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Spitting out food?

WARNING: this may be a gross topic to read.

Maybe it's time I admit I have a problem. I'm not sure. Ever since I've become a mom, I've turned more and more to food as a stress reliever. And the more weight I gain, the more unhappy I am with myself and my body, the more depressed I get and the more I eat. It's a vicious cycle.

So, to try and correct for it, I started chewing up food and then spitting it out. Somewhere in my head, I've convinced myself that if I spit it out, I can experience the flavor without taking in all the calories. But this can't be healthy, can it? I've done some research on eating disorders and this behavior isn't mentioned, but it doesn't feel right.

I don't like that I do it. Yet I can't seem to stop. Every morning, I tell myself "you're not going to spit out food today". And yet every day, I do it. I know it's a problem. I know it needs to stop. I'm not sure how to get away from it though.

Tue. Mar 14, 9:20am

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This helped me alot :
Diagnostic Criteria
The following is considered the "text book" definition of an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis... it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with an Eating Disorder. It is important to note that this is a Clinical definition, and is in no way meant to say that any sufferer does not struggle, and that the condition is not serious. It is not meant to say you do not have Anorexia or Bulimia (or a combination of both sometimes known as Bulimirexia). This is a clinical category of disordered eating meant for those who suffer but do not meet all the diagnostic criteria for another specific disorder.

Examples Include:

All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except the individual has regular menses.
All of the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are met except that, despite substantial weight loss, the individual's current weight is in the normal range.
All of the criteria for Bulimia Nervosa are met except binges occur at a frequency of less than twice a week or for a duration of less than 3 months.
An individual of normal body weight who regularly engages in inappropriate compensatory behavior after eating small amounts of food (eg, self-induced vomiting after the consumption of two cookies).
An individual who repeatedly chews and spits out, but does not swallow, large amounts of food.
Binge eating disorder; recurrent episodes of binge eating in the absence of the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors characteristic of bulimia nervosa.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 10:12 AM

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I have done the same thing, not every day, but once in a while. I know it is not normal or healthy, but the control feels so good. When I focus on eating for health and not for pleasure, I can avoid this behavior. I am thinking of seeing a therapist, but I am not sure. Thank you for posting this.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 10:19 AM

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I've been thinking about seeing a therapist too. I want to go, but part of me wants to just deal with it on my own. I know I shouldn't do it. So, the answer is easy- STOP. Yet the stopping is the problem. Sometimes I can make it a few days before I do it again. Other times I do it several times a day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 10:55 AM

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Please don't take this comment to be judgemental as it is not meant to be. You must ask yourself if this is a behavior that you want your children to learn. If you are not ok with them doing it, it may be time to get help. I pray that you get the help that you need.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 10:56 AM

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I want to encourage the poster who mentioned they have considered seeing a therapist to go ahead and make an appointment. We tend to view therapy as a bad thing, but it really isn't. It can be good to just talk about it with someone who can react in a non-judgmental way and help you figure out ways to make changes or how to address other issues that may be related. I am glad you're willing to talk about it here on peertrainer, and although I hear your explanation for why you do this, it sounds like you wish you didn't. I encourage you to make changes, especially since you seem to feel it isn't healthy. You're doing the right thing by talking about it, and talking with a therapist could be a great next step. I hope it goes smoothly for you and would be interested to see updates on how it's going for you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 5:20 PM

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Ive gone the eating and spitting thing.. only when I really want a food.. or I lose my mental clarity for a bit and then snap out of it... I do it like once a week...

Go see a shrink, I'm going soon and I know its going help !!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 11:01 AM

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I'm not a doctor, but it seems that by purging through not eating the actual food, wouldn't that be something similar to what bulemics do? The only difference is that the food hasn't all entered the stomach... You are still putting it into your body, only to expunge it later?

To the OP and the other person considering therapy--If you are concerned about your behavior, then it seems to me that you have already recognized that something is wrong... although it might be a bit scary to go to a therapist-- they are there to help you through any problems you may have--hopefully, you'll find one that you can feel comfortable with and can discuss this issue... maybe there are some other things that are contributing with your need to empower yourself through this behavior?

