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LETTERS

Dear OO:

As a veteran of the program who is still battling with my weight, I am looking for something which can aid me in my battle and therefore goes beyond what I can read in the book Overcoming Overeating yet comes from the same philosophy.

At this point, I find the emotions of the battle much more difficult than the legalizing, filling my house with food, positive self-talk, self-acceptance, etc., which the book covers so well. My biggest obstacle right now is my fear of stopping when I'm full. I tell myself I will eat when I'm hungry, and I carry around food, but stopping still triggers the fears of dieting and deprivation.

Sincerely,

Pam

Dear Pam:

You mentioned two issues you want addressed: your ongoing battle with your weight and your fear of stopping when full. It's quite possible that these two concerns are related. Very often, people connect the idea of stopping when they are full to the idea of losing weight. If you are making that connection, it is quite understandable that stopping feels like a diet; i.e., deprivation. Although it's true that sometimes people lose weight when they have mastered the art of stopping, losing weight is always a problematic motivation for stopping. Remember that accepting yourself whatever your size is fundamental to this approach to compulsive eating. Stopping when you are full has to do with respecting who you are as an eater by not going beyond what makes your body comfortable. Stopping is the road out of compulsive eating, not the road to a thinner you.


Dear OO:

Along with learning to identify and respond to my body's hungers, my main goal this last year has been to accept my "larger than the norm" size. This has become especially important over the last 16 months since my daughter was born. I am quite confident that the only way we can bash the stereotypes for future generations is to begin with a healthy respect for ourselves as women exactly as we are.

To that end, I so appreciate your editorial comments and photos in the first newsletter. I have seen those sculptures and paintings over the years, many when I traveled Europe as a college student. However, it is only now that I am able to make the connection between the beauty of those women and the beauty that is my body.

I have heard repeatedly that advertisers sell products to women by making them feel inferior. Those comments before had always eluded me, but in looking through the newsletter and thinking about your question "How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow and your body was the cultural norm?" I began to realize that the "cultural ideal" is completely arbitrary!

I will celebrate my 30th birthday in a few days and perhaps the greatest gift is the realization that there is no "Oz" of beauty to covet. I have those things for which I have always yearned: a young, healthy, attractive body and a normal relationship with food.

Many thanks!

Celia


Dear OO:

I've been using the OO approach now for about a year and a half and have recently been diagnosed with having Type II diabetes. I am furious!! After spending the last year and a half learning not to give a second thought to what I'm eating and to what I weigh, now I'm told I'll have to pay attention to these things again. The 1,200-calorie eating plan they gave me looks just like the diet I was put on over 25 years ago! I just refuse to go down that road again!

I know, deep within, that if I try to restrict myself with my food again and start worrying about my weight that I'll end up being obsessive again and binging again. I'd almost rather die than be like I used to be. It seems to me that what I've been doing is better than going back to binging again. I hardly ever eat sweets anymore—simply because I know I can!

I really appreciate the article you had in the first newsletter about this subject. It seems to indicate that we diabetics should not resort to restricting, etc. However it doesn't tell us what to do instead! I feel so lost right now. Do I go back to drinking Diet Coke (which I hate!) and staying away from sweets—or do I keep on using the OO approach—or is there some kind of happy medium? Also, what do I tell people like my mother-in-law who is so concerned about my diabetes that she's now commenting on everything I eat and telling me I need to watch my sweets.

If you have any recommendations on using the Overcoming Overeating approach when diabetic, I would sure appreciate it! Also, how do I deal with the anger about having to undo all the work I've just done learning to eat whatever I want?

Jacki

Dear Jacki:

It's always a terrible blow to learn that you have a medical problem. Getting used to the idea takes time and emotional work. It seems to us that having used the Overcoming Overeating approach for a while, you're actually in a good position to be able to handle this condition. As you say, you have learned that external food restrictions lead to rebellious eating. You now have to take one more step and understand that whatever you decide to do about your eating will be the result of your desire to take better care of yourself and your body's needs. Remember that Overcoming Overeating means giving a great deal of thought to what your body needs at any given moment of hunger. Submitting to external regulations is one thing; heeding internal signals and restrictions is quite another. The people around you are naturally upset, but they are not as educated as you are about the ins and outs of food restrictions.

Because of the positive response we received to the diabetes/demand feeding article in our first newsletter, we are planning a follow-up article. In the meantime, you may want to get some support from Dana Armstrong at King Revers & Winn. Dana is not able to conduct actual medical consultations over the phone but she is an excellent source of motivation and reassurance.

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