July 25, 2011
By , Menlo Park, CA
I have some problems. Nothing too lethal. Not drugs, not alcohol, not sex, not smoking, none of that.
I have a food problem.
I'm borderline obese. Sometimes I get sudden compulsions to eat. And healthy stuff doesn't cut it. No, it has to be sandwiches and whatever chocolate I can scavenge from the kitchen. I also used to bite my nails. I poke at my zits, and when I can I chew water bottle caps.
My grandma caught me chewing one of them once and lectured me about children in the Soviet Union that got cancer from wearing hats made in China. I listened to her horrible English, and I stopped for a long time. Then I started briefly. I never told my parents about the chewing the bottle caps, but I told my mom about my eating problem. She sighed and recommended that I saw a nutritionist. I wanted to see a psychologist. I knew something mentally was wrong, but what was it?
I recently has a physical with a doctor, who recommended an appointment with a nutritionist as well. Then she told me to try gum.
My dad never liked the idea, his parents were both avid smokers (which may have led to a birth defect which caused a one-inch hole in his heart), so gum to him is like a symbol of overcoming that. As I'm typing this, I'm chewing on the last piece of peppermint gum I bought from the supermarket today. Right now, I'm not compulsed to eat or to bite my nails. Now I can focus, now I am fine. I don't swallow the gum, so there are no calories. My impossible-to-whiten teeth might whiten up in time for my first day of high school. I have hope. If I can exercise a bit more, and I can continue chewing gum. Maybe there's hope for me.

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