Hope things get better for you!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 5:46 PM

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Thank you!

I was the poster considering therapy. **Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement.** It was the motivation I needed. I made an appointment for a consultation on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 16, 2006, 3:39 PM

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good for you!

Way to take charge of your life -- I hope it works out well for you!

Friday, March 17, 2006, 1:07 AM

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chewing and spitting out food!

Hi, i have been anorexic for 4-5 years now, but after a year i discovered spitting when i was drunk (believe it or not!!).... i came home after being out with some mates, (had eaten my usual 2 weetabix and a weightwatchers less than 300 calorie meal, with some fruit as a snack during the day which was fairly normal for me) and was so hungry and craved something sweet. put a choc digestive biscuit in my mouth and it tasted so good, but then i felt htis emmense guilt so in a drunken state i spat it out into the bin!! i felt so silly at this point, but ive carried it on for years now and its my deepest darkest secret. And i know its not normal by any means. But i cant stop, its a massive obsession. So i shop fairly healthily, but the "naughty" foods i buy in large quantities (choclate, biscuits, cakes ect) and store them in my room for when i need a sweet fix.... and spit them out into a bag....... I have in one time gone through spitting out 3 large bowls of sugar puffs, 2 packets of maryland cookies dunked in tea and about 7 chocolate bars....I sometimes get a sore jaw from the fast chewing, or sore troat from the hacking up (to make sur i dont swallow any..... which is in fact quite hard!)
However, any of the anorexia councellors i have had have never come across it before,,,,,,, so i am SO RELIEVED that i have found someone with the same problem :)
I desperately want to get out of it and neeeeeed help.....
any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks for listening to my ramble!
Ruth xxxx

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 9:08 PM

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I've done that before too but didn't recognize it as a problem.
Man I am thankful for this post.
OP and the rest of you thank you for being brave enough to share.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 10:39 PM

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I don't understand why this is a problem. Forcing yourself to vomit is unhealthy because of the damage that acid and such is doing to your esophagus, teeth enamel and so on, but clearly this isn't an issue with just spitting the food out before swallowing. Binging and actually eating the food is what we're all here to avoid. If you're really craving a taste of something, what is not okay about tasting it and then spitting it out?

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 9:14 AM

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A&E's show "Intervention" did an intervention with a woman who was bingeing and spitting. So I'd definitely say it isn't a healthy or helpful behavior. Kudos to those seeking help for it.

I've been through therapy before, and it was fantastic. I went because my mother made our whole family go to deal with problem A, but in the individual sessions, I dealt with problem B, that I hadn't realised was a problem. I've always had a pretty good sense of self awareness, but man, the tools my counsellor gave me helped SO much. My counsellor helped me realise how much control I really could have over myself and my environment, and it was so freeing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 12:18 PM

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I think it was interesting that one PP had mentioned that the control felt good. That's textbook eating disorder. It may begin about weight loss, but it's really about control in your life. If you have a healthy attitude about food, then you should know that treating yourself to a "bad food" is okay once in awhile and actually encouraged. But if you can't bear to swallow it because you're afraid of what it will do, then I'm sorry, but that's something that needs professional help.

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 2:13 PM

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i dont know how the person who said it is normal can POSSIBLY say its normal behaviour!!!!!???
Would you spit out food in a restaurant???!!!! and where??!! Exactly! Because it is not normal by any means and is only EVER done in private.... which means its too shamefull or embarrassing to do in public!! just because it doesnt do any damage physically, just think about the effects it has mentally.

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 2:32 PM

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Sex is done in private but I don't see anything shameful about that...

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 4:31 PM

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HA!!!!! Well now your just being silly arent you!!
Obviously, eating is something done in public, its a social event. Sex isnt, unless ofcourse your into group sex.
Your posts belong on a pro ana website darling.... not here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 8:01 PM

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I never thought about spitting before someone I associated with said she did it. I thought that it was an eating disorder. I used to suffer from a "non" eating disorder, where I would go for months and could not eat. Physically, just looking at food made me sick. I eventually got out of it, through self help and through professional help. Every now and then, when I am super stressed, though, it does rear its ugly head and I have to do some serious self-counselling to get it back under control.

