Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night sweating if I’ve gone too long without it. I crave it more than chocolate, and would take it over cupcakes any day. I’ve come to accept that it’s a part of my life, and I just can’t live without it.

It’s been a week since I’ve indulged in my guilty pleasure, and as I think about it now, sweat is forming on my palms – the slippery guilt. I know what you’re thinking; I should stop writing this and check myself into a clinic, however, it’s not quite as simple as that.   

The TV show Secret Eaters is my secret addiction.

I don’t know why, but I can’t relax until I’ve made myself a cup of tea and sat down to an episode (did I mention I’m in my 20s?) Some people watch the News, or episodes of Sir David Attenborough reciting facts about Meerkats in his smooth and eloquent voice, not me though – for some reason, my happiness relies on watching people ardently deny that they ate the last biscuit.

The storylines are never compelling, there are no twists, and the characters are just ordinary people who love a good burrito (who doesn’t?) Though, there is a sense of warmth that I feel while watching people snack on a whole box – or two – of Shapes at night, and later pretend they didn’t; it assures me that I’m not the only one. I can’t give my undivided attention to Sir David Attenborough, no matter how smooth his voice is, and I can’t relate to Meerkats, but I sure can relate to someone who loves a pizza-flavoured, triangle-shaped cracker.

Secret Eaters does get a little creepy when they send professional private investigators to stalk the candidates eating habits when they eat out, you know, just to keep tabs on whether they’re lying about their food choices. You might tell me that this is the point where I should change the channel and watch something more respectable like My Kitchen Rules, but I can’t. I love that the private investigators make fools of themselves when they ask the cashier at McDonalds for the exact same meal as the person they’re following, or when they look through trashcans for KFC wrappers, or go on wild car chase all the way to 7/11.

The absolute icing on the cake is when the candidates watch videos of themselves eating food that they left out of their diet journals, or watching someone try and convince their past self on screen not to eat another M&M, or acting surprised when they get kebabs instead of a salad. The show rejuvenates me; it makes me feel like a normal human being.

Secret Eaters goes much deeper than just showing people who deny they ate another piece of pizza, it’s about not being perfect, and positively accepting imperfection. I know that sounds cheesy, but this assurance is what everyone is looking for.

If you’ve learnt anything from this, I hope the lesson is that it’s okay to eat your favorite snack at night and then pretend it didn’t happen, as well as watching a TV show about other people who are just as sneaky as you are, so you feel better about it. At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself while I consider: maybe Secret Eaters is my clinic.

By Maxine Monus

Originally published in Curieux Issue 2, 2015.