Tag Archives: weight

3 Years – anniversary thoughts

I’m Susanne, a compulsive overeater. I’m abstinent today as I weigh my meals off the CGS after I have written them down and committed them to my sponsor, and then I eat those meals and nothing else – no matter what. I make that my #1 priority today.

I celebrated 3 years’ abstinence on Thursday. Thank God… I am living in the solution and I have a life.

Today is Saturday and I haven’t eaten compulsively – so I’m officially into year 4 of abstinence. Right now I’m sitting in my living room, watching Star Trek: Voyager (yeah, I love it) and sipping a hot abstinent beverage. Life is good.

Abstinent life over the past year has been challenging in some ways. In general, having been “in programme” since March 2005, I’m fairly comfortable with the logistics of staying abstinent; I’ve never had an “accidental slip” or anything like that. Whenever I have wanted to be abstinent, I have been. There was a summer in 2006 when I allowed others to talk me out of abstinence and I suffered the result – the insanity of starving and bingeing, even though I never touched the sugars/grains/starches – over the course of about three months before I gathered the courage to stand up for my needs and get abstinent again. Or perhaps better words: I was finally desperate enough again. On 15 October 2006 I got abstinent again and have remained abstinent since then.

But the challenges have been more insidious. Due to a hormonal condition, I have been gaining weight – ironically, ever since I began working with my current sponsor (which is now probably about 2 years), I have been gaining almost every month. My sponsor is wonderful and I hate that this is happening because I feel like a burden to her. For a while I was put on the pill, which was an additional cause of weight gain, but last month I was finally put on other medication and now I’m finally hopeful for loss again. It’s terrible to keep gaining and gaining, but while I’m abstinent I can be confident I will never be *obese*. Even so: I want to look good.

So over the past few months, with my clothes getting tighter and having to move up a dress size, I have had to fight off the urge to starve or diet. To cut out just a little bit from the Greysheet allowance. It would be so easy…. and of course, the next bite would then be even easier. I cannot give the disease a foothold.

At 3 years’ abstinence, I’m not cured. I still have compulsive thoughts. I’ve struggled hugely with gum (currently I’m OK, no gum). I could pick up the food any second, I just choose not to right now. The big difference these 3 years make is that I have a life now that I don’t want to lose by picking up… I got busy! I have a job I love; a place I’m calling home; I have a wonderful group of friends around me; I’m able to help my family; and I’m doing a Master’s degree. Life is full, but I know I could unravel it all if I picked up. That’s why, even though in terms of my weight abstinence is not giving me what I want, I would be mad to exchange what I have for a life filled with food (or just food thoughts) and nothing else: because that’s how it could be.

So I don’t eat today, NMW.

There’s nothing I want more than abstinence

I’ve been thinking lately, about abstinence. My memory of active eating is fading into the distance… the pain of it has left, abstinence has given me a life and a body I can live with. I have problems, though:

  • my weight has gone up yet again. I am now almost 15 lbs. from goal.
  • after almost 60 days off sweeteners, late last month I picked them up again with a vengeance. A few days of chewing gum binges and misery followed. The gum is now down again (Day 5).
  • after a really busy period of sponsoring three people, I now have no sponsees – and it helps my abstinence to sponsor others.
  • last month I had to take the Pill back (because without it I have no cycles and that gets dangerous i.e. cancer). The result is both weight gain *and* hormonal moodiness *and* strong food cravings.
  • I can’t seem to get started on a project for my studies, time is passing, and the deadline is looming which is stressing me out.

All of these things are bothering me. They really are – no whitewashing the issue, they are bothering me.

Part of me has forgotten the pain of eating, the acute loss of control. That part wants to eat to make myself feel better when hormones make me miserable; that part wants to go on a diet and lose the last 15 lbs. whatever it takes. I can diet severely (of course, only to eventually binge severely; the net result is always GAIN). That part of me has forgotten the fact that I am abstinent by a miracle only; that I have been given a gift of an unrelenting, rigid plan that cannot be tweaked, cannot be reduced or augmented. The Greysheet is what it is, and because it has rigid boundaries I have freedom to play within them. Without abstinence, everything becomes mushy, nebulous. No right and wrong means everything is a varying degree of wrong. Grey, no black and whites. Funny that the Greysheet is not at all grey – it is black and white.

