Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Twenty-Seven

Hey Friends! My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It's tough to post every day during this time of year. I am a worship pastor, and I am extremely busy this time of year...

We ended up canceling all of our Christmas Eve services due to a very unexpected blizzard... It was a bummer, but it was good at the same time. Home with the family. What an unexpected blessing.

I'm still abstinent, although I'd call my eating a little sloppy. Time again to tighten up my plan and stay the course. I get discouraged by the lack of results on the scale, but at least I'm not gaining.

I gotta run. I'll keep checking in.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day Twenty-Three

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Never fear, dear reader. I didn't post yesterday, but it was due to a lack of time, not a lack of abstinence.

I am grateful today for the willingness to not overeat. The willingness to say yes to three healthy meals every day. The willingness to not worry (too much) about the weight.

I have three services to produce tonight, if we're not snowed out. I am not worried about it. Sunday was my big day. Tonight will be simple and elegant. And fun. And I can't WAIT until tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day Twenty-One

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm celebrating three weeks of abstinence today! I am so grateful for a place to check in and talk about it. Thanks for being here.

I am feeling a little slippery today. Sometimes my "modified" HOW plan gives me a little too much leeway. Today I had a huge omelette for lunch. Way too much meat and cheese. But it's OK. I'm trying to have grace.

I have been hovering around 215 on the scale, and I'm frustrated again by my lack of loss. But the truth is, it's great to be hovering around 215 instead of hovering around 220-225, right? Right.

This is gonna be a slow process. One day at a time, I'm gonna let my Higher Power take care of the weight loss.

Rough week. Just completed my big Christmas concert at church a few days ago, but there's no rest. My wife is working, so I'm trying to work full-time AND watch our kids... or at least manage them. And I have three big Christmas Eve services Thursday night. Then I have - check this out - a funeral on Saturday morning and a wedding on Saturday night. The DAY AFTER Christmas. Then the next morning, two worship services. Sundays come with alarming regularity these days. :)

God, give me the serenity... I have SEVEN services between now and next week at this time. Oh yeah, and Christmas too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Twenty

Hi, I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Wow. What a day yesterday was. Great morning of wonderful music. The Christmas concerts were wonderful. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

And I'm still abstinent! I even "rewarded" myself by taking two of my kids to see AVATAR yesterday in digital 3-D. It was thrilling, really revolutionary filmmaking.

And I didn't eat anything in the theater.

I'm nearly to three weeks. Thank You, God.

You know what's cool? I've never checked in this often. I've never actually posted EVERY DAY for three weeks. I know it's helping. I'm committed to it.

And I said this on Twitter, but not here on the blog yet. Another thing I'm excited about is that I've been flossing every night. Just another little choice I'm making toward health. Another evidence of newfound discipline in my life.

Thank You, God.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day Eighteen

Charlie, COE.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Great day. Still abstinent. More tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Eighteen

Hi, I'm Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm grateful for abstinence during this crazy season of life. I have a great big Christmas cantata at my church tomorrow morning. This morning's dress rehearsal went well, so I'm not that worried anymore. I hope I can just relax and enjoy.

And not eat. They're doing this huge breakfast in between services, and I am committing NOT to eat anything. I'm going to eat breakfast before I go, so I shouldn't have any more food until lunch tomorrow after it's all over.

I'll let you know how it all goes! Say a prayer for me!

I can't.
God can.
I guess I'll let God.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Seventeen

Hi, I'm Charlie, a recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Just had to check in. I can't stay long. But I'm still here, and I'm still abstinent. I have a party to go to tonight, so I'm just going to do this one day at a time here, but I know I will go to sleep tonight abstinent.

I'm so grateful for a little weight loss. Honestly, things aren't feeling so tight on me right now. Love it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Sixteen

Hi, I'm Charlie, a recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm just grateful for the number on the scale this morning. And that's all I have to say for today. It feels good when the weight starts to be removed from my body.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day Fifteen

Hi, I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!:

Too busy to talk much. I've very abstinent today. (You know, as opposed to just "barely abstinent.") But I'm also very busy and very stressed out. And very tired. And very concerned about my big concert Sunday morning. I have rehearsals all night tonight, rehearsal tomorrow night, rehearsal Saturday morning... all for a 75-minute concert on Sunday!

