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Old 11-30-2009, 09:50 AM   #101
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My guess is what is meant by that is that a lot of things are ok in moderation and a lot of things that are not really healthy are ok until they start to affect your health. Somebody who is not a food addict or compulsive eater might snuggle into bed with a pint of Ben and Jerry's after a breakup once or twice, but if you're eating a pint of ice cream every night because you're depressed or lonely or unable to stop eating when you're full, that's a problem. Same as if you buy a fabulous new pair of shoes to comfort yourself after a bad week at work---it's a problem when you have 10 pairs of shoes in your closet that you've never worn and can't afford.

Exercise is great for stress reduction and physical health, but if you're spending hours at the gym to avoid going home to a bad marriage or becoming an exercise bulimic (overeating and then over exercising to compensate) you might develop a stress fracture or repetitive motion injury.

Having a few drinks to unwind or take the edge off a bad day is fine, but once you start having blackouts or hiding your drinking or being unable to face normal life situations without booze, then you may need to address a drinking problem.
I could be misinterpreting things but it sounds to me like that doctor was trying to tell her that there is no such thing as a coping mechanism when it comes to food? That it is basically a mind over matter thing when it's affecting your health which is utter bullshit. For some that may be true but for a lot of people food is their only outlet and they will eat even when they don't really want to because it is guaranteed to produces a temporary high that relieves stress. The jilted lover who crawls in to bed with a pint of ice cream is looking for the endorphin rush to take the edge off. There is a vein-slapping drive to seek relief from suffering the only way s/he knows how. The effect of that is physical but what if you REALLY have a chemical imbalance that you are self medicating with food on a regular basis? It's not just a matter of, "Ooh, my cholesterol is high? I should stop now." There is an underlying issue that may just be circumstancial or it could be something physical, both of which deserve to be taken seriously by a professional who knows what they're doing.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:37 AM   #102
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I want to share a book about compulsive eating I read recently that has had a tremendous impact on me, Geneen Roth's Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. I never dreamed I'd start a sentence with this phrase because I don't typically watch Oprah (nothing against her, I'm just not much of a talk show or daytime tv watcher), but y'know, sometimes you idly flip through channels and come across something interesting. Anyway. THE OTHER DAY ON OPRAH, Oprah was interviewing someone I recognized as Geneen Roth, who's written many excellent books on compulsive eating, and the interview focused on this newest book of hers. I've read and enjoyed many of her books, found myself nodding along and agreeing that she knows what she's talking about, etc., and have come away from them with more insight into why I eat compulsively, but still not quite knowing how to address, or better yet, fix it. But I thought I'd give this newest book a whirl, and I'm so thankful I did. Before I go any further, let me assure my fellow heathens (heh!) that "God" in this case does not refer to any sort of theistic being; it refers to... well, for lack of a better way to say it, it refers to the potential joy and peace within us all.

The basic tenet of the book is that how you eat and interact with food mirrors how you feel about everything. Here's a passage from the book description on Amazon:

Now, after more than three decades of studying, teaching and writing about what drives our compulsions with food, Geneen adds a profound new dimension to her work in Women, Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God. But it doesn't stop there. Geneen shows how going beyond both the food and feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul to the bright center of your own life.

To say I "read" this book is an understatement. I cried my way through it. Within the first few pages I started underlining passages that resonated particularly strongly with me, and realized by the end that 80% of my book is now underlined. It is the first book - heck, any kind of learning experience about eating compulsively, including a helluva lot of therapy - of this kind that has left me feeling not just smarter, but empowered. Calm, positive, and focused. And not just about eating, about everything. I am reluctant to say too much, as the experience is so new that I still feel like I'm caring for a frail little seedling of hope, gently coaxing it to uncurl its leaves and grow in the light, but I couldn't wait to say anything, in case this book can help anyone else struggling with compulsive eating.

This woman really gets it. It's not about fat or thin, it's not about oversimplification of this disorder (e.g. depression = eat a pint of ice cream), it's not about diets or quick fixes, or ludicrous promises that thinness equals happiness. It's about knowing that an unhealthy relationship with food, like any kind of addiction, affects every single facet of your life, and knowing with every fiber of your being that it's no longer okay to feel this way, and that a better life is possible. And best of all, how to get there.

The book has done its job. It's up to me now to do the hard work, but I feel more hopeful than I ever have before that I'm up for it. As a good friend and I are so fond of saying..... we'll see.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:57 PM   #103
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I want to share a book about compulsive eating I read recently that has had a tremendous impact on me, Geneen Roth's Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. snipped
Thanks for sharing your review of this book, Carrie. And I'm really glad to hear how much it resonated with you - I live that experience. It reminds me of something CS Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone."

