Main Page
The Reckoning
The Book
Poetry Page
Photo Scrapbook

Jeff's Guidelines For Recovery


You're probably thinking these guidelines are going to be just another bunch of "diet and exercise" rules and regulations. Nothing could be further from the truth! The very first thing you should do is to forget the word "Diet." That word is defeatist, and creates in one's mind the idea that the act of "dieting" is punishment. In our case, what we need to undertake is a dramatic lifestyle change...changing the way we feel about ourselves, the way we think about others, the way we think about food.

These guidelines are ideals I developed in my recovery from Compulsive Overeating. I offer them here for your consideration:


Have a Higher Power; go to that Higher Power for everything in your recovery.
Relax...This is not an attempt to spring religion on you; this simply means that you must establish a connection to a higher consciousness; a being or belief system you understand you can turn to for guidance. It could be a trusted friend, family member, supreme being, a book, etc.
Take care of your needs FIRST, before helping others.
Hey....think about this. How many times have you dropped everything you were doing (sometimes at great expense or inconvenience to yourself) to help someone else? Write it down....I'll wait. See there?? If your numbers are like mine were, you'll realize that the only ones who have been helped up to this point are the other people. This is not to tell you to become selfish or egocentric; it simply means to take care of your needs above and beyond all others.
Keep a daily journal (diary) documenting your activities, feelings, etc.
Yeah, I know....this is one of the scary parts...confronting those nasty feelings and being totally honest with yourself. "What if my (insert relative/friend's name here) finds this diary? I'd just feel horrible!" I respond to that by asking you this: "How do you feel right NOW?"
I offer these suggestions to help you keep your diary private:
1. Pick a secluded spot to write in your journal/diary...leave nothing out. Honesty is the key here.
2. Place your journal in a place that only you know about, and keep it private. Frankly, I left mine unlabeled and in plain sight.....(shrug) no one noticed it.....ever. If you really feel unsafe hiding it, go buy an inexpensive trunk you can padlock, or a home safe.
3. If you write your journal using a personal computer, most software for writing offers you the opportunity to save the file with a password; and NO ONE gets around passwords...unless you tell someone the password.
4. Write in your journal either early in the morning, or late at night, or when no one else is either around or awake. This way the only one you won't have to be concerned with anyone else seeing your journal because no one else will know about it.
5. An alternative to writing in your journal when you don't have it available is to tape record your entries for later transcription. "How does this keep it private?" you ask? Quite simple, really...if you have this tape recorder with you at all times, perhaps in your briefcase or a purse...you can then delay transcription for a later time (see #4 above).
Seek out and attend local self-help/support groups in your area.
There is an old saying that there is strength in numbers, but there is also comfort and understanding. Therefore, anyone attempting to recover from a compulsive addiction such as from food, alcohol, etc. should seek out all local help available. There are a couple of excellent self-help groups that I know of in my own local area. I can not name them here, for they have a strict credo that they do not affiliate themselves with any particular group, organization, religion, or individual. Those of you who have heard of twelve-step recovery support groups should know what organizations I am talking about.
Exercise at least three times per week.
Okay, okay...the thought of exercise may seem like punishment, but the fact remains that your body needs some sort of exercise to not only burn calories, but also promote good health, increase stamina, and strengthen bone and muscles. Three good forms of exercise include walking, aerobics, and bicycling. Check with your doctor to determine which form of exercise will suit you best. Here are a few suggestions to help make your exercise more productive:
1. Take time (at least fifteen minutes) to warm up before you start exercising. This can be accomplished by moderate stretching exercises; allow a total of approximately 45 minutes to an hour per day for exercise.
2. Pick a favorite place to exercise. If walking is your choice of exercise, pick a couple of nice parks or scenic areas of town to walk through. Keep in mind that you want to walk on a relatively flat surface (no steep hills).
