Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 30th


People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

Joseph Fort Newton

When I was growing up I remember always being lonely and I never had many friends. In order to protect myself from the pain of rejection, or perhaps because I didn't have self-esteem or believe in myself, I gave the impression that I didn't need people. I was probably thought of as a snob. I thought that people didn't like me because I was shy and introverted, but I had built up around myself an impenetrable protective wall which didn't invite anyone in. It was small wonder that I spent many lonely nights buried in a book or food or any other solitary pursuit for that matter.

In my adult years I became a people-pleaser in the hopes that people would like me more. That even spilled over to include my children as well, which meant that I wasn't able to say no to them or anyone else unless they stopped loving me. I would say yes when I really meant no, and consequently I was always filled with resentment and felt even lonelier than ever. I didn't know how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I said no, people wouldn't love me anymore.

I now know that when I set boundaries, it is an affirmation of my worth, and in most cases I am respected and liked by those people who are really my true friends. My children, too, have benefitted from my having set boundaries with them, and they have more respect for me than before. I am beginning to realize that it is just fine to do what is right for me, and that it doesn't have to jeopardize any of my relationships.

One day at a time . . .
I am learning that it is right for me
to define my boundaries with those that I love,
knowing that I set these boundaries in love and friendship,
rather than hostility, and that I am still a lovable person.

Sharon S.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Food for Thought: November 29th


If we examine our behavior patterns when we were eating compulsively, we usually find that they were quite rigid. Our mental obsession and physical addiction kept us bound in repetitious behavior, which permitted very little spontaneity. With so much time and energy tied up in eating, we had very little flexibility. Most of our free time was used to support our addiction in one way or another.

As we recover, we may find ourselves threatened by unstructured time or by impromptu changes in schedule. An unexpected holiday can bring on feelings of emptiness or boredom. Changed plans can leave us feeling confused and unsettled. Without a firm routine, we may become uneasy.

Remembering that abstinence is the most important thing in our life without exception can provide an anchor when we are required to be flexible. As long as we remain abstinent, we are free to alter schedules and plans according to preference and convenience. Flexibility and spontaneity are possible when abstinence is firm.

Show me how to be flexible.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.


Structure prevents chaos. If my Food Plan prevails, then no change in schedule is going to throw me off track where food is concerned. I pack my food & carry it with me so I have no excuse to get detracted.  Schedules can and do change, but my eating plan does not. It is the one thing that remains rigid in my thought must, because otherwise, chaos WILL prevail. "Just this once" never pans out, and easily turns into getting back to the Food Plan "on Monday".  Once Monday rolls around, there's just a bunch more excuses to trot out. TODAY is the day for rigidity with regard to the Food Plan.

Unstructured time can pose potential problems for COEs, especially from a boredom perspective. We do not, as a rule, deal with boredom well at ALL, and I'm included in that statement.  We tend to feel uncomfortable with 'down time', alone with our thoughts, which we fear.  When we learn to use our down time constructively, and to deal with our thoughts & emotions in a mature fashion, then we stop turning to food for entertainment or comfort.

For today, my Food Plan prevails.  My food intake is simply nourishment & fuel for my body, to keep me alive; not to make me feel good.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Today's thought from Hazelden: November 28th


Sometimes in life, things happen too fast. We barely solve one problem when two new problems surface. We're feeling great in the morning, but we're submerged in misery by nightfall.

Every day we face interruptions, delays, changes, and challenges. We face personality conflicts and disappointments. Often when we're feeling overwhelmed, we can't see the lessons in these experiences.

One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It's called gratitude. We learn to say thank you for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don't like this experience, but thank you anyway.

Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.

, I will be grateful. I will start the process of turning today's pain into tomorrow's joy.

You are reading from the book:
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie


Thursday, November 28, 2013

A day to be thankful

Every day is a day to be thankful. Life is a miracle, and
there is no end to the possibilities for joy, fulfillment,
meaning and value.

Every day is a day to be thankful, and the more we remember
to do so, the more we have for which to be thankful. Life's
blessings multiply when they are fully realized and put to
good use.

Be thankful today and every day, not because you're supposed
to be, but because you can. Experience the warm sensation of
true gratitude just because it feels so good.

Keep yourself aware of your good fortune, and through that
awareness, your good fortune grows. Focus on the good
things, and you make them even better.

Remind yourself how good life can be, and suddenly you see
new ways to expand that goodness. Your life and your world
become what you hold in your thoughts most persistently, so
hold all the good things there with your thankfulness for

Today is a day to be sincerely and overwhelmingly thankful.
Seize that great opportunity now, with all the richness it

Ralph Marston

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Food for Thought: November 28th

One Bite Means a Binge

By this time; we know that we do not overeat moderately. One extra compulsive bite sooner or later becomes a binge. Keeping this fact firmly planted in our consciousness prevents us from deluding ourselves into disaster. For us, there is abstinence or there is chaos. Nothing in between.

Having proved this fact over and over again, we must avoid at all costs the insanity that makes us think we can handle one small extra bite. Our only sure defense against such inexplicable insanity is a Power greater than ourselves. Alone, we cannot control what we eat and we cannot manage our lives.

Each day we begin by admitting to God our powerlessness over our compulsion, and we ask for His control. Whenever we are tempted or overwhelmed, we release our whole selves into His care and protection. At the end of the day, we give thanks for the Power that keeps us from taking the one small, disastrous bite.

Deliver me from the bite that means a binge.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.


