Chewing and Spitting – Biochemical Addiction?

By May 22, 2012

In my 20’s in college I would not eat on weekends so that I could “get back to” the weight I started the week at. Later I was bulimic, but I stopped that in my late 20’s. I have always exercised – usually an hour bike ride a day. I am now 48, menopausal, and now have fat (as in a beer gut without the beer) around the middle. I still have eating issues, mainly I will feel like eating (as in not actually hungry) chocolate chip cookies or brownies (I guess the theme here is chocolate) so I chew up 1-2 cookies and then spit them out. I think I am like Pavlov’s dog now and have trained my brain to “eat without eating”. Is there a physical/biochemical kind of addiction to this behavior, or is it an emotional deal? I want to stop this and eat normally. Thanks for any help. – Bonnie


Dear Bonnie,

We are pleased that you wrote your question.  We’ll try to give you some information and direction.  Don’t stop researching.  The more you learn the better.

The habit of chewing and spitting is becoming more common, unfortunately. It is listed as one form of Eating Disorders “Not Otherwise Specified.” It relates to physical and emotional cues. Many of us with eating issues have obsessive/compulsive, anxious or depressive brain chemistry. Any ritual that gets connected to reducing these feelings can become addictive.

You wrote about not being happy with your body shape – weight around your “middle.” As you have probably heard, how we store weight is determined genetically. Were you happy with your body shape when you were younger? Sometimes, we think we are much bigger than we actually are. My strong recommendation is to begin a journey of caring for your body. You deserve to enjoy the taste of food AND benefit from its nutrition. And yes, even brownies and cookies have nutritional benefits.

Also, Bonnie, experts tell us that exercising for an hour a day every day can be too much, unless we need to lose weight or we’re training for an athletic event. Over exercising can actually be harmful. Are you eating enough calories for that much calorie burning? This would be worth a consult with a qualified nutritionist.  And please, repeat at least five times a day “I deserve to nourish and care for my body!”

With warmest regards,

Fb Team