I am a sneaky, closet eater


Guys–I have a terrible habit of eating well in front of others, and then when no one is around I sneak and eat crap like a crazed lunatic.

Examples: yesterday’s food choices were going well. Then I have a big two-hour long meeting at work. During the meeting, there is this huge plate of awesome looking sugar cookies. I didn’t have any.

After the meeting, work was over but I stayed later to finish things up. I walked by the empty conference room and there was that plate of sugar cookies. I grabbed four, went into my office and closed the door and ate them. That cannot be normal behavior. Later in the evening, before a work party, I grabbed an ate a piece of pizza when no one was looking. However, for the main dinner event when everyone was sitting around the table, I ate a very balanced and healthy dinner.

I have lots of examples of this kind of sneaky, eat alone behavior. Your suggestions are welcome. If anyone has overcome this, I would like to have your ideas. It is taking a toll on me. Is willpower enough to overcome this and it is just a bad habit I need to break? Lend a brother a hand with this. Thanks!


I’ve had a similar experience. My advice would be to (a) acknowledge it, and (b) start logging EVERY SINGLE THING you eat during the day. You soon realise everything adds up.


Download and use MyFitnessPal - log EVERYTHING you eat, you will start to see how much you consume and you will have more power to break the habit.

And also join a 30 day group on here and tell them everything you eat, they will help encourage you to stop.


i found it was car time that lead me to eating far too much.

yesterday i ate 1800 cals in normal day. But 1400 in the car…

yesterday was a bad day


Yes, you can break the habit. @thesquarebit is right. Log everything and you’d be amazed at how it adds up. I use the example of ONE 80 calorie cookie per day over maintenance weight. Seems innocent enough. In one year that one cookie adds up to 8.3 pounds of fat. :scream:


The big thing is that you’re already admitting it on here. As the guys say, you’ve just got to keep logging everything you’re eating and force yourself to face up to the reality of it. It’s painful to have to write down that you ate 4 Mars Bars or whatever, even worse when it’s to a group of other guys.

This reminds me I need to join a MVFIA group again!


I fully understand where you are coming from. As I’m single it is so easy to to let yourself over eat.
I find it very hard to stop eating rubish once I start. But if I’m in company I can just eat a little and stop.


Thanks. I will persevere and try to cut out this bad habit.


My theory is this.

If your food rules state that you may not eat these kinds of food then you are on a hiding to nothing. When you do stray (and we do stray) you will feel guilty (this is why you feel it necessary to hide). This is an UNHEALTHY relationship with food.

Have a time or times you can eat this food under control. This will give you a way of controlling the temptations at other times. Base your calorie requirements for a week on allowing the consumption of cookies or pizza. If I see pizza on Thursday I think "…only two more days before I can eat some of that…"
And finally, if you choose to “cheat” and eat of the authorized list, then bloody well enjoy it. Do not feel guilty. Guilt is bad. Bad will lead you to the dark side.


Logging food and calorie counting doesn’t do anything to help anyone change their long term attitude and relationship with food. It keeps you trapped in a controlling, unnatural system where you beat yourself up over under (or over) eating and judge yourself with overly critical thinking.

Just think - will you be having cheat days and calorie counting to the day you die or do you want to have a healthy relationship to all the food on your plate?

Did you ask yourself “Am I hungry” before you stuffed your face with cookies (I am a man who has stuffed his face with cookies behind closed doors may a time). Have you stood in front of the freezer with a spoon scooping out ice cream with ourt shutting the door? I have.

It’s not about hunger, it’s something else. No calorie counting or back slaps from anyone will help.

I’m just starting to change my actual relation ship with food and addressing the underlying cause (not being mindful) rather than the symptom (eating too much).

Give this book whirl if you have a chance.


I disagree. Logging food does help with long term adjustment. It is a tool to make one realize how much one is eating and adjust accordingly. Have the chicken grilled instead of fried, have steamed vegetables instead of fries, drink water instead of carbonated drinks, drink a glass of wine instead of a bottle etc., etc.

