I’m embarrassed to admit this, but there’s something I need to get off my chest.
When I first wrote this piece below, it was four years ago. Four whole years ago that I vowed to get a handle on my emotional eating.
I was convinced that by putting it out there, saying “hey, everyone, I stuff my gob in secret, whose with me”, my cover would be blown. I’d be outed as a closet emotional eater. Things would have to change.
Reading back, you can hear the conviction in my voice. I’m like a cheerleader with candy striped pom poms, and a mantra:
No longer will sneak into the pantry when I am bored, procrastinating, happy, sad, angry, nonchalant. No more sitting alone in a drive thru carpark, secret squirrelling away fries. I’m happy. I’m enough. I’m going to be an amazing role model to my daughter and show her that you don’t need gobbing smackfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar to navigate your every move.
Here’s the actual kicker, I’m still grappling with it. Every. Single. Day.
Hear Bec talk about it on the latest episode of The Well:
I still catch myself in the pantry, halfway through the Jatz, wondering ‘what am I doing‘? I sneak the kids leftovers. I go to the fridge at the first sign of trouble.
Some of the stuff I’ve done, scoffing, eating stuff in my room, hiding things, worried my husband would find out, there could practically be a CSI Pantry in my house.
But now, I have someone else holding me to account. The Well podcast is forcing me to go back there and deal with it. Robin Bailey (her relationship to food is entirely different to mine but still as fraught) and I are on this crazy little journey we call “how to get your shit together without eating your way out of it”. And it’s dark.
Our modern relationship with food is so distorted, so conflicted, that we need to find a way to grapple that control back without resorting to extreme measures.
(Spoiler,we have strategies now. We’re not perfect but it’s better than pom poms and high kicks).
Because it’s so often never about the food. It’s always, ALWAYS a coping mechanism.
The full episode is an absolute cracker. A Jatz cracker, smothered in peanut butter and eaten in secret if you’re me, and utterly avoided whatsoever if you’re Robin. Because turns out, emotional eating doesn’t necessarily mean binging. It can be deprivation, too.
And read up below on three-year ago me. Bless her sticky, shameful fingers.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Last week, I saw myself at Coles. Well, in the carpark outside to be exact.
I was loading groceries into my boot when I saw her. A woman, a mother, thirty-something years old, sitting behind the wheel of her blue Honda Civic silently eating what looked like a Snickers. And it was the look on her face — not of enjoyment or pleasure but numbness – that caught me. Caught my breath for just a moment. Because I used to do that — secret eat — nearly every single day.
I am what you would call an emotional eater. For the last 30 years, stuffing food into my cake-hole has pretty much been my coping mechanism for everything.