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The gum struggle — how to quit

I have a love/hate relationship with gum. I would call myself addicted to it, as I can easily go through a pack a day and tend to “chain-chew.”

As soon as I am done with lunch every day, I break out my pack of gum and chew a new piece every ten minutes without even realizing it. I have been chewing this much gum for at least ten years, and I am not happy about it. Some of you may be thinking, “what is the big deal, it is just gum.”  It does have some health benefits, so the experts say, but the stomach issues it causes me and the relationship I have with it outweighs any benefits.

Let’s first discuss why I chew gum. Of course, I do not want bad breath. Mints are not a better option because, just like gum, I end up eating the entire pack. Lunch often gives me a taste in mouth that I immediately need to get rid of. Sometimes I chew gum because I want to stop snacking. It is difficult sitting at a desk for eight hours without constantly wanting food. I am typically fine without gum on the weekends, so I know being at work has a lot to do with it. The experts say it helps with stress and mental focus, and while this may be true for some, it is the opposite for me. My gum addiction causes me more stress than good. Also, it does not help me when my dentist tells me sugar-free gum is great for oral health and completely approves of my gum chewing.

I do not want a doctor’s approval.

There are several reasons why I need to quit my gum addiction immediately. The biggest reason is the intense stomach issues it causes for me. Sugarless gum contains artificial sweeteners which can cause digestive issues since our bodies are not meant to be consuming chemicals. The sweeteners can cause gas, bloating and stomach cramping. I chew an entire pack after lunch and look pregnant by the time I go to the gym after work.

Gum contains neurotoxic sweeteners, the same chemicals found in diet sodas that are known to make people crave more sweets. I have found this to be true, as I chew gum after lunch or dinner, and end up needing more food, and not because I am hungry. I typically end my days with headaches, a sore jaw and feeling sorry for myself since my stomach looks huge from all of the swallowed air. Buying one or two packs of gum a day is not good for the wallet either.

I recently decided to take serious steps to quit my gum addiction. If you have a similar addiction, here is what I recommend:

1)      Have a support system:  I promised a friend (who beat her gum addiction last year) that I would text message her every time I stuck a piece of gum in my mouth. I do not want to annoy her with my text messages every ten minutes after lunch, so this has been working for me. I may send her one text message at the end of the night about how I only chewed one piece, and she tells me that I am doing a great job.

2)      Throw out your gum: I had 36 packs of gum in my apartment just last week. It seemed like a complete waste of money to throw it all out, but it had to be done.

3)      Do not bring gum or buy it during the day: This one has been key to my quitting. If I have gum with me, I chew it.  If I find a random piece in my purse, I chew it. Do not make it available to you.

4)      Set up some consequences: If I ask my coworker for a piece of gum, she makes me pay her $1.00 for one piece.  Of course I do not want to shell out $1.00 for one single piece of gum.

It has only been a couple of weeks, but so far I have been very successful in my journey to quit gum.  While I may be snacking more, or eating an entire box of Tic-Tacs at my work desk to substitute the gum, I know the cravings will eventually go away. It helps to remind myself that if gluten-free or lactose intolerant people can avoid wheat and dairy because it does not make them feel good, why can’t I avoid gum? I feel 100 times better without gum, and no longer want to harm my body with these chemicals.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.