Are You a Shy Eater?

January 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Because I was fat nearly all my life, I was never particularly comfortable eating in public. I always felt like I was being watched, that my intake was being evaluated and rated. In fact, I’m still somewhat uncomfortable eating in front of people, especially if I’m eating something “unhealthy”.

There’s apparently a name for this condition: Shy Eating. Shy Eating is a profound reluctance to eat in public. It sounds benign, but it can be a precursor to an eating disorder, namely Anorexia. It’s also more common in females than males by a ratio of 10 to 1.

USA Today has an Eating Attitudes and Timidity Test you can take to evaluate just how much of a Shy Eater you may be. I took the test and came out at 13:

12-16: Moderately timid about eating in public – Being timid about eating in public seems to be a frequent barrier in your life.

Shy Eaters dining out are “… not seeing it as a joyful time to interact with family and friends and breaking bread,” says Lynn Grefe, chief executive of the National Eating Disorder Association. “They’re seeing it as a test or it says something about them.”

While I don’t have a life-altering problem with Shy Eating, I have to admit that I occasionally dread eating in public. Although it varies depending on my emotional state at the time, there are days when I do not feel particularly joyful when I’m out at restaurants with friends or my BF. It’s usually because the food choices are a constant temptation. I feel like I’m being tested every time. That sense of testing is more internally driven, not entirely based on other people’s evaluation of me. But, now that most everyone I’m out with knows of my weight-loss journey, I do worry that people are noting what I eat, again particularly if the food is considered “bad”.

Take the test, and see where you fall on the Shy Eating scale. Want more information? Check out CNN’s video about Shy Eating.


Entry filed under: about me, self image. Tags: , .

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