8-19 (18 months in recovery)
I'm a COE (Compulsive Over Eater) and I desire to stop eating compulsively.
In the past I have used food as a panacea for all my life's problems. It was my comfort in bad times, and my celebration in good times. It consumed my days with thoughts of what and when and where I would eat next, even while still in the process of eating.
Besides the added weight, my attitudes began to adversely affect all areas of my life, my relationships, my ability to earn a living, my ability to live a life with even rare moments free from the turmoil of obsessing about food.
I spent years trying every fad diet that came along, the most successful of these for pure weight loss was a liquid protein fasting diet, foul stuff but I lost weight quickly. I went on that fasting program to lose 35 lbs. It seems such an insignificant amount of weight now, but I was unable to lose it by any other method. took me 6 weeks, and I swore that I would watch my weight closely and set the limit of 5 lbs. that I would allow before going back on a diet to lose back to my goal, but that 5 lbs came and I rationalized that it wasn't that significant anyway, I had just lost 35 lbs. and it was a snap, I could do that again if I had to.
By the time I was ready to "diet" again, I had gained almost 100 lbs. Where was my resolve? Where was my willpower? I went back on the liquid fast, but this time, couldn't stay with it.. after 2 weeks I was eating again between the liquid supplement. I gave up, again.
A few years later, and now 300 lbs. heavier, a friend and I went to yet another commercial "weight loss center", prepackaged supplements, with a very restrictive food plan, we were weighed, measured, and set about doing a weekly weigh in, this lasted 8 weeks.... lost about 75 lbs. but gained back another 150. I was discouraged!!!!
I decided that I would never go on another diet as I didn't want to get any heavier. For the next 2 years I gained weight, then finally once again, after much turmoil I again went on a diet, a hospital sanctioned protein fasting program, classes on behavior modification, weekly weigh ins and blood monitoring, and the weight was coming off, I had lost about 125 lbs, and got down to 389 lbs, first time in ages I was under 400 lbs. and then found out I was going to be a father again.
My rationale was that because this was a very expensive program, I could no longer afford it, as I would need to be saving money for the baby, maternity coverage was not in my health plan, so we would have to be paying for all this ourselves... so, I quit this program.
I didn't plan, but kept track of what I ate on a daily basis, seemed to be right around 1800 calories, maintained my weight loss for over 8 months, then the thought occurred to me, "I wonder how much I can add and still not gain weight." This thought came not because I was hungry, not because I was uncomfortable, or unhappy with my food, it came because my addict brain wants all it can get.
After a time, I began to gain weight, to be obsessed with food again, the baby was born and I was increasingly becoming more and more agitated, more discontent, harder to live with, and I decided, "for my daughters sake" to go into counseling with my wife so we would not "screw up" our child too badly. Figuring we needed to get ourselves fixed was the impetus for this life altering decision.
In the interview with our first counselor, I admitted I had a problem with overeating, and as part of my treatment I was required to attend at least 6 OA meetings. I was given contact numbers and the time and place of the first meeting to go to.
I went with a huge chip on my shoulder, I was entertaining the thought of taking a bucket of chicken with me to eat in the back of the room while the meeting was going on, but some sanity prevailed and I let that thought pass, but not until I had already walked through the door. To be in so much need, so much pain, to have sought help and been given a plan of action, yet, I HATED having to do it.
So, now I was in OA.. I found a small glimmer of HOPE that night, I felt better when it was over, I wasn't sure I could do it, wasn't actually sure just what it was I was suppose to do.. I wasn't given any instructions, no diet to follow, just sat around and talked... but I felt ... something, something good, so I went back, and I kept going back for 10 years, looking for that thing that would make this program live in me. I knew it was there, I just couldn't get a handle on it.
Over the next 10 years, I yo-yo'd, but in the end I gained another 250 lbs. before finally surrendering to this program. I had reached an unimaginable 725 lbs. I was in such poor health that I couldn't walk more than 20', could not bend over to pick up something off the floor, could not play with my daughter, could not travel, could do nothing but sit in my chair and eat. I once again, had given up, lost all hope of ever finding my way back from this hell.
The moment of surrender came one evening when my daughter asked me why I wanted to leave her and mommy. How do you explain despair to a child? They live such simple lives, everything is so easy to them, the answers we struggle to come to terms with as adults are stated simply by the mind of a child. "Just change what you are doing, and your life will change!"
I decided to try to live, to change what I did, to find some peace and reasons for staying here a while longer, to teach my daughter the value of her life, by living mine. Whether we like it or not, accept it or not, it's not what we say that our kids learn, it's what we DO!
I grabbed on to that ray of hope, that I could "learn" to do the things that would let me live a useful and happy life, I began by accepting a higher power into my life, tried to listen to it, however the information was presented to me... sought out those who had gone before and tried to follow their suggestions, and slowly began my recovery. For 18 months I have been steadily getting my health back, the physical and mental, and emotional aspects of my life. I have, to date, let go of 300 lbs. and gained serenity and a feeling of gratitude beyond compare as I trudge this road of recovery.
And what advice did I find most helpful? To keep coming back. Eating or not, working the program successfully or not, to keep coming into the light of recovery. I do it by going to meetings, reading, making phone calls, praying, listening, anything to remind myself that there is still hope.
Hope is the first thought for anything positive, and the sustaining thought for continuing the effort to achieve our goals.
Today I have tremendous Hope.
love and hugs,
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