I came into Overeaters Anonymous more than nineteen years ago weighing 250 pounds (113 kg). I thought I was one of God’s biggest mistakes. I hated myself. I hated my body. I recall looking in the mirror and wishing I could just take a knife and cut off all the fat rolls.

I got a sponsor at my first OA meeting. I began doing everything she told me to do. I read what she told me to read. I wrote what she told me to write. I found a plan of eating and began following it.

That last part was not easy. I spent a lot of time white-knuckling it. But for the first time in my life, I began losing weight. It was wonderful! I could shop in “normal” stores and buy clothes just because I liked them. At first, the delight of my shrinking body kept me excited; however, I’ve been at a normal body weight for over eighteen years now, and the excitement has worn off.

I will never have the body of a supermodel. The reality is I am 60 years old. I have lost over 100 pounds (45 kg) and have given birth to and nursed six children. Sometimes when I look in the mirror now, instead of feeling gratitude, I see the side effects of aging, gravity, and extra skin.

Recently, I got out of the shower and was looking critically at myself in the mirror. I was feeling disgusted with my body and was well on the way to hating myself when my husband walked in. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “You sure are beautiful.” It was so diametrically opposed to how I was thinking and feeling right then that it was a shock. The only person who is critical of my body is me.

I have found that gratitude is key. When I focus on what I don’t have or what I don’t like, I find more of what I don’t have and don’t like. When I focus on the good, on what I have been blessed with and what I like, I find more good and more to be grateful for.

My solution is working the Steps. Low self-esteem and poor body image are rooted in my character defects (self-pity, dishonesty, and perfectionism, to name a few), and I am as powerless over them as I am powerless over my compulsive eating. Feeling good about myself is directly proportional to the extent that I allow God to remove these defects. Twenty years ago, I thought that the body I have today was an unreachable achievement. Today, living in the miracle, I can still find things to criticize if I’m not careful.

Most of the time, I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “God did a really good job the day he made you.” Today I know the truth, and I know that there really is a solution.

— Vicki W., Utah USA

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