I have had food issues since I was in middle school. I was NOT overweight, but I was a teenager in the Twiggy days---and compared to her, I was chubby. When I got to college, I decided to go on a reasonably healthy diet--sort of like the diabetic exchange program--or low carbs. Not a specific plan---just 3 meals a day. I felt great and lost 55 pounds. What happened though, was that I didn't know how to maintain that weight---so when I got "too thin" I started to binge on sweets---something I hadn't had in 9 mos. So that started a cycle of binging, restricting, over exercising and other purging. That went on --on and off--for 40 years. My weight was stable--so no one really noticed or knew---which was part of the problem. I looked "normal" but my relationship with food was horrible. Food occupied every free moment I had---I was very able to have a career, be a mom, be a wife---but every other moment was FOOD FOCUSED. Everything revolved around food.
I instinctively knew that this was not because of this or that stress. Food never made whatever was the stress of the day better--the binging only made the urge go away---everything else was still there. Work wasn't easier---family issues still arose---food didn't help. Binging made it harder to work through issues because I was not focused on the "issue"---rather I was focused on the urges and eating. Binging stole my attention from LIFE.
I tried therapy, OA, hypnosis, meditation, religion, whatever was available. I found Beat the Binge through Kathryn Hansen's program. After I listened to her book, I looked up programs based on those principles---and I found Lydia. What appealed to me was the one on one program--Kathryn doesn't offer that and I believed I needed the personal relationships to really be accountable and to know that I was like other people in this program.
As a lawyer, I am a cynical person, so for awhile I wasn't sure that this was working---but I made an investment in myself and I would not give up. This program does work and it's because of the principles and the live support. This program requires work, moment by moment application of the principles--but freedom and recovery is worth the time and effort.
I am clearly more free!!! So many things are different. First, identifying chatter and learning to detach and not believe the stories chatter was spinning. I began to realize that chatter's stories were hooking me and I learned to use my higher brain to make better choices and to use what the chatter was saying was data/information.
By practicing the principles, calling in my celebrations, calling in my wobbly moments, going to Q&A sessions, leaving lots of [messages for my coach]---my relationship with food is so different. I don't believe "you can start tomorrow" any more. I don't believe "you need to wait until after this holiday, this party, this meeting, etc". If I slip, I leave posts and get right back into the program---I don't wait until a better day. If my slip was at lunch---I haven't "blown the whole day". I already knew what I liked to eat---I knew how to eat adequately, but I didn't practice those healthy non-restrictive habits because of a nasty habit. This program has helped me to go back to nourishing my body regularly and allowing myself to have celebrations meals/foods--I can eat what I want--what serves me, my body, my situation.
I didn't come to this program to lose weight. Weight was not my issue---I was willing to gain some weight to have freedom. I didn't weigh myself during the program--but I did step on the scale today (which I haven't done in 30 years except when I go to the doctors) and I can tell you I didn't gain any weight. I didn't lose any. I stayed where I was and learned how to nourish my body and my mind and my spirit.
Body image issues---I am older so with age, I've learned to be ok with my body and my wrinkles. I have learned to look at peoples faces, hair, clothes, eyes---and listening to WHO they are. I don't look at bodies or color or age. I try to look inside to see who people are. This wonderful program and group of women have reinforced this focus.
I still have to apply these principles. I am going to go back to the milestones and start from the beginning and I know I will see new things each time I listen to the milestones, listen to the stories, share in the grad group.