I Feel Like I’m Making Progress

I feel like I’m living in some kind of middle world between being a compulsive eater and a normal eater. I guess that is what being in recovery means, huh?

Why do I feel this way? There are a handful of thoutghts  and actions I’ve been doing recently, that I really haven’t done before (throughout this entire 2-year abstinence period). I think the best way to sum it up is to say – I’m more aware.

Here are some things that I feel good about, that tell me that I’m making progress:

1. I try to slow down when I’m eating instead of just shoveling the food in my mouth. I don’t always accomplish this, but whereas that wasn’t even on my radar screen before, I now try to be more conscious of it. As my fellow sufferer Jess likes to say, I don’t eat on autopilot as much as I used to.

2. I try to frame things differently – instead of automatically looking at foods I know as being tremendous triggers for me, I try to look at it as just food, not what I used to call my kryptonite.

3. I have been slowly learning from friends who have a normal relationship with food, that a lot of the things I do, like finishing the last few bites of my kids’ dessert, stealing a nibble of this or a piece of that are all things that “normal” eaters do.  All this time I’ve been sort of, well, not bashing myself, but thinking that what I was doing was part of my eating disorder and it’s been oddly eye opening, reassuring and comforting to know that normal eaters do the same thing.

4. Parts of the “Intuitive Eating” book really resonated with me. I have learned that it’s ok to enjoy the foods that are really worth it and not to waste my calories on stuff that I don’t love. In fact, the other day I made myself some popcorn and I wasn’t loving it. I actually ate only half and threw the rest away. In the past I would have NEVER thrown unfinished food into the trash and would have just continued to eat. But I was aware that I wasn’t enjoying it and really didn’t want the rest, so I tossed it. Shocked myself!

5. I’ve started to take some time to nurture myself. While I don’t  meditate or stop being in go-go-go mode every single day, I at least have it on my things-to-do list and I am sometimes able to take a break and just rest, relax or meditate , just have some restful “me” time. I have become aware that I need to do this for myself.

6. Another surprise… Saturday night my family and I went to a professional soccer game. We planned to go drive to the area early to get good parking, eat dinner, then go to the arena. We had no plan in place for dinner, we were just going to walk around and find a place the four of us would like. Normally, I would have spent a lot of time looking up places to eat dinner in that area, scoping their menus, etc. This time I just didn’t. I trusted that I would find abstinent food at any (reasonable) place that we found. When my husband and I talked about it later that evening at home, we were both happily shocked at my behavior.

7. Lastly, I have remained at the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life for over a year now.

Regarding OA, I’m very fortunate that I haven’t left a trail of burned bridges with relationships, jobs, etc because of my eating disorder, yet I sometimes feel funny that I don’t work the 12 steps. On the other hand, clearly I have had a crazy relationship with food since I was 8-9-10 years old. I guess maybe I would apply the OA saying – take what you need and leave the rest.

Yes, I do still have control issues like counting calories and getting on the scale pretty much every day, but I feel that I’m taking some positive steps in the right direction and it feels really good. In fact, I’m even (gasp!) toying with the idea of going cold turkey with the scale or the calorie counting, at least making a trial run at it. I see my therapist on Tuesday and look forward to discussing these control issues with him.

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4 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Jess
    11 January 2010, 11:22 am

    I love your journal entries because they inspire me to keep going, but this one really hit as the most inspirational one I’ve read so far–and not just because I got linked in the body of your blog. 😉

    I love this blog entry because it lists the best reasons to be abstinent, that when we’re slogging in the trenches trying to maintain abstinence and to recover, we’re also building a better life outside of the compulsion. It’s like realizing that we don’t live in the gingerbread house of the Hansel and Gretel witch any more, a prison made of food that we’ve learned to call home. We’re sometimes feeling lost in the woods, but we’re not trapped within that “safe” yet insane home any longer.

    As we evolve, our eating evolves. And yes, I feel in that limbo, too–between “normal” eating and compulsive eating. But it’s not really a limbo, is it? It’s a real place where we can have a life which enjoys the benefits of the normal eater’s life with the richness of having compassion for those of us who are where we’ve been–a safe harbor for others who are tired of fighting the disease.

    Thank you for always having something so insightful to say. I learn so much whenever I read your journal, and I am inspired to examine aspects of my own journey that I didn’t notice before.


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    wow, thanks so much for your very kind words! isn’t that what we are all here for — to help one another out, to know we are not alone and that we can all get through this, together.


  2. Steve
    12 January 2010, 3:30 pm

    Blog posts, like OA meetings are a Venn Diagram for me. I bring my circle and the people at the meeting each bring their own circle. Sometimes, my circle disappears into another’s circle. Sometimes they overlap just a little. There is always something in common.

    I’ll just share two things that made a huge difference in my relationship with food.

    1) Doing OA service above the group level put me in touch with more compulsive eaters who had long term abstinence.

    2) When I eventually got around to asking how they kept their abstinence I always pretty much got the same answer: Work the steps.

    I weigh and measure my food and I make phone calls and go to meetings and all the tools. But the two things that really keep me in fit spiritual condition are working the steps and doing service above the group level, usually focused on the first half of step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other complusive overeaters….


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for sharing, that steve. it is always helpful to find out what works well for others.


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