DEBRA0818's SparkPeople Blog DEBRA0818's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Hanging in there I’ve been struggling a little with food over the last week, most likely because I’ve been engaged in numerous activities that called upon my problem solving ability, including most especially the process of discovering which foods are my binge foods (for real) and which foods are okay to have on my food plan. This process is further complicated by the possibility that I am “sensitive” to certain types of foods. Right now, I’m seeing an allergic reaction to peanuts, wheat and some other undef... Mon, 24 Jun 2013 06:55:34 EST The Meeting OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship designed and administered by a group of ex-compulsive overeaters whose only qualifications for membership are that they can't stop eating and have decided they can't solve that problem with willpower. Not that they could learn to use willpower anyway, they never could, and it's highly unlikely that they ever would. OA has no rules, dues or fees, nor anything else that any sensible organization seems to require. <BR> <BR> At meetings, the speaker starts on... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 07:43:00 EST The Recollection of Anger The recollection of anger kindles anger – Publilius Syrus <BR> <BR> Another way to say this would be that the burden of collected grudges is a seething cauldron of resentment that eats up the person who carries them. I always thought of myself as a person who didn’t do that, but when I meditate I sometimes remember the injustices in my life and the people who perpetrated them. In other words, they’re in there! <BR> <BR> I’m also wearing them in the form of almost 100 extra pounds (used to... Thu, 20 Jun 2013 07:12:53 EST Why One Woman Quit "How come you don't compulsively eat any more?” a renewed acquaintance from long ago asked me the other day. <BR> <BR> "Any more than who?" <BR> <BR> "I mean any longer. How come you don't eat anything these days?" <BR> <BR> "Eat? I eat protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats...." <BR> <BR> "I mean eat," he said, "You know, THE GOOD STUFF." <BR> <BR> "Oh, THE GOOD STUFF! No, I don't eat the “good stuff” anymore, you're right," I said, "I couldn't trust it anymore. It turned on me... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 07:29:24 EST The Big Book The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, what I sometimes refer to as the “Big Book” or even “BB,” is an astonishing piece of literature to me. In its pages, I have found the story of a group of people who I can identify with (though I do not share their problem with alcohol because my body gets sick WAY before I could ever be drunk), and, most importantly, who collectively found a solution to their problem which translates effortlessly into a solution to my problem. My problem is compulsive o... Mon, 17 Jun 2013 07:22:50 EST The Touch of the Master's Hand The Touch of the Masters' Hand <BR> <BR> It was battered and scarred, <BR> And the auctioneer thought it <BR> hardly worth his while <BR> To waste his time on the old violin, <BR> but he held it up with a smile. <BR> "What am I bid, good people", he cried, <BR> "Who starts the bidding for me?" <BR> "One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?" <BR> "Two dollars, who makes it three?" <BR> "Three dollars once, three dollars twice, <BR> going for three", <BR> <BR> But, No, <BR> From the room far ba... Sat, 15 Jun 2013 14:25:22 EST All Talk A wise person once told me when I said I felt helpless about hearing what someone else was going through and had no idea how to “help” them: you think that listening (really listening) to what someone else is saying is the smallest thing you can do, but frequently, it’s the biggest. It is a gift that allows another person to be heard, to feel understood, to be affirmed in their feelings (not necessarily agreed with – just affirmed that yes, this is what that person does feel). That is such... Thu, 13 Jun 2013 11:12:15 EST Road of Recovery I was reading today that people can be in the program for a long time, can have lost a lot of weight and even be maintaining a healthy weight for years, can think of themselves as an expert on OA and dispense advice to others about how to eat, how to work the program, how to live their lives, but can be kidding themselves about the state of their recovery. <BR> <BR> The problem is, they’re still very sick people. <BR> <BR> I was reminded of this in a meeting the other day when an individual... Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:34:24 EST Working it out At an OA meeting yesterday, we were looking at a paragraph in the Big Book (p. 26) about an accomplished, brilliant, wealthy American businessman who traveled to Europe to work with Carl Jung for a year in order to quit drinking. After the year ended, he felt like he had “acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable.” <BR> <BR> Then, he got on a boat to return to America and immediately started drinking again, and c... