Overeaters Anonymous - What Does Abstinence Look Like?




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Pinkie
01-05-2009, 10:02 AM
My biggest challenge is to NOT diet - and yet not eat compulsively.

I realize that's called abstinence. Can anyone share what their abstinence program looks like, and how they came to find it?

I'm really lost on this one. Abstinence makes so much sense when talking drugs, gambling or alcohol. But we HAVE to eat. I realize that it means sticking to a healthy food plan, but my problem is also the intense "control" over eating. If I religiously stick to a prescribed plan, I'm still practicing this unwanted behavior!

What's the happy medium?


2ndChance09
01-05-2009, 01:07 PM
I am wondering about this too.

freshmanweightorbust
01-05-2009, 01:18 PM
My interpretation was always that you pick certain unhealthy categories and abstain completely from those. For example, my choice for 2009 (among other things) is to abstain from food that is delivered to my door, served buffet-style, or is handed to me through a window. This eliminates all fastfood and almost all pizza and Chinese type stuff. I'm also abstaining from cigarettes and alcohol, and six days a week, I abstain from dessert foods and candies. I don't know if this is what your talking about. It's what seems like it would have to work, inconjunction with the four exercise sessions of 30min to and hour per week.

Good luck to you!


tommy
01-06-2009, 07:00 PM
Good question and not an easy one to answer. Some people say 3 healthy meals a days with no food in between, or maybe 3 meals of "X" calories and 2 snacks of "Y" calories to get to the number they are aiming for. The goal is not to obsess about the food and that as you noted is the tricky part- when you start going crazy about how many calories are in the food, oh heavens what if you go out to eat and don't know, etc.... What works for me is that all non-starchy vegetables are "free" (old Weight Watcher thinking). That gets me to a stress-free place of knowing that no matter what I don't have to worry about those guys and since I love them it works for me. Then my abstinence consists of lean protein at each meal, and 2 servings of starchy carbs like potato or pasta or rice (preferably whole grain but I don't get nuts about it). No sugar because one cookie or chocolate leads to a gazillion. I do allow stuff like Splenda on a limited basis to soften the edges. The central part is that I have 3 meals a day based on these guidelines and I do NOT skip meals. That leads to deadly thinking for me..."Oh I have not had anything all day, just a taste of this, blah blah blah" As to the overeating part of the compulsion I made myself very familiar with serving sizes though I do not weigh and measure. Sticking to a real serving size is part of it for me. Knowing what the right size is takes away that craziness as well. Good luck. Looking forward to hearing other people's ways.

Artemis__
01-07-2009, 11:49 AM
Abstinence for me has a few components.

Number 1 is about staying away from my trigger foods. There are things I just can't eat in small amounts or foods that trigger a binge. It's taken me years to get to understand and accept this. There are certain foods that I just cannot eat - they lead to a binge.

Number 2 is eating 3 meals and 3 small snacks, serving size controlled, on a time schedule that I set the day before. (I commit my eating plan to paper each evening, for the next day).

Number 3 is not skipping any of those meals or snacks.

I'd like to make it clear that I am still struggling for consistency in abstinence.. It's something I have to commit to, fully, every single day. I have to remind myself frequently throughout the day that 'Just For Today I will be abstinent'.

freshmanweightorbust
01-09-2009, 02:06 AM
I would just caution you not to look at food as the enemy in and of itself. Food is not the enemy. Worthless calories like you find in fizzy drinks and candy and greasy take-out are bad, but if you get your calories from healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and lean meat, then food is your friend. There are some foods that boost your metabolism and help you to lose weight by burning calories more efficiently.

I don't mean to be trying to mother anybody, but the question you posed weighed on my mind a little in the few days since I responded before, and I can't shake the idea that the concept of food abstinence might very easily lead the way to an eating disorder, and I'd feel so awful if that actually happened to anyone reading this thread and I hadn't said anything.

Pinkie
01-12-2009, 08:24 AM
Thank you, Freshman and Artemis. Those are both great responses and good food for thought (excuse the pun!).

luvmyboys
01-30-2009, 06:38 PM
Hi Pinkie,
I'm new to this, but for me, abstinence is eating 3 meals with nothing in between. I used to think I would DIE if I couldn't snack after work, mid-afternoon, late at night, etc. I remember reading, no one has ever died between meals. How freeing!! Food tastes soooo much better. I'm learning, still, how to control portions, but it is so great to not struggle with non stop snacking. (even diet food became binge food - ex. snacks)

Great post!