Today I need to affirm that I want abstinence more than anything. More than being 15 lbs. less. More than quick fixes. That’s because I now have the perspective to see down the roads I could take.

Q: Where does dieting the last 15 lbs. off actually lead?
A: Away from Greysheet I will never lose it, though I may well gain it (several times over).

Q: Where does “comfort” eating lead?
A: Dis-comfort – worse, misery, pain, self-hatred.

I want to be abstinent. Lately, being abstinent had become something of a “default” mode – it’s just me, that’s just how I eat – and I’m missing the initial relief, the wide-eyed excitement of discovering that there is life outside the food. I need to be reminded. Thank you for being there and helping me remember… because if I can’t remember, going off Greysheet will remind me really quickly. Jog my memory, so to speak. But I don’t want to go there; I don’t need to go there. I want abstinence more than anything.

Sugar coma & weigh day

Interesting topic for the week, the sugar coma. It’s been years now since I have experienced it but I hardly want to try it again. I remember, shortly after my first “stint” at abstinence in New York – at that time I was desperately dieting and bingeing and trying to keep up appearances – a friend in a restaurant remarked about going out and eating too much and experiencing what he called a “food coma”. I said nothing, we were out in a group and this comment was in no way directed at me, but I felt such shame because not only did I know exactly what he meant (and now had acquired a word to describe it!) but I was experiencing on a regular basis. Sometimes daily, sometimes (by the grace of God) weekly… but regularly.

There seemed to be no getting out of it. I hated the sugar coma and yet some part of me wanted to get there. The numbness, perhaps? But in the end I think it wasn’t this final stage my addiction was after, it was the process of endlessly shoving more and more food into my mouth. The food, the food, the food: consequences later. Of course the consequences always came, but that knowledge could not deter me when I NEEDED a binge.

And that is what happened. I was absolutely powerless. I think looking back I actually hate the feeling of “need” and the absolute hopelessness combined with greed while I was buying food, before the binge had even started, even more than the sugar coma that followed. I was driven, and I hate being controlled. Yes, after the binge I would loathe myself, apart from feeling physically ill, but the days or weeks of holding on with white knuckles to some kind of diet I knew I would never stick to for the long term… then the one food that lodged into my mind and would not go away… the build-up of NEED… until I went and got it, along with lots of others because it didn’t matter anyway, and I somehow hoped (deep down, against hope) that this binge would now be so terrible that it would put me off forever. It always did, for the minutes right after the binge. But the next morning, the next craving, would always come.

Thank you for taking me back into remembering this hopelessness. I live with so much hope now, the food is in many ways routine (although I love it and look forward to every meal) and it has lost that terrible grip on me. I love my food but it no longer controls me. Only someone trapped hopelessly can understand the meaning of freedom after that.

And against that background, a weigh-in of 1 lb. up is but a small thing. I am grateful.

Topic: Weigh Day

Weigh day this month came and went – and for the first time ever, I was at exactly the same weight (down to the 0.10 lbs) as the previous month. Not that that’s significant… just new. Anyway, ever since I first got abstinent my weight has been a source of continued frustration. It felt like it took forever to take off my extra weight: I was about 50 lbs. overweight when I came in, I have lost 40 lbs. in all. Some months passed with one or two lbs. down, and some without any loss whatever, even at the beginning… I have never had the experience of “the weight falling off”. Instead, from the very beginning, it was a s-l-o-w and unrewarding process.

The positive side of this, of course, is that I didn’t get that “thrill” (and therefore, no letdown when it slowed) – I had to stay abstinent because of things other than the weight: I stayed abstinent because I began to have a life that didn’t revolve around food. My gratitude for that outweighed everything else – and I chose to cultivate that attitude. Besides, my only choice was go slow (abstinent) or go up (not abstinent). No diet had ever worked quickly on me, anyway, my body is just like that.

These days, I’m in a normal-size body – despite the 10 extra lbs. that shouldn’t be there, I don’t stand out as the fat one in groups any more. Most days I can live with that. Many days it’s not so easy, though… but I know there are still avenues available to me that I could take if I was really desperate about it. For example, consistent hard exercise. My lack of that probably isn’t helping. If I really hated the 10 lbs. so much, I probably would exercise… the very fact that I can’t bring myself to any consistency with it demonstrates that I’m willing to live with those 10 lbs. If I really was desperate, wouldn’t I do absolutely anything?