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:03:52 EST The Victim Sweepstakes WATERMELLEN wrote a blog this weekend that was based on another blog based on an article, and now the blogs and comments are a-poppin’ because the subject involves the obese and how much/whether they are responsible for their condition; therefore, how much victimhood should be attached to them, how much ire for the way they fail to correct themselves, how much guilt we should feel if we’re not as fat as the next person, how oppressed we are if we’re sitting next to a fat person on a plane, et... Mon, 10 Jun 2013 06:57:33 EST Inner Turmoil The inner turmoil I often felt in response to the world was a direct line to compulsive overeating. That is not to say that my COE was justified, but to say that I can clearly see a connection between inner disturbance of any kind and the need to tamp that disturbance down with, say, a bag of Hershey Kisses (conveniently almost always ON SALE!!!). <BR> <BR> The trick to inner turmoil, for me, is to see that it does not originate outside myself, though it often seems as if it does. What is ... Thu, 6 Jun 2013 09:04:03 EST Sweeping My Side Yesterday, I was reading some OA literature and came across a reading that suggested that, as a rule, we overeaters are easy on other people and hard on ourselves. That may be so for the majority (I don’t know), but my reaction to the reading was, I’m exactly the opposite. I hold myself to the standard of “doing the best I can do,” but become angry with others when they fail to do what I think they should do, are capable of, or could do if they wanted to (and they should want to). I “shoul... Wed, 5 Jun 2013 06:53:07 EST Telling the Truth There is a type of person who cannot recover, and that is the person who is incapable of being honest with themselves or with others. Why is honesty so important? Because it is in the lies I tell myself and others that I slide back into old habits, covering up untruths by layering fat upon my body. <BR> <BR> Why lie in the first place? <BR> <BR> Well, for me, dishonesty had its roots in trying to keep the peace. I grew up around a fragile family for whom the truth was an occasion of grea... Tue, 4 Jun 2013 07:09:57 EST Quick Quick Slow There is a 12-Step saying: "The program does for us slowly what food and compulsive overeating did for us quickly.” I like this saying because, as new as I am to OA, I can see the path forward as one of increasing serenity and management of my self and my emotions. God is doing for me what I could not do for myself. <BR> <BR> I was listening to a tape of Joe and Charlie talk about the Doctor’s Opinion in the Big Book the other day. They said something that resonated with me (they were ta... Mon, 3 Jun 2013 06:43:58 EST Carrying Stress An interesting internet meme I received yesterday: <BR> <BR> A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'... She fooled them all .... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. <BR> <BR> She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depen... Fri, 31 May 2013 11:08:18 EST The Pain is in the Resistance One of the readings for May 29th was about totally accepting Step One (admitting our powerlessness over food) as a means to an easy abstinence. If we accept and understand what the problem is, then the solution becomes easier to follow. <BR> <BR> On the other hand… <BR> <BR> If there is a corner of our mind that thinks, well, maybe since I’ve been able to be abstinent for 56 days, perhaps I CAN be a normal eater – aren’t I doing it now??? We call this the Grand Obsession in OA. I might... Thu, 30 May 2013 06:36:54 EST Imperfect Abstinence When I started OA, one of the things that frightened me were the people who proclaimed they had lived for “26 years in back-to-back abstinence on a weighed and measured food plan, no flour, no sugar.” Being in the food at that point, it seemed as desolate a landscape for me as I’m sure giving up alcohol seems to an alcoholic. I tried to keep an open mind about whether I could ever do a plan like that or remain faithful to it, but I remained doubtful. <BR> <BR> It turns out that, in OA, eac... Wed, 29 May 2013 06:25:41 EST Recovery Speak I’ve noticed when I listen to people speak at meetings that there is huge difference between people are in recovery and those who are just sitting in the meeting. <BR> <BR> The people in recovery may talk about the mistakes in their lives, the things that bum them out or that create anger, but they are quick to accept responsibility for those things, quick to say what their fault in it is or was, and quick to offer the solution they’ve found through the program to help them through it. <BR... Tue, 28 May 2013 06:37:39 EST You May Be Right I don’t think I know it all, but as my SparkPage says, I’m a middle-aged woman with enough education to know how little I know, but not enough education to stop pretending I know something. I tend toward self-righteousness and smugness, and, as a result, from time to time I have less impressed than offended people with my certainty. It turns out that people don’t care for being told what they should think any more than I do. <BR> <BR> No matter how many times I intellectually agree with the... Fri, 24 May 2013 06:30:04 EST ODAT In Overeaters Anonymous, I frequently hear people saying “ODAT” or “One Day at a Time.” What does this mean to me? <BR> <BR> First, it means that I don’t have to spend any time regretting what happened yesterday. How much time I’ve wasted over the years ruminating about my past eating transgressions! Can I do anything about them? Absolutely not. Past is past. It may be useful to look backwards for history lessons, but in regard to compulsive overeating, it’s useless. Staying in the da... Thu, 23 May 2013 05:26:02 EST Service is Slimming Instead of a blog