I think what's stressing me out most of all is that I haven't worked with an orchestra before. This will be new. And I want to do a good job. I probably will make some mistakes. I don't even know what those mistakes could be, and that is frustrating to me.

But eating over these stresses would only make me sorry, would only bring me shame and self-hatred. For today, I am going to focus on going to bed abstinent TONIGHT and let tomorrow (and Friday, Saturday and, especially, Sunday) take care of itself.

To God be the glory. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day Fourteen

My name is Charlie, and I'm compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Two weeks. What a gift of willingness from God. I am so grateful.

It's Holiday Eating Season here in my part of the country (and I know all over!). Just this morning someone from my office gave me a delicious little bag full of sweet Chex mix. Oh man. That is right up my alley. But I brought it home, and I'll give it to the kids tonight.

I gotta run. SO busy right now. God, give me serenity. Give me strength. Give me peace. Give me a great SUNDAY this week, and all the practices leading up to Sunday... tomorrow night, Thursday night, Saturday morning, Sunday early morning... Peace in the storm.

Talk to you later! Thanks for coming and reading!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day Thirteen

I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm glad to be here, recovering from compulsive overeating one day at a time. I'm grateful that I've been choosing to come here every day and write about my feelings and my program. I'm grateful for the friends who come here and read what I write and support me. I am grateful for my thirteen days of abstinence from my compulsive overeating. I'm grateful for a little bit of weight loss. I'm grateful for amazing music. I'm grateful for the job that provides food and a home and clothes and presents for my wife and kids.

I went outside to smoke a clove cigarette last night. I just wasn't into it. I came in and threw them all away. My last pack. Not that I was ever addicted to that, thank God, but it was my last pack ever... crazy that I was so ready to just get rid of them. I'm grateful.

Now it's time to put my kids to bed, at least the younger ones. I don't talk about my kids too much here on the blog, but I will tell you that I have 4 kids. A 14-year-old son, an 11-year-old son, and 8-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.

I'm so grateful for my kids! What a gift from God. I'm reading with them, and then I'll tuck them in and kiss them and tell them that they are special and that they are perfect just the way they are.

Have a great night, and thanks for reading. Peace to you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day Twelve

Hi All, my name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm so grateful to be here. I can't believe I haven't slipped. No sugar for twelve days! Can it be? I'm heading into an unusually busy time of the year for me now. I'm a music minister, and this time of year is a crazy one at our church. I have a big Christmas program to conduct next Sunday. Orchestra, choir, rhythm section. The works. And that's just one Sunday! All of the Sundays in Advent are bigger and more complex than normal Sundays. And then there's Christmas Eve! Three services... music and drama and speaking. And then just two days after Christmas - another Sunday!

I will be running from now until December 28.

But I want to remember to be grateful. I was jobless for several months this summer, on a frantic, nationwide search for a new job. This is frantic, yes, but I'm getting a paycheck, thank God. I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat. I have a new life here in a new city, and it's good. Very, very good.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day Eleven

Charlie, COE.

::Hi, Charlie!::

No time to talk today, just glad to be here and glad to be abstinent. Good face-to-face meeting this morning. Need more of them. No more till Christmas though.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day Ten

Hey, All... Charlie here, a recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm grateful for ten days of abstinence. I'm grateful for a meeting to go to tomorrow. I'm grateful for friends who check in here on the blog and offer support, feedback and encouragement. I'm grateful for a job. I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful for second chances (and third, fourth, fifth, hundreth...). I'm grateful for Christmas trees and gifts and decorations and most of all for the Baby who started this whole thing. I'm grateful for a warm house with a warm bed and warm food.

