Quirky Eating Habits Or Disordered Eating?


I think we all have some quirky eating habits (at least I do) but sometimes I wonder when quirky eating is actually disordered eating.

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a major chocolate craving for m&m’s last week.

I was on the phone with my dad while getting gas when it happened. He suggested that I pop into the gas station mini mart for a bag of m&m’s to satisfy my craving.

HA. I laughed at that suggestion. As if it’s that simple.

A dinky little pre-portioned package of m&m’s is not how I like my m&m’s.

If I am going to eat m&m’s, it’s never going to be from a single serving bag because I do not like my candy to be measured out unless I am the one doing the measuring (which is not something I do. I would never measure out m&m’s).


While I ended up at Party City so that I could make my own mixed amount bag which included a variety of m&m’s, I am actually happiest when you put a one pound bag of m&m’s in front me.

I don’t like to feel limited and I also don’t like to know how many servings I am eating.

I am no stranger to quirky eating habits.

In the past I have told you that I like to pull raisins out of cereal boxes, marshmallows from the Lucky Charm’s, and cookie dough from containers of ice cream.

If there’s a trail mix, I will focus on one item in the mix and eat only that item.

Chocolate fudge cake often involves seeking out all of the fudge frosting in favor of the actual cake part.

I am a food picker outer.

Lately, my thing has been to pick the raisins out of the Ezekiel bread.

Why can’t I just open a bag of raisins? Don’t be ridiculous.

Have we ever discussed the chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies from 2004? Do you like how I can time stamp food memories?

I picked up chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store to serve as dessert for my son’s toddler play group.

Each chocolate chip cookie was half-dipped in chocolate.

The play group didn’t finish the cookies so for the next few days, I took the leftovers and bit off only the chocolate dipped parts, putting the other half back in the bin.

I never ate one full cookie.

In my head, I really have no idea how many cookies I ate which sounded better than saying I ate three cookies.

Have I always been this way with my quirky eating habits?

That’s a good question which I gave some thought when I sat down to write this post.

The truth is, I don’t think so. I can’t recall caring about how I ate my m&m’s or biting off only certain pieces of cookies until my early 20’s.

My early 20’s is also when I didn’t eat enough and didn’t get my period for almost two years.

My guess is that I somehow came up with these quirky eating habits through developing a pattern of disordered eating. I was in a cycle of watching my portions and not eating enough which lead to cravings and moments of NOT wanting to watch my portions.

I don’t see my quirky eating habits to be a problem right now though. They have just become the way I like to eat certain foods.

If anything, my quirky eating habits now are just strange to some and annoying to those who are looking for the other halves of cookies or the raisins in the bread.

At what point though are quirky eating habits disordered eating? And when is disordered eating a problem?

Without getting too technical, my guess is that if the habit interferes with your social life, has your body at an unhealthy weight (either too low or even too high), affects your health in a negative way or leaves you obsessing too much about food, the disordered eating patterns may be a problem.

I have a lot of questions today to continue this conversation!

Do you have any quirky eating habits?

How do you feel about single serve packages of m&m’s?

Would you say that your quirky eating habits may be disordered eating, meaning that maybe they are a problem?

Do your quirky eating habits bother you enough that you wish to change them?

Posts of Interest:

How Disordered Eating Can Start

Disordered Eating Chat

Amenorrhea Talk

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  1. says

    I also have quirky eating habits but I actually think I have gotten better over the years. One thing is that I won’t pick at food while I am cooking or start eating anything before I sit down for the actual meal. Then when I start eating, I always start with the veggie and save whatever I like best for last. I used to be all about portions and would get annoyed if someone (aka Rob) picked from my perfectly portioned snack. Now I just measure extra assuming he will be having some.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…30 Minute 90s Themed Spinning WorkoutMy Profile

  2. says

    I wonder if they come from restriction because its like you “know” in your head that you’re only ‘allotted a specific amount’ so you need to eat the best part? I understand this as I also have and have had quirky eating habits. I tend to be more ritualistic, which I know is a very ED related behaviour, but I also used to pick the raisins out of things because raisins were the one thing that if I got a bag I would eat the whole thing. I hated that because for absolutely everything else in life I have 100% restraint if I want to. I didn’t like myself after raisins and so actually I haven’t touched them since. This may not be the healthiest mindset or way to cope, but it was the only thing I knew what to do at the time and I just haven’t tried to break it.

