Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are you a secret eater? You're not alone

In a recent poll, over 60 percent of women admitted they're uncomfortable eating in front of their partners. It's so bad, according to the U.K. survey by ShapeSmart, that at least 15 percent end up binging in secret on junk food when their partner isn't around. Here we are, grown women in mature relationships, walking around with secret candy stashes our partners can't know about. What's it all about?

Internet forums, the place we go to confess our sins, prove that secret eating is rampant especially when the cat's away. One forum poster admitted to scarfing down pasta in the morning after her husband leaves for work. Another revealed that her healthy eating habits go down the drain when her military husband is out of town two weeks a month. And several say they wait till their husband's asleep and then attack the refrigerator for leftovers.

Now eating disorder specialists are tagging it "shame eating" and lumping the phenomenon in with other eating disorders like Bulimia and Anorexia. "In the case of closet eating, the emotional eating may be due to past memories related to eating and weight, such as a critical parent who ridiculed a girl’s body or reprimanded her for what she ate," Tamara Pryor, PhD, director of the Eating Disorder Center of Denver explained on the website Everyday Health. "The result may be shame about eating in public and eating to excess to drown out the negative emotions."

But are we over-thinking this? Can't a girl just eat in peace, without having to worry about getting food on her face, or making small talk? Maybe if we didn't feel so demonized for eating alone, we wouldn't try to eat so much when we do. The only problem is that the study also showed, we make unhealthier choices when we're alone. That's where the real secret part comes in: no witnesses, no crime.


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