I'm grateful. It's been a rough day in some ways, but I have nothing to complain about. I am blessed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day Nine

Hey Everyone... Charlie here, a recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Today was a little bit slippery, but I'm OK. I'm trying to give grace to myself and not be too rigid, while at the same time being true to my food plan and being serious about my abstinence. I don't want to get too easy on myself or it will devolve quickly into binging.

I went with a friend to lunch. He chose the restaurant (Vietnamese) and paid for the meal - and then he ordered egg rolls. I ate two. And then I ate a salad. Thought that would be the best choice. And then the salad came with noodles mixed into the lettuce! And bits of eggroll mixed in.

Well, that's it. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day Eight

Charlie, COE.

::Hi, Charlie!::

No time to post today except to say I'm still alive and I'm still abstinent. Thank you, God!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day Seven

Hi, I'm Charlie, a grateful recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I had a fairly normal day today... I have to admit I'm battling some cravings and feeling kind of gross...I continue to think that dessert would make me feel better. My headache would go away, and I would be able to bliss out a little bit.

It's true. I would feel better. And then I would feel worse. And then I would binge more. The truth is, when I break abstinence, I break it more. I have a week, a whole week here. I don't want to blow it. I am tired and stressed, and I need to take care of myself. Maybe when I get home tonight I can care for myself a little bit. TV? A nice drink and to bed early?

I am not a big alcohol drinker, but at the party the other night we had some leftover wine and the host sent us home with it. It's a luxury, and I've enjoyed it. I've had two glasses of wine a night since Friday. Tonight will be my last one. I'm all out. :)

Speaking of vices, I am well aware of the dangers of smoking, but I have to confess a weakness for clove cigarettes. For the last decade, I have enjoyed a pack or two every year, spreading them out over the months one cigarette at a time. I am absolutely not addicted to them, and I absolutely hate regular cigarettes. I am not a big fan of cigars either, although I will smoke one like every two years, when a friend invites me to.

Anyway, I was stunned to hear that the US has outlawed clove cigarettes (and all other flavored cigarettes). I was mourning the fact that I'd never again smoke a clove. And then I discovered one unopened pack in my cabinet.

It's freezing here now, so I'm not apt to sit out on my back porch and smoke. And I wouldn't do it until after the kids were sleeping. So it's looking like the cloves will have to wait until spring. Do they expire? Google, here I come...

Just a little trivia for a Tuesday night. Thanks for your support and encouragement, everyone.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Six

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm doing well today. Happy to report that I am in my 6th day of abstinence. I really think that checking in every day and reporting meals on Twitter helps. Friends, it helps to know you're out there! Thank you so much for your encouragement!

I have so much to say and no time to say it, so this is just a drive-by posting. More later.

Love and peace to all addicts everywhere! It's so good to know we have a Higher Power who loves us!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day Five

Charlie here, compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm still abstinent, even after a difficult, long, emotional day.

Just checking in. I'm gonna hang on here...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Four

I'm Charlie, a grateful recovering compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm finding my recovery again, one day at a time. So thankful.

Yesterday I had a *tiny* bit of slippery behavior, and I just want to share it. We had a staff Christmas party and I did really, really well. I had chicken and green beans and salad. I left this enormous mound of rice on my plate, and I turned down the dessert. Score! I *did* have some wine, and that's OK on my plan. On a strict HOW diet, it's not OK, but I'm on a "modified" HOW diet of my own making. Alcohol has never been a problem for me, so I allow myself a treat now and then.

Anyway, the real slippery stuff came when I got home. I guess I had been feeling deprived or something. There were some sausage slices on the table, technically within my food plan. I ate probably 10 bite-size chunks.

Not a huge thing, but I want to keep talking about it.

I was down in weight today. I know that's not the whole point, but I'm grateful! Oddly, it's often when I lose a bit of weight that I start to rationalize and let things slip.

Thanks for letting me share!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day Three

Hello, Everyone. My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I am doing really well. Still on plan. Had a nice abstinent lunch with my wife today, and tonight we have a Christmas party. I'll eat on the plan. I am committed to it today. Staying sober today. One day at a time, right?