Even when dieting at 1,200 calories max per day I do not beat myself up if I have a 1500 calorie day. That is still below my maintenance calories and I know I will adjust the next day.

Now, without counting the calories it is very easy to let it get away from you. And yes, it is controlling, however without control one can over indulge. Speaking for myself I love food. I even went as far as spending several weeks over the years going to cooking school culinary bootcamps ( http://enthusiasts.ciachef.edu/boot-camps/ ). Well, one thing about classical food, it is high caloric. If I cooked every day what I was taught, I would put on hundreds of pounds. So, moderation and portion control is the key.


Your mileage may vary, but calorie counting is not only a waste of your time over the long term but it’s a prison of your own making.

I don’t need telling I eat too much, I already know because I’m bloody fat. It never stopped me eating behind closed doors, gorging on cookies or ice cream. I ran and trained for two half marathons without dropping a pound. If I write it down, I feel more miserable and eat more food, hating myself for my lack of control. But that in itself is a misunderstanding - I eat not because I’m hungry, being mindful about it is teaching me when I’m hungry - as opposed to when I’m tired/bored/stressed/lonely/whatever

Are you really going to count calories until the day you die?

Wouldn’t it be nicer to just eat when you are really hungry, enjoy the food and address the underlying issues behind why you eat more than you need?

Sounds like a load of hassle admin to me. What happens when your at the weight you want to be? Still going to count then?

Without a doubt - but calorie control won’t do that for you.

One day you go for a long walk, one day you sit behind your desk all day. One day you’re hungry at 11, the next day you’re hungry at 1. Every day your calorific needs are different, trying (and failing) to stick to an arbitrary plan than doesn’t relate to your own actual body is a road to unhappiness.

Why can’t we just learn when we’re actually hungry and eat whatever we want, when we need it?


Tough love! You’re right though. I had a stupid day last week where I went to the cupboard too many times:

“Am I hungry?”
“No, but I’m going to eat it anyway”

And I did.

You’re right that we can’t go on counting and indulging in cheat days for the rest of our lives. We all know this, somewhere in the backs of our minds.

We all need to address our relationship with food so that we know when we’ve had enough, and are able to stop. Counting calories is a useful tool to help us do this. One thing that worries me about my kids, and others, is that while they’re skinny right now and consume huge quantities, they have no conception of “enough”.

So, I agree with you, but I think you’re possibly further up the road from the rest of us poor counters.

Thanks for the book tip. Looks worth the read.


I was counting my calories until about 3 years ago, and was at my maintenance weight. I stopped counting, and got fat. Now, I developed severe arthritis on my hip so it limited my physical activity and I was in pain 24/7 even with Ibuprofen and occasional Cortisone shots. I had hip replacement surgery 6 months ago. Two things happened in relation to that. One, I got weighed pre-surgery and I was over 200 pounds for the first time in my life, that was a shocker. I used to weigh myself regularly in the past, but had quit. Second thing that happened is that I was no longer in pain, and along with physical therapy I was able to walk distances without extreme pain. I made a conscious decision to lose the weight on August 28, 2015.

I weigh 181 now, very close to my maintenance weight however it is not the type of weight I was at before. I will lose another 8-9 pounds and then bulk up to gain those 6-7 pounds back in muscle. This next phase will be much tougher for me than food as I was never a snacker, and I never cared for desert much. Maybe once a month I’d share a desert with a girlfriend.

Adjusting my schedule and willpower to go to the gym will be my challenge. Now, I just do my physical therapy exercises, and body weight training (push-ups, squats, abs (2 min plank and crunches) at home.

Yes, along with the exercise goes calorie counting FOR ME. It is not as much of an admin detail as you think, as it does not take more than a few minutes total each day on app.