Building Up To The Binge (Blog)

It starts with a thought. “Gee, look how yummy that sludge looks………….I think I may take a small taste.” Never mind that ‘a small taste’ is an oxymoron.  Never mind that ‘a small taste’ won’t satisfy you.  Never mind. Just NEVER. MIND.  I am going to take ONE small taste and that’s THAT. Period.

Who cares, anyway? Right?

You may get through the rest of the evening without taking any more ‘small tastes’ and think See? I knew it? I CAN do this! I can eat like a ‘normal person’ because I’ve learned how to!

Yay me!

You wake up the next morning particularly hungry & realizing something has changed.  What? You can’t put your finger on it, but you may feel a slight sense of freedom.  Like some sort of heavy weight has been lifted OFF of your shoulders.

Some off plan food catches your eye, once again, since you’re virtually surrounded by it everywhere you go.  So you think to yourself, “What’s the big deal?” I ate ‘a small taste’ yesterday & everything turned out ok, so maybe I’ll take another ‘small taste.’

What’s changed is your mindset.  You’ve freed yourself from the ‘burden’ of The Diet, because now you’re a Normal Person Who Can Eat Sludge In Moderation With No Consequences.

Your level of seriousness has now been compromised. You’ve let down your guard a bit, and weakened your commitment muscle.  That muscle has been waiting to be compromised, by the way, because it’s been feeling self-pity and deprivation lately, if you stop to think about it.

It’s saying Poor Poor Me, Boo Hoo.  I’ve been SO good for SO long, I deserve to take a break!

And then the downhill slide REALLY begins.

The sense of ‘freedom’ you were feeling yesterday suddenly feels like an even LARGER burden than ever before.

You’ve spent the past couple of days Building Up To The Binge.  What started out as ‘a small taste’ is GOING to turn INTO a very, very LARGE taste and then a whole bag & then more.

Lots more.

Like the trip to the gas station More……you know? The one where you spend $15 on sludge and carry it out of there in two plastic bags? The one where you snarf down ALL of that sludge, in the car, where nobody is looking……..and then dispose of the evidence before you get home?

You know the one I’m talking about.

The Binge.

You get home & crash hard, vowing to Never Do This Again.  To get back to strict  tomorrow, and that’s THAT.

Tomorrow comes & you just can’t manage to get back, for some reason.

You’re incredibly hungry, for some reason, and the thought of healthy eating is just not appealing.

Or, maybe you DO find your mojo to get strict for a day or two.  But then the memory of the binge comes back into your stream of thought, and WHAM! You’re back to fantasizing just HOW great a bag of ____________would taste!

You’ll just get back to seriousness TOMORROW.

Or better yet, On Monday.

Except Monday never comes.  You’ve fallen back into the pit without a ladder.  And it all started with ‘a small taste’ of something off plan.

Doesn’t it always?

Don’t allow yourself to Build Up To The Binge.  Don’t allow yourself to take that first off plan bite.  Do not bring junk food into your house, trying to ‘test’ your resolve to lose weight.  You may just FAIL that test and have to start over again………..get back to the “Day One” mentality, when you feel like a big fat failure.

Consider yourself allergic to sugar, or a diabetic who’s going to need a shot of insulin to process that sugar shot.  Sludge is NOT for YOU.

Consider yourself an alcoholic, who would NEVER think of taking that first drink.  That’s the way YOU need to look at taking the FIRST off plan bite.

Sit yourself down for a nice heart-to-heart talk. Stop feeling self-pity and deprivation. Tell yourself how incredibly LUCKY you are to be eating SIX TIMES A DAY and not feeling true stomach hunger.

The vast majority of us can relate to this story, I’m sure……….although it’s not written about anyone in particular, it COULD be YOU, couldn’t it? I know for a fact it could be ME. In fact, is HAS been me…………so I write from experience.

For today, let’s stay the course ALL of us.  If thoughts of off plan foods come into your head, squash them DOWN and kick them OUT. You ARE in control of your thoughts.  If you don’t like the way you’re stinkin’ thinkin’ is going, then CHANGE it! Go outside & exercise. Or take a bath. Or call a friend. Or or or.  Just DON’T take that FIRST off plan bite!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 26th


“The greatest tragedy in life
is people who have sight but no vision.”
Helen Keller

The miracle of recovery has given me new vision! I lived for many years with eyes that viewed the world through fear, pain and resentment. These were the factors that shaded the lenses of my eyes. Because they clouded my entire perspective, they prevented me from seeing reality as it was. Instead, I lived in fear of the distorted realities of my world.

When I took my Fourth Step I began to see with new vision and clarity. It was amazing for me to realize how skewed my perception of life had been all those years. I discovered that my vision hadn’t been focused on the truth! The shades of this illness had cast many shadows upon reality and I had spent my life reacting to those shadows instead of responding to life.

I had years of experience looking at the world through illness, and I was not sure if I could really keep this new vision which was promised through recovery. I was a little worried that it would soon fade away into those old shadows … as had happened in other awakenings I had experienced.

As I continued to take the Steps, I found that my new vision not only remained, but grew broader and deeper every day. As I continue to work a daily Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Step and to practice these principles in all aspects of my life, I continue to celebrate life with the vision that recovery brings. This vision is one of deep joy, gratitude, serenity, and love!

One day at a time... .. . .
I will practice the Steps of recovery in all aspects of my life and I will continue to receive and share the gift of vision that recovery brings.



