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Building on Success

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I had been attending meetings sporadically for a few months and was thinking about a plan of eating. I read about the different plans listed in Where Do I Start?, but I wasn’t drawn to any of it. So, I asked my sponsor for his take on the subject. He suggested I choose a plan that I was 99 percent sure I could follow, even if the only abstinence I could commit to was the time I was asleep. The lightbulb went on. I had known so many failures with diets, and I had felt so much guilt when I slipped. I found his statement brilliant because what he was saying to me was that nothing succeeds like success.

If I were to lose my obsession with food, then I could not be obsessed with the plan of eating either. I needed something that would allow me to be successful. Amazingly, the first plan I came up with ended up being quite healthy, even though I hadn’t eliminated snacking. I didn’t want to feel deprived, because I was afraid I would be white knuckling it before long. So, I just modified what I was already eating. I continued to go to meetings, read the literature, work the Steps, contact my sponsor, and pray. Before I knew it, I rarely had any desire to have a snack, so I took the snacks out and made a new plan. Then one day, I noticed I couldn’t finish the food on my plate, so I reduced my food quantities—another new plan.

Today, I think I am on plan four or five, and I have also made two one-day plans, one for our daughter’s wedding and one for Christmas Day. Each time I’ve made a change, I’ve felt Higher Power, program, and my rockin’ sponsor beside me in my reflections, and I am so grateful. Much of the obsession has fallen away. I am more able to recognize actual physical hunger and differentiate it from a hunger of the heart. I now have a list of trigger foods to avoid, and I know they are different from foods I happen to enjoy but might risk overeating. The latter I don’t have to banish from my life, but I need to be more discerning when they are around.

I more easily recognize trigger situations and can prepare for them. Even when I am confronted with a scary moment, I seem to be able to “take a moment to be in the moment” without running to or away from the food. I think, “plan,” and I get clarity. Most times, if anyone were to ask me about the what, where, why, when, and how much of my eating, I would have a sane answer. I have been abstinent from my main trigger food for seventeen months, and I have been completely abstinent for four months. I have lost 23 pounds (10 kg). I expect some people might judge my plan of eating as too flexible, but OA recognizes there are as many plans of eating as there are members, and by using this idea and the other Tools of the program, the OA promises are coming true in my new way of living. I wish you all the very best.

— K., Canada

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