How Profanity, Anger and a Great Coach Helped Me Stop Secret Eating
I’m excited and confused.
I’m open, but guarded.
I’m free, and yet I’m a little scared.
Because 24 days ago I coughed up a giant hairball of a lie that I’ve been living with for most of my life. I finally admitted that I was a “secret eater,” like, as in I was still a secret eater vs. the way I had been soft balling that I used to be a secret eater with an occasional slip up or two.
And the reason I’m excited, confused, open, guarded, free, and still a little scared is that I really want to stop secret eating, and for “secret eating” to be in my past. And I think it finally is, but truth be told, there’s still a part of me that’s a little afraid that I could go back to my old “ways” + “weighs.”
That’s why it’s taken me 24 days before I’m sharing what happened to me the day that I totally became totally unglued, and unleashed at least 12 F-bombs on my coach Andrea.
I wanted to see if the breakthrough I had that day was actually a shift in my thinking that would translate into who I was being, and I can report that for the last 24 days I’m 100% secret eating free! I get that may not be enough proof for you that I’ve had a breakthrough, but as I think if you keep reading, you’ll see why I feel it actually is.
My coach Andrea shares what happened that day from her vantage point in her article “Core Energy: Why It’s Key to a Coaching Relationship” on 10.28
Here’s an excerpt.
“Jay, valuing his freedom, wants to do things on his terms and while he was accomplishing some major hurdles in his life, I wouldn’t let it go on the little things. He had no control over when or why I was holding him accountable and his way of gaining that control back was to lash out and give me a few “F-bombs”. It was the most awesome conversation that we had since the beginning of our coaching journey. Jay let down his guard, got rid of his façade and got real. By the end of our conversation he felt like he was hit by a “fleet of trucks” but knew he just let go of something that was weighing him down for a long time. I’m not going to share what took place in that conversation, but let Jay tell his story.”
I had become masterful at maintaining my weight over the past few years, ranging back and forth between 250-270, which was certainly a lot healthier than living around my all time high of 435lbs.
The highest I ever got to after Biggest Loser was 282lbs a couple of years ago, and that scared me. I never thought I’d ever let the scale get anywhere near 300lbs again, and there I was, only 18lbs away from it.
I’m much healthier and fitter than I was at my top weight. However, by BMI standards, on that day I let those F-Bombs fly with Andrea, I was at 275lbs, which is still considered obese.
To be at a healthy weight, I need to, and yes I want to, drop at least another 75lbs. Ideally, I’d drop a 100lbs of excess unhealthy body fat.
Yes, I know we should love ourselves no matter how big we are or how we look. I also know that deep down inside, I don’t feel good about myself if I’m willing to live a lie and be someone who feels the need to eat in secret.
For me it’s the stress and shame of living a lie that I’m sick and tired of, not the weight. I have a feeling that getting free of that is what’s going to shed the excess pounds that I’ve been willing to hang onto for so long.
With my original intention of running the marathon out of the way, Andrea and I started to dig deeper into what I really wanted to be vs what I felt I had to be.
All the while Andrea was coaching me on my wellbeing, I was at the same time in the middle of having major breakthroughs and accomplishments in other areas of my life that I had been procrastinating on. There were past actions that needed to be cleaned up and taken care of, and for me ,these were BIG things, IMPORTANT things.
And even though Andrea was aware of all of the BIG things that where going on in my life, she was focused, at least by my perceptions, only on the small things, and the little assignments she kept asking me to complete.
So when I saw an email from Andrea telling me it was time for me to be held accountable because I missed some small stuff again, I was like … this is ridiculous, what she’s asking for is such small chicken sh*t stuff. I feel that what she’s holding my feet to the fire for is a total waste of my time and energy. This brought on a very catabolic response of an email that I WASN’T GOING TO DO IT, AND THERE WAS NO WAY IN HELL THAT SHE COULD EVEN REMOTELY MAKE ME DO IT!
In fact, I was so crappy in my response to her that I was sure it would be quite some time before I heard from her, and maybe she would never respond.
Andrea’s immediate response to my email was to pick the phone and call me.
After my sheepish “hi…” her very first question was “How would YOU like me to respond to what you wrote in the email?”
I said I don’t know, followed by a very long pause….
Andrea remained silent waiting for me to keep going, and I did.
I started off into a rant of all of the BIG and IMPORTANT things that were going on in my life, and then I said I wasn’t going to do the accountability action because it made me feel like I was “bad” and now I had to be punished.
I told her that I didn’t care about these assignments because what I was accomplishing was so much more IMPORTANT and I wasn’t wrong for that.
Pissed, and emotionally raw, I let my anger fly, which is very hard for me with her because I didn’t want to upset her and have her “not like me”.
I was getting a lot of my chest emotionally, because I felt like I wasn’t in control of my life and who was she to tell me what I had to do.
I kept waiting for her to add something to what I was saying. Maybe to agree with what I was sharing or maybe even to redirect what I was thinking or feeling.
I had an urge to apologize at how I was acting and what I was saying to her because it’s really not like me to become that unglued and angry over something that I saw as being so small.
