Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Three Square Meals A Day

My name is Anne, and I am a compulsive overeater. This has been true for as long as I can remember. I don't have a lot of childhood memories, but many that I do revolve around food or lack thereof. I can remember stealing money to go to the corner store and buy candy when I was in elementary school. I can remember the freedom of driving my own car and how it let me stop at Dunkin' Donuts on the way to school and Burger King on the way home in high school. I can remember in college deciding I'd had it with being fat, especially after being called such in front of a group of "friends" and hearing them laugh, and supplementing my bingeing with purging. I can remember after the birth of my son subsisting on cookie dough to try to make it through the day. So food has been my best friend and worst enemy for a long time.

In 2004, I joined OA. I did what I was supposed to do: got a sponsor, created a food plan, journaled, went to lots of meetings. I even found God. I dropped about 30 pounds. Woo hoo! Then I got pregnant, and my diet/scale/weight-obsessed mind couldn't reconcile going to OA while pregnant - I don't need to lose weight while pregnant, so why go? (Apparently my recovery had only come so far.) So I stopped going. I dabbled in it, meaning I'd go to a meeting here or there, over the next 4 years, but decided that clearly OA wasn't going to work for me again, since I am obviously still fat.

This year in January I decided to recommit to the Saturday meetings - mostly because I was realizing how nice it was to have a place to go and vomit up the crap that was going on in my life. I wasn't doing a darn thing for OA or my own recovery outside of Saturday mornings, but it sure was great to go and realize I wasn't alone in my craziness. Then suddenly one day out of desperation I finally asked someone to be my sponsor. I confessed to her that I was worried I wouldn't be able to be perfect for her and follow the plan perfectly like I felt I "had" to do if I had a sponsor, but wonder of wonders, she reminded me that waiting to be perfect until I got a sponsor wasn't exactly logical or realistic thinking.

I still feel like I'm not doing it "right." I don't call her, I e-mail. I don't journal regularly. Lord knows my food is still wacky. But I don't feel as hopeless as I once did. Do I believe I can recover from this and lose weight? I don't know. But I don't feel alone, and I'm slowly starting to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.

The food plan thing has still been tripping me up, though. I'm supposed to have one, it's one of the tools, and yet I can't commit. Story of my life! I paralyze myself by thinking of all the options and end up doing nothing differently. If nothing changes, nothing changes. I can find reasons to think I should eat 6 meals a day (keep the blood sugar levels steady! maybe I can avoid bingeing more if I eat more often! my kids eat and others snack and so should I, right?) and to think I should eat 3 meals a day. I can find reasons to think I should cut out all sugar and white flour (probably the healthiest thing I could do for myself) and reasons I shouldn't (that sounds too scary and does it seem so insurmountable that I will just give up and stay in the binges?). Etc, etc, etc. I wonder if *I'm* trying to be in control, rather than my Higher Power, by devising my own food plan. But apparently God isn't going to send down a written Food Plan from on high (I've been waiting, but haven't seen any burning bushes with a piece of paper stuck to it), and so I have to create it myself.

Keep it simple, silly. KISS me. Keep it simple. So for today, just for today, I am committing to 3 meals, breakfast lunch and dinner. I don't want to but am willing to, which makes me think maybe my Higher Power is in there somewhere. And just for today, I'm not going to worry if my meals seem exceptionally large (which they probably will if I get panicky about not "being able" to eat again) or not nutritionally sound or if they include sugary foods or even red light foods. If I avoid them, great. If I don't, O.K., just do the next right thing. For me the next right thing is 3 meals a day.

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