Even when one does not eat junk it is very easy to overeat without realizing it if one does not watch calories. I had a craving for lamb chops for the last few days, so I made a plan. I had 3 eggs for breakfast in order to tide me over longer. I fixed SousVide lamb chops, and liberally dosed it with herbed butter (melted butter, minced garlic, onion powder) before searing it for 25 seconds each side on a hot cast iron skillet. Roasted some potatoes on the side.

It was yummy. It was also a 921 calorie meal. However, it was also lunch and dinner. I ended the day with 1217 calories. If I wasn’t counting calories I would have had it for lunch AND dinner. Now, another approach would have been to have two lamb chops instead of the four (5oz total instead of 10oz) I had and have more vegetables to fill me up. I am getting there, that is the approach I take when I eat out. I did that last week, had the 6-8oz tenderloins instead of the 16-20 oz ribeye steaks.

Each person has to have their own journey. At the basics it is calories in vs calories out. Until a behavior change makes calories in less or equal to calories out one needs all the tools one can utilize effectively.


Thanks to everyone for the comments. This is a terrible habit that I have developed with no easy solution. For now, I am going to continue to track, make confessions as needed to Team Under, my 30-day bros., and try to improve. I will review that book suggestion too.


If any more proof was needed that calorie counting does nothing to address the underlying problem, this is it.

It’s like being an alcoholic who can no longer go into a pub because of the temptation being too great. Calorie counting is an excuse to not face the real causes of over eating.

And that is - drum roll - our inability to separate the feelings that encourage us to eat - some of them are hunger - the majority of them are “I fancy a bit of that” - “I’m Bored” - “I’m Lonely”.

I’ve been there, done that, I know how much time it takes. I also know how in accurate it is if you are doing anything but eating shop bought know quantities. It’s at best, 30% =/- accurate, not worth the time.

No it’s not - its in fact very easy to over or under eat when you are counting calories, as the total “allowance” for the day makes no allowances for how much exercise you have or haven’t done that day.

Instead - listening to your bodies actual feelings, learning which ones are real hunger and which ones are an urge to eat because of other circumstances, will lead to a healthier relationship with food rather than the prison of addiction which the diet industry, especially weight watchers, encourages us all to stay in for ever.

Absolutely - but that ignores fundamental human psychology. We aren’t thinking when we over eat, we’re not making a conscious decision to do it, the main parent post here is proof.

You will never get permanent behaviour change from calorie counting, you have proven that yourself.

I am going to write up a much larger post on this - for full group discussion and I hugely look forward to the debate, I’m sure we can all help each other with it a lot.

@admin - I am coming to the end of my first months support group - which was helpful, but mainly to give perspective on the pointlessness of calorie counting and writing down what we eat. I’d love to do another support group with 4 other guys who think Mindfull eating is something they can try out - if I put a request in my main post about Mindfulness and not calorie counting - maybe we could do a 5 man special for a moth and report back?


Hello Lawdog

I share your condition. Thanks for articulating it. After work and before supper today when I’ll have tome to do this properly without interruption, I’ll read all these posts carefully and report back here my action plan to over come this. For me now, changing little or nothing else apart from knocking this on the head will get me to target and keep me there.

Best wishes.


For me it was giving up on guilt. I do log everything I eat. I try to exercise.

What loging has done for me is make me think. It’s stopped the casual ordering of a couple of cheese burgers and milkshake as a snack.

I still over indulge but it’s occasional rather than daily.


I totally agree - as a sneaky eater - and the reson my diet goes wrong- it’s those “snacks” that are the issue - at one stage I couldn’t pop to shops or garage without buying something - and as you say is the garage had a McDonald’s then that snack was at least 1 cheeseburger

I still struggle with this but it is not every visit now ( says me as I complete my chocolate bar from today’s visit)


I still eat chocolate and haribo and cake. It’s just now contextualised within my overall diet.

I think it also puts the food intake today into context of the food yesterday and the day before

One days blow out doesn’t destroy the progress. I expect to always on occasion eat too much of the wrong stuff… However my weight keeps going down