 Each Day a New Beginning

We are all held in place by the pressure of the crowd around us. We must all lean upon others. Let us see that we lean gracefully and freely and acknowledge their support.
—Margaret Collier Graham

We did not come into this world alone. And our voyage through this life is in concert with many others: some who directly aid us, while others seem to hinder our paths. We don't have full knowledge, however. We can't determine the many ways we are being helped to take the right steps, even by those who block our way for the moment.

Likewise, our presence is helping to pave the way for both the friends and the strangers we will encounter today, at work, on the street, at the meeting perhaps. We have all been charged, in this life, with a similar responsibility--to help one another fulfill our destinies. Our impatience with one another, our wavering love and acceptance of each other, at times our disavowal of our brothers and sisters comes because we fail to understand the necessary part we each play in the drama of one another's life.

In my personal drama, I am sharing the stage with everyone else I encounter today. I need a supporting cast. And I need applause. I will give it freely today.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation


 Food for Thought

What Am I Avoiding Now?

If I am becoming preoccupied with thoughts of food and eating, I am probably avoiding something in the present, which troubles me. We compulsive overeaters have a long history of using food to avoid facing whatever is bothering us. Abstaining may not solve the problem, but at least we do not eat ourselves into a worse situation.

Sometimes we are aware of a difficult task that needs to be done, and we think we require extra food to fortify ourselves in order to accomplish the task. Remembering that excess food incapacitates rather than strengthens is essential to our recovery. A short-term euphoria is not worth the long-term anguish, which inevitably follows loss of control.

We are learning to turn to a Power greater than ourselves when we have problems that we formerly avoided or tried to solve by eating. Whatever our perplexity, God has the answer, if we will surrender our wills and listen for His guidance.

Teach me to trust You completely.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation


The Language of Letting Go

Letting Go of Self-Criticism

Look how far we've come!

It's good to focus on the task ahead, on what remains to be done. It's important to stop and feel pleased about what we've accomplished too.

Yes, it may seem that the change has been slow. At times, change is grueling. Yes, we've taken steps backward. But we're right where we're supposed to be. We're right where we need to be.

And we have come so far.

Sometimes by leaps, sometimes with tiny steps, sometimes kicking and screaming all the while, sometimes with sleeves rolled up and white knuckles, we've learned. Grown. Changed.

Look how far we've come.

Today, I will appreciate my progress. I will let myself feel good about what has been accomplished.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 25th


The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

George Eliot

I spent most of my life blaming others for my woes and the fact that I was a compulsive overeater. I thought, "If you had had a mother like I did, an ex-husband or a tough life like mine, you would also have turned to food for comfort or to block all the painful feelings." I was sure that had I had an easier life like I perceived others to have, I wouldn't have had to do the things around food that I did. I never took responsibility for my part in all this because, in truth, I was the one who chose to react to my life in that way. Nobody forced me to behave the way I did and nobody held me down and forced food into my mouth.

I never used to realize that I do have choices in life. I can choose not to eat foods that are harmful to me; I can choose not to surround myself with unhealthy relationships; I can choose not to let other people's problems become my own; in fact, I have choices in most things that I do. I can choose to have a more positive attitude today, instead of focusing on all the negatives. I do not have to react to life's adversities with destructive behaviors. I can choose to be active in my life rather than being reactive, like a sailing ship in a stormy sea that is totally at the mercy of the weather. I can choose to seize life with both hands and live it the best I know how.

One day at a time... . . .
Today I choose to work this program of recovery knowing that, even with life's difficulties, the promises of the program will come true in my life, and I will know serenity and peace.

Sharon S.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 24th


"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect and
beginning the work of becoming yourself."
Anna Quindlen

"Perfect" me that word sounds like: "Do it again. You didn't do it right." That's the message I get from the voices in my head. The messages of perfectionism tell me over and over that I did it wrong. It's a powerful weapon when you use it as a whip against yourself, just like negative messages when you look in a mirror. I have a choice every single moment of every single day to either pick up that whip and hurt myself, or to "get out of my own way" and be kind. I can choose to look in the mirror and be thankful, and to look at myself and feel love. It takes a lot of practice, but it is worth it.

If you love yourself more than you love anyone else, you can feel happiness again. You can create again. You can look at your shadow and say good things about it too! It's another beautiful you ~ unique and wonderfully made.

One day at a time...
I will celebrate the beauty of myself today and everyday.

~ Karen

As a compulsive overeater, I fight with perfection all the time.  You know, the 'all-or-nothing' mentality? That's the train of thought (Karen refers to it as the voices in her head) that tells me I need to either starve myself & work out like a maniac, or stuff myself senseless & lay around on the couch like a slug.  If I can't do it 'perfectly', why even TRY? That's the set-up that allows me to indulge myself in my disease.  Addiction is sly & cunning. It tries to convince me that I am 'worthless' if I am not perfect.

Conversely, no human being can ever BE perfect; it is not in our make-up. Yet, I strive for something that is unattainable, raking myself over the coals because I can't and don't achieve it?  That's nonsense!

I work my program of abstinence to the best of my ability, avoiding sugar in all forms, 100%.  If I achieve that goal today, I recognize that behavior as 'good enough'.  Despite the fact that I may not have been 'perfect' with my food intake, I STILL managed to avoid my drug of choice and that is a WIN!

When I insist on perfection in life, I will ALWAYS fail.  So, for today, I instead insist on recognizing my good personality traits rather than focusing on my bad traits.  I AM good enough, I AM worthy, precisely because I am a child of God. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Each Day a New Beginning: November 23rd

When you send out real love, real love will return to you.
—Florence Scovel Shinn

Real love is selfless love. It expects nothing in return. It is not conditional. It doesn't keep score. It is too seldom given. Many of us came into the program hurting, feeling unloved, looking desperately for love, unable to love selflessly. But we are learning.

