HOLIDAY FOOD FOR COMPULSIVE EATERS
**Warning - Specific Foods Mentioned**
My Saturday morning meeting reads and shares on the book,
"Abstinence." Recently, we made a decision to devote the
Saturday before Thanksgiving to the topic of Abstinence during
the holidays. We would read and discuss the appropriate parts
of that book and share our personal stories of getting through
I was online recently and saw a link to Holiday Menus so I
went there. I found a couple of menus devoted to foods that were
NOT terribly fattening, but were filled with healthy and exciting
items. I began to print out some of the recipes. Then I got this
assignment. Isn't it amazing the way our recovery is filled with
Holiday eating can be filled with pitfalls and dangers. One
holiday season I went to my hairdresser. She sat me down in a
dryer in front of a table of goodies. Right in front of me was a
platter of fudge! Fudge is the ultimate binge food for me. I
decided I could safely eat one piece. Six pieces later I was
rearranging the pieces on the platter so no one would notice what
I had eaten. Before my hair was dry I was off and running on a
full-fledgedrelapse. The first bite is what did me in.
The holiday dinners don't have to be filled with binge foods.
Here's one of my favorites from the recipes I'm taking to our
Holiday Abstinence meeting:
FIELD SALAD WITH TANGERINES,
ROASTED BEETS, AND FETA
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2 beets (about 1/2 lb.)
1/2 t. grated tangerine rind
6 cups gourmet salad greens
1 cup tangerine sections (about 3 tangerines)
1/4 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
1/4 t. black pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. Dijon mustard
Leave root and 1 inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place
beets on a baking sheet lined with foil; bake at 425 degrees for
45 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Peel beets; cut each
into 8 wedges. Combine rind, greens, tangerine sections, and feta
in a large bowl. Combine tangerine juice, pepper, lemon juice,
oil, salt, and mustard, stir well with a whisk. Pour over salad
mixture; toss to combine. Place salad mixture on each of 4 plates
and top each with 4 beet wedges.
That recipe is low in fat, high in nutrition and really colorful.
LOOP SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH
HOTJ ~ HEAVYWEIGHTS ON THE JOURNEY
A 12-Step Support Group For The Morbidly Obese
Note: HotJ members in some cases weigh or have weighed as much
as 600-900 pounds. Men and women in this special loop are
dedicated to making not only their own lives better, but also the
lives of others.
HOTJ is the home of many who have or have had 200 Plus pounds
to lose. Working recovery one day at a time for us is often a
tedious and long, drawn-out process as we sometimes face health
issues and other setbacks which can impede our progress.
Here is a place of recovery encouragement; a safe place where we
can discuss the often graphic day-to-day issues of living, such
as special skin discomforts caused by the extra amounts of weight
carried. In isolation we have suffered these things silently.
HOTJ is a medium that has worked to bring many of us out of hiding,
and with ANSWERS to these special problems couched in common
sense suggestions by other members who share this level of
As a HOTJ Coordinator I strive to keep the recovery talk flowing
around upbeat answers to daily recovery problems. Yes, we get down
sometimes and do express these things on the loop and to one
another, but always there is an injection of positive recovery.
We don't have many of the answers, but there is a program that
does. There is literature available, meetings online and our
face-to-face meetings, and we are convinced daily that a Higher
Power reaches out to others through these vital, often touching,
Once upon a time I was just an anonymous loop member on one
of the first loops.. Never did I dream that one day my recovery
would progress to where it could be useful to another person-- for
you see, I was at a place in recovery where I had physical recovery
but was still experiencing the negative fall-out from skipping
Step 4 and not being sponsored. Physical recovery, contrary to the
belief of some, does not always mean that a person is achieving
recovery Nirvana. :)) The disease still remains threefold in spite
of my attempts to be the first to heal each part of myself
separately and upon my own schedule.
My recovery has been greatly and seriously affected for the better
by doing service on the HOTJ loop. Daily I am reminded of the
disease of compulsive overeating, of its intrusiveness into all
areas of my life, of its slyness that would suggest reprieve and a
return to "normal eating."There are many members upon the loop
to keep one focused on recovery. Some of the members have
more years of program groundwork than I do and have given me
honest feedback which has helped me to grow while improvising
my (sometimes) electric writings to bring on light bulb/ah hah
recovery understanding. Occasionally the light bulb understanding
has electrically jolted the coordinator, but always kindly and to my
With the age of technology reaching so far and wide across the
world, I cannot help but believe that HOTJ and our many recovery
loops will one day be a crucial part of treating compulsive
overeating. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how this dread
disease GROWS in isolation, shame, and secrecy. I am just very
grateful to be a part of an HP-POWERED PC cure--internet at its most
intelligent and life-affirming!
