I wrote a blog post in February, 2014 about Overeater’s Anonymous. I wrote an update regarding that post in July, 2014.
I’ve received a lot of emails from readers who really seem to relate to those post, and due to some of the comments and emails that I’ve received lately, I thought I would repost it.
I am, and I always be, a work in progress.
Overeater’s Anonymous – February, 2014
I started writing this blog to help me understand my eating habits and to help me understand my battle with my weight. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I did not realize how much I relied on food for comfort and for entertainment until I started writing this blog. I’ve learned more about myself than I ever expected. I’ve learned things about myself that made me feel good, and I’ve learned things about myself that didn’t make me feel so good. At times, I’ve felt proud of myself, and at other times, I’ve disappointed myself.
I have struggled with “food issues” and weight since grade school. Several times in my life, I have been aware of my obsession with food and I’ve wondered why food is such an “issue” for me. I’ve wondered if I would ever get to a point in my life where food was NOT an issue, but just a part of my day, a part of living a healthy life, simply fuel for my body. I wouldn’t obsess about it, I wouldn’t over think it. I wouldn’t eat too much of it. I would just eat, enjoy my meal, and move on.
This Fall, things were really falling into place and I was getting closer and closer to my goal weight, a weight that I had never weighed. I was FOUR pounds away from my goal weight! I felt healthy mentally and physically, but honestly, a part of reaching my goal weight scared me. Would I maintain it once I really got there? Then stupid stuff went through my head. I didn’t know how to be “that” person. I knew how to be a fat person always struggling. I didn’t feel like I knew how to be a “healthy” person not trying to lose weight. Would I expect different things from myself now that I really was a healthy person who had reached all of my goals? For some strange reason, it made me uncomfortable. I was really nervous about actually crossing the finish line and what I would expect from myself after that. I don’t even know how to explain it. I was even frustrated with myself for having those thoughts. The holidays came and that gave me all sorts of reasons to eat and gain weight with everyone else that gains a few pounds over the Holidays. I could blame the holidays. I had all sorts of good excuses to eat. Everyone would understand. I would understand. I didn’t have to be the healthy person just yet.
Then I stressed through all of January wanting to go on vacation in February at a weight that I had never been at before while on vacation, so I got back into the 150’s, barely. Then I decided to not weigh right before vacation because I didn’t want my weight to determine my mood, which it does. I probably felt better about myself physically on this vacation than any other vacation we have ever gone on, but I knew I wasn’t where I would have liked to have been. I wasn’t where I should have been. Again, I felt disappointed in myself. I was short with Mike the whole week we were gone, and while we both had a great time and enjoyed ourselves, I feel like my mood put a damper on things at times. Then I felt like crap for that!
Several months ago, while struggling to get through a plateau, I looked up some information on Overeater’s Anonymous. Could I need more than what I was getting through Weight Watcher’s? I’ve never been anorexic or bulimic. I didn’t really think that I had an eating disorder that I was aware of, but I certainly knew I was constantly fighting food demons. I’ve experienced binge eating over the years. That started in grade school. I didn’t know there was a name for it. I just knew I had periods where I ate a lot of food and it likely wasn’t normal. I would only do that when I was by myself. Like really binge. Sure we’ve all eaten too much on Thanksgiving, or ordered pizza with friends and had one or even two too many pieces. But binge eating alone is a whole different thing. You just can’t get satisfied. You just keep eating. Your pissed at yourself the whole time it’s happening, but you can’t stop. This happened a lot as a kid. My binge eating as an adult in the last few years has been on foods like grapes or watermelon or carrot sticks or raw nuts, and although I was aware I was eating for reasons rather than hunger, I didn’t really know why I was eating so much. Because it was “healthy” foods, I told myself it was okay.
After researching Overeater’s Anonymous just a little bit more, I wondered…..Could I possibly be addicted to food? Is that really a thing, Food Addiction? I knew that it was. I’ve thought about it before, but that’s about it, just thought about it. I didn’t really want to know the answer and the details. How is a person really addicted to food? And if so, how to you handle that? An alcoholic or a drug addict becomes sober by not drinking alcohol or taking drugs. A food addict has to eat! How do you abstain from food? What are the rules?
How does a food addict commit to two to three hours a day writing a blog about losing weight and what they are eating when they are a food addict??? That’s like an alcoholic owning a chain of liquor stores!! HOW DOES IT WORK????
A couple of weeks before I went on vacation, I called Overeaters Anonymous and spoke with a sponsor. I had a lot of questions. I cried a lot. At some point during our discussion, I understood that I very well may have an addiction to food. Being a Weight Watcher member, I’ve learned so much about food and how to eat healthy. I know what I need to do. I can go weeks at a time and eat healthy without a “mess-up”. I can go weeks at a time and feel proud of my food choices. I can go weeks at a time and know that I am making good choices while allowing myself a reasonable amount of indulgences without any guilt.
But repeatedly, after weeks of success, I crash. Everything I put in my mouth feels guilty. I over think it. I obsess about the scale. I’m thinking about breakfast before my feet hit the floor in the morning, and right after breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks consume my thoughts. I am thinking about how many points each meal SHOULD BE, and how many points each meal likely WILL BE. I can completely rid the house of any and all trigger foods, and still find something to eat that I shouldn’t be eating.
I decided to go to an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting last week. A few days later, I went to another meeting. I went to another one yesterday. I haven’t quite decided if it’s where I need to be or not, and I still haven’t figured out how it all works. What I do know is that I am struggling. Some days are just so damn hard. I don’t care how busy I keep myself, food consumes my thoughts.