    Some of the things I wish I could change. The rituals are getting better but I want them to be better. It would be nice to just eat something in one sitting rather than randomly and irrationally breaking it up into segments but every day I challenge that and get better
    Chelsea Cross recently posted…From The Eyes Of A PT… Fitness Friday 34My Profile

  3. says

    I definitely think at least some quirky eating habits are linked with certain personality traits! Emily and Adam are both pickier eaters, have very set “systems” about how they eat things and they are also similarly particular in other areas, like clothing. I used to get annoyed at Adam when I’d buy cookie dough ice cream and he would eat all the cookie dough pieces, then feel compelled to smooth it out so you could barely tell anyone took a bit, lol, surprise 🙂
    Michele recently posted…5 Minute Paleo Taco Meat {Whole30}My Profile

  4. says

    I am a food-picker-outer too!!! I have quirky eating habits! I hate having my food touching. I don’t like eating things like stew or shepherd’s pie because it’s all mixed together. YUCK. When I eat a meal I eat all my favourite things first and save the “meh” stuff for last. Andrew’s the opposite because he always eats the whole plate of food and he wants to finish it off with his favourite. I always forget this! Last night we went out for dinner and after I had picked out all my favourite bits from my plate, I looked over at his and asked him if I can eat his baked potato skin, thinking he was about to discard it. As I was eating it, I remembered that he saves his best for last. Whoops! I’ve never had an eating disorder, and I’m really thankful for that. There’s no rhyme or reason why I didn’t acquire one, as I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life and my mom was always on a diet, which drove me crazy. If I had to pick one reason why I stayed off the ED track, I’d have to attribute it to how many sports I played growing up. I needed the energy and I was always around people, coaches and parents; it would have been something really difficult to hide.
    Suzy recently posted…Week in ReviewMy Profile

    • says

      i totally used to save the best for last (I’m thinking about the peanut butter cup in the peanut butter cup sundae from friendly’s!) and for the longest time, I ate only the outside of the potatoes instead of the inside!

  5. says

    I hate wasting food (that’s probably the biggest quirk of mine) so I don’t really pick out pieces or anything. My other food quirk is that I don’t like lukewarm foods and will reheat things immediately if they cooled down too much before I could sit and eat them. I totally agree on the M&M thing – like if I’m going to eat sweets, I want them to be something I really enjoy and that satisfy my craving.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Why You Should Take Breaks from RunningMy Profile

  6. says

    I totally know what you mean about not liking to see food portioned out after you’ve dealt with restrictive eating. It’s the same way with me, and while I’ve gotten way better over the years, I still don’t like portioning things out onto a plate or taking so much – I’d rather just take the whole package and eat ’till I’m content.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…3 ingredient cookie dough trufflesMy Profile

  7. says

    I have a really tough time finding balance, it’s either all about healthy eating all the time or binging; neither of which are good. This is something that I am constantly working on.

    I would much rather have a single pack so that I don’t have the urge to go nuts.
    Marissa @ Run Riss Run recently posted…Winter Camp, Froyo, and a 10kMy Profile

  8. n says

    Maybe another way to distinguish between disordered or not is if you can let it go when it’s not an option? I have so many “habits/behaviours” that I know are disordered because I get really anxious and obsessive if I can’t do them or I do them secretly. Just a thought…

  9. says

    Hi Meredith, I have some snacking habits which I believe are developed. It’s like eating popcorn when there is a movie on. We never needed it, but after a few times, we feel like having popcorn while watching a movie. At home like drinking wine while watching TV shows, and ended up in cinema with a small bottle of wine too. I feel our bodies associate food with time and occasions. The only way to stop it is cold turkey.
    Leo Tat recently posted…Can Probiotics Help You with Weight Loss, and Lose Belly Fat?My Profile

  10. says

    Very interesting discussion. I think that it becomes disordered as soon as it gets in the way of your life. If you can’t go out to restaurants because they don’t have something you “can” eat, if you need to be home at certain times to eat and can’t sacrifice, if you only eat alone, if you find yourself going way out of the way to buy something or prepare something that is completely unnecessary but JUST RIGHT for you at that moment…
    Krista @ Gringita recently posted…Traveling with your dog? Here’s What You Need to PackMy Profile

  11. Amy says

    I like your blog! Okay, let’s talk M&Ms. I would go to the store and buy two single serving packs and eat both. I wouldn’t buy the bigger pack that contains exactly two servings, however. And, to continue the nuttiness….if I only had one pack at home (or if store only had one pack) I wouldn’t eat any. Yep, crazy.

  12. says

    What a thought provoking post. I have seen some people with really quirky eating habits which have made me wonder whether or not there’s something deeper there. Then again, I have my own quirky eating habits. Growing up my foods couldn’t touch or I wouldn’t eat them. Thankfully I’m mostly past that but I still eat some things strangely. For example, when I eat a sandwich I like to eat the crust first because it’s my least favorite part and I like to save the best for last.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: The Short and Sweet Edition (#70)My Profile

  13. Dawn says

    Thank u so much for writing this! I am definitely a disordered eater. I do many of the same things/similar things u do! I thought I was the only one! For now I am happy with where I am at. I run, do cross fit 6-7 days a week, am extremely active, run spartan races (all 3). I know if I want a little boost at crossfit I need to make a few tweaks, but right now I am feeling great and seeing gainz!