Thanks for your support and encouragement! It helps to know that I need to get on here every day and report. You're my meeting for today.

Speaking of meetings, I'm planning on going to a face-to-face meeting tomorrow morning. That'll be so good to be with other compulsive overeaters again. I missed the last 2-3 weeks due to travel and other activities.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Still Here... Day Two and Rockin'

I'm Charlie. I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I had my normal breakfast this morning: cottage cheese and strawberries with coffee.

Lunch was a "naked salad" at Qdoba.

Dinner: A wedge salad at a burger place. The kids were wolfing down burgers and fries, and I - by the grace of God - chose a salad.

Tonight I chose to take a bath. It's been very busy... Insane, actually. We have a bath tub with jets and I had only used it one time before tonight. I lit a candle, enjoyed the bath and the jets and read "Our Invitation to You" from the OA Brown Book.

I haven't even had a Starbucks drink, even though I've thought about it. I have been dodging the bullet. Thank You, God.

Grateful for all who read and care and comment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day One, Baby...

I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I made it. A whole frikkin' day on my food plan.

Talk to you tomorrow...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Food Plan

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I want to talk about my food plan today. I need to get it out there so that I can be accountable. I have been slipping and sliding like crazy. I can't put together two weeks of abstinence. I have been binging on sugar, cereal, pizza... Ugh.

All right. I think that the food plan that best fits my needs is very similar to the HOW plan. This is the plan that I followed a few years ago... It was very successful, and really, as I followed this plan, I found out that my cravings were lifted, I was free to be serene and let go of my obsession with food.

So here it is. It's simple.

Breakfast: protein, fruit

Lunch: protein, vegetables

Dinner: protein, vegetables, salad

Three meals per day only.

Non-caloric drinks only: Diet Coke, coffee, water

No sugar, no refined white flour.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fresh Start Tomorrow

Charlie, compulsive overeater, here...

::Hi, Charlie!::

Looks like my sloppy abstinence turned into full-blown relapse. Starting fresh in the morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hi, everyone. My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Day Nine. Thank you, God. Just checking in. I'm still here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm Still Here...

Charlie, Compulsive Overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm still here. I'm still abstinent. Day Four and counting! I went to a meeting on Saturday morning and it helped a lot.

More to come. Just glad to be here. Glad the last post wasn't a drive-by...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Middle or End?

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Wow. I haven't been here in a long time. Thank you so much to all who have bothered to write and comment. It matters. I appreciate you.

I'm on Twitter now. It occurred to me that maybe if I could Tweet throughout the day about my feelings and choices, it might help me stay abstinent moment by moment. It hasn't worked that way so far. But maybe it will at some point.

I'm definitely in relapse. The question is, where am I in the relapse. Am I in the middle, or am I at the end? I know the answer to that question... It's up to me. It's all about my conscious decisions. Will I choose life and God? Will I choose my health and well-being? Will I choose a life of freedom? Or will I choose illness, instability, chaos, bondage? Will I choose death?

It's 7:14pm where I live, and today... Today I am abstinent. Against all odds, I am abstinent. What a gift. What grace.

Now what?

I know a meeting is in order. I called my local OA contact person tonight and left a message. There's a Saturday 8:30am meeting I could get to. I hope I choose to do that.

Willingness. Honesty. Open-mindedness.

I remember those words. I remember the feeling of freedom. I remember losing 65 pounds. I remember fitting in my clothes. I led a meeting for a long time. I loved it. I loved it so much.

Why did I walk away? Why am I seriously contemplating eating some Halloween candy... right now!?

Self-hatred, I think. And fear. And a sense of helplessness. And plain and simple poor choices.

So is there hope for me? Yeah, I still believe there is. I "know" there is - intellectually, that is.

