Healthy and Sane

Eating in secret

August 5th, 2010 · 53 Comments · food issues

Wow, guys – nothing brings people out of the woodwork like a giveaway, huh? 😉 Glad you are excited about it. I am. And of course if some of you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here. :)

So I know this is a little dangerous to have such a heavy post right away (since I haven’t been posting daily and since there may be new readers due to the giveaway). I have dozens of food photos to share with you but I’m going to go ahead and do a post on something that’s been on my mind lately (unfortunately experienced first hand).  I was thinking recently about how I started this blog and what’s amazing (to me) is how it developed into something I never intended it to be (and I guess that’s okay!). I started blogging because I was new to cooking and truly was excited about healthy food tasting that good. I felt like someone let me in on a little secret that I didn’t want to hide from the world. I wanted to share it with everyone who’d care to follow my journey of trying to lose weight, the right way. It was pretty early on that I realized that it just wasn’t as simple as that. Since I was sharing my daily eats and happenings with my readers, it became pretty clear that there were other “issues” that were preventing me from reaching my goal weight. I seemed to be doing everything by the book, yet I turned my one “day off” into full on (scheduled) binges and anything deviating from the plan (like an impromptu dinner with friends or a work lunch) followed the same suit. Basically I was either “on” my diet (even if it consisted of whole foods and exercise and didn’t necessarily “look like a diet”) or “off” it. And I mean OFF. And like I said, there was no hiding it. My struggles with binge eating and “food issues” have become apparent on Healthy and Sane and I chose to fight these battles right here, with you in the side lines, supporting me at times.

It is nearly a year ago that I stopped counting calories and pretty much stopped trying to lose weight. This may be a topic for another post (although I’m sure it’s all been covered time and time again) and the bingeing subsided with it. I should be clear right here that it was not calorie counting that was causing me to binge (I don’t think it was at least) but rather my desire to let go of all this nonsense when I decided to stop. You could say I had an “ahha” moment. That’s definitely a topic for another post.

So what is the topic for today’s post, you ask? Overeating in secret. You see, letting go of a diet mentality meant that I truly allow myself to eat whatever I want… in moderation. Moderation is actually an incredibly loaded word and I am pretty sure that many people would argue that a daily treat is more than “moderation.” But that’s what I determined works for me. That means that when there are cookies in the office, I unapologetically grab one (or two!). In the past I used to think that people judged me. No wonder you’re fat! Lay off the cookies, lady. Nope, I don’t worry about those demons anymore (and maybe that’s because I know I’m NOT fat because I worked hard to get there – physically and mentally). People often comment on how healthy I am, sometimes they’re surprised that I’m going for a cookie (actually they got used to it by now – but at the beginning they did) because I seem to be so healthy – a cookie doesn’t fit in their box of “healthy.” But yeah, this was a big step for me to overcome and resulted in an overall much healthier attitude towards food and a much happier Elina. 😀

Here is the kicker, when I exceed my own definition of “moderation” that’s when my old brain switches on again. When I go back to being ashamed of my choices, like going back for a 3rd or 4th cookie… after a large dinner (gasp), that’s when I start hiding it. My old bingeing behaviors get triggered and I have to work very hard on not giving in… and often I lose that battle. I plop myself on the couch, in front of the tv, and I keep eating. Believe it or not, Adam is usually in the same house with me – just in a different room. This makes for an even more shameful behavior (in my book); it makes me feel worse but it doesn’t make me stop it. I still eat until I’m sick… or until I cry… or until I get the courage to just stop because enough is enough.

This happened yesterday and kind of ended in a combination of all three. Today I’m picking up the broken pieces and am arming myself with a plan of attack for next time!

1) We’ve heard it all before – it’s not about the food. I was full after a very satisfying dinner with friends. The idea of dessert at a restaurant made me sick (I was full after all!) but the second we got home I started reaching for more. Why? Was something bothering me and I needed to be confronted by food? I really don’t think so (although that’s usually the answer) – I’m going to track my steps and figure it out. Next time this happens – I’m going to ask myself the same question.

2) I am putting a note on my refrigerator with 3 (simple?) questions – Are you hungry? Is this what you really want? Are you going to regret this later? It’s a little silly for a grown woman to need such a note so prominently displayed but whatever – I’m going with it. All is fair in love and war, right?

