I don’t remember specifically the first time I did it but it was an instant love affair (Circa 2005). I was in college, a senior, and I had just moved to Boston for an internship. Literally it just dawned on me one day, what if I just chew the food but don’t swallow, I can eat anything I want without gaining weight…and so it began. I started out with cookies, whatever I was in the mood for, I would eat my meal and then for dessert I would chew a few cookies, spit them and be finished. Quickly it progressed, the entire box of cookies polished off after eating my “healthy, clean” dinner. I found myself starting to fantasize what I was going to chew at night during my work day, and I was going to the supermarket every day to pick out my binge of the day. As time went on the chewing menu expanded, I would pick up a dozen donuts, some cookies and maybe a large bag of m&ms because I just wanted it all.
Once I progressed to this level I started to notice the effects on my body. I began passing over eating dinner completely for the ability to chew more before feeling full. There is a point that I have to stop, my heart starts to beat hard, my stomach feels nauseous and if I really go hard I will get a headache. All these things are most likely due to the insulin spike caused by the chewing, putting me in great danger of developing insulin resistance, unbeknownst to me at the time. My weight was staying steady at this time, it didn’t really occur to me why I was hardly eating and not losing weight, I just wanted to chew.
I would chew every day, and I lived alone so it was easy, I would watch my favorite shows, write my papers, talk online, all while chewing and spitting the choice of the day. I had an out of town boyfriend at the time, and it actually became a torture when he visited because I couldn’t chew. I remember saying goodbye and watching him leave the parking lot so I could grab the cookies and make up for lost time. Months later the inevitable happened, I graduated, got a job and moved in with my boyfriend. This meant I had to get more creative with my chewing, well really I just had to change my chew spot….the car became my new safe haven. Every day after work I would stop and pick up junk and chew throughout my 45-60min drive home. Empty water bottles became my spit cup and I would trash them down the block before arriving home. Writing this now, I sound so pathetic, but it was just what I did, and I didn’t really see that much harm in it.
As time went on I was putting on weight despite eating my normal calorie range and chewing my junk food. This is when I started to do a little investigating and realized that I was not the pioneer of chewing and spitting and that my little thought up habit was actually an eating disorder, a very damaging to the body, eating disorder. After reading that chewing can actually make you gain weight because of insulin spikes, damage your teeth and a number of other things I decided I needed to stop….I’m not sure if I even lasted one day. I couldn’t stop, and although I was now obsessing over my weight (about 150 5’6″) a 10lb gain in a year, I couldn’t resist the urge and my battle began.