I'll hang on to whatever hope I have. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Willingness and Conscious Contact with God

I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm willing today. Yesterday too. I can't imagine why. My circumstances haven't changed. I'm still stressed. I still am a new guy in a new job in a new state and a new house. I'm still buying that house, a first for me... We close Monday. Stressful. I still have a big family that I love but who drive me crazy sometimes!

So my circumstances haven't really changed, but the way I'm approaching them has. I'm a man of faith... always have been. And yet I often forget to give God my life... to place Him right in the center of all I am and all I do. I easily neglect daily time alone with God.

As part of my new life here, I decided that I needed to add structure. I can't do all I need or want to do in my life if I don't plan my life. So I sat down and created a schedule. Now this is often a recipe for failure for me. Being a perfectionist, the first time I deviate from the plan even a little, I often use that as an excuse to just say "Screw it!" and give up.

Not this time. I have actually been living on my schedule for 4 days now, and I haven't done it all perfectly, but I've stayed pretty close. And I'm actually 2 days abstinent now. Yesterday I actually ate abstinently through not one, but TWO buffet lines where I was a guest. Thank You, God!

I attribute this to one part of my daily schedule. At 8:30am, for four days now, I have spent time ALONE with God... reading scripture, reading a devotional book, journaling, praying, meditating.

And I'm growing stronger as I surrender. It's amazing. I'm grateful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Off the Wagon, and Back On

Charlie, compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Last night, binge. Today, back on the wagon.

God is good.

More tomorrow. I'm going to bed on time tonight. Gotta start treating this body like the Temple that it is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Keep Coming Back

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I just went to my first meeting in months and months. I'm so glad I did. And the cool thing was, I did it while I was sitting here in my PJs... It was an online meeting. You can check it out here.

I can't seem to even get a day of abstinence put together here, but for some reason I have hope today. I got to a meeting! Miracles happen. And I actually stayed present for most of it, not surfing the net or playing with iTunes. There was a lot of people and a lot of recovery. I shared, just my discouragement and struggle, and I felt welcomed. I remembered that I have a home in OA.

I woke up on Sunday to excruciating pain in my left foot. I finally went to the doctor today and had it diagnosed as gout. I didn't know anything about gout before, but man, I do now. It is not cool. But he gave me some pretty strong drugs (I feel totally stoned right now), and my foot is starting to feel better.

Now. Tomorrow is a new day. God, help me, one day at a time, to find you in the abstinence.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back in Business

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I know it's been a while, and I'm not sure I can even begin to cover what I've been up to in the past month. In many ways, I have a new life. I am overwhelmed with blessing. I have a new job, a new house (that I'm BUYING... a first for me and my family) and a brand-new part of the country to live in. It's so beautiful here. For the past 10 years I've lived in HUGE metro areas - millions of people. Now I live in a small town of 15,000 within a larger metro area of half a million people. It's perfect. Arts, great food, an international airport, parks and museums, a good downtown... but so easy to get around! People so friendly and welcoming! And our house it almost in the country! There are horses and cows and forest and fields... It's really wonderful. My wife and my kids are really loving it.

And then there's the pressure of a new job, new expectations, new situations, new people. I'm a music minister (Have I ever told you that?), so my role is very public... and people's first impressions are strong. In some ways, it's all about image and performance... That can be tough. I really want people to focus on GOD in our worship gatherings, but sometimes people can focus on the leaders on the platform... like it's a show or a concert. And I want to be a PASTOR first, not a performer... to love and serve people.

Food has been so bad, so rough, for so long. Relapse is a bitch. I've been reading the OA book, "A New Beginning: Stories of Recovery from Relapse". Some of it is uplifting and some discouraging, but for the most part I think I feel hopeful. I am settling into a routine. Oh my gosh, check this-- I have actually worked out for 4 nights in a row! My wife and I got a gym membership at this little local 24/7 gym, and I go in there and do 30 minutes on an elliptical machine while I watch TV. It feels great to be active. And I am not going to set myself up to fail again (I always say "I'm going to go EVERY night!" and then I miss one and basically give up.)