There was a poster above who said that control was the real problem. Well, normally I would say that is true, when people are control freaks and everything has to be the way they want it. But self-control, like, waking up at the same time every day, or getting your work done instead of procrastinating, that is good control. Freeing yourself from a bad, psychologically disabling pattern is, partly, learning self control. So I think there is a difference between controlling behavior in ourselves and others to self-control. maybe we should call it self discipline?

Thursday, April 24, 2008, 8:46 PM

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My friend's aunt used to spit out her food. I was about 12 years old when I watched her do it. So I went home and tried it. I did it twice and thought, "this is stupid" so I never did it again. I never really thought any one else ever did this. I would classify this as an eating disorder because it's not a natural thing for a person to do--at least not a person with a healthy relationship with food. People who are doing this around children. Stop. You'll teach them to have a poor relationship with food, as well.

Friday, April 25, 2008, 7:13 PM

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I understand

Hey guys, just to let you all know you're not alone at all it's a pretty common disorder that thosands secretly suffer from..i discovered it about a week ago and like everyone here got a bit excited that i could eat everything and not gain a pound..the problem is, it's very wasteful i'm literally spending £5 a day on food just to spit it out! Also reading in a magazine (which has made me go cold turkey) it is very damaging to your body, it can cause stomach and mouth ulsers and internal bleeding since the stomach acid rots away ur lining because no food is going down..try and think of these points if you want to stop! it's really hard to stop though isn't it, ive found myself consistly thinking about food now! i spose it's because you never fill's such a shame ive got this relationship with food, sometimes i think just doing it now and again is ok but i really want to try and stop all together..the best advise for anyone is one day at a time we shall get through this!! XX

Friday, May 30, 2008, 5:12 PM

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I would ask myself this ...

is this something that I would admit that I do? Would I be embarrassed or ashamed if people found out I do this?

If it is something that would cause you shame, then it's not a good thing. Whether it is physically harmful (like purging) aside, it seems like a ritualistic behaviour that could hurt you in other ways.

Saturday, May 31, 2008, 2:16 PM

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I saw Miranda's date do this on an episode of Sex and the City, lol. She was totally grossed out.

Sunday, June 08, 2008, 8:46 PM

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I have allergies, so if I give in and eat something I will often spit it back out after tasting it and "coming to my senses". If I didn't I'd get really sick and sleep 14 hours and not recover for days. So I thank God when I have the good sense to spit it out. I've never spit out junk food but, it seems to me, that the rejection reflex is good. Purging is violent to the system and can't be compared. its MUCH better not to eat junk food, but if you are giving in to the craving anyway, and you are going to have a big guilt attack if you swallow it- definitely spit it out!

The problem is BINGING on unhealthy food. Occasional spitting out is alot better than surrendering to the impulse and swallowing piles and piles of junk food. If you are binging and spitting, see a therapist, 'cause its not a diet plan.
Good luck!

Sunday, June 08, 2008, 10:58 PM

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Me too!

I am also a victim of committing this sort of behavior. Mine started when I was competing for a figure competition. I started this when I knew how strict my diet was. It seemed to satisfy me for the moment, but soon I found myself doing it more and more. I was also buying junk foods, mainly sweets, alot more and hiding away from people when I would be alone and spit out my foods, There were times that I had also chewed up and spit up so much food that I had a tooth and gum problem for about 3 days. I even went to the dentist only to find that my gums were just sore. It seemed very odd to my dentist, but not to me. I have tried several times to stop and deter myself from doing this, and now I am not buying the foods, but when someone brings out foods that I know I am not supposed to eat. I sometimes take it home and then chew it up and spit it out. I have even sat in my car and the bathroom to simply get my fix. I have wanted to talk to therapist, but I am not sure how and what I say.
I am glad that I am not the only one. I will say that it does make me bloated sometimes. More so than simply eating th foods. However that has not completely stoped me from chewing and spitting out my foods.