3) I have a journal in which for some reason I mostly write “after the fact.” Beating myself up for what happened already. I write little motivational notes to my “future self” that I never read. I’m going to start using my journal more wisely… some things to consider…

– Only positive thoughts and messages can help you get out of the funk. Reminding myself of how crappy I’ll feel afterwords does not help. I already feel crappy and in that moment I want to hurt myself (with food) for being such a horrible person (geez, I realize how stupid that sounds just writing and re-reading it now, but it’s so real in that moment!).

– You can be inspired or you can be transformed to a happy place. Love is the answer. :) This came in a timely email from my mom this morning (I’m on the left… with my dad and my sister).

This picture makes me happy. How can this child allow herself to lead a less than optimal life by… bingeing? Not acceptable. Stop now.

A word on inspiration… In the past I thought that pictures of (or notes to remember) people I think are beautiful in their own way (like dancers, athletes, hot people I know) are inspiring but I realized that that just reminds me that I’m not there yet and somehow I turn it into a negative thing. You’ll never be this fit, this beautiful, so don’t bother. Inspiration that works? Printouts of my email advise to others dealing with the same issues, printouts of positive blog posts. I usually try to be inspiring. Maybe reading my own advise when I write it to others will help. There are no underlying “you suck” messages in those.

Ask for help! Adam is freaking right there!!!! He’s right there in a different room and you are slowly destroying yourself, in secret. Stop, go tell him something is taken over you and you need him. He’ll be there. If he’s not around, call a friend!!!

I’m going to make sure to be kind to myself today. Yesterday can’t be changed but today I can do better. I’m off to dig up inspirational messages for the future Elina… :mrgreen: Have you ever experienced eating in secret? What would you say/write to your future self to prevent this?

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53 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Meghan@traveleatlove

    I don’t think the note on your fridge is silly at all. It’s so important to take care of yourself by any means necessary and if that is a visual reminder, then that is what you need to do! You are such a strong person and have such a great support in Adam with all of us rooting for you as well. Don’t forget that when you are having a tough time!

  • #2 - Michelle

    Elina, I love your raw honesty in this blog. I don’t necessarily hide it but there are times where I’m snacking on something “healthy” like pistachios or popcorn…and then realize I ate way more than I should! Kudos to putting yourself out there completely and inspiring readers like me along the way.

  • #3 - MelissaNibbles

    I used to be bulimic, so yes, I’ve eaten in secret.

    I hope these things work for you, have you thought of talking to someone about the things you brought up? I did and it helped me a lot. Just getting everything off my chest to someone who didn’t know me was a huge relief. Good luck!

  • #4 - Adam's dad

    Hi Elina.

    As I told you last week….follow Mark Twain’s advice.
    “Everything in moderation….including moderation.”
    You’re doing just fine.

  • #5 - RunToTheFinish

    eating in “secret” has long been my issue. In fact i think sometimes I’m not even hungry, I don’t want a snack but the hey no one is around so I can grab that cookie gets me anyways. It definitely started when I was younger and is something that I try very hard to not let happen… I openly talk about eating cookies and cake on my blog because I want people to see I’m not a perfect healthy eater which was sooo not the case in the past. I just wanted them to think all I ate was salad :)

  • #6 - Daisy

    Elina, this is a great post. You are inspiring, real, and in the moment. Seems like you have quite the inner battle going on, but thanks for letting us all in. I know that it’s not easy. I have a hard time getting super personal on my blog. I can’t say I’ve really experienced anything like this, but really, thank you for sharing. Here’s to a positive tomorrow.

  • #7 - Annie

    What a timely post. Whenever my fiance is out of town, I find myself eating more, just because I can. He never judges me for eating, but I always feel like he snacks less. Last time he was gone, I plopped down to watch a movie with a bag of tortilla chips (I love them!). I was astounded to find I’d eaten over half the bag (a big bag).

    He’s gone this week, and I am really working on mindless/secret eating. My biggest help is to put a serving on a plate or bowl then walk away. Once I finish that, I have to get up and go back to the kitchen to get more. I baked cookies on Tuesday and am very proud of myself that there are still quite a few left. It’s all about little steps. Thanks for sharing!