If you would like to join the HOTJ Loop, or have any questions,
please let me know.
Submitted by: January K.
~ I AM NOT STUPID ~
I am not a stupid, undisciplined, lazy, uncaring and selfish
people person. I am a good person who happens to have a disease
that, even withconstant attention, often gets the best of me.
I am a public high school teacher in Florida and know that the
problem weface as COEs is not a respecter of persons. Some of
those who are facedwith the same problem, but have not had the
privilege of a formal education, need to realize that being
smarter is not a cure for our problem. Everyday we work on what
ails us. We work hard! People don't know how hard we work!
But work hard we must. This disease will not go away, we can
only learn to live with it and bask in the few victories we have.
I inherited a set of genes from my mother's side of the family
that I've just had to learn to accept. That does not make me
(or my mother) a "bad" person. There are many uncaring people
who are slender, and they neverhave had to contend with what we
have had to deal with. Small or large - we've all got to
cultivate the caring, loving, giving side that God has so richly
blessed us with.
~ NANCY'S STORY ~
My name is Nancy, and I am a compulsive overeater. I returned
to OA after a four-year relapse a little over a year ago. I was
at my bottom. I was depressed, angry, fearful, hopeless,
spiritually dead. I did not want to die, but I did not want to
live the way I was. My eating was so out of control that I
thought of little more than what my next meal would be. I had
four orthopedic surgeries in an 18-month period of time, all
related to my obesity. I did not want to see people. I was
ashamed of having gained all that weight back. At this time, I
topped the scales at 372 pounds. The thought of needing to lose
200 pounds was overwhelming to me. I failed at everything I
tried, and believe me when I say I tried EVERYTHING!
On October 11, 2003, I contacted the pastor of my church and
asked for a special prayer. It would surely take an act of God
to help me out of this hole I had crawled into. I thought I had
been cured. God had come down and removed this obsession of
mine! However, I soon found out that there were things I had to
do on my part too if I wanted this recovery. I realized I
needed to go back to OA where I had some success before.
When I returned to OA, I came in the doors with a different
attitude. I was willing to do ANYTHING to get the help I
needed. I got a sponsor. I worked the steps. I went to
meetings. I used all of the 8 Tools of OA. Slowly my life
began to change. At first I noticed that my attitude was
different, more positive. Soon I began to experience the
weight loss. I once again felt hopeful that there was a solution!
After about nine months, I began to slip and slide with my food
again. My sponsor was relocating to another state, and I would
need to find another one. I was terrified because I knew what
could happen in short order. I struggled to find more recovery.
In my home town, there was only one OA meeting per week, and we
were small in number. I knew this was not enough for me. Soon,
I learned that there were online OA meetings. I was doubtful at
first, but I had nothing to lose by checking it out.
I attended my first meeting and knew I was home. I quickly
connected with a wonderful woman who agreed to sponsor me. My
sponsor has been a God send. She has extended herself above and
beyond the call of duty to help me. We began to work the steps.
She taught me how to use the tools of OA whenever I was in
trouble. We talk on a daily basis through Instant Messaging.
We have become more than sponsor/sponsee. We are good friends.
To date, I have lost 105 pounds. I attend meetings regularly.
I lead meetings on a regular basis. I work the steps. I use
the tools of OA daily. I sponsor other compulsive overeaters.
Whenever a new problem arises, I am not afraid to talk about it
with my sponsor and share at the meetings. I turn it over to my
HP, and almost always find a solution. Today I am truly
grateful for the program of Overeater's Anonymous. It has
literally saved my life. Today I have hope, peace, serenity,
joy and true happiness that comes from within. My recovery
today is more than just a diet. It is a new way of life. Thank
you, OA, for helping me to get my life back and become the
person God always meant for me to be.
~ Nancy T.
~ MY SEXUALITY AND NEED TO BE TOUCHED ~
I have been an overweight since I was a teenager. My compulsive
overeating kicked into full swing when I was in college, but the
pattern existed long before then. I can remember, as a child, how
my eating was never quite the same as other children my age. But
there was also something deeper that I didn't touch on until I was
an adult. I had a very strong need for touch. Even with my high
school boyfriends and crushes, I was needing to be touched. To be
satisfied. I don't know if I will ever be completely satisfied.
A long time has passed since those childhood days, and I have
since married and have had two children. There is a fire within me
that burns constantly. I used to think there was something wrong
with me...that normal women didn't have the needs that I had.