I had been wavering on whether to read this book. But less for the God reasons (I'm all for God-books! ), and more because I wondered how it would be some kind of anti-fat propaganda. But after your glowing review, I am definitely going to pick it up. It's such an interesting thing to think about, and in general I totally agree with the idea that we are totally integrated as a whole, and who we are (our actual selves) permeates every single aspect. I really like paying attention to embodiment - and how we (individually and collectively) live in our physical bodies (eat, move, touch, etc.) and I've been thinking about that more lately. This book seems like a great way to explore that some more. I look forward to picking it up!
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:19 AM   #104
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I want to share a book about compulsive eating I read recently that has had a tremendous impact on me, Geneen Roth's Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. I never dreamed I'd start a sentence with this phrase because I don't typically watch Oprah (nothing against her, I'm just not much of a talk show or daytime tv watcher), but y'know, sometimes you idly flip through channels and come across something interesting. Anyway. THE OTHER DAY ON OPRAH, Oprah was interviewing someone I recognized as Geneen Roth, who's written many excellent books on compulsive eating, and the interview focused on this newest book of hers. I've read and enjoyed many of her books, found myself nodding along and agreeing that she knows what she's talking about, etc., and have come away from them with more insight into why I eat compulsively, but still not quite knowing how to address, or better yet, fix it. But I thought I'd give this newest book a whirl, and I'm so thankful I did. Before I go any further, let me assure my fellow heathens (heh!) that "God" in this case does not refer to any sort of theistic being; it refers to... well, for lack of a better way to say it, it refers to the potential joy and peace within us all.

The basic tenet of the book is that how you eat and interact with food mirrors how you feel about everything. Here's a passage from the book description on Amazon:

Now, after more than three decades of studying, teaching and writing about what drives our compulsions with food, Geneen adds a profound new dimension to her work in Women, Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God. But it doesn't stop there. Geneen shows how going beyond both the food and feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul to the bright center of your own life.

To say I "read" this book is an understatement. I cried my way through it. Within the first few pages I started underlining passages that resonated particularly strongly with me, and realized by the end that 80% of my book is now underlined. It is the first book - heck, any kind of learning experience about eating compulsively, including a helluva lot of therapy - of this kind that has left me feeling not just smarter, but empowered. Calm, positive, and focused. And not just about eating, about everything. I am reluctant to say too much, as the experience is so new that I still feel like I'm caring for a frail little seedling of hope, gently coaxing it to uncurl its leaves and grow in the light, but I couldn't wait to say anything, in case this book can help anyone else struggling with compulsive eating.

This woman really gets it. It's not about fat or thin, it's not about oversimplification of this disorder (e.g. depression = eat a pint of ice cream), it's not about diets or quick fixes, or ludicrous promises that thinness equals happiness. It's about knowing that an unhealthy relationship with food, like any kind of addiction, affects every single facet of your life, and knowing with every fiber of your being that it's no longer okay to feel this way, and that a better life is possible. And best of all, how to get there.

The book has done its job. It's up to me now to do the hard work, but I feel more hopeful than I ever have before that I'm up for it. As a good friend and I are so fond of saying..... we'll see.
Reading this made me tear up. I'm so happy for you, Carrie.

My stress and eating has been waaaaaaay out of control. I'm a fellow heathen, so I might have to pick this book up. lol Thanks so much for the recommendation.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:58 AM   #105
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Thanks for sharing your review of this book, Carrie. And I'm really glad to hear how much it resonated with you - I live that experience. It reminds me of something CS Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone."

I had been wavering on whether to read this book. But less for the God reasons (I'm all for God-books! ), and more because I wondered how it would be some kind of anti-fat propaganda. But after your glowing review, I am definitely going to pick it up. It's such an interesting thing to think about, and in general I totally agree with the idea that we are totally integrated as a whole, and who we are (our actual selves) permeates every single aspect. I really like paying attention to embodiment - and how we (individually and collectively) live in our physical bodies (eat, move, touch, etc.) and I've been thinking about that more lately. This book seems like a great way to explore that some more. I look forward to picking it up!
For folks who are skimming this, most of the complaints on Amazon about this book was that it wasn't about God at all. (Yeah, I'm the type who goes directly toward the bad reviews. :P) The book is getting rave reviews overall but if you're turned off on it because the book has God mentioned in the title don't be.