3. Consult with your doctor or a licensed exercise physiologist to determine your ideal Target Heart Rate (THR). The most effective use of exercise occurs when one is using 70% of their energy during activity.
4. Invite a friend along to exercise with you. Partnering up while exercising will not only make the time more enjoyable, it will also be safer.
5. Stop activity if you feel any discomfort or pain. Consult with your doctor as soon as possible after this event for medical advice.
Feel guilt-free when saying NO.
It should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: Do NOT lay a guilt trip on yourself after saying "No" to a request someone makes that sounds unreasonable or uncomfortable. Feel free to say "No, I don't want a piece of cake" and walk away.
Establish a structured food plan, remembering that food is fuel for the body; nothing more. Consult with your doctor or a certified dietitian.
Establish a nutritious food plan...a certified dietitian and your doctor can determine what is best for you. Keep in mind that food is fuel the body needs. Junk food is not what the body needs...think about it this way: you wouldn't put diesel fuel in an engine designed for gasoline...the engine wouldn't run properly. By the same token, your body won't metabolize calories properly if you've consumed a couple of bags of chips and chased them with a full strength soda.
Write down at least one positive affirmation about yourself and post it where you can see it, every single day.
Your body, your mind, your soul...three parts of your being that make a wonderful creation. You are special...never forget that. So, pay yourself the compliments you deserve, write down an affirmation such as: "I am a loving, caring person." and post it on your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, on your desk...anyplace you will see it during your daily activities. When you read it, recite it to yourself...you may find your spirits lifted, and you will have a much happier day, to boot.
Seek out your "inner child." Play with that child at least once per week.
"How ridiculous! I am a full grown adult!" you shout. This may be true, but you never totally leave childhood. Think about it...we have exchanged our childhood toys for more expensive toys in adulthood....the VCR, a new computer, that snazzy sports car in the driveway. Let me ask you a question: When is the last time you've ever watched a child actually play...when is the last time you've ever played like that child, or with that child? Do you remember how happy that child was while playing? Get back to that...get in touch with that fun-loving child inside of you. That child is in there, hidden beneath the worries and responsibilities of adulthood....and the child is yearning to play! (I recently satisfied my inner child by purchasing that "famous mouse" watch I always wanted!) Sounds kind of "goofy", I know, but.....the child in me is beaming. <Grin> Now, if I could just find that secret agent spy camera I had as a kid......
Listen to your TRUE feelings.
Ahhh...the true feelings. When arising in the morning...ready to face the day--take a minute to sum up how you really feel...and write it down in your journal. Throughout the day...keep touching base with how you feel. Feeling stressed? Take a minute to relax...think about a favorite place...a mountain stream flowing by, you're lying there next to it...feeling the cool breeze of wind around you. Makes me yearn to go skinny dipping.....<sigh> I feel better already....
Be aware of the possibility of relapse (setbacks).
I too, had to face the possibility (reality, in my case) of somewhere along the road, my recovery was going to take a detour. It did...and it is a fact in anyone's recovery. Don't allow yourself to become smug when your recovery is going so well you feel invincible. Relapse does happen...so when it does, don't beat yourself up about it; pick up and carry on the next day. Allow yourself to be imperfect.
Don't give up and DON'T give in!
Never quit. Where there is life there is hope, and where there is hope there is life....and another chance. Keep going...if you get a flat along the way, change it and keep on moving. Allow nothing to stop your recovery. You deserve the best life has to offer. I can't think of anyone's instructions that say you have to sit on the sidelines while everyone else is in the game...get in there and KEEP ON KEEPING ON.
If you would like more information on Compulsive Eating and recovery from these disorders, might I suggest you click on the logo below. This is the organization that helped me, and I am forever grateful. Also check the referral to the recovery support group elsewhere on this page. Feel free to email me (you'll find the mailbox link on the menu screen to the left of this page) I would like to keep in touch. I will be developing a bi-monthly newsletter at a point in the not-too-distant future. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, please e-mail me to let me know.