This is hard to blog about for several reasons. I thought when I started writing this blog that other Weight Watcher members might read my blog, and that’d be cool. Maybe I could suggest a few recipes or meal ideas, or maybe someone would relate to the slow weight loss I was experiencing and find some comfort in that. I never really thought about friends and neighbors or family reading this little blog that I was writing.
I certainly never expected anyone to tell me that I inspired them? I’m almost embarrassed when someone says that. I wanna yell….”But I don’t have it figured out! Please forgive me if I misled you? I’m actually a mess!”
But then I remind myself that I really have made great progress. I have to remind myself of this a lot! I remind myself of these things.
I can’t remember the last time I ate fast food.
I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables and I really like them!
I drink a lot of water!
I can’t remember the last time we ordered a pizza!
I work hard to eat a balanced meal.
But after reminding myself of all of those great changes that I have made, I still know that I am not at goal weight and I have a daily struggle with food, and often those facts out weigh all the good progress that I have made.
Obviously, this was a difficult post to write. This is a private matter that I am making public. I deal better with life when I’m honest. The more I keep this to myself, the more stressed I am and the more I want to eat. Each time I blog about a private matter or a deep thought, I feel a release and I actually handle food better. It’s my therapy. I like to talk. When I talk out loud, or write, I feel better. If actual “one on one therapy” weren’t so damn expensive, I’d go weekly, maybe twice weekly. I love my WW meetings because they allow me to be around like minded people who understand my food struggles. I don’t know how many OA meetings I will go to. I’m comfortable there. A part of me feels like maybe I should have been there a very long time ago.
I did struggle this week. I ate a few things that didn’t make it into the blog. Not like a sheet cake or anything, but almonds here and there that I didn’t count. Extra banana’s and grapes. That’s it really, nuts and fruit, but the calories add up, and I know this. I am headed to my WW meeting, and I will assume that I maintained my weight this week.
I told myself I would take this week one day at a time and not focus on the scale each morning, but focus on eating healthy foods, drinking water and exercising. I did eat healthy meals, I did drink water, but not quite as much as I had been at one time, and I exercised 5 days this week, so I am pleased with those accomplishments for the week.
Before leaving for vacation, I made a list of things to address when I got back home in order to spend less time at home and see if I can work through this rough spot.
1. Attend an OA meeting and give it a chance.
2. Look into working more hours with the Food Truck. She coincidentally picked up another location!!
3. Contact Big Brother’s Big Sister’s
I’ve decided spending so much time home alone probably isn’t the best thing for me right now, even though I am a busy body and spend a lot of time scurrying around the house doing projects and keeping busy.
I am still pursuing a position as a Leader with Weight Watcher’s, but according to an email that I received in late January, Weight Watcher’s doesn’t have a Territorial Manager in the Kansas City area right now and Job Applicant replies are behind! It is my hope that employment with Weight Watcher’s and constantly being surrounded by like minded people will help me stay focused on healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight.
It looks like when the weather cooperates, we will be setting up a second location for the Food Truck, so I’ll have Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s to work a job that is a lot of fun and get’s me out of the house!
I filled out an application for Big Brother’s and Big Sister’s before we left for vacation, and I will be attending an Orientation on March 15th to get that process, started. It’s something I have thought about doing for a long time, and I guess I’ve decided that this is the right time to pursue that.
While I’m writing my blog, I’m focused on this issue. When I’m out socializing, I’m likely in socializing mood, so I prefer to keep my food struggle conversations limited to WW and OA meetings, emails, text, comments on the blog, phone calls and one on one conversations. I guess that actually covers all forms of communication, I just prefer not to do so in a social setting.
I so appreciate all of your support. I never expected so many readers.
Thank you for listening, reading and trying to understand me, even when I don’t understand myself.
Overeater’s Anonymous Update – July, 2014
I never did any kind of a follow up post about OA, so I thought I probably should. I was asked several questions after writing those post that I wasn’t sure how to answer. I feel like I can explain now why I went to OA, and what I got out of that experience.
I had gotten to my lowest weight in October of 2013, then gained some weight. Towards the end of February, I was feeling really bad about myself. I decided to attend those OA meetings to see exactly what was discussed and to see if I thought that I belonged there, in addition to my WW meetings? Did I actually have a food addiction? I thought that I probably did, but I wasn’t really sure. After attending a few meetings, I realized that I did have a lot in common with a lot of the people in attendance at the OA meetings, so I went to a variety of meetings, twice a week, for about three weeks. At the end of the three weeks, I decided not to go to anymore of those meetings because I realized that I was getting all of the support and the information that I needed at my weekly WW meetings.
Attending the meetings did make me realize how real, how powerful, and how destructive food addiction can be. After listening to other people share at the meetings, I realized how far I had come in handling my own Food Demons.
Have I successfully learned how to deal with all of the Food Demons when they interfere with my life? Nope.
Have I successfully learned how to accept myself and be proud of the healthy choices that I make? Absolutely!!
Food Addiction is a real thing, and if you think that you need help or support, OA is a great place to go for that support, and it is free.
Click HERE to go the Overeater’s Anonymous Website.
I’ve never attended a WW meeting where we have discussed “Food Addiction”, but we do regularly discuss how to handle situations where one might be tempted to overeat. We’ve discussed everything from emotional eating to eating out of boredom and learning how to handle social situations, whether it be a party or a simple lunch with co-workers or friends.
The most difficult time for me, when I am tempted to overeat, has always been when I am alone. I have tools that I use, but I think it’s simply something I will always struggle with. I plan to attend my weekly WW meeting as long as Weight Watcher’s is around. The support is incredible and I’ve learned so much.
If you are interested in joining Weight Watchers, I highly recommend it and would be happy to answer any questions.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a Big Sis now, and I love it!
“Love the life you live, live the life you love”