COMMENTARY: 5 Reasons I Won’t Eat Compulsively During the Holidays…or Ever Again

Five-and-a-half years ago, I stopped sugar-bingeing after 35 years. No amount of dieting or self-control had helped, but Overeaters Anonymous did

The holidays are a notoriously difficult time for those of us who struggle with food. Our resolve to be moderate, not overeat, only eat one helping or say no to that second dessert all disappear once Grandma’s melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies are within reach. And then the holiday aftermath begins with remorse and regret followed by the New Year’s resolutions to go back to the gym or start that low-carb diet. It’s no wonder many of us get grumpy, eat even more and say “I give up.”

I hated that pattern and the grip food had on me. I had no control. I was powerless. I had lost and gained the same 30 pounds dozens of times with no way off the binge-then-diet merry-go-round and no serenity to boot. I was miserable.

That stopped five-and-a-half years ago when I walked into an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Well, actually it stopped the next morning. After the meeting I ate the last package of Girl Scout cookies I would ever touch. And then, miraculously, I stopped compulsively eating.

So this holiday season, here are the five reasons I won’t eat compulsively:

5. It is not worth it. The brief good feeling of the eating is overshadowed by the shame and regret.

4. I know to my core that I am powerless over food, that I cannot risk that first compulsive bite.

3. I refuse to return to the hell of self-hate, food addiction and pain.

2. The pleasure of that first compulsive bite can’t compare to the peace and serenity I have gained.

1. I have the 12-step program of Overeaters Anonymous (OA).

Two years ago an OA meeting started in Hollister. We meet weekly at Mars Hill on Monday nights at 7 p.m. for fellowship and support. We welcome anyone who has a problem with food or an eating disorder. There are no dues or fees. There are no weigh-ins or diets. We seek a spiritual solution to our food problems to fill the void left by no longer eating compulsively.

If you think you might be a compulsive overeater, here are 15 questions to help you decide:

1. Do you eat when you're not hungry? 
2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason? 
3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating? 
4. Do you give too much time and thought to food? 
5. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone? 
6. Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time? 
7. Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone? 
8. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life? 
9. Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal? 
10. Do you resent others telling you to "use a little willpower" to stop overeating? 
11. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet "on your own" whenever you wish? 
12. Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime? 
13. Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble? 
14. Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition? 
15. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

For more information call 650-391-7759 or come to a meeting.