  • #8 - Bridget

    I loved reading this Elina! I find I encounter the “secret” eating more so at work too! Like say someone brings in donuts, now everyone at work knows I’m teh first person to grab a knife and cut myself a little piece, and maybe another little piece (god forbig I eat a whole one right? haha). But if they are back in the kitchen, and not out infront of everyone, I am WAY more likely to haev more and more pieces because no ones watching…I hate that. And no, I’m hardly ever hungry when I eat office treats. I wish I could keep a sign like your fridge sign at work…but a las an open concept office makes that very hard. Mabye I’ll camoflauge it :)

  • #9 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    Your honesty in this blog is one of the things that made me a regular reader. Thanks for sharing this. I know what you are going through because I’ve been there. Up to now it is still a struggle but I’ve learned to relax and not beat myself up anymore. Even though as food bloggers and foodies, food is a big part of our world, we have to remember that it is not our whole world. Good luck in overcoming this, and cheers to inspiring moments!

  • #10 - Candice

    If you’re eating on the couch right out of the packaging, then I’d recommend forcing yourself to “serve” yourself the food. Fix it on a nice plate, take a picture of it, and then eat it at the table, not on the couch. You’re probably less likely to overeat then and you can enjoy the process of eating. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that help control food issues.

  • #11 - Emily

    Hi Elina – I’m a new reader (also living in Boston). I enjoyed your post and your honesty. The note on the fridge is absolutely not silly. I have put snacks at my desk in my locked file cabinet, just to create an extra step to get to them. Having to unlock the cabinet forced me to think: do I really want this right now?! Most of the time the answer was no :) Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  • #12 - Corey - The Runner's Cookie

    Occasionally I have experienced many of the feelings you’re talking about – especially the beating yourself up about over-eating later.
    I think the note in the fridge is a great idea for a visual reminder.
    I like that you are focusing on the positive, and journaling is something I find helpful with so many things in life!
    I would recommend that you especially make a point to journal when you have a GOOD day in terms of eating mindfully and healthfully – because this will force you to think about how good it feels to do this and reinforce you to do it more often.
    Thanks for the honesty, and nothing you are doing is stupid/pathetic – you are awesome!

  • #13 - *Andrea*

    great post elina! i never used to have eating issues until i decided in high school to stop eating after a failure event. when i gained back the weight i did it by binging in secret in my room (out of anger) which has established this really bad habit of binging in secret. each time i recover from binges by positive thinking i vow to never do it again yet it happens say a week or so later. i’m learning now that change is a life process and there is no such thing as perfection. mindful eating is difficult but i think that paying more attention to thoughts/feelings will help! thanks for being so honest, i feel better about myself for this taboo behavior when i hear about someone i admire (you!) facing the same struggle. good luck today! keep the positive affirmations on your mind. repeat them a lot when you feel the need to binge. with eating disorders/disordered eating i believe that recovery is a lot of ‘fake it til you make it’

  • #14 - Marina

    Your raw honesty is amazing. This is the only blog I know of that you can find this kind of open writing. Thank you for continuing to share with all of us.
    One thing I’ve noticed is that my boyfriend snacks very rarely. He eats 2 solid meals a day and kind of skimps on breakfast. I eat 4 to 5 small meals a day, starting with a filling breakfast. He’s bigger than me so it weird when I am eating more meals. I think I try to be secret about my snacks b/c of the weirdness I feel. Anyway, I think we can all relate to what you are saying! Thanks again for sharing.

  • #15 - Julie

    Why do people eat in secret? You’re precisely right — it’s the subtle looks and comments or judgments that keep people from eating what they want in front of others, so they do it in private. And “in private” is destructive, because first all, you’re already alone. Secondly, you’re filling that void with food!

    Whether people really judge what we eat is variable — some people don’t care, others comapre, and still others downright nag. I used to always get comments about what I ate. e.g., “I can’t believe you’re eating that crap” or “Whoa, you’re really hungry today.” And even “Wow, you eat really healthy” is not a welcome thing I want to hear!

    So I can def relate to this, and I do it sometimes, though I’m always feeling guilty about it. And I have no idea how to break this habit, expect just to not let it become a habit. Maybe start by making more of your own food… it will kill more time and remind you of the contents and effort of the food… Also, tell others what you are making and then share it.