We are climbing the same mountain, all of us. Our particular paths will cross the paths of many others before reaching the top where we will find full enlightenment. And any path we cross has a special contribution to make to our own progress. We can be grateful for all intersecting paths, no matter how adverse they seem at the time. We can offer all our fellow travelers real love, and our own trip will benefit many fold.

We need not be ashamed of our desire for love. Nor need we feel shame that we've bargained for it. But we do need to understand that the kind of love we seek can only be gained when we quit searching for it and simply offer it to all the people in our midst.

I will look into the hearts of all the people I encounter today and offer them love. I'll receive that which I give

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: November 22nd

The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance

Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to us in recovery. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have, gratitude and acceptance work.

We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next set of circumstances.

If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance. If we have tried unsuccessfully to alter our present circumstances and have begun to feel like we're beating our head against a brick wall, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel like all is dark and the night will never end, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel scared and uncertain, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we've tried everything else and nothing seems to work, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we've been fighting something, try gratitude and acceptance.

When all else fails, go back to the basics.

Gratitude and acceptance work.

Today, God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life, and for all my present circumstances.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Helping others

Helping others helps you, at the very deepest level. Giving real value serves to create real value in your own life.

By providing encouragement, you receive encouragement. When you teach, you learn.

Each day is rich with opportunities for you to make a positive difference in the lives of those around you. And it is through genuinely enriching the lives of others that you find true richness in your own.

Right here, right now, there is a beautiful way to give of yourself, and to make the world a better place. Choose to do so, and immediately feel the benefits begin to manifest.

You have the chance today to change lives for the better. It's difficult to imagine anything that could be more fulfilling than that.

Reach out, give a hand, make a difference, and offer a kindness. The lives you lift will most certainly include your own.

Ralph Marston – The Daily Motivator

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Food for Thought: November 21st


We used to allow our moods to determine what and how much we ate. If we were feeling good, charged up with enthusiasm, we were usually able to focus our energy on some activity other than eating. Perhaps being in a particularly good mood made it possible for us to stick to some kind of diet for a few days.

When the bad moods struck, we invariably turned to excess food for consolation, and we attempted to make the bad moods go away by eating to excess. Any sort of psychic distress became a signal for food.

Then, too, some of us found ourselves overeating in times of elation, because we had no other way to express our joy.

When we are committed to abstinence, we have a rock like foundation for our eating habits, which no shifting mood can destroy. No matter how we may feel at a given moment, we abstain from eating compulsively. Moods change and pass away, but abstinence remains.

Make firm my commitment to abstinence.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

When my inner brat was in charge, I ate & behaved according to my moods. My immaturity and lack of willingness to accept discipline allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it.  The result was obesity, bad health, and a toddler attitude that had me stamping my feet when I didn't get what I wanted.

When I found OA and the structured Food Plan is when I became willing to give UP my immature ways & embrace a new way.  The old way wasn't working anymore...........the food & booze was no longer giving me the 'high' I was seeking, in spite of the binges getting larger & the booze consumption increasing weekly.  No matter HOW much I ate or drank, I was STILL not finding the escape I sought, so I knew it was time to try something different.

Committing myself to an abstinent way of life allowed  me to finally grow up, and to accept my place in society as an adult.  My childlike ways were set aside, and a new, structured lifestyle took its place.  I've been on this journey for 5 1/2 years now, and I'm still growing and learning.  It's not 'over' one day, when everything magically changes, either. It's a process.............a journey............a solid path to follow that leads us OUT of addiction and into freedom, one day at a time, one step at a time.

For today, I reaffirm my commitment to abstinence. When I put it first in my life, all good things flow from there.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Food for Thought: November 20th

Eating For Mother

As babies and children, we made Mother happy by eating what she gave us. Since our emotions were closely tied to hers, when she was happy, we were also happy. We may have developed the mistaken notion that the more we ate, the happier Mother would be and, therefore, the happier we would be.

This illusion may be persisting into our adult life. On some level, we may not yet realize that no amount of food we can eat will make Mother permanently happy, anymore than it will make us happy. We may have eaten many times in the past in order to please Mother, rather than because we really wanted food. Subconsciously, we may still think we could please her by consuming more food than we need.

Working the OA program often brings to light other things we are doing in order to please someone else. Since each individual is responsible for his or her own happiness, there is nothing we can do to ensure the happiness of another individual. Realizing this on a gut level is a powerful tool for maintaining abstinence.

May I realize the/utility of eating to please someone else.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

I began compulsively eating at the age of 5, after being overfed on a continuous basis. Mother was definitely not happy when and if I wasn't overeating. In fact, she'd feed me until I vomited & then feed me again.  Since Mother is a chronically unhappy person, I felt it was MY job to make her happy. I could see a smile on her face if I ate enough. And so, bad habits were born and it's taken me 4 decades of yo yo dieting to get a handle on the whole food addiction thing.

In the end, it doesn't matter 'why', but it does help to know what's led us down the road to abusing ourselves with food. For me, this reading is spot on, while for others, it may hold no truth whatsoever.

The key to managing a food addiction, whether the 'why's' are known or unknown, is by adherence and willingness to follow a strict Food Plan.  Once we become willing to DO that, then everything begins to change. The carb fog LIFTS, and allows us to SEE the truth, finally.  Whilst overeating/using, we 'see' nothing but our own 'misfortunes' and self-pity.  When we expose the addiction to the light of truth is when we begin to recover.