today, part of a poem by Judith Viorst: <BR> <BR> “A Modest Proposal.” <BR> <BR> A shrewd friend of mine is persuaded <BR> We’d help everyone in need <BR> If we were assured we’d lose a pound <BR> Each time we performed a good deed. <BR> <BR> How swiftly we’d rush to contribute <BR> How eagerly we’d volunteer <BR> If giving to others could guarantee <BR> That our waistlines would reappear … <BR> <BR> From the book Suddenly Sixty and Other Shocks of Later Life, p. 22-23... Wed, 22 May 2013 15:58:00 EST Forgetting to Remember One of the things that drove me crazy in my former life as an unrecovered compulsive overeater is that once I started thinking about eating, I could never remember why I did not want to personally clear a shelf in my pantry by sending all its contents down my throat. I could never remember that I felt awful about the way I looked, the way I felt, the physical discomfort I experienced as I waddled through life and the social anxiety that kept me pinned to a life of loneliness – none of it was... Tue, 21 May 2013 07:02:21 EST Close to Understanding Close to Understanding <BR> <BR> Many years ago, a woman who had written a fairly famous book wanted to interview me regarding obesity (she was a reader of a blog I was then writing). I stumbled across my written answers to her questionnaire the other day and wanted to share one of the Q&As: <BR> <BR> She asked: Do you think getting fat stems from the desire to eat, or the desire, conscious or unconscious, to be fat? <BR> <BR> I said: I think getting fat is a complex set of dynamics t... Mon, 20 May 2013 06:36:45 EST Noah's Ark Just a little something a friend emailed me today, kinda cute, kinda true: <BR> <BR> Noah's Ark : Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark. <BR> <BR> ONE: Don't miss the boat. <BR> <BR> TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat! <BR> <BR> THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. <BR> <BR> FOUR: Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. <BR> <BR> FIVE: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that ne... Fri, 17 May 2013 11:38:24 EST Step 3 Step three says that self-sufficiency is a “bone-crushing juggernaut whose final achievement is ruin.” This is probably true in everyone’s life: the addict, the so-called normal person and society at large. Every attempt we make to be the arbiter of our own lives seems to take us closer to the edge of destruction both individually and collectively. <BR> <BR> I often reflected on God’s will when I first joined the Catholic Church in 1989. Then my (intellectual) understanding was that His ... Thu, 16 May 2013 08:08:11 EST Willingness I think I bring my will in line with God’s intention for me first by becoming willing. And if not willing, then willing to be willing. <BR> <BR> Next, with that little bit of willingness, I begin to walk the steps. Notice I said walk, and not “talk about”. For intellectualizers such as me, it is tempting to talk about things and not to do them. But, this is a program of action and I believe that is God’s intention for me. <BR> <BR> I also use the tools of recovery to the best of my abil... Wed, 15 May 2013 06:42:16 EST Progress, Not Perfection When I first heard talk about progress, not perfection in the 12-Step programs, I thought (as a rabid perfectionist would) that the program had a built in invitation to failure, soothing those who fell with lashings of “it’s okay.” I thought I knew better: It wasn’t okay. Failure isn’t okay. Not an option. The “no excuses” world in which I had been raised and then adopted for myself was openly derisive of the weak people who needed comfort as they brought their own problems on themselves... Tue, 14 May 2013 04:44:54 EST Accepting Discomfort A BIG motivation for eating in my life was to be comfortable in a world that seemed to dish out discomfort by the bucketful. Whether it was avoiding the fears and insecurities of childhood, navigating the strains of adolescence and the pangs associated with first loves, being challenged on the job or at school or the petty resentments and righteous anger of living in a broken world, my Job One was always to make myself as comfortable as possible. <BR> <BR> To that end I did a few things: I ... Mon, 13 May 2013 07:10:33 EST The Tools of OA Before discussing the tools of OA, I would say that the most important daily tool of all is prayer. Prayer is food for the soul, the interior becoming congruent with the exterior self, the assurance that I am not alone in this world and the enveloping fact that there is One Who will never disappoint me. The tools of OA are: <BR> <BR> Plan of Eating: I am struggling with the Plan of Eating concept. On the one hand, I am attracted to the idea of a plan of eating but on the other hand, I th... Fri, 10 May 2013 06:28:24 EST Step 2 I think Step 2 says that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him. This was my stumbling block in life. I was the religious person who had not yet cleaned my own house so that God could enter me and expel my obsession. I was the religious person who prayed to God for what I wanted, rarely if ever for His will. I said the Lord’s prayer, by memory, not with true feeling. I was asking God for something while not being willing to give anything for it but the asking... Thu, 9 May 2013 07:22:53 EST If You Think My Problems Are Bad... A person joked the other day (and I have used it to great effect ever since), “If you think my