    And obviously, try not to put yourself in a situation where you’re alone and want to eat. Lately, I have been craving rest more than food at times, so I will plop in front of the TV, do yoga, or start cooking to relax me. And keep the triggering foods out of the house for sure!

  • #16 - Body Conscious Blogger

    I have couple of words of advice:

    1. Clean up your pantry of unhealthy foods ( I believe there is no need to explain) – when you know there is something there you will eat it, no matter how determined you are not to eat it. If it’s not there you won’t eat it. Simple.
    2. Hold yourself accountable, be your own judge and eating in secret will no longer be so because you will be your own public and therefore you will not be eating alone.
    3. Binge on carrot sticks (as a result of cleaning up your pantry) – they will not make you outgrow your jeans 😉

    I’m telling you, your desire to indulge is working against you. If we indulge too often it’s no longer a treat/indulgence. It becomes an every day thing and therefore unhealthy.


  • #17 - Notes from the Fatty File

    I can very much relate to this post, unfortunately. As much as I strive to live a healthier life and I have mostly killed the binge monster, I definitely have to work hard to have a decent relationship with food. For example, I made vegan cookies a couple of weekends ago and they were tasty but not THAT tasty. I kept going back into the kitchen (my husband was in another room) to “sample” the goods, to see if one cookie tasted different from the other. They weren’t. I felt like crap at the end, though. I also felt sneaky.

    My solution is that I just dont bake — ever (unless it’s a special occasion and the goodies are being taken out of my house immediately). It is too much of a trigger for me.

    I think the post-it notes are a good thing. Whatever works for you, you know? I have a photo of myself at my highest weight on my fridge. Even though I look totally chubby, I am with my uncles and I like the photo. So it’s not like I’m really punishing myself by looking at it; it’s more like a gentle reminder that I shouldn’t eat mindlessly.

  • #18 - katecooks

    i can definitely relate to this. a lot of times, i intentionally wait until i know i will have a night on my own to overeat.

    i did find that blogging on such a regular basis made it worse. i will never be the type of person who denies myself treats and sometimes i do eat fast food or a whole pint of ice cream. reading blogs where people mention eating two bites of a fabulous chocolate cake…that only made me feel worse. same with snapping my every bite. then, when i had a donut, i felt guiLTY about that.

    i miss my daily posts but honestly, my relationship with food is so much better. i just remind myself that i am healthy and i look great and eating half a pan of brownies one night is not a good HABIT but really, it’s okay. not beating myself up can still be hard but it has made a world of difference.

  • #19 - Kelly

    I agree with the other posters, I love that you are so honest. I think there is strength in that and that there are a lot of people who are in a similar position who will be able to relate. I think when you write a blog there can be a feeling that you need to have it all figured out, but I honestly find the humanity is more appealing and real.

  • #20 - Jenna

    I have an opposite reaction that is equally detrimental to my overall health. I tell everybody about my binges. I feel so uncomfortable about the food choices I make, that I try and pull it off as a joke. For example, I will eat a whole cheese pizza and go around to my family, friends, coworkers, “can you believe it, I ate an entire cheese pizza last night…yea I even dipped it in Ranch, yea its bad I know, but whatever, pretty funny huh?” Somehow I feel like my feeble attempt at humor and disclosure will make me feel better. It doesn’t though. Maybe I feel that if I tell everyone what I did, than I don’t have to personally carry the guilt around. I can share the guilt with others to carry for me.
    What would I say to my future self…
    Eat to fuel your body
    Learn and create new recipes that are healthy but are still tempting
    Don’t wallow in the guilt, use your energy to be the change you seek
    10 minutes of food bliss? Or 4 hours of a sick stomach?

    I am proud of you!

  • #21 - DessertForTwo

    Wow, your honesty is the reason I keep coming back to this blog over and over. I don’t consider myself someone with body, weight, or eating issues, but I’m drawn to reading about them for some reason. Thanks for sharing, really.

  • #22 - One Healthy Apple

    Elina- I really respect your honesty.

    I have been a secret eater in the past and every few months, although less often, I backslide into it. My best advice is to go into the same room as your husband. Bring the food you want on a plate, and take the time to enjoy it. I was very private in the past, and that was not the best answer for me. I also had to take myself out of the diet mentality and understanding moderation after being disordered is HARD!