Today, my weight is in my sponsor’s hand but I accept both my own and my sponsor’s powerlessness. My sponsor gives me wonderful suggestions, but at the end of the day, it’s my body that refuses to cooperate and all the things I have tried and followed my sponsor’s suggestions… well… I just want to make clear that while I have given any and all worry about my weight to my sponsor, I don’t want to burden her with my uncooperative body either. I don’t blame her – I don’t blame myself – it’s my physical body. At this stage I accept this (or rather, it would be more accurate to say I am resigned because there is no way out).

I just don’t eat, no matter what. Any weight problems I have now are NOTHING compared to what I would be facing if I didn’t have abstinence.

Connecting / soy woes

I seem to have quite a need to connect with you here lately… which might have to do with the fact that my boss is out and work is going s-l-o-w.  So, here I am again – still a compulsive overeater but abstinent today as I weigh my 3 meals off the CGS, write them down, commit them to my sponsor, and eat nothing uncommitted no matter what.  I’m making that my #1 priority for today.
 
Looking at my consistent weight gain over the past year, which has been slow but steady, I am now finally at a point where I have to take a serious look at my intake of soy.  My sponsor keeps advising me that many long-timers have found it to prevent weight loss or even make them gain weight.  Considering that I have already given up almost all dairy, chewing gum, and processed foods in general, I find it interesting just how hard everything within me wants to fight this and keep the soy.  I like the way it fills me up and keeps me full for a long time – what others would probably describe to be “sitting in their stomach like a rock” is to me actually a pleasant sensation I can’t seem to get from other foods.
 
So I have committed to giving it up, but I haven’t done it yet.  Just the commitment.  I still have a supply of it at home and the plan is to use that up, and buy no more.  I am both frightened to get to the end of my supply and wishing it to go quicker.  Wanting to eat nothing else until it’s all gone (no, I won’t do that!), wanting to be rid of it already even as I fear the loss.  I can be compulsive about anything.  I had already limited my use of soy to one day a week, but that may still be too much and I am told it would be better to just clean it out entirely.
 
But what next…?  What if I find that it doesn’t make a difference – what else can I give up?  And, can I take it back in that case?  Why can’t I eat like other Greysheeters?  These are some of the questions swirling around in my head.  I’m not happy.
 
But, come what may, I will remain abstinent – no matter what.

Exercise

I  must say I’m not doing so well with the exercise.  I really need to get better with that.  I go to the gym every morning, still, but I don’t necessarily work out – I go to the sauna instead often.  This morning I did do my 10 minutes of cardio.  I’ve done Callanetics once this week.  Tomorrow I want to do 10 minutes of cardio, that’s my goal.

I really want to get into it – and, having gained 7.7 lbs. since August I really do need to… exercise would help greatly in getting that weight off again.  Yet, the paradox is that BECAUSE I feel fat, I find it that much harder to want to work out.  When I feel good about myself, it’s easier… when I feel bad about myself, I constantly have to battle that spiral of “it doesn’t matter anyway”, and lethargy.

Trust

I’m relating this week’s reading very directly to my experience of Greysheet because I have weighed in this month with an increase, which has been going on since August and I have gained almost 8 lbs. in total since then.  This is a worrying tendency (and my sponsor has adjusted my food this month).

But, I affirm that I trust in the process.  Trust that this trend will not continue, that my sponsor knows what is best, that my body will find balance again eventually.  That I have to surrender to the process: surrender my body to the Greysheet, and my mind and spirit to God to give me peace about this.  I must be surrendered because the alternative is manipulation: taking power back into my own hands.  I know too well where that leads.

I trust myself enough now: my experience has taught me that I am capable of being trustworthy when it comes to what food I put into my mouth.  That is an incredibly powerful thing, albeit small in the big picture – I can translate that experience of faithfulness on my part to other things.  I can learn to be faithful in other small things.  I do tend to overcommit myself and then let certain things slide, and I have to learn how to commit only to a selection of things – making sure I am able to follow through on each one.  That will build my experience of being faithful and trustworthy, which will in turn help me to trust in many other processes other than food.  It’s life.