I looked for this book at iBooks and it is not yet listed. Geneen Roth's other book When You Eat At The Refrigerator, Pull Up A Chair was there and they offered a free sample. Her writing is really good and she has lots of good stuff in it that can apply to just about anything even if you don't think you need OA. If this book is any indication the one Carrie mentioned must be a smash. Thanks for sharing Carrie.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:09 AM   #106
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I just ordered it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:19 AM   #107
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Thanks for sharing your review of this book, Carrie. And I'm really glad to hear how much it resonated with you - I live that experience. It reminds me of something CS Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone."

I had been wavering on whether to read this book. But less for the God reasons (I'm all for God-books! ), and more because I wondered how it would be some kind of anti-fat propaganda. But after your glowing review, I am definitely going to pick it up. It's such an interesting thing to think about, and in general I totally agree with the idea that we are totally integrated as a whole, and who we are (our actual selves) permeates every single aspect. I really like paying attention to embodiment - and how we (individually and collectively) live in our physical bodies (eat, move, touch, etc.) and I've been thinking about that more lately. This book seems like a great way to explore that some more. I look forward to picking it up!
Oh, I love that CS Lewis quote, Bethany, that's lovely. And so true.

I totally understand your fear of books like this being anti-fat propaganda. I have little patience for that kind of message, and it is has no use for me whatsoever. This book does mention weight somewhat, but I felt it was kind of on the fringes - where the eating disorder was very much the central focus of the book, not weight. She says several times that thinness does NOT equal happiness, and there is actually one chapter called "It's Not About the Weight, But it's Not NOT About the Weight," where she very skillfully covers this topic (in a nutshell, compulsive eating is the disorder she wants to treat, not fatness, that weight loss does not equal happiness, but on the other hand, sometimes excess weight does have an impact on overall happiness if it affects our lives negatively, etc.). So I think she handles the topic of weight in a very palatable fashion.

Lilly, Devi, and Elaine: thank you for reading and for your comments, ladies. It means a great deal.

The book continues to have an impact for me, even once finished. There is a section where the author talks about the fact that many of us become the people our primary caregivers perceive us to be as small children. I tossed that idea around in my head for days until it coalesced into something concrete for me. For as long as I can remember, I have self-identified as this bottomless chasm of need, and want, and greed, and have felt badly about it. Shameful. My proof of it was the fact that my parents thought I was a very demanding child, and never satisfied with what I was given, always pushing for more. My mother did this thing where she'd shake her head sorrowfully and mutter in this sing-songy voice, "neeever satisfiiied" when we'd have issues with that, and it felt like a knife in my heart. I wanted to be satisfied, I didn't want to be demanding. I just never felt like I was getting enough. Enough food, enough love, enough attention, enough acknowledgment. So I always figured they were right, I was greedy, rapacious. A parental-fulfilling prophecy. And I have lived that way ever since, grabbing what I can to make sure I get enough, that I get what I need, food very much included. And I knew without a doubt that this was the root of my eating disorder, that I was, at the core, greedy and always wanting more. Of everything.

This book, though. It got me thinking some more about it. I have very clear memories as an average-sized little kid of being physically hungry and not being allowed to have seconds because my mom was so wrapped up in her own weight issues and my dad had such issues with her weight. Memories of being a latchkey kid at 6 years old, walking to and from school every day, having to get myself anywhere I wanted to go after school by myself from a very young age because my parents were stretched so thin and, truthfully, I believe, became parents before they were truly ready, before they had really accomplished the things they wanted to do. They loved me and did their best, but I felt their resentment every day; I just didn't know what to call it then. So the thought hit me like a ton of bricks: what if I wasn't really that demanding, that greedy? What if that was just how I felt to them because they didn't have enough to give? If that was just their perception of me, and how they treated me, so I assumed that's who and what I was? What if I was really just a normal kid? What if I'm really just a regular person now, with nothing extraordinarily demanding and greedy about me?

To call that realization freeing is an understatement. I feel liberated, like I have shrugged off decades of heavy, dusty cloaks and am only now feeling the sun and warm breeze on my skin. It feels very weird, to be almost 40 and just now realizing that something I've always considered a major (and negative) component of my character may have been largely self-constructed and maintained. Like, okay, if I'm not that, then... what the heck am I? And I don't know yet! But finding out feels like a rather grand adventure, one I think I will enjoy very much.