    All I can say is to keep using the support you have and try your best to remove yourself. Turn off the TV, call your hubby over, or go sit on your patio to recreate the moment.

  • #23 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    I admire you so much for writing this. I have struggled SO MUCH with eating in secret. At first I would always make excuses for it, but finally I realized I just needed to confront it full force. I told myself that ending my relationship with yo-yo dieting meant no longer being afraid of food or ashamed of eating, so I committed to eating with other people as often as possible. Whenever I got the urge to sneak-eat, I took it as a sign that something emotional was going on inside, and I tried really hard to confront that instead of just covering it up with food. It’s not an easy battle, but I’m so proud of you for being open about it!

  • #24 - Lizlivingvegan

    Wow, what an incredible post! I can totally relate, and I think when I have a “diet” mentality, I’ve even more prone to binging. I’m working on it, but it’s definitely something I take one day at a time!

  • #25 - Hangry Pants

    What a great post. A few months ago when I gained some weight I found myself doing this. I thought people might be like, ummm Heather, that’s why you’re gaining weight. I am glad I had Mark to kind of call me on it. :)

  • #26 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    I sure have! It really is weird how eating sometimes just makes you feel comfortable for some reason. I don’t know why!

    Work it sister. We’re all supporting you.

  • #27 - Shannon

    I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said, so I will just reiterate…. you are so inspirational for sharing your struggles so honestly. I know i relate to you and based on the comments you’ve received, many of us relate to you. I will catch myself “sneaking” something from the fridge….and the ironic thing is that I’m the only one judging me for it. My husband wouldn’t care that I was reaching for another cookie, yet I think I am sneaking it by him! It doesn’t even make sense! If I am the one doing the judging, you would think I would be wanting to hide it from me, not him…but there’s no way to hide it from myself.

  • #28 - Caroline

    great post. candid, honest & truly resonates with me.

  • #29 - Elina

    Thank you all for amazingly supportive comments. I know I’m not alone. I hope that this post helped at least one of you prevent this in the future.

  • #30 - Shirley

    WOW. Elina, this is the first time I have been to your blog, i just randomly ended up here when I was googling some stupid diet shit (looking up the ingredients to annie’s balsamic actually), and I am so happy i ended up seeing your post. I completely relate– it almost felt like I was reading something I wrote myself!! Thank you so much for being so honest and articulating your experience so well.

  • #31 - maria @ Chasing the Now

    Oh girl. I understand every single thing you have written on this post. I started secretly overeating and binging last fall and have only started to get it under control in the last few months.

    It is a beast to slay! But honestly, pulling it out into the open and not letting yourself be controlled by shame is a huge first step. I was so nervous to tell my husband, but it was the best thing I could have done. He has been very instrumental in helping me deal with my binge eating, and never ever criticizes or judges me.

  • #32 - Cat

    I found myself nodding along to this whole thing.
    Thank you so much for this post.

  • #33 - marie

    Thank you so much for ALL of your posts. I love following your culinary adventures, and I love it when you are honest enough to share your struggles. It’s not just you.
    And the note is not silly; it’s what works for you. I am also a grown woman, and I have taken to flossing and brushing RIGHT AFTER DINNER to stop myself from eating more. Seriously, I go straight from the kitchen table to the bathroom to floss, brush, and rinse w/ really strong mouthwash. I just don’t want that sweet item when I have the taste of Scope in my mouth!
    Thank you again for being so open with all of us out here in blogland. You have given far more help and reassurance to more of us than you probably realize.

  • #34 - Tiffany

    I think a note on the fridge is a fine idea! I’m a grown woman, too, and I frequently leave myself little ‘pick-me-ups.’ There’s nothing childish about reminding yourself how strong you feel when you feel good about yourself.

    Always remember that you are beautiful inside and out. You’re open and honest about your struggles, and you should know that there will always be people who love you supporting you and reminding you how far you’ve come. Be proud of yourself for that and let the insecurities fall away; you’ve already learned what’s it’s like to love being in your own skin, and that’s the most important thing.

  • #35 - Heather

    I too have been there & was a binger/secret eater at a young age after tragedy. I used to hide food in my room (snuck from the kitchen) & it only escalated when I got my license.

