while on vacation. Now that’s being accountable and God honours commitments like that.
If you want to learn how to be accountable to others and God, join us for an enlightening conversation this evening with Pastor Caleen Howard of Life Changers Church. Click here to register.
In Faith and Health,
To learn about our monthly Weight Loss, God’s Way 21 Day Challenge, click here
To learn about our ongoing weight loss group, Haven, click here