Normal women pushed their husbands away at night. They didn't have
affairs. They didn't constantly have a yearning for sex. I also
thought that my sexual feelings were so strong because sex had been
a missing link in my life.
My husband was/is not enamoured with the fuller figure I carry. He
instead prefers a woman of a smaller build. He has made these
feelings known. To me, sexuality is acceptance and having a partner
who wants to touch your body, even if that body isn't perfect. It is
the ultimate in acceptance. And the touch, when it is right, replaces
the negative self image with a positive loving self image. My
relationship with my husband has never been based on touch. It's
always been a struggle and has always been painful. I often thought
that if our sex life was better, our marriage might be better. I am a
loving, sensual person... and that is whether I am overweight or
normal. So the problem might not stem in the fact that I am
overweight.... but more so in the fact that my husband seems to have
the problem with my body. I am still the same person, thin or heavy.
~ RECOVERY WRITERS' SERIES ~
~ ODYSSEY ~
Note: Odyssey is written by a member of the Recovery Group and
this is one of 90 journals he has submitted to the Recovery Website.
Our beloved longtime member has been generous over the years in
giving service, sponsoring, sharing his hopes and dreams with us and
giving others courage. When he began this journal on that April day
in 2001, we didn't know how long he would be writing it. Receiving
the promises of the 12-Step program, a new spirit, the release of
350 pounds and a renewed outlook on life, he is still going strong.
You can read more of his Odyssey at:
Dear Journal ~
Today's reading in the OA "For Today" book, was especially poignant
to me. It says: "It took the twelve step program to teach me to
simply 'endure', to go straight through a difficult, discordant time
without yielding to the urge to escape into the food or to yell for
somebody to "fix" it.
My rewards are many: new strengths and capabilities, the peace that
comes with acceptance of what is, and the joy of knowing I am free."
I sit here in amazement and gratefulness at not having food be any
thought for me except as nourishment, I have had some anxiety in the
past months, but have simply 'endured' and amazingly those feelings
were dispelled, and new ones took their place.
I am currently feeling very sad about the loss of a friend who
committed suicide a few days ago. I did not know her well, we
weren't all that close, but we did share some time together, and we
had this disease in common, and I am feeling a definite loss. I am
sad for her friends and family who must now deal with the devastation
of her losing all hope. Having been to the brink myself I can only
say, "there but for the grace of God ......." What was it that made
me decide to stay? Guilt for those I would leave behind? Hope that I
could recovery from this terrible disease? I think a little of both,
but mostly the guilt for leaving my wife and children.
Honestly, I let the guilt of leaving my family sway me, but it
soon became 'MY' desire to stay alive and give myself a little more
To say that my feelings are confused and ambivalent would be an
understatement, but I must press on, doing what I need to do each
day, following my plan, and hopefully God will reveal to me some
greater purpose he has for me, some reason why it was important I
stay here. For now, it is enough that I 'am', that my daughter loves
me, that my wife loves me, and is still willing to put up with me.
May I someday 'be' what she sees in me.
I feel extremely blessed to be alive, to have been given more
time to become a better human being. I guess 'that' would be the
ultimate purpose here, just to become the best I can be. I have a
challenge separating the 'best I can be', and 'perfect', but I'm
working on it... getting better as I practice with the help of the
12 Step Program.
Love and hugs,
~ FROM THE TWELVE-STEP LITERATURE ~
~~ FROM THE BIG BOOK ~~
"You are going to meet these new friends in your own community.
Near you, alcoholics/COES are dying helplessly like people in a
sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds.
High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics
Anonymous/OA. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You
will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will
escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder
your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of
yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will
learn the full meaning of 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.'"
~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, A Vision For You, pg. 152~
MY SHARE...(From Myrlene, Big Book and Recovery Group)
This speaks alot about how my life has been both before and after
I found OA and the Recovery Group. All around me people were
struggling with the disease of overeating and not finding a
treatment plan that worked. They are still out there, unknown to
us and sadly deteriorating.
Since I have found OA I am so much happier and feel a calmness
and serenity in my soul that I never before had. I wanted to help
those who are still in the throes of the disease so I became a
Trusted Servant on the Big Book Loop. I believe it is a Bible to
most of us. Thousands have been saved in every realm of addiction
with these methods of recovery. Along this path I have found many
cyber friends whom I feel I have known forever even though we have
never met. We are bound by the same threads of disease and recovery.
I can only pray that more will continue to find this Path and be led
to Hope once again.
With Love in Recovery,