On ‘Overcoming Overeating’

I am so excited – I’m going to a group run by the author’s of Overcoming Overeating, a book that gave me great comfort 30+ years ago in college, when my eating disorder owned me, and I was lost and terrified.

The authors recommend a new way to live which dumps dieting and involves legalizing all food — carrot sticks are not any better or worse than carrot cake. No food is forbidden (allergies and moral commitments aside, of course. If peanuts will kill you, don’t eat them. If you don’t eat animal products, you don’t have to start).

They also tell you to stock up on all your favorite foods in quantities so vast you couldn’t possibly eat them in one sitting.If you adore dark chocolate, don’t buy one chocolate bar, buy ten. If you love carrot cake, don’t buy one cake, buy three so you can keep two in the freezer. If you like crusty bread, buy a few loaves. If you want the whole soy milk instead of the light, buy it! Cashews and almonds—buy the family sized packages.

And then eat small portions of exactly what you want when you are hungry and stop. When you are hungry again, eat small portions of exactly what you want – whether it is an apple or an apple pie.

I know a lot of women that plan this just doesn’t work for – eating sugar and white flour trigger compulsive eating/bingeing. For me, it doesn’t work to eat so frequently – I don’t want to be involved with food that much.

And when I was in the throes of compulsive eating and bingeing and purging, it plain didn’t work for me to have all that ‘binge’ food around. I ate it. All of it.

What I did learn is how little it takes to satiate my appetite. It’s where I learned that small portions work well for me. I don’t even do things like eat tons of raw veggies, because I don’t need that much food. It’s not about quantity for me.

And the process talks about eating when hungry and stopping when full. I actually had a much easier time stopping after a small portion then figuring out what it felt like to be hungry.

During my bulimic years, I ate so much, I was never hungry. While anorexic and eating cotton balls to fill me up, I denied my hunger. I told myself that the constant churning in my stomach was anxiety or exhaustion.

When I showed up at Overcoming Overeating meetings, it took me a while to figure out what hunger was. Eventually I did. And that proved extremely helpful.

So, some things worked for me, some parts of their plan didn’t. But I can’t wait to go to the meeting and see how it seems to me now, at this point in my recovery.

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