    It’s something that I’ve battled on & off for most of my adult life. It was only until I became to stop labeling foods “good” or “bad” that things started to shift. Those of us that have been “dieting” for a big chunk of our lives know too many bad ways to drop weight or what we try to pawn off ast healthy habits. X grams of protein, low carb, low fat, etc.

    Are you with me? When food stops being a good/bad thing is precisely when the secret behaviors stop.

    I drink REAL coke with my lunches, I use full fat dressings & totally enjoy some desserts. It’s a balance, of course, but nothing is off limits.

    I’m rambling but hope that somehow helps someone. We women are our own worst enemies. Treat yourself well, eat good food & remember to love yourself!!!!

  • #36 - Lisa @ I'm an Okie

    I saw your comment on Health for the Whole Self and appreciated your viewpoints and your opinions so I made my way on over here.

    You said that you wanted to steer clear for heavy posts for all of your new readers, but I’m glad this is my first post of yours.

    I too struggle with overeating in secret as well. I too define moderation, for me, as a small treat everyday.

    I too tried dieting and dieting and now try my best to eat intuitively.

    I too overate a bit for no reason last night when the boyfriend wasn’t home. I know what it feels like.

    anyways, I love the note on the fridge. It’s not silly, it’s just a reminder :).

    Thanks for the post!

  • #37 - Allison from Balance in Bites

    “It’s a little silly for a grown woman to need such a note so prominently displayed”

    This is SO not true! It’s not silly at all!!!

    The fact that you are aware that you have these issues and are working them out is very much part of being a “grown woman” (ie, mature, self-aware, wanting to take care of herself, etc). If the note will help, then rock it out! =)

  • #38 -

    i love the idea of posting that on the refrigerator. what really helps too is that when ur hungry, ask yourself if there was any thought or feeling/ emotional even that happened just before that could be triggering your hunger. sometimes you may find that someone said somethnig that left u feeling sad or maybe u read somethnig that made u angry, or had a busy day and had to wait in traffic etc. if u cant think of anything that could be an underlying reason emotionally for hunger, then its safe to say ur body is truly hungry, but if there is an underlying need or reason to use food in a situation, you will be able to see it and work through it, and the hunger will fade.

    xoxo <3

  • #39 - Cate

    Thanks so much for sharing this with your blog. I struggle with this too and thought I was alone in this.

  • #40 - Laura

    The most important thing I did to stop the binging-restricting cycle was to journal. Yes, I went through the intuitive eating process too, threw out my scale (literally), stopped counting calories and agreed to be okay with my weight. All those things were helpful, but journaling is the thing that even a year and a half later keeps me from going back to that behavior.

    Every morning I make a cup of tea, eat a piece of dark chocolate and write. I don’t have any structure or requirements, just that I try. Most mornings I write for over a half an hour, even if initially I didn’t feel like it. Since binging and restricting isn’t about the FOOD I hardly ever write about food. I just give myself full permission to explore, analyze, admit and feel everything that’s weighing on my heart. Now I have little to no issue maintaining a healthy weight for me and feel empowered to make the right choices for my body because I’m nurturing my soul.

    Finally, I can’t help but notice your language when talking about these issues. You use words like “battle”, “arming yourself” and “plan of attack.” Part of learning to eat intuitively means GIVING UP THE FIGHT. It means giving yourself GRACE and not striving to “win the battle.” Only when you choose to look at each food moment as just a neutral experience will all of the intuitive eating stuff really sink in. When we place value judgements on our behaviors (good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, winning the fight vs. losing it) we’re still living in that black and white mentality. Intuitive eating is a whole world of grey — but I for one am happy to be living in it.

  • #41 - Laura

    I don’t get a chance to comment often, but I read you weekly. Six months ago this could have been me. I’m not hugely overweight, but my eating habits were so much like yours have become. It has taken me six months of really focusing on healthy foods & working on changing my mind set on foods as well as stop using foods as the emotional crutch to feel better.

    I’m not near to where I want to be, but I am getting there. Blog land is my support, my husband though proud of me isn’t following along with my food changes, nor do I have any close friends who are on the same page. So I turn to blog land for my fitness & healthy eating support. On bad days I make a point to seek out my inspirations & read their blog posts, it helps me so much.