It's been hard because we've been on the road. My family and I have driven approximately 3,000 miles this past summer, first to live with my in-laws while I was unemployed, then to move here to our new home. I CAN choose to stay on my food plan on the road, to make healthy choices, but it's tough. And the lure of sugar and sweet coffee drinks and ice cream and McDonald's (Damn McDonald's!) was just too powerful. And then we got here and people have been SO great... bringing over meals, taking us out, all kinds of things. It's amazing. And so hard.

So, for today, I'm back on the plan. I have so far been unwilling to give up entirely, to surrender Starbucks drinks to God. The last few days, even though I'm calling them "abstinent," have contained sweet lattes. When will I be willing to give those up? Maybe tomorrow I'll be ready for that. I honestly don't know. I DO know that my Program will not be solid until I do... I swear, a chai latte is my gateway drug.

But what a relief to be here, to be settling in, to be receiving a PAYCHECK! (I got one yesterday for the first time since the beginning of May. It was awesome...)

And to be buying a house? (Thank you, $8,000 tax credit for first-time homeowners!) What a joy.

I'm off to Whole Foods to buy Stevia. I think maybe tomorrow I WILL be willing to lose the 'bucks.

Thanks for reading. One Day at a Time, let's surrender to God and let Him heal us!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Day

Hi, I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm in a much better place today. Serene, almost. It's the third day of abstinence, and it feels really good. I know I'm a perfectionist. I know I'm addicted to the scale IN ADDITION TO the food. And I know I'm out of control, so today again I'm turning it over.

Help me, God.

My wife is bringing pizza home. I'm going to have chicken and salad. And I'm OK with that.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Charlie. COE.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Is my relapse over? Will those horrifying numbers stop me? Not if history is any indication.

I have a job now. I'm moving soon. I'm excited. Great things are happening. I need to relax and find serenity again. I was up early this morning, seeking God and reading/journaling. In the power of God, I can do this.

Peace to me. Peace to all of us. And grace, too. Lots of grace.

Monday, July 27, 2009


My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Help! Starting again today. Help! God, help!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My, my, my...

My name is Charlie. I am definitely a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Today I start over. I'll keep in touch. If you read this, please say a prayer for me today. Willingness. Surrender.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not As Bad As It Could Have Been

Charlie, compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Hey. So yesterday I got on the scale and I weighed 210! It was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. And today, after only one day of eating well, I was down to 206.6. It's always like that. When I stop abusing my body with food, the weight starts to come off rather quickly.

This is the second day in a row now that I have gotten up, gone on a walk/run with my wife, had a healthy breakfast and then spent some time reading my bible and journaling BEFORE getting online.

I'm doing some Celebrate Recovery workbooks now, to guide me through the 12 steps. I think this is going to help.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I survived the night. I woke up this morning with that relieved feeling, like - "I didn't binge last night!" Almost surprised. But grateful, really grateful.

I'm in a hotel, listening to Sara Groves, drinking coffee and checking in. I think I see now that I have to have a time EVERY DAY where I focus on God and me and my abstinence. I always think I'll just be fine. I start treating this like a diet instead of like a Program that is going to save my life.

I led worship at a church last night as the guest worship leader. It was cool... And this morning I'm going to do it twice more. Then I'll be hooking up with my family and heading over to another worship leading gig at a camp.

God is taking care of me, even though it's not how I would have done it. Oh, God, help me to trust You. Oh God, please don't let us down.

So today I commit to three meals and no snacks. And my three meals will be moderate. And nothing but WHOLE grains. If I have any grains.

Here's to life!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Charlie. Compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm bummed and tired and eating a lot of fast food. I'm off the plan and hating it. It is NOT freeing. it is NOT fun. It does NOT taste good, not really. It SUCKS.

But I have a choice. Always. Every day, every moment. I have a choice now, to surrender. I have a choice to work my Program and turn my life and my will over to the care of my God.

