Chewing and Spitting

Sarah McMahon
4 min readJun 23, 2019

There were the “bad” foods that I considered “off-limits.” Candies, cakes, donuts, cookies, ice cream, white bread, sugared cereals, crackers, juice, soda, smoothies, granola bars, pretzels, brownies, waffles, pancakes, anything rich or carby or satiating. Denying myself these foods was easy for a while; dieting provided intense feelings of power and elation. But I’m going to beat the proverbial dead horse and reiterate what so many of us have already heard: diets don’t work.

Soon, my cravings for carbs became overwhelming, especially since I’m extremely active. During my heaviest times of restriction, I was running upwards of 50 miles a week. I would bake sweets, but not eat them. I would look up recipes for elaborate pies and cakes and pastries, fantasizing about eating them. Soon, I discovered something called Chewing and Spitting, or CHSP, which I now know is a classic sign of disordered eating. I reasoned that I could let myself taste something good, but I couldn’t let myself swallow it. This isn’t a lovely behavior to write about, much less engage in, but it needs to be said. There were times in college when I would lock myself in my dorm room, slowly chewing and spitting a bag of cookies, or bagels, or cereal. This cost me a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of shame.

For some, chewing and spitting is a a symptom of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. For…