All I got from Andrea in that moment was nothing: just listening, just the space to feel reveal and feel it all.
After I was finished, she congratulated me.
Yes, I said congratulated me for feeling comfortable enough to speak freely and have enough confidence in her to allow me to do so.
Then she told me I was in control of the choices I make and I can decide what I want to do next, and that is why she ASKED me how I wanted her to show up for me in this moment.
She helped me realize that I am in control of my life and the conscious choices I make.
And it that moment, thru the generosity of her listening, I really got that I am in control, and I always will be in control.
And with that opening and that new sense of possibility I was ready to figure out what was really going. Why, no matter what support and coaching I was getting from Andrea, and training from Thomas and Dr. Chris, the scale wasn’t moving. I was still stuck, stuck in a lie, until through the safety of just letting it all fall out of me in a text…
I never planned it, but I’m so glad I shared with Andrea in a text what was coming up for me right after we got off our coaching call on October 12th. What follows is word for word our exchange.
Me: Thanks for the coaching and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck
in a good way…
Andrea: It’s where the magic happens!
Me: And I get that. I’m not ready to open the next door today because I need a little emotional space, but the way you occurred for me in this call made me feel safe and judgment free to share what I’ve been hiding from… what I haven’t wanted to give up… what l’ve wanted to have control over… “secret eating” It’s what got me to 435lbs on my way to 500lbs.
It’s what I thought I conquered on Biggest Loser, which I actually did, until I got home and it slowly crept into my life again, and it’s what I’ve been at the effect of for the last 4 years… for the 1st year after our finale I had it at bay
It’s what’s been in the way of me really being honest with myself and anyone
I out that I was a “secret eater” but I still am and I’m too ashamed to admit I still am one.
I’ve lied to you in every journal entry only showing you what I was willing to share, but not what I was really doing…
I know Kim knows I must be doing it but she never calls me out on it and I really feel uncomfortable really outting it to her… it’s like I’m having an affair, but with food
I wasn’t going to share this now but being able to text it is an opening.
I guess it’s a positive therapeutic way to get something out that you might not want to first open in a conversation
hmmmmmmmm, an authentic smartphone fit practice
Andrea: What an incredible break through for your being open and honest!!
I’m so happy you feel confident enough to tell me.
This is a big step in making a change of who you are to who you want to be.
This is all in YOUR control. How you move forward in what WE will work through together. #crushinghurdles
It’s yours to own and you did it! So awesome for you to free yourself of the chains it had on you.
Me: I think what opened up for me today was no matter what I threw at you, no matter how shitty I was to you, you wouldn’t let me give up on me, you were a space of grace and giving, a safe place, a shame free place, and for whatever is behind my need to hang onto and eat in secret, to have that control, I know in this moment I have someone I can trust that won’t leave me, won’t give up on me, that won’t shame me or let me off the hook
Not in a punishing way, but in a healing way
Ok, it’s out, and I’m not sure how we’ll do this, but “on my kids” from here on out my journal is going to be 110 % accurate and honest, and I’ll do my best to share what I’m thinking, doing, eating and feeling, and not that I’m looking for an excuse to eat off plan, I’m not, but I need to have the freedom to not be afraid to share everything, judgment free so you can see what I can’t see.
If I hold back and repress anything we’ll miss it, and we’re entering a place where we can’t miss a thing.
Andrea: Are you ready to honestly answer those questions like I gave you the example with the popcorn?
We should be able to uncover the why it occurs in various situations
If you want more examples of responses let me know
Me: Over the next week I’m going to do a deep dive into what’s so with my secret eating and share it all with you. I’m also going to finish Mika Brzezinski’s book “Obsessed” and highlight what speaks to me in it.
I’m going to hold on to the Energy word work you want me to explore until we look at some of this and I’ll start sharing a lot more in my journals, and even though I know all of this is confidential I need to come clean on all of this with Kim, Thomas, Chris and my kids. The sooner I do, the sooner it won’t have power over me.
This feels scary, it feels kinda dirty, but it’s what I always knew I needed to face, I just didn’t want to give up this ghost, and I guess I’m finally ready.
I’m going to share the basic bones on this in an email with Chris and Thomas in the morning. And I’ll have a conversation with Kim about it too. Getting rid of “secret eating” is truly feels like I’m lifting the weight of the world not just off my shoulders, but my body.
Thanks, and thanks for helping me have my resistance and anger create a breakthrough 🙂
Now I really feel like I’ve been hit by a fleet of trucks.
Andrea: If you need any support with opening up to everyone don’t hesitate to ask me for it! This is a freeing moment but I know it’s scary!
So there it is, it’s out, my giant hairball of a lie that I’ve been living with for “weigh” too long… but you know what, it really feels to finally get it out.
And I still feel excited, confused, open, guarded and a little scared.
But what I really feel is free, free is the sense that I finally get that
“The truth can set you free!”
I hope this opened something for you, and I hope you stay tuned as Andrea and I continue our journey together to not only help me stop secret eating, but keep “secret eating” in my past, but too also help others discover, uncover and find their own sense of freedom and fulfillment from being a “secret eater” as well.