THE FITNESS COLUMN: Keeping the right secrets

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Secrets are fun for birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions but secrets are not fun when it comes to weight or fat loss. Not fun, and not good for you.

Secret eating is a behaviour that many people engage in.

I have a long-term client who managed to break the cycle after years of visiting fast food restaurants and was on first name basis with the guy behind the counter.

She would buy food and hide it so nobody found it.

Why do we keep secrets?

Embarrassed by the behaviour.

Protect yourself.

Protect other people.

You know what you are doing is not good for you.

Don’t want others to copy your behaviour.

Fear.

Uncertainty.

Selfishness.

Power.

Establish or destroy boundaries.

Over the years of helping people with their nutrition and reasons why they ate the wrong foods (or too much or too little) the last one on the list seems to resonate with me .

It seemed to be the common denominator among them all. When my client hid food from her husband, or eating drive thru meals on the sly, she was putting up a fence between the person she wanted people to see, and her real self.

And for her, that fence wasn’t a see through chain link fence, but rather an eight foot solid wood fence. It sent the message: DO NOT ENTER.

The boundaries she was establishing by keeping secrets in terms of her eating behaviours were a hindrance to her progress.

She realised, that the secrets she kept from other people and from herself were detrimental to her, not only in weight/fat loss, but also in her life.

If you hide purchases from your spouse, don’t speak up when someone is treating you inappropriately, or have a health problem you hide from other people, you are creating boundaries between yourself and people who can help or encourage you.

These boundaries make it difficult to move forward or solve the problem.

I believe there is a correlation between keeping secrets when it comes to eating and forward progress.

It isn’t until we can admit to ourselves that we are struggling with food and our secret habits are damaging our life and our body that we can move forward. It’s similar to shining a light in a dark room.

Until the light is on you can’t see what’s hidden in there. And until you can see what’s hidden, you don’t know what you are dealing with.

For many people their secrets aren’t just about food. They are about relationships and life. We keep our excessive eating from our husbands, wives and friends hoping that they wouldn’t think badly of us. The funny thing is, they don’t.

In fact they tend to be proud that their partner or friend was strong enough to come clean, and that they trusted them. Additionally, they could tell by looking at them that they weren’t just eating salad for dinner.

Secrets have a way of being revealed whether we like it or not. And when they are revealed, there is sometimes pain.

The pain in many peoples lives is what often sends us to food. Pulling the secrets out and really dealing with them can really help us move past our dependence on food, and start relying more on the realization that no secret is worth keeping if the consequences are bad for us.

Do I have secrets? Of course. We all do.

But knowing what secrets are okay to have, and which ones are bad for you is an important part of your success in life.

It’s never easy to open yourself up, either internally or to other people, but sometimes it’s necessary and healing.

If you see yourself in this article please open up, it will change your life and make you physically and mentally healthier.