Thursday, July 10, 2008, 10:11 PM

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To the Thursday, April 24, 2008, 9:14 AM poster....

I do not understand the logic that you had when writing your post. The issue at hand is actually that these persons who experience spitting out their food have an unhealthy relationship to food. Not that they aren't ruining their esophagus and are avoiding binging and throwing up....that they justify this "eating disorder" as an OK thing. Although kudos to the posters in this community thread who are seeking outside help. That's an amazing first step to take.

Why would you have a reason to spit out your food? If you're giving in to a can either: a) only take 3 bites to satisfy the craving OR b) work out a bit harder during your next workout. There is no conceivable reason to justify doing this to yourself in my eyes.

I just want to highlight how this is NOT something that should be taken lightly and shrugged off. Imagine doing this in front of family members, loved ones, friends, colleagues...I'm sure they wouldn't consider this "commonplace".

Friday, July 11, 2008, 8:10 PM

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I don't think spitting food comes under the name of "self-discipline," especially as most posters brave enough to admit to it also say they don't feel comfortable with it and they *can't stop if they want to stop." That's not discipline or control, that's addiction. Self-discipline means being able to do those things you feel you ought to do; self-control means the same. So someone with good self-discipline would be able to stop behaviors they didn't feel good about.

As for doing things on your own vs. getting help--If you had to carry a huge box of books, you'd get someone to give you a hand before you'd stand there straining for hours to lift it, right?

10:11 poster--print your own post above and take it to therapy with you. Everything you need to start a conversation with a therapist that will help you is right in that post.

And my hat is off to those who recognize that this is unhealthy and have the strength and the guts and the wisdom to get help. My heart goes out to them and to those who are still trying to take those steps.

I am the sister of two women who struggled with eating disorders.

Saturday, July 12, 2008, 12:15 PM

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Been there/done that

What the original poster is doing is called "disordered eating". I was lucking enough to find an eating disorders program a couple of years ago after 10 years of bulimia. One criteria for their program is a history of disordered eating, which is basically a pre-cursor for an eating disorder. There is a very fine line between this type of behavior and a full blown eating disorder. Please talk to your doctor, or check this out on-line. I found help at the Eating Disorders Institute at Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 12:20 AM

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what a waste of food...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 1:58 AM

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12:20 AM here. Wasting food does not even enter your mind and is probably the less important consequence of the behavior

Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 10:55 PM

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Does anyone really know for sure that there is no harm done? Have studies been done? Granted the food is not going all the way down and then purged back up, but there is still the possiblility that some harm could be done. I would definitely recommend seeing a counselor. It is amazing how much help they can be because not only are you able to express yourself with someone but they have resources we are not always aware of. They can possibley recommend a specialist, a support group, a sympathetic ear and variety of suggestions. And whether it is harmful or not they shoulc be able to tell you that as well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 9:36 AM

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You just described what I've been going through the past couple of weeks. I've had an eating disorder for 3 years and have gone through different habits and am now onto this one, which i know is not healthy or anything but i just wanted you to know you're deffinitely not alone. if you wanna talk or vent or anything u can email me if you feel like talking to someone about it would help..? my emails =)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 7:52 PM

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I am relieved to have found a message board on the internet that is not full of comments from uneducated people who can't even spell their own names:) so this is good first off. I have NEVER posted on a message board before, but i believe now is the time to start.

