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Sweet and Simple

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I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 5 years old. At that time I heard my father comment, “No fat daughter of mine will ever be seen in a tutu!”

Those words would haunt me for fifty years. At the time I heard them, I didn’t know I was fat; I was only in kindergarten. I had not yet felt the shame from my classmates’ taunts or experienced the sense of invisibility from people who looked past me as if I were not there. Those feelings were yet to come. My life became a cycle of overeating, starving, bulimia, and self-hatred. I spent many hours in my closet, where I felt safe and hidden from the world’s eyes and from those who found me disgusting. I severely damaged my body, but it was my spirit that was broken. The devastation was absolute. I no longer felt worthy to be called human.

In my 20s, I fell in love with a wonderful man and married. He accepted me as I was, encouraged me, loved me, and held me when the food won time and time again. My weight fluctuated up and down, from one weight-loss plan to another, but the weight was winning. My size 32 clothes were getting tight, and I could not find a size 34.

One day I decided it was time to face the numbers, whatever they may be. I had not stepped on a scale in over two years. As I did, the scale zeroed out. I had gone beyond its limitations and began to cry hysterically. My husband of twenty seven years came running and asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t speak from crying so hard. Finally, I told him I did not know how much I weighed. He didn’t understand. “Honey, the scale is right there.” I managed to sob, “No, it can’t weigh me; it only goes to 350 pounds (159 kg).” He finally understood.

When I calmed down, we talked about what I wanted and needed to face my weight problem. I told him I needed to find something different, something I could live with forever, and to be with people who understood this problem. At the time, I didn’t realize I was addicted to food and in the grips of a disease as powerful as any other known to mankind. But I knew everything I had tried was not for me.

Shortly after, I walked into my first OA meeting. I fell into the arms of people who embraced me with such love and acceptance that I felt as if I’d stepped back in time to age 5, before I had heard my father’s words. I was a little girl who wanted to take ballet lessons: sweet, simple, and acceptable in the eyes of the world.

OA has allowed me to find that acceptance within its rooms, and I am grateful. I am filled with incredible love for the people who share their stories, give me hope, and help me find the strength within my spirit that has always been there.

This program and my fellows have forever changed me. I have released 80 pounds (36 kg). But more important, I have healed my spirit and found my soul.

— Trudy N., Ohio USA

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