For today, I will not compromise MY Food Plan for anyone or anything. Period. I eat to keep my Recovery intact, not to please someone else.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Food for Thought: November 19th

Appetite Is Not Hunger

Confusing a "hearty" appetite with genuine, physical hunger is a mistake made consistently by compulsive overeaters. Our idea of how much food our body needs is usually a great exaggeration of the actual requirement. Because of an overdeveloped appetite, we are unfamiliar with the feeling of true hunger.

Since we cannot rely on subjective feelings to tell us how much we need to eat, we require an objective, definite plan. When we reach our normal weight, we continue to eat according to a measured food plan, rather than according to appetite. We will never be able to satisfy the demands of our appetite without destroying ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

When we think we require more food than is called for by our plan, we need to examine our thinking. Usually we find that we are being deluded by the demands of our overdeveloped appetite. We would like to eat more, but in fact, our body does not need more.

I pray for the wisdom to distinguish between appetite and hunger.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.


I've found that there is no such thing as 'enough' when it comes to sugar & other trigger foods.  But there IS indeed 'enough' where other foods are concerned. Tuna, for instance, I will not OD on.  Under NO circumstances would I open a second can and try to choke it down after eating the first! Same thing with vegetables and other plain, healthy foods. What jacks our taste buds up is junk food.............foods layered with salt, fat & sugar.  Once those foods are avoided, and a healthy/whole diet is put in place, the desire to binge dissipates.

 After The Binge (Blog, 7/27/12)
A thin, middle-aged woman walks into Safeway; well dressed, well put together, appearing to be in total control of herself and her life.  Some may look at her and think she’s lucky.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Unbeknownst to all that come in contact with her, that woman is on a mission.  Despite her cool, calm & collected exterior, a raging addict is driving her every thought, filling her mind with chaos.  Screaming in her ear that the ONLY thing she NEEDS is a bunch of junk food to calm down.  That’s all. Just hurry up and eat as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and then, I promise, You Will Feel Good.

All reason is gone from her mind, replaced by an overwhelming need to stuff herself and shut DOWN. Forget. Numb. Escape. Turn OFF her brain NOW. Stop thinking, worrying, counting, calculating. 

Afterward, when the sanity & awareness return, she is exhausted and beaten down.  As she comes out of the sugar coma, she asks herself WHY? What drove her to do it? Why did she lack the self-discipline that carries her through the rest of her life with relative ease? Why? Why does this ONE issue keep reappearing? 
Why can’t she get THIS under control?

The self-hatred she feels is palpable.  Nauseous & physically sick, dying of thirst, head pounding……..feeling enormous physical repercussions from the act of consuming thousands of useless calories over a one or two hour period of time.

She sleeps fitfully, tossing & turning, waking several times during the night to acid reflux and the ever pounding head. And the guilt.  The anxiety…..bordering on panic…….that overtakes her when she remembers the horrid and shameful act.

Yet, every time she wakes up, she thinks to herself, What Else Can I Eat Since I’ve Already Blown It?
If she eats more, she shuts herself down again, not having to think or worry about Why.

When she wakes to face the new day ahead, she feels incapable.  She wants to stay in bed, pull the covers up over her head, and hide. Dwell in the shame & self-loathing that’s overtaken her mind. Why get dressed & attempt to look good? For what? She feels unworthy of looking good.

She has to get up, though.  She goes thru the closet trying to find the ‘fat clothes’…….the loose fitting garments that will disguise her bloated & uncomfortable belly.  Everything feels wrong. Like so much effort.  It would be so much easier to go back to bed & turn the TV set on, and veg out instead.

The day is sunny & bright outside, but inside, she feels dark & shrunken. Hopeless.  She’s managed to push all that light out of her mind, and replace it with fear instead.

She swallows a few antacids & a couple of pain relievers.  Runs a brush through her hair, which looks limp & lifeless this morning…….exactly the way she feels.  The tears well up in her eyes as the memories of yesterday come flooding back, taking over her mind, as usual.

She drags herself through the day, vowing that she will never binge again.  

Until the next time.

By the grace of God, I’ve managed to stop this vicious cycle of binging & self-hatred.  That’s not to say I’ll never do it again.  It is to say that, for today, my program is more important to me than the temporary pleasure of a binge. 

The consequences are just too costly, too risky, and too debilitating; emotionally, physically & spiritually.
For today, I will stay committed to my food plan.  I will not dwell in the past, nor will I focus on the future.  All I have to do is concern myself with NOW.

And for NOW, I can do anything, with God by my side & a firm food plan to keep my mind from wandering too far off course.  Limited choices = serenity & inner peace.

For today, I will embrace my light & be all that God intends me to be.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 18th


You never find yourself until you face the truth.

Pearl Bailey

I was brought up to be scrupulously honest, or so I thought. I still remember how my father would go back into a shop if he'd been given too much change, a practice that I adopted too. I found it hard to tell a lie, even a white lie, and I would never contemplate cheating on a test. But when it came to food, I only realized later, I was totally dishonest. I was even dishonest when it came to telling people how I felt, or for that matter who I really was. The person who did these things was a totally different person to the upright person I liked people to see.

I know now that all the things I'd hidden around food were obviously what I felt ashamed about. I wanted people to see only the "good" side of me and not the person who did all these devious things in secret. I kept thinking that I was a bad person and the shame stopped me from being totally honest about what I had been doing.

