5 Tips to Stop Closet Eating and Heal Your Relationship with Food
What is “closet eating”? I’m a closet eater which means I eat the worst when I think no one is watching. I’m more conscious about making healthy choices when I’m around people which is why people are so confused about why I’m overweight. All they ever see is me trying to be healthy. Go figure. L Anyway, I made a decision to stop eating alone so much as a way to help me with my overeating. If I’m in front of people more I simply won’t overeat. Problem solved. Well – problem better solved I suppose. But hey, it’s one more tool to add to the toolbox. We overeaters need all the help we can get. So here are five ideas I came up with for how we can try to have more meals in the company of others.
- Have a dinner party. This is a perfect way to prevent closet eating at dinner time. I cook every week and what I’ve started to realize recently is that people don’t need you to be a great cook in order to have dinner at your house. I used to think that was the case but it’s not true. Just another story I was telling myself. But here’s the truth. Cooking with love is all that matters. Offering someone a hot meal in your house is one of the nicest things you can do and one of the most intimate ways to show that you are friends. So I’m going to stop over obsessing about how my house looks and whether or not my cooking is good enough and I’m just going to cook for some people and have them over. I’ll learn from the experience and adjust as I go. No more holding myself back for that perfect moment. Perfection gets you no wear. You must just start.
- At Work, Eat lunch in the break room. One of my biggest times for closet eating is lunch time. I live around the corner from my job so one of my greatest luxuries is that I can go home for lunch. This is great because I don’t have to pack my lunch, I can relax at home and it really helps to mentally take a break and come back to work refreshed. Some people think it’s too hard and the temptation to just stay home would be too much. That is true, sometimes it is hard if the day is not going well but I still prefer this option that to how it used to be when I lived an hour from home and had to stay at work all day no matter what. BUT, recently I’ve started having some of my lunches in the break room. The best thing about this is that I’m only going to eat what I brought for lunch. I ‘ve gotten very good over the years at saying “no” to unhealthy office food so if someone has cookies or vending machine food or pizza around – that has absolutely no effect on me. So I’m good there. But often when I go home I might have a plan for lunch but then also grab a handful of my husband’s sugared cashews )(which he hates!) or I might have a few bean chips. And the extra calories would add up. So eating in the break room forces me to eat exactly the planned meal that I had for the day, no more and I get to socialize with my coworkers so they know that I’m human and friendly. J So, Bonus.
- Have an impromptu dinner with a close friend in the middle of the week. A lot of time closet eating can be the result of boredom and monotony. So let’s change up our routine a bit. I just did this last Tuesday and it changed my week. We met in the middle of the week, a foreign concept for both of us and we laughed about how rigid we are during the week like a couple of old ladies. WE had so much fun and felt so re-energized for the rest of the week. How have I not done this before? I work with a lady who has such a full and packed weeknight life, it’s unbelievable. But she may be on to something. I think that as long as I have a very productive prep day on Sunday, it’s okay if I go and have a little fun in the middle of the week. And the best part is that it keeps me from those awful after work hours of 5-7pm when I’m most likely to snack and overeat. 5-7 pm is my prime closet eating time! My husband isn’t home yet, I’m unwinding from the day. So dangerous for me! I have wasted many a calories and gained many a pounds during this time period. And when I went out last week, I made a super healthy choice for dinner – way healthier than I probably would’ve been at home. And I got to catch up with a close friend. Win-Win!
- Rearrange your living/eating setup. Okay so this may only work for a select few. But maybe you’re like me. I have a husband who has to eat dinner in front of the television. In my house that means eating at the coffee table and then bending over like you’re at a trough. That behavior is not only conducive to closet eating but it also encourages mindless eating. I hate it and so most days I try to eat at the dining room table before he even gets home from work. The downside is that we aren’t eating together. My idea of compromise is to find a large table that I can put in the kitchen and position it so that you can still see the television in the family room. Our kitchen is open to our family room so I believe I can pull this off. I may have to add a swivel setup to the television but still, I think this might work.
- Go out to eat for lunch more often. Again this tackles the closet eating at lunch time. Whether you’re in your office with a shut door or you’re like me and you can go home for lunch, either way, if you’re alone, there is more opportunity for closet eating. So, go out to eat for lunch. Get in public. Now, I’m definitely not here to break your budget by any means but honestly – count how much money you spend on snacks. If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet it definitely equals the same as a reasonably priced lunch out now and again.
So, this is something I’m currently working on. I want to stop the closet eating! I really think that limiting the amounts of time during the week that I eat alone will truly help me overall. If you’re a closet eater like me, it may help you too. Test it out for a month or so and see if you see a difference. Come back to the blog and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about it.
Do you have any ideas for eating alone less? I’d love to hear your tips. Please leave them in the comments.