I eat everything in tiny little bites. Barely a nibble. It takes me a long time to eat anything.
My support worker challenged me on this whilst I ate a snack with her.
“You’re just nibbling round the edges,” she told me. “Try and take a bigger bite.”
So I did.
It felt incredibly strange. It was probably the first time for a long time that there was more than the tiniest possible bit of food in my mouth at one time.
I tried to explain why I found it so unnatural.
“If I take bigger bites and there is more food in my mouth, I feel like I am eating more.”
I know this is irrational. The food is the same size, same amount and same number of calories regardless of whether I eat it in three giant mouthfuls or nibble at it for hours.
She made me take another big bite.
It was a strange sensation. After months of never taking a normal-sized bite of food, it now felt so wrong.
The last time I was challenged on this was when I was a day-patient. At meal times, the staff would point out any eating disorder behaviours. I was frequently told not to nibble at my food.
Maybe I am trying to make my food last as long as possible. I noticed when I was a day-patient that I never wanted to be the first to finish. I would watch everyone else and make sure that I was eating more slowly.
Maybe I want to be able to enjoy the sensation of eating, but without eating much. I often watch other people eat, and am amazed at the huge bites they take. A whole sandwich can disappear in a minute or two, before I have even nibbled the length of one crust of my toast. I want to shout at them “Stop eating so fast! Slow down and enjoy it!” But I resist. I know that I am the one eating strangely. They are eating normally, exactly how I used to.
Maybe I associate bigger bites with binging. I have rarely binged, but the occassions that I have, have probably been the only times that I have not nibbled at food. Maybe I worry that if I take bigger bites, I won’t stop eating.
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
It’s just one behaviour on a long list of things I need to work on, and it’s probably not a priority right now, but I feel like it will be a tough one to crack.