It has taken time, and the love and acceptance I have found in the fellowship, to be able to get totally honest with myself. It has taken time to look at all the things about me that I felt ashamed of. In the housecleaning necessary in the Steps, I have been able to face my shame. I learned that I am human, and that I have a disease. Some of the soul searching has been very painful, but at the same time it has been totally enlightening. I am amazed how I am beginning to know a new me, with faults and all, but a loveable me nevertheless. As I peel off more layers of the onion that represents the sum total of what makes me unique and truly one of God's creatures, I am actually beginning to like the new me. I know now that I am not a bad person trying to get good, merely a sick person trying to get well.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will keep being honest about who I am, what I eat and how I am behaving in my relationships, so I can learn more about me. Even when I don't like what I see, I know I am still a loveable person and a child of God, created in His image.

~ Sharon S. ~

The shame surrounding compulsive eating is huge. We lose faith in ourselves as we fail to keep our promises, over & over again. What is more shameful than having a binge, and hiding the evidence so we can keep up appearances?

Coming Out of the Closet: Secret Eating (Blog, 4/13/12)

Ever since I was a young girl, I was trained & coached in how to diet. My folks were (and still are) normal weight individuals, who feel that obesity can be easily controlled with a bit of ‘willpower’.  In spite of all the training I received in how NOT to be fat, I was still fat.

I was always told to ‘hold in’ my stomach, and introduced to a girdle (with legs) before I was old enough to really hate myself for my ‘lack of willpower.’  When I began to develop, I was introduced to a ‘minimizer’ bra, bathing suits with a skirt, and hemlines below the knee, to hide the ’50 pound-apiece’ legs I was, apparently, the not-so-proud owner of.

Since being brought to Weight Watchers at 12 years old, I learned to feel shame about my eating habits & my resulting body size. I’ve always felt I was too fat to sit down & eat a real meal.  My assumption was that people who are overweight should not be allowed to eat.  And if they were, they should eat as little as possible & only consume low calorie foods.  The assumption was that people who are overweight & eat real meals are disgusting. The assumption being that overweight people should be spending their time losing weight, not eating, and that sitting down to a meal would always result in gaining weight.  And finally, the assumption was that people who are overweight & eat meals are as much as saying they’re not ashamed of the way they look and are, in fact, flaunting their fat by eating like someone who doesn’t need to lose weight.  And I was always, always, always taught to feel shame about my size. Not so much in words but in actions. So how could I eat in public, when I it was my job to diet?

If overweight people ‘shouldn’t eat’, we must forever pretend that we are not eating when we ARE eating. And so, sneaky & secretive eating is naturally born from these types of beliefs & training programs. Since it’s not MY human right TO eat, I don’t deserve to dig in & enjoy.  Eating becomes clandestine & disordered. I begin living a lie, eating one way in public, & a totally different way when I am alone. “If they really knew the truth about me, if they knew how much I could eat, if they knew how gluttonous I am, they would be appalled.” From there it’s a short distance to, “If they really knew me, they wouldn’t love me. Who I am is not worthy of love & must be hidden.” Dishonesty becomes a matter of emotional survival: I must lie; I must hide myself to be loved.  If I keep my mouth shut & my eyes cast downward, maybe I can disappear & THEN I will be loved & accepted.  Gaining weight, however, is surely NOT a way of becoming less visible, and the more I hid my eating, the less I hid mySELF.

What a painful way to live! When you can’t tell the truth, you cut the bonds that tie you to other people. You start building walls around you instead of bridges between you & others.  

I hid food in my room; in my nightstand & under the bed. I’d go to the 5 & 10, with a quarter & stock up on 6 candy bars, to be eaten after the lights were out & the household was asleep. I’d steal money from my dad’s pants pockets to feed my need to eat, or I’d snatch the dimes out of the slots in my uniform loafers, which should have been used for emergency phone calls ONLY! All the food in the house was counted & measured; if I ate a few cookies, I’d be caught, since I was the only child in the house.  My poor grandmother took to hiding her food evidence behind the cupboards in the basement, lest she be caught.  And grandma, God bless her, wasn't overweight in the least. 

As time went on, I’d spend more & more time eating, in the car, the bedroom, the bathroom, anywhere I couldn’t be seen.  I convinced myself there was something wrong with me, look at what you are DOING, you can’t possibly TELL anyone, they would never understand. So I turned to food. Again, for comfort & escape.  And the walls around me became walls of flesh.

My car was my favorite restaurant, worn out kitchen table & beloved dining companion. I’ve been known to go to the store, buy whatever I wanted to eat, and then load the passenger seat with a half-dozen  bags.  Eating in my car was safe; no one I knew could see me, question me or judge me. Eating in my car didn’t really count. As long as I wasn’t sitting at a table, eating from a plate with a knife & fork, as long as I was concentrating on braking & steering, it didn’t count.  Any food I ate when I wasn’t sitting down, either in my kitchen or at a restaurant, didn’t count.

You wouldn’t believe how much I ate that I didn’t eat.
In my mind, it didn’t count-----I wasn’t really eating----if I ate:
~at the stove while cooking, tasting
~bites off someone else’s plate
~standing in front of the refrigerator or the sink
~watching TV or a movie
~standing up anywhere
~reading a book or a magazine
~when involved in an emotional or anxiety-producing conversation
~in the car
~at someone else’s house when no one is around
~off everyone’s dishes when cleaning up
~after the meal is over & I didn’t eat what I wanted & now I’m back (or still) in the kitchen eating what I REALLY wanted;
~anywhere at any time when I felt that I wasn’t allowed or supposed to be eating.
~crumbs of ALL kinds do not count; so if there is ½ a cake left in the pan & it’s all crumbs, it doesn’t count 

It’s not that I’m NOT judging myself at these times or that my body doesn’t get full at these times. It’s not really that I ate but didn’t eat; rather, it’s that I ate, but because my attention was focused elsewhere, the food didn’t satisfy me. Or I felt guilty. Or I overate, stuffing the food down SO fast, that I wasn’t even tasting it.  And then I ate some more.

