I was so tired last night when the day was done that I didn't come in here to write, but I was thinking about what I wanted to say.
People often say that this must be the hardest addiction of them all, because, we still have to use the stuff we're addicted to. A compulsive overeater can't just stop eating anymore than a "normal" person can. If you're an addict/alcoholic you stop using mind-altering substances, work your program & you're pretty much golden.
I'm faced with my addiction at least 3 times a day when I decide what I'm going to eat for each meal & how much. There are other times throughout the day when I catch myself reaching for something to snack on when 'm not at all hungry, and it's the strangest feeling in the world, now that I'm actually paying attention. I actually start to get a little adrenaline rush as I reach for that food, as I'm going after my fix. I haven't given into it, I've stopped myself each time with positive & decisive self-talk (when is also a strange feeling) & questioning my motives & what it is that I'm really after.
In the beginning of this journey to my new life & the new, healthy me (and I mean not only physically healthy, but mostly spiritually & mentally healthy) I sat down & did a lot of thinking about how I was going to manage to eat three times a day & remain abstinent. How, in God's name, was I going to stop eating compulsively? Was I going to eat only what I had to have to survive? Was my eating plan going to be cut & dry, with how many ounces of protein, serving of starches and such? Would I be able to even make it a week that way? How would I feed myself AND my family that way? Would I be able to identify my triggers?
All of this was, for me, a matter of changing my attitude about food - the way I think about it. An alcoholic knows that the next drink they take could be the one that kills them, this helps them in the times when they are struggling with their addiction. I had to tell myself that any food that I eat after I'm full or before I'm hungry is poison to me. I allow myself to eat the foods - those that aren't triggers - that I like, in moderation. I pay attention to my body & the signals it's telling me about hunger. I eat slowly, I often set my plate down & wait to see if I'm still hungry before proceeding (we eat in the living room, with no space for a kitchen table). The minute that I know I'm full, I take my plate into the kitchen & get rid of what's left on it. As soon as everyone else is done eating, the leftovers get put away. Lately, there seem to be an awful lot of leftovers, as my eating habits seem to be rubbing off on other members of my family.
Just a short time ago, I was stymied by the idea that anyone could survive on normal, healthy portions of food & worried that I would get too hungry if I gave up snacking. I would see that a serving of protein was 4 ounces & would seriously doubt that anyone eats that way. When I received my Newcomer's packet on my first day at OA and read "Dignity of Choice," which contains various choices in food plans I automatically chose the one that allowed the most per meal, because I was terrified of being hungry without a few snacks during the day. I followed that food plan for a couple of days & realized that was just too much food per meal for me, I was getting way too full.
My plan of eating is currently pretty simple; I eat three meals a day & a snack if I'm truly hungry in the evening, but it must be a moderate portion of something that I didn't get in my earlier meals (such as veggies, fruit or dairy). I only eat when I'm hungry. I eat slowly & pay attention to the signals my body is sending me about hunger & fullness & I stop when I'm no longer hungry. I do have some trigger foods & I'm avoiding them completely, other than that, I eat what the rest of my family eats. I sometimes eat full, normal portions of all of the food on my plate & sometimes I don't eat that much, it depends on my hunger level. I never eat to an uncomfortable level & I never stop while I still feel hungry. I'm so pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong that no one could live off of normal portion sizes & that I didn't need the huge portions I've been eating for most of my life!