When we think of eating disorders we tend to imagine anorexia or bulimia. Very few of us realise that binge eating is becoming a more widely recognised disorder which is affecting more and more people in the UK.
In fact, a new poll has just revealed that more than a quarter of women are regularly eating in secret. Furthermore, they are spending on average an incredible £423 a year on illicit chocolate bars and crisps.
Of the women surveyed, they revealed that their main reasons for eating in secret include shame about the foods they’re eating, feeling embarrassed about their portion sizes and knowing that they’re eating foods that they ‘shouldn’t’ be eating. However, it was also found that the reasons women reach for ‘bad’ foods in the first place is because they’re feeling sad, miserable or stressed out.
When it comes to indulging in their secret eating sessions, 23% of the women questioned said they hide food wrappers and bury evidence in the bin. Six in 10 admit to having certain hiding places in the house where they can snack in secret - with the bedroom being the most popular.
Some of those surveyed also admitted to stashing food away in extreme hiding places in order to avoid getting caught. One in five have used the boot of their car while one in 20 will go to such drastic measures that they will even keep food in a locked drawer.
The poll found that 40% of respondents know that eating in secret is a problem but they just can’t resist temptation. Worryingly, 35% of women agreed that when they have the house to themselves they will use this opportunity to gorge because this is the only time they feel they can eat what they want without being judged.
Whilst it’s mainly husbands and boyfriends being kept in the dark about their partner’s eating habits (55%), women also admitted to keeping their food habits a secret from their work colleagues too. In fact, 23% will make an excuse to go out and get petrol or a pint of milk but will actually use this opportunity to eat crisps, chocolate and sweets.
If you think you could be struggling with binge eating, please feel free to visit our Binge Eating/Overeating Treatment Programmes page for more information.