So. I am doing really well with my eating. This past week I ate like I imagine a regular person without an eating disorder eats - I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I thought I was full, ate what I truly wanted to, ate thoughtfully and mindfully, and enjoyed every bite. The thought of leaving food uneaten on my plate sent me into a panic a few times, and when it did, I allowed the feeling to come, felt it, accepted and acknowledged it, and it passed. I ate raspberries and truly tasted them in all their berrylicious glory for the first time (holy shit, they're tasty!). I still struggle with figuring out what "full" feels like, just regular full. I know what stuffed feels like, of course, but not just... satisfied. I hope this will come as I get further in touch with my body.

I have more to share, but that's enough blabbing for one post! Thanks for reading, all. I look forward to hearing what you think of the book, or even just on this topic in general.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:11 PM   #108
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A suggestion was made to make this thread more inclusive of the different issues/concepts that were being discussed. The title was changed. It will not impact the thread, just make it easier to search.

thanks EP/Mod
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:17 PM   #109
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hmn. Maybe we should all read this book. Those of us interested, I mean. I sometimes wonder about my own relationship to food. I wish I had a week of free time but I don't. That said, I'll try to get my hands on it in a week or so. Maybe I can keep up or catch up.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:19 PM   #110
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I just began reading it. Very profound. I've been crying, underlining and making notes on the pages.....I'm keeping this one close to me for a while.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:10 PM   #111
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Want to start a thread for this book specifically? I will be reading it soon, too.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:18 AM   #112
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A suggestion was made to make this thread more inclusive of the different issues/concepts that were being discussed. The title was changed. It will not impact the thread, just make it easier to search.

thanks EP/Mod
Thanks, EP, much appreciated!
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hmn. Maybe we should all read this book. Those of us interested, I mean. I sometimes wonder about my own relationship to food. I wish I had a week of free time but I don't. That said, I'll try to get my hands on it in a week or so. Maybe I can keep up or catch up.
It's funny you say that, Jes, Roth actually says at one point that she thinks the book can offer some kind of insight to just about everyone, as she's known very, very few people who truly had NO issues of some kind with food. (she also jokes that she's not exactly objective, in that it's her book, but still!)
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I just began reading it. Very profound. I've been crying, underlining and making notes on the pages.....I'm keeping this one close to me for a while.
I know exactly what you mean, E. I've been rereading it from the beginning, a few pages a night, and am still finding things that speak to me. I'm so glad you're finding it meaningful.
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Want to start a thread for this book specifically? I will be reading it soon, too.
I think it's probably okay here, B, now that the thread title has been broadened.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:16 AM   #113
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hmn. Maybe we should all read this book. Those of us interested, I mean. I sometimes wonder about my own relationship to food. I wish I had a week of free time but I don't. That said, I'll try to get my hands on it in a week or so. Maybe I can keep up or catch up.
I wonder if you can check your local library for an audio version of the book? I see there is one available that is read by Geneen herself though it is not getting the rave reviews the hardcover is getting. One or two complained that her voice is annoying and that she tends to talk to readers like children which was distracting for them. If you can tolerate the presence of the author it may be worth a shot if you can check it out at the library. Audio books when done well are a handy solution if you don't have time to read. I listen and knit during the commute if its something worthwhile.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:07 AM   #114
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I want to share a book about compulsive eating I read recently that has had a tremendous impact on me, Geneen Roth's Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
I just ordered it; a $5 off promotion came just in time.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:05 AM   #115
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So those of you on my FB will know I just read this book yesterday. I read it all in one go. I'm a slow reader so it took me about 6 or 7 hours, but I just could not put it down.

I could related to everything she said in the book. I won't spoil it for those who are just now getting it, but damn. I had no idea other people had the same weird fears I do.

I bought this book after going on Amazon.co.uk and buying OA books...it was at the bottom "other people who bought this, also bought W,F,&G". I was skeptical because I'm not big on the whole religion thing...but after reading some of the reviews...I bought it.

I had no idea it was on the Oprah list. I love that woman. But being in the UK we don't get her real time, we get her last years stuff now.

So I read it all in one go. I didn't cry (that part of my not feeling things problem) and I didn't underline...I couldn't put it down long enough to get a pen. But I recommended the book to my friends on twitter and said I would be starting to read it again today but slower this time. A twit friend said she would read it again with me and we have decided to go through the O questions for the book. To say I am excited is an understatement.

