By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
More than a quarter of women admit to eating food in secret, according to new research.
Many women binge behind closed doors because they are embarrassed about the type of food they eat or how much they consume.
The poll found six in ten women said they often go into hiding to eat certain foods as they know they shouldn’t be eating them.
And 23 per cent regularly find themselves hiding food wrappers and burying ‘evidence’ in the bin, the poll of 2,000 women by weight loss firm LighterLife found.
In fact, one in six women claim they often creep in to another room to indulge in food, with the bedroom being the most popular place to hide.
One in ten are so eager to keep their bad habits a secret they eat in the toilet – but 28 per cent said anywhere private will do.
The poll found that 40 per cent of respondents said they appreciate their eating in secret is a problem – but they just can’t help it, even though they know they are overweight.
Of the females that took part in the study, one in five have resort to hiding food in the boot of their car so no one else can eat it.
Keen to keep their stockpile of food under wraps one in twenty keep it in a locked drawer.
Celebrity Ambassador for LighterLife Denise Welch said: ”This absolutely confirms that – for many – eating has nothing to do with food – it’s all about what’s going on in the mind.
”Gorging on food you’re not supposed to be eating, whether that’s because you’re dieting, or you don’t want to set a bad example to your children does give you a buzz and acts as an instant pick-me-up. But it’s short lived, and often followed by guilt.
”Many women and busy mums in particular may hide food simply because they won’t get a look in once husbands and kids dive in.
”But others who battle with food, eat when no one else is around because they know they shouldn’t be eating it and are often ashamed of the type or amount of food they are eating.”
The poll found 35 per cent of women said when they have the house to themselves they see it as their chance to eat what they want and not be judged.
The survey found it’s mainly husbands and boyfriends women hide their overeating from (55 per cent), but 31 per cent keep their food habits a top-secret from work colleagues too.
In fact, 23 per cent of ladies often said they make an excuse to nip out to get petrol or a pint of milk but in fact use the opportunity to scoff crisps, chocolate and sweets.
In need of a sugar hit – one in ten confess to wolfing food down between buying it and before even getting back to the car.
Some even nip to the loo to eat a naughty treat to avoid prying eyes and 16 per cent happily hoover up the kids left overs when no one is looking.
But secret chocolate bars, packets of crisps all add up with the typical female splurging ?1.16 every day on treats that they keep classified. Over a year that tots up to ?423.40.
One in ten of the 2000 women polled said they try and portray a picture of health at all times so often gorge on junk food in secret rather than let their mask slip.
And when sweet treats are being handed around in the office – one in ten are so eager to stock up, they stuff their pockets to fill-up on later.
But one in five pass their bad habit off as being greedy and not being able to share food.
And a staggering 48 per cent of women said they often replace their main meals with an abundance of calorie laden fatty foods and snacks. With lunch being the most popular meal to skip.
Furthermore, well over a quarter said they believe they overeat every single day, with crisps being the most popular choice to tuck in to, followed by biscuits, chocolate, cakes and buns.
More savoury things to scoff were listed as cheese, pies, pasties and scotch eggs.
The main reasons women reach for ‘bad’ foods was because they were miserable, sad or stressed the poll found.
Denise Welch for LighterLife added: ”Like alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, eating can be an addiction and if you know you eat too much food, eating in secret becomes the norm.
”Like any addiction, although you know you shouldn’t be doing it and promise yourself to stop, you carry on to have ‘just one more’.
”Food is so readily available that eating in secret is really easy to do.
”To change your behaviour you first have to admit you have a problem and then look for a solution where they will help look at the cause of the problem, not just offer recipes for low calorie foods or a work out at the gym.
”If it’s a daily occurrence and you are lying to those closest to you about your eating habits then it may be a sign that you need to address it.”
Dr Matt Capehorn. LighterLife Medical Director said: “This poll shows the true relationship millions of women have with food – for many, it’s an emotional experience first, and has little or nothing to do with nutrition.
“In fact, when many clients arrive with us, they are overweight or obese – but, ironically, they are often malnourished, due to poor food choices.
“Our first priorities are to ensure full nutrition, but slash the calorific intake to lose the weight quickly and safely, and address the underlying causes to enable them to keep the weight off.”