I keep getting what feels like bad news on the job front. I'm entering my fourth week of unemployment. I am scared. I need money. My family needs health insurance. My sweet daughter has been crying every night for 2-3 nights because she wants to live in a house of our own instead of with grandma and grandpa. I don't blame her. I know on a deep level this is very unsettling to the kids. It's very unsettling to me.

I believe. I know God has a plan. I know there's a place for us. But I don't see it yet. And I don't know how we'll survive until then.

I believe there's power and peace in turning it over. That's what I need to do. That's what I choose to do. I'm not helpless. God has given me choice. I choose good. I choose right. I choose well. I choose health. I choose life. I choose God.

Starting now. Not tomorrow, not after the next meal or drink. Now. God help me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Damn. Looks like it was relapse.

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Crazy times. Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett dead. My life keeps moving forward. And I keep eating. Gotta do that to live, right?

But I have to start fresh again today. I can choose life. I can choose to be healthy and free. Thank God.

Relapse is so easy. Recovery takes a lot of work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A New Day

Charlie. Compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie::

Chose to go off-plan yesterday. Only time will tell if it's a little step off the path or the first step in a spiraling relapse.

I was slipping... here and there, but slipping. A lot. Look at my last post.

It was Father's Day, and we went to a Mexican buffet for brunch. I had my first dessert in 3-1/2 months. And then cake last night for a birthday celebration.

Now I'm on again. You know, it made me feel gross. I think I am happiest on-plan.

Here's to abstinence! My plan is three meals a day. Alcohol in moderation is OK. Whole grains only. Maximum 2 pieces of bread morning and night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Checking In

Hey, my name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I have so much to say. It's been so long since I last wrote here.

My family has moved across the country to live with my wife's parents. 8 of us in a very small house.

I'm unemployed and waiting for a job. Some look good, but it's all a waiting game, and I'm not a very patient person. I know God is in control, but the money in the bank never was a lot, and it's running out... slowly but surely.

In the move and the chaos, I've put back on a couple of pounds... Today I was 201.8. Still not BAD, but not really good. This morning I committed to getting really serious about my program for the next 30 days, to tighten things up, so to speak. No flour at all (not even the whole-grain breads I love so much) and NO ALCOHOL. On the greysheet plan, you're not supposed to have alcohol anyway, but I always let that one slide... I like beer and wine when I'm in social situations, and I've been in a lot of those lately.

So I'm back to three meals a day, NO SUGAR OF ANY KIND, NO BREAD or GRAINS, and NO ALCOHOL for thirty days. That means on July 15 I'll re-evaluate everything. But until then I need to be abstinent.

I've just been slipping and sliding way too much. It had been a pretty clean streak up to there, 100 days of slow, steady weight loss and abstinence. (Notice the order I put those two words in... Maybe that says something.) But I've been letting in small things. Beer. A chai latte now and then. First it was occasionally, just a grande. Then it quickly jumped up to venti and several times a week. So predictable.

Well, I'm back. God, help! I need to be abstinent today and always. I give it to you.

Oh, and could you get me a job so my family can have insurance and income again? Thanks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day Sixty!

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

:Hi, Charlie!::

Today is a wonderful day. Today is Day Sixty for me. Thank God for two months of abstinence. Thank God for some peace and freedom around my food choices. Thank God for 22 pounds that I have released from this body of mine.

Still no job. I'm just 6 weeks away from my ending date. I'm afraid in some ways, but I'm at peace in other ways. We'll be okay. God loves me and my family. For Today, I will eat well and carefully. I will love myself because God loves me. I will make those choices well. I will courageously change that which I actually can change. Like the kinds of food I put into my body.

Peace out.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just Showed Up...

Hey, my name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm doing well today, and I'm grateful. 51 days of staying on my food plan! Thank You God! On this Palm Sunday, the kickoff to Holy Week, I am grateful for my Higher Power, Jesus, and His love and care for me.

I feel like I'm "waking up" again after a long slumber. I love this song by Sara Groves. Click to play and read the words. See if this resonates with you the way it resonates with me.