This book helped me find myself in the present. I am so much more aware of my physical being and that I am ok as I am right now.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:02 PM   #116
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It would seem to go against their beliefs though.. i'm not sure my friend would be comfortable with a program based around christianity.. i'm not sure it could work for her, as its based around something she doesn't believe in..


ahhh..you learn something every day! Aww..jeebus
is so nice helping people and all. Though there is something i find a bit strange about this... must think on it more..
I had an Uncle who went to AA- He didn't mention it had anything to do with god. I can see how it would be ok to start off as a christian based group... but the steps are a bit faith specific... you would think there would be more psychology included seeing it is addiction that is being dealt with...

It is not based in Christianity, it is based on faith not a specific deity.
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:07 PM   #117
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I've participated in some of the 'anon' groups before and have also found them to be a bit too 'G-d heavy'. While there are a number of them that really do seem to be jeebus oriented, there are others that endeavor to be less religion-specific and talk only of a 'higher power'. In either event, I've got some fundamental issues with that. More specifically, the programs require the participant to admit that s/he is powerless over his/her addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs or food, and that only G-d or the 'higher power' can help. To me, that seems kind of like a cult. It also seems that the goal is just to replace one addiction for another - the alcohol, drugs or food, with G-d. So, it doesn't seem to me that it helps the disease, only the symptoms. The person may go thru the 12 step program and emerge 'clean', but, s/he remains an addict. All that said, I cannot be too harsh on the institution of the 'anon' groups, because, as I said above, I've been there with my own addiction and, when I felt I had been to rock bottom, the group helped me in ways I could never repay, and I am a far better person today for it. I do, however, feel that the true help came to me just from being in the group, and I never gave myself to the 12 steps. I found that just being in a group of people who had my same addiction, who I could open up to anonymously, and have none of them not only not look down on me, but say "I've been there too, and there is hope"... that's what really did it.

So, if I have a point to this post, it would be that one shouldn't shy away from the 'anon' groups because of their religious focus. One really does not need to accept that in order to succeed. Indeed, I think that it is much more productive to not admit that you are helpless, because you are not. You may be too willing to give into temptation, but you are never helpless. with the right support, you can take charge of your own destiny. It comes from within, not from without. The 'higher power' does not change you. You change you.

To anyone reading this post who wants to change, begin today by telling yourself, YOU have the power to do it, even if you need help getting there, and it will get better, as long as it is your own priority.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:31 AM   #118
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I've participated in some of the 'anon' groups before and have also found them to be a bit too 'G-d heavy'. While there are a number of them that really do seem to be jeebus oriented, there are others that endeavor to be less religion-specific and talk only of a 'higher power'. In either event, I've got some fundamental issues with that. More specifically, the programs require the participant to admit that s/he is powerless over his/her addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs or food, and that only G-d or the 'higher power' can help. To me, that seems kind of like a cult. It also seems that the goal is just to replace one addiction for another - the alcohol, drugs or food, with G-d. So, it doesn't seem to me that it helps the disease, only the symptoms. The person may go thru the 12 step program and emerge 'clean', but, s/he remains an addict. All that said, I cannot be too harsh on the institution of the 'anon' groups, because, as I said above, I've been there with my own addiction and, when I felt I had been to rock bottom, the group helped me in ways I could never repay, and I am a far better person today for it. I do, however, feel that the true help came to me just from being in the group, and I never gave myself to the 12 steps. I found that just being in a group of people who had my same addiction, who I could open up to anonymously, and have none of them not only not look down on me, but say "I've been there too, and there is hope"... that's what really did it.

So, if I have a point to this post, it would be that one shouldn't shy away from the 'anon' groups because of their religious focus. One really does not need to accept that in order to succeed. Indeed, I think that it is much more productive to not admit that you are helpless, because you are not. You may be too willing to give into temptation, but you are never helpless. with the right support, you can take charge of your own destiny. It comes from within, not from without. The 'higher power' does not change you. You change you.

