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Overcoming Overeating Online

Overcoming Overeating Online is yielding rich and varied discussions between OO'ers—from newcomers to veterans, and everyone in between. With their permission, we take pleasure in sharing some of the wisdom and work…

"Lately I notice more and more how terrific other big women look. As much as I have trouble doing mirror work and interrupting bad body thoughts at times, I am really learning to look uncritically at others. I notice how some women look comfortable and professional in their clothes, and how many different shapes look good. I am feeling wonderfully connected to this family of beautiful big women…" E.V.

"I see my body in the mirror now and am getting better each day at being kind to myself. I used to try not to look because I knew I wouldn't see that Sports Illustrated swimsuit model figure that I knew I should have (Ed.: the Sports Illustrated model is wishing she looked like her picture, too!). Because I didn't see it, I felt less valuable. It takes a long, long time. I've known about mirror work for years, yet have only really been trying to be more accepting since the OO-group online came about. It has helped me so much…" A.

"Yesterday while cleaning out my garage I found a picture of me, taken in 1980. I was 22 years old. Charlie, my live-in companion at the time, was taking a picture of me in front of the car we'd just bought. I remember my objections: "I'm in a tank top and shorts and everyone will see my fat thighs." His response was "Who cares? Everyone knows your thighs are fat." Reluctantly, I posed, standing at an angle so as to… hide my horrible thighs. I look at the picture today with great sadness. Was that me? Why didn't I feel fine the way I was? Thinness didn't bring happiness. We were lied to." K.B.

(Ed.: Bad Body Fever, the learned hatred of our bodies, comes in every size. Self-love is possible at any body size as well.)

"When I was in the eighth grade my mom decided I was getting chubby and took me to doctors who put me on my first diet—1/2 head of lettuce, 4 bananas and a quart of skim milk per day… My very restricted diet taught me one thing—HOW TO SNEAK FOOD!! For the past 25 years I've been a sneaky food eater and still can tend to sneak it in behind my husband's back. I've not shared (the work I'm doing with) Overcoming Overeating yet, but need to sometime soon." A.

(Ed.: Sharing OO with spouses and partners is a concern to many women doing this work. We'll address it in a future issue and welcome cyberspace contributions to the discussion.)

"I cleared my closet and have nothing but clothes that fit and make me feel beautiful. Today as I dressed… I felt very Loretta Youngish (one of my all-time favorite actresses.) Now that is a major gift I've given to myself." G.G.H.

"Since starting (to work with) the Overcoming Overeating approach I've said, "Who Says?" about a lot of things. For example, who made up the rule about what colors match in clothing? Have you ever thought about that? Where did we get all these ideas? Why can't we change them? Maybe purple and green do go together! I think it's great that OO gets us to challenge ideas handed down to us in lots of areas, and find the courage to think for ourselves! It's very empowering!"

(Ed.: Bravissima! Let's hear it for finding our own colors in clothes and in life!)

"…It's so ironic that the very thing I'd been avoiding all my life was the thing that finally set me free: EATING! It's scary for us—we want rules, we want our diets even though we don't think we do… (Ed.: see this issue's NOTES FROM CHICAGO for more discussion of this issue.) It's really scary to be turned loose in a world of food… We're too scared to trust ourselves. We think we'll never stop eating but once we get past the fear …that's when the magic starts happening!"J.B.

"A suggestion (for carrying a food bag): if you can't figure out exactly what to carry in your food bag, simply start carrying something and see how it feels to have some food on hand when you feel hungry. Then as you become more comfortable with food in general, maybe you will want to start packing things you really need and enjoy. Hang in there—it takes time." G.H.

"I went for several months not weighing myself and feeling pretty good. Then one day I thought well, I feel like I might have lost some weight so I'll just weigh myself to see." I jumped on and I was about the same as I'd always been. IMMEDIATELY I felt terrible! I felt disappointed, angry …you know the rest. That was the day I realized that little box with the numbers had a definite impact on how I felt about myself. So… I picked that thing up and walked outside to the trash can and threw it in!" C.O.

(Ed.: We find it helpful to ask women we work with: What feelings lead you to "measure" your self on the scale? You might want to look at the desire to get on the scale as a Bad Body Thought, and try to decode it (see Volume 2 #1 for details on decoding). For example, your language to yourself after "weighing in" was that you were "about the same" as you'd always been. Had you been thinking about something else in your life that hadn't changed? Did something other than you body size feel disappointing? And was it that feeling that then led you to the scale in the first place, to see if you "measured up?" How terrific that you were able to say "No more!" and toss the scale out with the other trash.)

To join the Overcoming Overeating Online email support group, see our Online Support page.

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