Thursday, May 26, 2011

Truth (?) about "Diets"

Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is not a diet or calorie club and does not endorse or recommend any particular food plan. Each participant is free to choose whatever food plan they wish and can alter the plan any time. At least that's my understanding of OA.

The key to loosing weight in OA has nothing to do with typical diet plans and everything to do with accepting individual patterns of food addiction.

For some, this doesn't seem so easy... maybe they're addicted to everything, or at least everything loaded with fat, sugar and salt. To some being abstinent on these foods would, in their addictive mind, leave nothing for them to eat and a horrible sense of denial sets in even as they contemplate the possibility of change. I know because I talked a lot about OA today with a person very, very dear to me. She can not fathom being able to survive without all the "junk foods" (my term, not hers) that constitute most of her daily intake. I'm sad to admit that nothing I said changed anything for her although she says she is miserable. I am horrified by the understanding of what her life must be like (and her life expectancy).

We did talk a little about our past experiences with diets and about how quickly we both regained every pound we lost, plus more. I told her about my husband and I watching a college course on healthy lifestyle (which I wrote about here). Last night, watching lecture #19 on fads and diets, Dr./Prof. Goodman had an interesting story about diets.

He told about going to a large bookstore and counting over 300 books with the word "Diet" in the title. "Why are there so many diet books," he asked? "Because not one of them works!" He rationed that IF one diet actually worked it would be the only book for sale. Word would get around that it works; everyone would buy that book and nobody would buy any of the other books. By this reasoning, there is no diet that works.

I just thought that was kind of funny. I guess one could just as easily conclude that they all work equally well.

Anyway trying to explain today how OA is not about a diet, trying to explain abstinence, food plan and higher power, I found myself a bit tongue-tied as I looked into the eyes of an addict, an addict who looked back at me with aversion and denial in her eyes. How far is bottom? I ask my higher power to help her and to help me help her... not to give up...

* * * * * *

Gratitude for today: rain, 238 consecutive days of abstinence, our adorable cat, that miraculously bottom for me wasn't morbid obesity and related illnesses, our local OA community


  1. PB, you are one of the lights in my world. As in flashlight (for illuminating hard-to-see places) and sunlight (for life giving force.)

    Wanted to tell you this in case I hadn't expressed it before...wanted to tell you how much I love you for the times you feel you must not give up.

  2. I think it is like Goldilocks and we each need to find something that is "just right." For some people, I a "diet" works. Many work. For other people, no "diet" will work. For me, I do follow a plan, what others might call a diet, but what I know know has to be a permanent change in how I eat and approach food. A lot like OA, I suspect.

  3. When I first heard that someone DIDNOT like chocolate, I was in first grade or so.... and reacted as though I had seen a freak! How could this be???? I didn't have as strong of a reaction to a 1,000 man they took all around and charged money to catch a glimpse.

    Well, now, I don't like chocolate. Just don't care for it. So I am learning that we are all different. Although we are all very much the same.
    Maybe it's the age-old contrast of "Form" vs. "Content"?
    I am striving to be healthy - not just to lose weight!
    Healthy mentally and physically, too!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it very much.