When I’m eating and my mind is on something else, I finish but it doesn’t seem as if I really ATE. But the me that buys, moves my right hand & puts food into my mouth DID eat. The me that looks in the mirror, can’t fit into clothes, and hates my body-----this me------ate.  This is the me that gains weight & no one can understand why because I eat so little at mealtimes.

Here is list of rules designed to focus my attention on mindful eating:

1. Eat in FULL VIEW of my friends, husband, parents children & colleagues (this is a TOUGH one)
2. Eat when I am sitting down
3. Eat without distractions, TV, radio newspapers books for loud music.
4. When I do eat, do so in as lovely & nourishing environment as I can create.
5. When I eat, avoid emotional conversations.
6. No eating IN BED.

If I follow these guidelines, I prevent myself from the painful lies about how what I’m ‘picking on’ all day long doesn’t really count, or that I’m not really eating because there’s no kitchen table & place settings involved. 

If I follow these guidelines, I force some sanity on myself & I stop feeling humiliated & degraded for the places I find myself eating. Even after 4 years of sticking to my Food Plan, I still fight the instinct to secretly eat.  After 3 years of marriage to my soul mate, I still can't bring myself to discuss the secret binges I have had over the years.  Intellectually, I know that he loves me no matter what, but emotionally, I'm still ashamed of letting him SEE that side of me.  By the grace of God the Fat Me doesn't make frequent appearances, but I have had, and will likely continue TO have, my bad times.  As a woman who deals with the disease of obesity, I've learned to stop thinking my journey will ever be 'easy' or trouble free.
At 55 years old, I still 'hold in' my stomach quite often.  I find myself in all sorts of situations where my mid section is tight as a drum, and then I realize, yes, I'm still that fat little girl, wearing a girdle and a minimizer bra, trying to hide who I Am, behind the facade of invisibility.  If I can suck myself up into a tight little package, maybe then I'll be worthy.  That's not true, of course, but after all these years of training, it sure does FEEL real.

My program keeps me on track, and stops my mind from traveling to places that used to be, once upon a time, but no longer exist. My program keeps me from feeling ashamed & unworthy and that, my friends, has a whole lot more value than I'd ever realized, in 40 years of yo  yo dieting. One day at a time, I am still 'becoming' the woman that God intended me to be. I am a work in progress and for that, I am grateful to Medifast for teaching me a better way.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Food for Thought: November 17th

Escape into Sleep

After we stop eating compulsively, we may be tempted to use sleep as a form of escape. Though not as detrimental as excess food, too much sleep can also make us lethargic and dull. The danger lies in allowing ourselves to escape the realities of living, rather than coping with them.

We all need adequate rest in order to feel good and function efficiently. Sleep becomes an escape, however, if we take long daytime naps instead of finding worthwhile and enjoyable activities. Just as we may have overeaten because of boredom, we may oversleep because we have nothing better to do.

Our Higher Power has a plan for the time and talents He gives us. It is our job to discover how and where we can best serve God and each other. With the new life we are given in OA goes the responsibility to use it productively. Since this is the only life we have, we do not choose to sleep it away. By facing our problems with the help of this program, we learn how to deal with them.

Deliver me from indolence.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recovery Meditations: November 16th


"Whatever games are played with us,
we must play no games with ourselves,
but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I began to study step one in OA I learned that the principle behind the step was honesty. That was difficult for me because I had spent so much time lying to myself and others about my eating. I was so ashamed of my eating habits and behaviors that when asked about them, it never occurred to me to tell the truth. I couldn't conceive of being accepted, or even cared for, if anyone knew the truth.

Then I came into the program and began to hear people share. The denial and shell of lies began to melt. For the first time I found myself in a fellowship where I felt like I could tell the truth because I was surrounded by people whose stories were similar to mine. Most importantly, the people in the fellowship loved me and cared for me when I told my truth, no matter how ugly it seemed to me. I call this the magic of the fellowship. It makes me want to be that kind of loving, caring person for the newcomer taking his or her first step.

One day at a time...
I will honestly confront the reality of my compulsive eating, knowing that I am in a fellowship where I am unconditionally loved and cared for.

~ Carolyn H.

Food for Thought

Alive to Truth

Being alive to truth requires being in touch with ourselves and with our Higher Power. It requires that we value spiritual truth more than material things. We come to realize that the insights and emotional growth we gain through this program are more valuable than the things we used to think we had to have.

Being alive to truth involves living each present moment. If we are obsessed with the past or preoccupied with the future, we will miss the truth of now. Today we can be who we are and give of our best in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Our Higher Power promises that if we ask for truth, we shall receive it. It will be found when we seek it more than status, money, or physical comfort. When we are alive to truth, we are open to the source of Power, which will never let us down.

Today, I will be alive to truth.

The Language of Letting Go

The Victim Trap

The belief that life has to be hard and difficult in the belief that makes a martyr.

We can change our negative beliefs about life, and whether we have the power to stop our pain and take care of ourselves.

We aren't helpless. We can solve our problems. We do have power - not to change or control others, but to solve the problems that are ours to solve.