To anyone reading this post who wants to change, begin today by telling yourself, YOU have the power to do it, even if you need help getting there, and it will get better, as long as it is your own priority.
While that would work for some people, it wouldn't work for me and the way I think. I do not have that much power in the world. I don't control the weather, I don't control illness, death, the actions of other people, the banks. There are simply too many things to mention that rise and fall with neither my will or consent. My only powers are to stand there and watch the thing burn to the ground and seek help where help can be found. I simply don't understand why it's considered empowering to ask mom to loan me $50 but it's weakness to rely on the hope of a Higher Power in situations where we have none. Especially if it helps to quelch high anxiety that I would otherwise dispell by means that are distructive to me. If there is no Higher Power I don't see how that really matters in the end. It's simply a tool that is useful to some.
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:50 AM   #119
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I've participated in some of the 'anon' groups before and have also found them to be a bit too 'G-d heavy'. While there are a number of them that really do seem to be jeebus oriented, there are others that endeavor to be less religion-specific and talk only of a 'higher power'. In either event, I've got some fundamental issues with that. More specifically, the programs require the participant to admit that s/he is powerless over his/her addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs or food, and that only G-d or the 'higher power' can help. To me, that seems kind of like a cult. It also seems that the goal is just to replace one addiction for another - the alcohol, drugs or food, with G-d. So, it doesn't seem to me that it helps the disease, only the symptoms. The person may go thru the 12 step program and emerge 'clean', but, s/he remains an addict. All that said, I cannot be too harsh on the institution of the 'anon' groups, because, as I said above, I've been there with my own addiction and, when I felt I had been to rock bottom, the group helped me in ways I could never repay, and I am a far better person today for it. I do, however, feel that the true help came to me just from being in the group, and I never gave myself to the 12 steps. I found that just being in a group of people who had my same addiction, who I could open up to anonymously, and have none of them not only not look down on me, but say "I've been there too, and there is hope"... that's what really did it.

So, if I have a point to this post, it would be that one shouldn't shy away from the 'anon' groups because of their religious focus. One really does not need to accept that in order to succeed. Indeed, I think that it is much more productive to not admit that you are helpless, because you are not. You may be too willing to give into temptation, but you are never helpless. with the right support, you can take charge of your own destiny. It comes from within, not from without. The 'higher power' does not change you. You change you.

To anyone reading this post who wants to change, begin today by telling yourself, YOU have the power to do it, even if you need help getting there, and it will get better, as long as it is your own priority.


Addiction is an awful illness which people have no control over. They only have control over the steps they choose to take once they've accepted the fact that they are an addict. An alcoholic can choose to not drink, and stay away from people who drink. A drug addict can choose to not shoot up, snort, or smoke and choose to stay away from people who participate in those activities. This isn't as easy for someone who deals with food issues, they can't stay away from food or from people who eat, since we all have to eat to live.

I don't believe in God but I've seen faith help people through some tremendously difficult situations. If someone needs to look to a higher power in order to find the strength to stay away from the source of their addiction then by all means I hope they do so.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:05 PM   #120
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:26 PM   #121
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I do OA, and I actually have a meeting today.

OA does not stress that your higher power be " Religious" it can be anything of significance to you.

My personal higher power is the group that I belong to. That may change over time. I don't know.
I attended a 12-step eating disorder support group when I was in high school, and this was true there as well. People didn't go into a lot of detail about their own perceptions of a higher power, but when I went to one woman concerned that I couldn't do it right because I considered myself an atheist, she assured me that my HP could be anything I wanted (like the power of the group, as you said).

I am really thankful this thread is here. I'm in my 30s but I feel beyond "old" as far as struggles with food are concerned. I started eating compulsively when I was in middle school and started coming home from school to an empty house. I think it more or less had to do with being picked on at school. I was never a kid who handled anxiety well (I cried easily, got terrible stomachaches, and my parents had taken me to several counselors by the time I was in high school) and I now think I was simply trying to take the edge off that anxiety.

My parents did encourage me to diet from a very young age--for a long time I thought 800-1000 calories/day was the amount all "good people" ate. They weren't abusive or as draconian about it as many of the parents I've seen described here, but there was never any junk food in the house, and I knew that this was because we were too fat. I knew which foods were "good" and which were "bad" and that exercise was supposed to be really exhausting and unpleasant so you could burn lots of calories.

The counselors they took me to never helped. They'd ask me what was wrong and I'd tell them it was all that I was too fat, if I could just lose weight it would fix everything. In retrospect I'm sure they tried to get at the real issues, but in my memory they basically totally bought this and gave me diet tips. I'm still kind of angry about it. Sometime in high school I discovered Geneen Roth and Overcoming Overeating and although it was an enormous relief to find that I wasn't alone, I was never able to put their methods into practice (either then or as I tried again over the years). I think it was just too open-ended and I had too much trouble sorting out my hunger impulses. Diets made me crazy thinking about food all the time, but I felt a straight "eat whatever you want when hungry, stop when full" (or in the case of OO, "eat whatever you want"--vastly oversimplified of course) was even worse. I felt positively obsessed with food. Mostly I just dieted on and off throughout my teens.

