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
|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
- 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
- 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
- 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.