Home How OA Changed My Life Coming Full Circle

Coming Full Circle

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Today, I went to work out in the employee gym. The last time I went was two years ago, a few months before joining Overeaters Anonymous. At the time, I was at a healthy weight for my size, 150 pounds (68 kg), and had just completed two triathlons. People always complimented me on my health and fitness. Little did they know, I was mentally, spiritually, and physically sick.

When I joined OA, I identified first as an overeater and then promptly began to restrict, bringing my weight down to 128 pounds (58 kg). While the charts said this weight was normal for my height, I was depriving myself of particular food groups. I was constantly shaky and cold, my skin was pale, and my hair was thinning. This period in my life has had lasting repercussions on my health.

So earlier today, when I walked back into my employee gym with my weight back up to 150 pounds (68 kg), no one likely knew that anything in my life had changed (although some might have noticed that I had regained weight and wondered if I let myself go). In many ways, my return to this body size and to the gym feels like coming full circle, so I would like to acknowledge how today’s visit was different from two years ago.

Today, I stuck to my exercise plan: thirty minutes at a normal intensity. Two years ago, I would work out past the point of exhaustion.

Today, I followed my food plan and ate pre- and post-workout snacks, as recommended by a nutritionist. Two years ago, I would have either restricted my intake following a workout or binged as a reward. Since I’m appropriately fueled, I do not feel sluggish, light-headed, or guilty.

Today, I smiled at other people in the gym and engaged in small talk. Two years ago, I constantly surveyed the room, comparing the physiques and abilities of others to my own with criticism and envy.

Today, I noticed in the mirror that my skin is brighter, my hair is shinier, and my eyes are alive. I felt grateful for my health. Two years ago, I only saw my body’s size and shape and felt either pride or disgust.

Today, I felt present in the current day—no visions of grandeur that just walking into the gym would transform my body and life. Two years ago, I stopped going because I got busy and felt too ashamed to return. I was certain that the gym staff would cast judgment on me for letting my attendance slip. This thinking was a direct reflection of my self-centeredness and perfectionism.

Today, I felt God’s presence throughout my workout. Two years ago, I felt alone. OA has been a gift from my HP, a gift beyond the number on the scale, the size of my jeans, or the color of my chip. Thank you, God, for helping me find new ways to see the progress of my recovery. — Elizabeth H., Orlando, Florida USA

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