Closet Eating: No More Food Shame

Closet Eating: I love food. I am well educated and experienced when it comes to consumption, especially when no one is around. It’s something we all have the potential to struggle with.

Closet Eating: Closely Tied with B.E.D.

Closely tied to Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.), closet eating is defined as binge eating while hiding from view. It can be done before or after a meal. It is often driven by shame. Typically, closet eaters are often seen eating very little in front of others, but will then gorge themselves in private.   

Thanks to Melissa, I have gotten much more disciplined over the years. I stick with a vegetarian diet during the week and then allow myself to eat whatever I wish on Saturday. Actually, it’s a bit of an understatement. Once Saturday arrives, I am ravenous. The Kraken is released, I unhinge my jaw, and the neighbors hide their pets (just kidding).


It wasn’t easy embracing this new plant-based discipline. It was a bumpy road paved with pasta, bacon cheeseburgers, and bao buns – oh my! But my body was looking like it had been dragged for miles on that very road. 


Dressed like a Ninja, wearing the quietest of slippers, I would sneak into the kitchen under the cloak of darkness and consume peanut butter right out of the jar (in addition to a cornucopia of other offerings). I was like a fish inhaling a guppy. The peanut butter didn’t stand a chance.


I was hungry most of the time and wanted to satisfy it. I didn’t want to get caught. As a result, I learned quickly that I needed to “target” foods that were quiet when opening their packages/containers. The crinkling of potato chip bags and boxes of crackers gave away my position quickly. The wise guy in me wanted to design a “stealth snack wrapper” to avoid detection – but I had a higher calling. 


One time, Melissa caught me in the act because of my reflection in the kitchen window. I then started hiding in “blind spots” throughout the house! I knew I had hit rock bottom …. helped by an overloaded stomach.


Part of it was just being hungry at the start of the healthier lifestyle. There was also a void typically fueled by stress or depression. I needed more discipline. The last component to my closet eating was the fear of being called out and “food shamed” – you’re eating that? It happened years ago but the scar remains. For the record, it was not Melissa who did this. She may have caught me a few times, but she was sympathetic and encouraged me to get back on track.


I tend to revert to humor when discussing many topics, but closet eating is something that deserves our full attention - it must be defeated. After a closet eating episode, guilt and feelings of depression often ensue.  Additional risks may include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer.

Closet eating can be defeated if you consider the following suggestions:

  • Ask for help from family and friends. Consider seeking the help of a therapist.
  • Take time to determine what’s driving your closet eating. Closet eating is a symptom of a deeper issue.
  • Think about the damage it’s doing to your body.
  • Realize the fact that it is also “feeding” (reinforcing) your negative mental state.
  • Make a list of the foods you target when closet eating. Now stop buying them. However, feel free to treat yourself to these foods when you dine out.
  • Alter your routine and establish rules to no longer permit yourself into the kitchen after meals.
  • Change the "story" in your mind surrounding your relationship with food through Hypnotherapy.

It is my sincere hope that you find this helpful. You don’t have to fight closet eating on your own. Food is meant to be enjoyed and used as a source of fueling your body. However, food is not designed to be a mental crutch.


I know if I can defeat closet eating, you can too. ~Ted

No More Closet Eating and Other Healthy Tid Bits