This is a very important area to address, as there is a huge correlation between the phenomenon of sneak-eating and problematic relationships with food and body image. In the 20+ years that I’ve been working as a therapist specializing in disordered eating, I have not yet met one client who has made peace with food and their body without stopping the “sneak-eating” habit.
I liken this habit to cheating on one’s partner with a morally-challenged person: food becomes your ‘secret lover’ and you regularly steal away to feel embraced in its seductive yet dangerous arms. You know its bad for you and leading you down a dark path, but you find its pull impossible to resist. Your hidden eating habits become a dirty and shameful secret. There is a saying which may help you start to loosen the grip of this habit:
You are only as sick as your secrets.
Write a list of the ways in which you eat less than what you want because you are in the presence of others.
Write a list of the ways in which you currently sneak food.
Write a list of the specific foods you sneak. Is there a pattern? What do you notice?
Write a list of the ways in which you hide your eating. Is there a pattern? What do you notice?
Commit to not sneak food at least once this week and eat it in full view of others. Then write about the experience in your journal. What was it like to tell the truth about what you eat?