    I wish you the best of luck on your new page you are turning. I know you can do this & I’m sure us here in blog land will be there every step to support you. I can’t wait to read your story as this unfolds.

  • #42 - Rachael

    I truly appreciate the honesty of this post, and I think it’s something that many of us can relate to. Your coping mechanisms and strategies are all very logical and seem rooted in a lot of personal introspection – I hope they work for you.
    I tend to be a secret eater; after years of anorexia, I was convinced that others judged me by what I ate (after all, I did and sometimes still do). It’s still very difficult for me to eat carefree around folks unless they’re family or close friends. I’m trying to shrug off the ritual I have about eating alone, especially treats, as it usually happens when I’m not all that hungry.
    Being kind to yourself after any perceived transgression (stress on the perceived – food shouldn’t equal guilt) is key – I remember whole days and weeks ruined because I allowed myself to wallow in what I had “done”.

  • #43 - Operation “no food shall go wasted”

    […] Eating in secret […]

  • #44 - Terrianne, Ree

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing, and your openness.

  • #45 - Elizabeth Jarrard

    Beautiful post. Thank you for being so honest and open. i think the note on the fridge is genius (and I may just add one myself)! this is all a journey, and know that we are all here to support beautiful you!!

  • #46 - Lara (Thinspired)

    I’ve had this post bookmarked to read since you posted it; I wanted to be able to really read it and not just skim it!

    You know I can relate. I agree, I don’t think calorie counting causing the bingeing, but for me, definitely adds to the idea of “good days” and “bad days.” I love the idea of finding your OWN definition of moderation. That’s what I have been doing lately, I think. Some days I count, some days I don’t, but I’m slowly figuring it out. I think the rest of my life will probably be spent delicately dancing along this balance (and hopefully not going off to extreme directions!).
    I love your non-food focused posts just as much as I enjoy your food ones. We have so much in common and I find myself thinking, “ME TOO!” the entire time!

  • #47 - Melissa @ TryingToHeal

    Wow, you described my experiences to a T! I often feel the same way after feeling like i’ve “overeaten” or have eaten out with friends and ate until I was content. it’s like something just takes over me and i’m stuck with my hand in a bag and can’t stop.

    i have a post it on the fridge w/ the same things and it def helps. i hope you get the support you need, and know you can always get it here!

  • #48 - Healthworks blogger picnic

    […] Eating in secret […]

  • #49 - Shannon

    hmm, this is exactly what i do. except i have no one at home to be accountable to. i keep thinking this is enough, but it keeps happening… i don’t know what it’s going to take to get me to stop :/

  • #50 - Alice

    Oh Elina. I wish we lived in the same city sometimes!

    Yes, I absolutely eat in secret. I’ll validate it in a way because it’s not really a ‘binge’ – but really, waiting until my boyfriend is in the shower and then hurriedly scoffing down chocolate is just as much of a concern as binging.

    It sounds like you’ve thought really hard about this and have tried to look at it in a very calm, rational, and intelligent way – that’s awesome! Acknowledging you have issues and wanting to change them is truly a huge step.

    Honestly – have you ever thought of seeing a therapist or a psych? Food is not the issue; but what is? I walked away from my first pysch appointment with my head spinning: finally, I was assembling some sort of reason to why I binged.

    Obviously everyone is different, but I;ve found it really helped me. ^I totally get what Shannon is saying…its funny how even if you do live with someone, you find ways around it, and you find ways to binge/eat in secret anyway!

    You rock, Elina! I love your blog anyway, but I love it more because you’re brave and make posts like this!

  • #51 - Alice

    Sorry wanted to respond to #40 – Laura –

    This is very true. If you can accept the possibility that yeah, you might binge again one day, it can feel very freeing. I guess it’s about not being so hard on yourself – for me at least, binging makes me feel guilty, and leads to restricting, which leads to binging. And the cycle continues…

  • #52 - Pam


    I know that you don’t know me, but I just want to tell you how much your blog means to me. I’m struggling with an eating disorder and your posts have truly helped and inspired me to be good to myself, every day. Thank you.

    • #53 - Elina

      Pam, I’m really happy that some of this resonated with you. I hope that you are seeking professional help to fight your disorder. You’re worth it!