Badgerette
02-20-2009, 09:02 PM
I made a list of All foods I ever binged on and any behaviors tied to binges and not eating these foods or doing these behaviors is my abstinence. Example- no eating sugar right out of the bag, no cheesecake, no cake with bakery icing & no coke, just a few foods of mine.
Behaviors include: no going thru drive thru & ording 2 meals for myself, no eating in my car, no eating in secret
Everyone has a different abstinence. I have been able to maintain mine for 10 months now and everyday is a gift.

PleaseLuise
02-20-2009, 09:45 PM
Number 2 is eating 3 meals and 3 small snacks, serving size controlled, on a time schedule that I set the day before. (I commit my eating plan to paper each evening, for the next day).

Number 3 is not skipping any of those meals or snacks.

What do you do about hunger? What if you are hungry at 11 instead of noon? Or not hungry when it's snack time?

hijude
02-22-2009, 04:06 AM
I have a physical addiction and a mental obsession. My addiction is not to a particular food but to the behaviour of compulsive overeating.

Abstinence for me is being free from the mental obsession. Living life by spiritual principles. Clearing away the wreakage of the past and not fearing the future. I chose to live in the day and avoid self centeredness/dishonesty/resentment/and fear.

That is my goal each day. Some days I am successful and some not so great.
:comp:

run4change
02-23-2009, 07:04 PM
I have a physical addiction and a mental obsession. My addiction is not to a particular food but to the behaviour of compulsive overeating.

Abstinence for me is being free from the mental obsession. Living life by spiritual principles. Clearing away the wreakage of the past and not fearing the future. I chose to live in the day and avoid self centeredness/dishonesty/resentment/and fear.

That is my goal each day. Some days I am successful and some not so great.
:comp:

Very very well said. Thank you for saying this. It is extrememly helpful for me. I have been wonderding about this same issue

jglebtt
04-15-2009, 08:27 AM
abstinence for me is refraining from eating more calories in a day than my body burns. That means I have to keep track of every calorie i put in my mouth and if i don't know the calorie count on something I don't eat it. This might sound rather daunting and it is at first but after doing it for so long I've gotten pretty good at eyeballing it. I've lost 90lbs with 30 to go.( took 40 years!!!). I know they say don't obsess about the food but that is exactly what I have to do. I think its because I have Adult ADD. Obsessing is the only way I can keep my self from being side tracked.

I think every one at some point in time needs to find out what their daily caloric needs are. Then they have to figure out what healthy foods to eat to get them
to that number. I don't know how anyone could lose weight with out knowing?

I started with the Mayo clinic food plan and it was a good place to start for me.

Good luck

sweet_talker
04-15-2009, 02:43 PM
Wow those make a lot of sense...I think this has really helped me with what I need to work on. Which would be the eating habits themselves, not just the food. Most importantly:
#1. No eating in secret
#2. No eating late at night (and typically alone)

Thanks ladies.

jglebtt
04-16-2009, 08:55 AM
Originally Posted by hijude View Post

"Abstinence for me is being free from the mental obsession."

I've Heard a lot of people say this very statement at OA meetings. I'm just the opposite. For me I have to be abstinent for a couple of days and then the mental obsession slowly gets less and less with each consecutive day that I maintain that abstinence. If I fall off the abstinence wagon the mental obsession comes right back.

90lbs gone 30 to go

grabec
04-22-2009, 11:38 PM
I seem to be in a place where I drink coffee all morning in many forms, fraps, coffee with cream, coffee, coffee, coffee and I know it is a crutch since it helps me to not be so hungry. Without coffee I would be eating all day long. So, taking that into account I would say that abstinence for me now is eating lightly around noon and then having a salad and maybe some protein around 4:00 then nothing else. Usually I just don't make it. I have a lot of trouble in the late afternoons and evenings. That's where I am for now. Subject to change

Alexistrophic
04-25-2009, 01:44 PM
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, too. For me, it's still a process of experimentation. I started out trying only not to eat in the evenings and everything else was fair game. Little by little, I starting to notice things that my body likes and doesn't like. I'm forming a meal plan of foods that work for me (mainly protein and veg) and I also find that I'm losing the taste for the foods that just aren't good on any plan (refined sugars, mostly) I have no idea how long this way of eating will last, but I'm hoping that my body will feel so good that I won't want to go back to eating for comfort.

One day at a time...