I did attend a 12-step eating disorder group for a while when I was in high school (not OA, just a general 12-step group) and I have to confess that it did nothing but nothing for me. Granted I was not exactly emotionally equipped to "work the program" at my age and with my anxiety, but I just don't think "abstinence" with eating is a fit for me in any case. I feel like if I could stick to a predetermined diet or abstinence eating plan (which to me amounts to a diet) then it would already have happened. I think it's great that many people do find success with this approach, though, because whatever gets folks out of the hell of that compulsion is a-ok with me.

My most "successful" weight loss attempt occurred about 4 years ago. I lost over 100 pounds on Weight Watchers. (I've now gained back 40, surprise surprise.) The thing that was interesting and a bit unexpected about it was that I did, at times, sometimes for fairly long stretches, have a lot more peace with food when I was on that diet than I ever have before in my life. I think it might have been a chemical thing where I stopped eating compulsively long enough that my body sort of "settled down" and it was easier to interpret my hunger and fullness. But the "downs" (having a bad weekend with food and sobbing in my husband's arms about how fat and disgusting and weak I was) were also really bad and I didn't want to live the way WW requires... writing down everything you eat, obsessing over whether you gained weight because you were eating too many green peppers (yes, someone actually did say this once in my meeting), attending meetings where so many people are frustrated and down on themselves and half of the rest are newbie diet evangelists who are just positive that THIS time they'll never be fat again. I just want to be "normal," even though that's probably a pipe dream.

I'm currently working with a nutritionist who uses an approach developed by Ellyn Satter. I'm actually hoping it will be a cross between the structure of Weight Watchers and the intuitive nature of Overcoming Overeating... but heavy (NPI) on the OO side and without a weight loss focus. So far (and how many internet comments have started this way only to end in disaster... but anyway) I am VERY encouraged. Basically at the moment I'm eating set meals but at those meals I eat whatever and however much I want. She tweaks it as I run into problems. I don't know if it's just the allure of something "new" but I feel so much calmer around food now than I have in quite a long time, and more in touch with what I actually want and don't want. I'm definitely going to get "Women Food and God" (I was on the fence but the description here and the experiences posters are describing are very encouraging) as I feel it could make a good companion to my sessions with the nutritionist. I still have hope. I won't pretend not to wish I was thin (ha--at my smallest I was still well into the "overweight" range) again, but I really think that if I can feel truly sane around food, get my weight stable at whatever point that is, and start figuring out how I can do the physical things I love (especially running and strength training) well at that weight, then I will be happy.

I don't know if this is a physical addiction but all the mainstream media and internet scolds who think I just need more "willpower" need to ask themselves whether they honestly think I "enjoy" not only having a socially unacceptable body, but also feeling full to the point of illness and generally unwell, having heartburn, feeling like I have no control over my eating, feeling my pulse race after I eat way too much sugar before bed. There is certainly something terrible and all-consuming about this, regardless of the physical or psychological mechanisms involved.

Sorry for the enormous post. As you can tell, this is a subject very close to my heart.

ETA: In case it's not clear, I am not cheerleading WW or weight loss at all. I just considered that period to be (an inadvertent) part of my "journey" to overcome compulsive eating because even though I went into it with no thought other than "I want to be thin," I did experience some relief from compulsive eating while on the diet, for whatever reason. This was how I started to realize that although dieting makes me even crazier, some structure (not counting calories or fat grams or points or portions, just in terms of an eating schedule and other attempts to set up some kind of routine) may be necessary and useful as I try to eat intuitively/less compulsively.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:53 AM   #122
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I kinda stumbled onto this thread and have tried to read through it slowly over the last few days....stunned as this is a topic very close to my heart that I have never felt *OKAY* sharing about on here w/o it being *DIET* talk. I have been involved in 12 step programs for over 14 yrs....and came into the rooms w/NO GOD and damned if I was gonna fall on that crutch for *LOSERS*....but i learned the Serenity Prayer (ask me via PM if you don't know what that is)...and it had all the answers I NEEDED.....no matter what the situation....I learned what a Higher Power was walking in the woods every day with my dog initially and later on riding motorcycle in the beauty of nature again..and that's where i found peace and serenity.