I have suffered from every eating disorder under the sun. Started when i became addicted to drugs at a very young age, causing me to lose a lot of weight, an effect that i loved. However, when i became "clean" or rather stopped abusing and started using recreationally, i also became anorexic. When i couldn't stand not eating anymore, i became bulimic...SEVERELY. I was throwing up blood and bent up in fetal position with pain daily due to binging on serious amounts of food. I went to the doctor who told me i was going to die if i continued, so i stopped. I then started spitting. I also still suffer from the other two disorders, just not as intensely as before. Spitting is my main problem right now. I have a lot of problems, always have, ever since i was little. I have compulsions, such as scratching my head, which i find myself doing for hours upon end. This and my other eating disorders have caused me to fail out of school three times. I am about to fail out a fourth if i do not stop spitting. It has become such a problem that i literally do it for 12 hours straight. I have 28 dollars in my bank account right now because i have wasted hundreds of dollars on food in the past few months. I am seriously broke because of this problem. Instead of spending my money on drugs i have now switched to food . I go through BOXES of granola bars, huge bags of mnms, candy, entire boxes of cookies, entire boxes of pasta, sandwiches, cereal, everything in sight. Daily. I am completely out of control. I hide in the bathroom at work with a chocolate bar and just chew and spit. Chew and spit. It is never ending. It is ruining my life. My mouth is also in constant pain and my teeth hurt and my cheeks and lips are swolen and puffy. I have no idea how much i actually eat during the course of a day because about halfway through my meal ill feel guilty and start spitting. I have no idea what to do with my life, it is making me extremely depressed. I also just moved across the country so i am always alone and live alone, so there is no one around to pick up on these compulsive habits i have. I really need help, but i can't really tell anyone because i have burdened so many people with my past drug addictions, eating disorders, and compulsions that i simply cannot add this obscure one onto the list.

I thoroughly apologize for the length of this post but i am feeling especially helpless at this point in time and i do not know where else to turn. I feel as if i am not even living life anymore between this and the head picking (which i have suffered from since i was ten years old. There have been periods where i have been in control, but not for a very long time. I abhor this lifestyle and cannot take it anymore. I feel like i have demons inside. Any words of advice would be of great help to me. Actually, I am begging for help dealing with this situation, for it is far easier to let out my problems on perfect strangers than the people who are close to me. I

I applaud and thank anyone who actually made it to the end of this post. If you did, thank you very much. My email is or if anyone cares to email. Thanks :)

Friday, March 20, 2009, 3:25 AM

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PP, your pain comes through loud and clear. In my life I have suffered from and recovered from more than one addiction. What helped me was: THERAPY/COUNSELING, but this only helped when I was desperate enough to be 100% honest and self-revealing. Bullshitting a counselor did not help me :)
SUPPORT GROUPS for people with the same or similar disorders, because they could identify, call me on my BS and not judge.
I am absolutely sure you are a beautiful, deep, intelligent person who has developed some really self-defeating "coping" mechanisms. If you started suffering from self-inflicted pain at the age of 10 I would bet the roots go way back. You are not to blame for the causes, but you are now responsible for the solution: you are absolutely, positively worth it and you ARE strong enough, or you would not have posted your cry for help. Please keep writing and please give serious consideration to getting professional help and peer support. Don't give any more of your life to the patterns of the past. A beautiful, satisfying life is waiting for you, and I pray you find the strength to start moving towards help.

Friday, March 20, 2009, 1:57 PM

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How to stop emotional eating, night eating and snacking- link to new PEERtrainer article.


Friday, June 19, 2009, 12:04 PM

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Not so bad...

I do it too.. but only when I really crave something really I have a sweet tooth. I always feel better afterwards.. and gulp down lots of water to give myself the full feeling.

Monday, March 29, 2010, 7:20 PM

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Sunday, September 26, 2010, 8:59 PM

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It's better than vomiting

If it's only once in a while, if you're dying to eat some potato chips, and you know eating those chips will destroy everything you've worked so hard for in dieting, then spit. I do it about once or twice a week. I got the idea from a Super Model blog. I am not going to destroy my efforts - I drink green all day, then have a sensible meal for dinner.. That's how I lost 57 lbs. But sometimes I crave a hunk of chocolate, or a piece of bacon or [my weakness] potato chips. There's no way I'm going to swallow that down. I just get a napkin and do it, inconspicuously. It sure beats killing your esophagus vomiting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 2:14 PM

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I have actually tried this before, and it doesn't seem all that weird to me. But I found that the experience was very unsatisfying. yes, taste the food and it tastes good, ok spit it out (or most of it out) and just seems so ...unresolved.

I think that drive to swallow the food is strong in me and if I spit it out I don't really feel like I experienced a yummy treat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 6:15 PM

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