Using each problem that comes our way to "prove" that life is hard and we are helpless - this is codependency. It's the victim trap.

Life does not have to be difficult. In fact, it can be smooth. Life is good. We don't have to "awfulize" it, or ourselves. We don't have to live on the underside.

We do have power, more power than we know, even in the difficult times. And the difficult times don't prove life is bad; they are part of the ups and downs of life; often, they work out for the best.

We can change our attitude; we can change ourselves; sometimes, we can change our circumstances.

Life is challenging. Sometimes, there's more pain than we asked for; sometimes, there's more joy than we imagined.

It's all part of the package, and the package is good.

We are not victims of life. We can learn to remove ourselves as victims of life. By letting go of our belief that life has to be hard and difficult, we make our life much easier.

Today, God, help me let go of my belief that life is so hard, so awful, or so difficult. Help me replace that belief with a healthier, more realistic view.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation

Friday, November 15, 2013

Food for Thought: November 15th

Loving Truth

Since it is truth that sets us free - free from our addiction and free from crippling fear - we come to love this truth, even when it hurts. It was mainly our fear that kept us from recognizing the truth about ourselves. We needed help and support from a Higher Power before we could face reality. Now that the OA program sustains us, we can devote our time and energy to striving for truth in all that we think, say, and do.

Our devotion to truth may bring us into conflict with those around us. What we need to remember is that we are not responsible for convincing anyone else of what we believe to be true. We are honest about where we are, but we do not expect or demand agreement from anyone else. Since each of us has a different perspective, we can only know the truth, as we each understand it. Loving truth means that we acknowledge it to be too big for any one of us to grasp completely.

Increase my devotion to Your truth.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

My truth is that I am a sugar addict & must abstain from it 100% in order to stay in recovery. I find that most people do not subscribe to my truth.........that they feel 'moderation' should be the key to everything. Had I been able to find 'moderation' with addictive substances, I wouldn't be an an addict to BEGIN with. 

Feeling Deprived (Blog 11/14/13)

After my session with the personal trainer yesterday, I went to Costco.  My husband needed some jeans, and I wanted to pick up some kale vegetable salad mix.  If you haven’t tried this mix, I recommend it highly. It’s contains a peculiar blend of veggies, but they’re very crunchy & satisfying.  I throw out the salad dressing & the bag o’ nuts & cranberries that come along with it, and just eat the greens with low-fat dressing. 

Normally, when I go into Costco, I tend to feel agitated……….like there is ALL this food calling to me, inviting me to eat eat EAT.  The vast majority of the food they offer for sale is NOT on my Food Plan, so I’ve been known to feel deprived, sometimes, and in a big rush to vamoose OUT of there. 

Yesterday was different.  I gave up sugar 100% on July 27th, and nowadays, I don’t even care about the sweets that confront me on a regular basis.  Prior to July 27th, I’d be asking myself the “Should I/Shouldn’t I” question, and finding myself in a quandary.  The mind chatter that accompanies such a question is incredibly difficult to cope with. At least for me.  Now that I’m in Maintenance, I have a lot more food choices than I did during 5/1, which can easily lead me to think I have more leeway than I really DO.

I have no leeway at all in Maintenance. It’s just as important, or even MORE important, to follow a structured Food Plan in Maintenance than it was or is during 5/1.  Precisely BECAUSE options can lead me astray, I limit them quite a bit. 

If candy is an option, then I will eat it.  And then the vicious cycle kicks in AGAIN, convincing me that I’m ‘too thin’ or ‘need’ more calories, or worse yet, that ‘some’ sugar won’t be a problem for me.  Now that I’m thin & healthy, I DESERVE some ‘treats’, don’t I?

Nah. I don’t deserve anything but good health & a slim body for LIFE, in actuality.  In order to maintain such a state of being, I must avoid sugar entirely.  Does that make me angry or upset? Nope, not anymore.  Oh sure, it DID anger me for a while that I couldn’t eat like a ‘normal person’ without gaining weight.

But then I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself.  The truth is, I don’t eat like a ‘normal person.’  All the normal people I know don’t have gigantic binges and eat thousands of calories of junk food at one sitting. Nor do they rush out to the gas station to load up on more junk food, after the initial gorge-fest is over with.

Do they?

No, they don’t.  But I did. And I WILL again, if sugar was part of my Food Plan.

I gave up ‘normal’ one night, while foraging through the refrigerator eating cake straight out of the box.  Normal people don’t do that.  I can’t become normal either………it’s too late for that.  A cucumber can choose to become a pickle………but once he becomes a pickle, he can never go back to being a cucumber.

I’m a pickle.

So, yesterday at Costco, I actually browsed the store in a calm fashion, collected what I went in there to collect, paid the bill, stopped at the snack bar for a club soda no ice, and went on my merry way.  I didn’t feel agitated or full of self-pity, either. I actually felt empowered and strong like bull.  Sludge has NO power over me anymore, now that I’ve chosen to give it up for good.

If you question whether YOU can arrive at this place in your journey, the answer is YES, you CAN.  If I can, YOU can.  I just had to be brought to my knees a bunch of times before I became willing to make the decision that I no longer consume junk food. Period.

Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we need to learn, as we need to learn them.  If you struggle with your program, rest assured you are learning something……a valuable lesson which is required to propel you to the next phase of your journey.  It’s taken me 56 years to arrive at this place of calm & serenity…..but I never would have gotten here had I NOT experienced all the ‘failures’ from my past attempts to change. Have faith, dear ones, and press forward, one day at a time.