problems are bad, you should see my solutions.” <BR> <BR> For most of my life, I was a “solutions oriented” person. If my boss made me mad, I quit. If a roommate didn’t pull her weight, I moved. If a boyfriend disappointed me, I got a new boyfriend. If overall disappointment got to me, I’d move altogether – once all the way to London, England. I was constantly solving a problem that never seemed... Wed, 8 May 2013 06:46:08 EST The Road I was reading about a man who initially did well in recovery but who did not enlarge his spiritual life and as a consequence, was able to lie to himself about what he was doing and, sadly, relapse to the maximum. That makes sense to me because, as they say, no matter how far down the road you are, you are always the same distance from the ditch. Failing to enlarge my spiritual life makes it likely I'll end up there. <BR> <BR> Therefore, whether in recovery for 30 days or 10 years, I think ... Tue, 7 May 2013 05:22:21 EST What sets OA Apart I’m too busy to blog today, but wanted to share the May 2, 2013 entry from the book Voices of Recovery: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>ook/dp/B00667PUAQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&q<BR>id=1367836075&sr=8-1&keywords=voices+o<BR>f+recovery </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> “What do we say when we talk with God? We say whatever we feel like saying.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 93 <BR> <BR> “What sets OA apart from the diets, clubs, and othe... Mon, 6 May 2013 06:26:56 EST Intellectual Self-Sufficiency Intellectual self-sufficiency is how I survived my life. From the chaos of my household to the challenges I was provided with in moving around the country to the survival of abuse, I relied on my intellect, and it did not let me down. The efforts I made at school paid off immediately with high grades and high praise. A dependable friend, my intellect, except that I grew to depend upon it too much and began to misuse it defensively through intellectualizing my feelings away and rationalizin... Fri, 3 May 2013 05:52:05 EST Attitude Change The program of Overeaters Anonymous asserts that a person of a certain type can only recover from compulsive overeating through a spiritual awakening. Knowledge doesn’t do it, emotional support doesn’t do it, the perfect food plan doesn’t do it, even attending OA meetings doesn’t do it. Only when the person has a change of attitude and becomes willing to turn his or her life over to the care of a Higher Power can recovery happen. We have an obsession of the mind that only a Higher Power ca... Thu, 2 May 2013 05:33:48 EST Transforming Rigidity Compulsive overeating is rooted in rigidity, as are most disturbances of the mind. Long ago and for whatever reasons I decided that food was the solution to most of what happened to me, good or bad. My determined sticking to this solution even as it became obvious that it was greatly harming me denotes an extremely rigid and closed mind on the subject of taking care of myself. It’s as if my childish solution became the only one for me and I decided it was going to work or that nothing woul... Wed, 1 May 2013 06:32:58 EST Reflection on Deception "The deception of others is nearly always rooted in the deception of ourselves." <BR> <BR> ********* <BR> <BR> Of course, working the steps revealed many things about me that I urgently needed to know in order to keep my abstinence. I was struck by my rampant dishonesty with other people (and I thought I was an “open book” -- hah!). <BR> <BR> The deception of others is rooted in grandiosity and the belief that I can control other people. Why am I deceiving them in the first place? It i... Tue, 30 Apr 2013 06:30:00 EST Belief Those of us who believe in God may have trouble understanding why God has abandoned us to such a desperate life, or conversely may rationalize our obesity and overeating as the “thorn that stays” in our side, reminding us we are imperfect and that only God is perfect. Both conceptions are a little bit right and a little bit wrong, for God never abandons us but neither does He drag us around or twitch the strings for us as if we were marionettes – we have to do the steps ourselves, He gives u... Mon, 29 Apr 2013 06:35:20 EST The Next Step Is A Doozie I won't be writing much the next little while as I am working on Step 4: "made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." I am looking all the way back over my life for the things that didn't go the way I wanted them to (resentments), for the fears I've had, the people I've criticized and gossiped about, the harm I've done to others. It's a long list! <BR> <BR> As an inducement to be as completely open and honest about this as possible, I am remembering something that another... Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:13:49 EST Biting It What sort of thinking leads to the first bite? <BR> <BR> How about something like: “Okay, God now that I’ve done it Your way for the last xyz days, I can handle it from here.” The key element in this kind of deluded thinking is in thinking that I have been handling it during the last xyz days, for I have not. God has. That may sound a little bit like word play, but when I am sincerely praying to God to help me with my abstinence and thanking Him each evening (albeit sometimes rather slop... Wed, 24 Apr 2013 06:21:44 EST Ruining the Binge When one overeater plants in the mind of another the true nature of our disease, that overeater can never be the same again. When I was working with alcoholics, we called this phenomena “ruining the drunk,” meaning that after an alcoholic acquires knowledge of the spiritual nature of his disease and its real remedy, an alcoholic could not easily or comfortably return to his former drinking. He had been told. He might relapse, but never with the permanent freedom from consciousness of the ... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 05:54:09 EST Trying to Control Myself The words “compulsive” and “controlled” are antonyms, so if I am a compulsive overeater, by definition I cannot control my eating, but this is definitely not for lack of trying! Some of you have seen me blog on these pages over the years about the many ways in which I’ve attempted that control. Unfortunately, none of my ways worked, most of them failed within the month, some of them the first day. My ways don’t seem to have a lot of staying power. From time to time I would debate the issue... Mon, 22 Apr 2013 06:14:02 EST Oblivion or Just Oblivious? Oh, sweet oblivion -- is that not what I was seeking when I picked up a bag of the chocolate du jour? But how oblivious was I to what was really going on while I sought it: <BR> <BR> For example, I was oblivious (or made myself oblivious) to the fact that I was being dragged around by my wounded unconscious and character defects. Just like an alcoholic, I would go places intending to be "good" with my food and end up wondering how I passed straight through satisfaction to oblivion. The... Fri, 19 Apr 2013 05:46:51 EST Promises, Promises The most common mental obsession that precedes my first compulsive bite is “I’ll start tomorrow.” My mind is filled with ideas of how perfectly I will follow a diet, a fast and/or an exercise program. I imagine how good I will feel at the end of that difficult journey and how much I am looking forward to it. I fantasize about the clothes I can wear, the looks I will get, the sheer deliciousness of proving to myself and everyone that I’m not really a fat woman. This is approximately what I... Thu, 18 Apr 2013 05:33:36 EST Why OA? For me, the devastating weakness of compulsive overeating forced me to realize that life is a spiritual journey meant not just to be observed by me but to be taken by me. <BR> <BR> If I did not think I had this weakness, if I did not agree in my mind that I am the type of compulsive overeater that OA talks about, if I did not believe wholeheartedly that my life was completely unmanageable as long as I am eating compulsively, then there would be no reason to take these steps. I could do it... Wed, 17 Apr 2013 05:50:26 EST Harmony and Me Wellness to me is a state of harmony with what God created me to be in body and mind. It is definitely bound up with a healthy body: appropriate weight, good diet, proper sleep, and regular exercise. But also of mind: a deepening prayer life, knowing myself, loving myself and at peace with the world around me. Sounds simple, does hard. And this is partly why… <BR> <BR> If I was to be completely honest, fat has been acceptable in my life. My shameful secret is that in many ways I reall... Tue, 16 Apr 2013 06:55:32 EST Avoiding the Self Sometimes life reminds me of the ways in which I forgive and forget too quickly. I always had that problem with people: I could not quite remember why I had left them or why I had been mad at them. This forgetfulness had me signing up for more misery more times than I can remember. It’s always wise to forgive; sometimes it’s smart not to forget. <BR> <BR> The same holds true for food. When I think about food, I remember only the good – the taste, the laughter, the shared dinners and tre... Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:08:00 EST American Idol One of my secret indulgences is watching American Idol, so of course I have to meditate on the idea of having an idol and that lead me to thinking of the ways that I created an idol out of food. <BR> <BR> I guess we all love idols because human beings just love to worship and anything can be an idol – a nation (see, for example, Nazi Germany), a political party (take your pick – Red or Blue), a head of state, drink, drugs, food, football, music, movie stars, clothes, sex, exercise, money—you... Sat, 13 Apr 2013 05:54:24 EST Further reflections on craving I’ve written before about the phenomenon of craving as the interior itch that can never be scratched, the hunger that can never be satisfied, the feelings that can never be managed, and the prayer that never gets prayed. It is the life of Tantalus, always reaching for the food but never getting them, it’s just a little further, keep trying, one more binge and you’re there. I experience the physical craving as a need for something in my body and I have thought myself a master manipulator of ... Thu, 11 Apr 2013 06:27:39 EST Showrunner My first association to the question of control is what is popularly known as “co-dependence” – the effort to attain one’s own goals by controlling others; i.e., “If only my husband would quit smoking, I could be happy.” This terrible mislocation of responsibility which has its origins, in my case, in an attempt to be safe, has I believe caused me to become very grandiose in my personality and very grande in my physical self. <BR> <BR> But OA and the 12 Steps have a message for me from Pl... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:56:08 EST