I used to say that my headstone would read “she died trying.” I said that because I spent years talking about improving my eating habits but not putting in the work to change. I desired it, prayed for it, made many goals to attain it, but never stayed on course long enough to make a lifestyle change. There was a time I did not think I would do it at all.
I was an emotional eater. I ate mindlessly, and I ate because I could. Sitting down eating a big meal did not move me, nor did I enjoy talking about food. I just wanted what I wanted and then to eat it in private. Oh, I forgot to mention, I was a closet eater.
I ate in secret when there was no reason to hide. I am not even sure when it started. Somewhere in adulthood. Somewhere between living with a crack-addict husband, surviving a stressful job, or simply allowing a bad habit to creep in unannounced. I hid food between clothes when I did the laundry, in my dresser drawer, and almost always when I was alone in the house. Wrappers or containers were never found because I hid them also.
My choice of food was not entrees or side dishes. My cravings were cookies, candy and chips. I never bought regular size packages for myself. Maybe because it was a ‘one-person party’ or God’s saving grace to protect me from a bigger habit. Anyway, my closet eating binges were individual sizes, mini-packs, something that could be devoured in one sitting – and most importantly…something that was small enough to fit in a purse, pocket, or hidden in a grocery bag with other items.
I did not realize how serious and secretive I had become until one day my husband, at the time, and I went grocery shopping for the family. As usual I made the excuse that we forgot something and I needed to go back in the store. Keep in mind he never felt the need or even offered to go back in himself, which worked fine for me. Nor did he ever notice the extra treat I would have purchased for myself. So, on this day, feeling quite satisfied with my quest, I came out of the store with a grocery bag containing the ‘forgotten’ item but also a candy bar that I could later devour in private. Before reaching the car, I took the candy bar out of the bag and quickly put it in the waistband of my skirt. The gesture shocked me – not enough to scare me straight, but clearly, I was unaware of how deep my need to hide food had become. Who was I hiding from anyway?
Sharing your weaknesses can be embarrassing, so I am thankful to Authors’ Lounge for giving me a platform to write my story. Hiding food and eating in secret weighs on your self-esteem and hinders your ability to cope with your feelings. It makes you unknowingly ashamed and fosters other unhealthy habits.
Thank God for His faithfulness. He never gave up on me and he won’t give up on you. And while I have not acquired perfection in my eating habits, I am more disciplined and well on my way to a healthier lifestyle. I have come out of the closet and able to see myself in the light of God’s love and grace.
If you are a closet eater, battling the spirit of gluttony, caught in the vicious cycle of emotional eating, or enslaved to food on any level, I believe my book “Bread From Heaven” is a catalyst to your freedom. Inspired to teach you how to create new habits by the words of your mouth, you will also be encouraged by the testimonies and words of encouragement. Most importantly, you will learn that God is in the details, and “yes” He cares about what we eat.
Again, I thank Authors’ Lounge for the opportunity to blog about my struggle with and victory over closet eating. Please visit my website at propheticaffirmations.com – Listen to my 3-4 minute podcasts and join me in speaking prophetic affirmations.