Piece-by-piece.I have never been able to eat food "like a normal person," as I'm sure most eating disordered people have in common with me. I don't know when it started or even why. There are just ways of eating, so normal to every day society, that I can't bring myself to do.
If I make a meal, I make exactly what I'm going to eat and no more. I can't leave food behind on the plate or it feels like I'm wasting it. So it's a black or white issue of either refuse it or eat it all and no in between. It probably has something to do with my family and their money issues. Food was scarce around my home, especially my food seeing as I have Celiac disease. We had to buy special types of food that only I could eat and they were mega expensive. So I developed this state of mind where I conserve as much as possible and take only what I know I will eat. That was later in life though. This is a major problem if I go out to eat with somebody, especially if it's an expensive meal because my brain tells me to eat everything served to me and I literally eat myself sick to the point where I can't move because I'm so uncomfortably stuffed.
The first time I realized I had strange ways of eating was freshmen year of high school, and to this day I still have those habits. Freshmen year was also the year I started self harming, and I really wish now that I didn't. During school lunch, sometimes they would give us soggy french fries and I would eat them from smallest to largest, breaking the larger pieces into miniature ones at the end. Anything that comes in individual pieces I will eat all small pieces first and save the big ones until last. The smell of people mixing "fry sauce" would make me retch, I never put ketchup or dressing on any of my food. Especially not ranch.
If they served burritos or hot pockets, I couldn't stuff them in my mouth like everybody else could. I had to pick them apart piece by tiny piece and eat it that way, even if it was mushy beans and cheese, I'd only eat it with my fingers. I still do this if I eat a burrito or something. People would get so annoyed and probably grossed out by it, which made me anxious. Eventually I stopped eating lunch completely or ate on a staircase or some place no one would watch me eat.
Our school had a barbecue every year on the last day, so at the end of freshmen year me and my boyfriend at the time went to it and mostly stayed in the shade, being the anti-social 14 year old rebels we were. When they finally cooked the school lunch quality hamburgers and hot dogs, we went and got some. I only got one hot dog with nothing on it but the bread. When we were sitting at one of the picnic tabels, I wouldn't shove the whole thing in my mouth, I picked it apart piece-by-piece trying to keep the bread and the meat in tact. The boyfriend asked me why I ate like that and I said I didn't really know, I just did.
The truth was, I just couldn't stand people watching me put entire pieces of food in my mouth for fear of both looking disgusting and getting sexual comments about hotdogs and other things. I'm not so much worried about the sexual penis comments now, I just hate putting my lips on food or utensils and sucking it into the hole in my face. Ever see those commercials of people eating food and it's supposed to make their product look so appetizing? It just sickens me.
As I got older, the sound of people eating pissed me off more and more. I'm not so much bothered by crunchy things like chips unless they're extremely loud or something. The sounds I hate the most are when people inhale soup or slurp things or smack their lips. I think this first started with my sister when we were little kids. I'd always get so pissed off at her for "kissing the cup" as I called it when she would slurp down her kool-aid. She eventually stopped and the thing that pissed me off even more was my mom.
My bedroom was right next to my parents' and every morning my mom would make oatmeal and she liked to eat it with these Chinese soup spoons you can get at World Market for like a dollar. She'd slurp it off the spoon and smack and mush it around in her mouth and I would be in my room getting so enraged because it would distract me from literally everything around me and all that would be left was pure annoyance. Eventually, I started blasting music into my ears with headphones so I wouldn't be bothered by the infuriating noises coming through the paper walls.
These days I just try as hard as I can to not eat or drink around people for fear of causing that type of anger in people. I even bother my own self sometimes with my eating. Especially swallowing. It's so disgusting the sound it makes. I get double lattes for lunch at school and it bothers me if my math class is silent because I fear people will hear me swallowing liquids or I might accidentally slurp it or something, so I'm really self conscious. It also makes me really annoyed if I eat something crunchy when I'm trying to watch TV, as I'm sure irritates most human beings as well, but the volume of the TV is another thing I get self conscious over. People's loud TVs cause that same aggravation in me because the person is just so inconsiderate about everyone else around them who may be trying to do homework or other things that require concentration.
I'm not sure if I'll ever overcome all the weird ways I have of eating, the ones I do know about right now (because of people pointing them out) and the ones I don't know I do yet. I'm not sure if I even want to, I don't know, but hopefully some day in the future, if I make it that far, I may want to be 'normal' again... If I ever was.