I was very involved in RFA or FFA (don't even remember what those stand for now)...but I was abstinent from sugar, flour + wheat and any addictive substances such as popcorn / chips etc for about 8 or 9 yrs. I learned what freedom from food felt like and learned the concept of *Peace+ Serenity* and not having my addiction calling out for me to stuff my feelings. I am a compulsive eater and am powerless over food beyond a doubt. There are no 1/2 measures for me....through trial and error and losses of 50# over and over again realizing how POWERLESS I AM...sugar had me driving to the store at all hours of the nite for Ben + JERRYS (yes i have tasted pretty much every flavor) to placate *MY ALONE-NESS* for months at a time...

today yet again i am detoxing (which from my experience gets easier and easier over time)...HALLOWEEN is HELL THOUGH LOL...and I am leaving the city tomorrow to avoid the party I usually go to and stuff myself all nite with sweets, home made and store bought.

Today, one day at a time I am learning how good abstinence from sugar/flour/wheat is for me yet again. A lesson I have learned a dozen times....but fall short on repeatedly over the last decade. In regards to meetings ....I became the only one with any good clean time, and watched the same and new folks come in, and say how they couldn't do it....or others rationalize what they were eating....etc etc...i became too selfish and tired of being the only one at a meeting some nites or...sitting alone waiting for one or 2 to show up from the past. i worked 2 other fellowships already and this was just an overload for me.

I also have run on to long....but i feel like food is something I can't live with and also something i can't live without.....I do pray and meditate regularly and attend 12 step meetings very regularly for other addictions then food, and am so grateful for what i have learned and continue to learn.

I am also well aware of Genene Roth's books and have read a few, and debating picking up the one discussed here GFW..perhaps I am finally ready after reading such praises for this......

felt great to share about my experiences, strength + I DO HAVE HOPE...lots of it today

i am not sure if there is too much *diet* talk here or not...i am sure i will be edited if that is the case, apologies
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:35 PM   #123
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I want to share a book about compulsive eating I read recently that has had a tremendous impact on me, Geneen Roth's

Snip* I've read and enjoyed many of her books, found myself nodding along and agreeing that she knows what she's talking about, etc., and have come away from them with more insight into why I eat compulsively, but still not quite knowing how to address, or better yet, fix it. But I thought I'd give this newest book a whirl, and I'm so thankful I did. Before I go any further, let me assure my fellow heathens (heh!) that "God" in this case does not refer to any sort of theistic being; it refers to... well, for lack of a better way to say it, it refers to the potential joy and peace within us all.

The basic tenet of the book is that how you eat and interact with food mirrors how you feel about everything.

To say I "read" this book is an understatement. I cried my way through it. Within the first few pages I started underlining passages that resonated particularly strongly with me, and realized by the end that 80% of my book is now underlined. It is the first book - heck, any kind of learning experience about eating compulsively, including a helluva lot of therapy - of this kind that has left me feeling not just smarter, but empowered. Calm, positive, and focused. And not just about eating, about everything. I am reluctant to say too much, as the experience is so new that I still feel like I'm caring for a frail little seedling of hope, gently coaxing it to uncurl its leaves and grow in the light, but I couldn't wait to say anything, in case this book can help anyone else struggling with compulsive eating.

This woman really gets it. It's not about fat or thin, it's not about oversimplification of this disorder (e.g. depression = eat a pint of ice cream), it's not about diets or quick fixes, or ludicrous promises that thinness equals happiness. It's about knowing that an unhealthy relationship with food, like any kind of addiction, affects every single facet of your life, and knowing with every fiber of your being that it's no longer okay to feel this way, and that a better life is possible. And best of all, how to get there.

The book has done its job. It's up to me now to do the hard work, but I feel more hopeful than I ever have before that I'm up for it. As a good friend and I are so fond of saying..... we'll see.

Just finished reading this book myself, after it finally came in at the library. I think it was alot like her other books...but a few of the pearls I came away with were in the final chapters of the book....*COMPULSION + AWARENESS can't happen at the same time* this rings so true to me.....because after all it is about eating through the feelings....she had some new thoughts...I loved the passage about *THE VOICE*....and her confirming its okay to yell at it.....I call it my lower power sometimes...and will be driving down the street YELLING NO NO NO...not toay....or self talking in the grocery store as I scan foods that I DONT WANT TO TAKE HOME....but that VOICE IS CALLING !!!

and finally the meditation at the very end was amazing....thanks CARRIE for posting your thoughts>
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:48 PM   #124
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I just wanted to bump this thread to give a big thank you to the posters in this thread. I've passed on a few of the resources mentioned here, particularly Women Food and God, to someone on Tumblr who was asking for help with their issues with overeating and food addiction; they were asking anonymously, and I only just posted, but I'm really hoping that it helps them.

And maybe by bumping this thread, someone else who comes here will be helped, too.
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