Just Showed Up for My Own Life
Sara Groves
from the album "Add to the Beauty"
(Buy it from Amazon here. Download it from iTunes here.)

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take
By working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface
Repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the commonplace
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real
Until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear
And it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright...

Sara Groves is an amazing singer-songwriter. Her grasp of human nature and God's grace and her ability to put it into words is so encouraging to me. Check out her website here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Breathe Deep, Charlie

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I stepped on the scale and saw 200 pounds today. What a cool thing. I'm grateful to God for removing my cravings and giving me the willingness day by day to live sugar and refined white flour. I am willing today to live with only three very structured meals. And as a result my body has seen fit to "let go" of 22 pounds in the last 50 days or so. Thank You, God!

Even in the midst of some really crazy life experiences... a job transition coming up and no job on the horizon and no money in the bank and a wife and four kids to feed... I have peace. I know that God is doing in me what I couldn't do for myself. I will be fine.

It's funny... Maybe I already wrote about this, I don't remember, but in this chaos, I can't control a lot... Will so-and-so call? Will I be the right fit for this job? I can't control these things. I let them go. What I can do is choose - NOW - to eat abstinently. I can choose to jog in the mornings. And sometimes I do make that choice and it feels awful and wonderful all at the same time. In this time where I don't have a lot of control over my life, it feels good to make healthy choices where I can.

I'm grateful to God and OA for giving me the tools to recognize the choices I can make and to make those choices wisely. When I'm in relapse I can't see or make those choices. With a little sobriety here, I have the freedom again to make those choices well.

Breathe deep, Charlie. It'll be OK.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peace to Me

Charlie. Compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I love how enthusiastic y'all are when you welcome me to this forum day after day. :)

I ran again today, after NOT running for four days. It was murder actually getting out the door, but once I started it felt so good... I ran for twenty full minutes! That's good for me... and I walked for five or six minutes before and after the run... Listened to my iPod and just enjoyed some cool weather.

Feelings today: sad, joyful, peaceful, anxious, grateful, regretful, resentful. Yeah, that covers it.

I'm still on the scale every day. Thanks for the support and encouragement to put it away or whatever, but I'm not willing to do that yet. Praying for willingness to let my Higher Power take care of that part. I'm a little bit obsessed with getting below 200 lbs. I haven't been under 200 since last summer, and it was just for a moment... a shining little moment. This time around, I have been losing weight slowly but surely (and YES, I know that 20 lbs. in 46 days is really quite fast), and it feels a lot more "real." I'm not cheating here and there. I'm just turning my food over and trusting God to take me to the results... And so in a sense I HAVE been letting God care for that part of it. Even though I get on the scale nearly every day, I don't despair when I don't see the results that I want. I know they will come in God's time. If I stay on the plan, surrender every day to this Program and to God.

I keep waiting for "breakthrough" in weight loss. Maybe it will come, maybe not. I lost much faster last time I got abstinent in Program. But I was two and a half years younger then too... Now I'm in my late thirties, and I know our bodies and metabolism change over the years.

Much change and anxiety in my life. I'm waiting by the phone for a call about a job. I have a lot of hope, but the phone hasn't rung yet. Oh God, give me peace and let me rest in Your love for me. My identity does not come from a job or from being skinny, but from being Your creation and the one You love...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Recovery and Serenity in the Midst of Chaos

Hi, may name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Hey look at that... I'm back. And I survived the visit of my relatives! I did pretty well... I didn't take the time to journal or even blog, but I stuck to the food plan and kept it up, one day at a time. Thank You to God...

I'm have officially lost 20 pounds from my "this time" high of 222. I'm grateful. I *know* it's not all about the weight. But man, does it feel good to see and feel results on my body! I even went out jogging 4 times last week. I *hate* jogging, but I made myself do it... I know it's good for me.

I've been feeling a lot of peace, even though my life is in a lot of turmoil right now. I have basically given notice at my job, and I'll be leaving the area at the end of May with my whole family (four kids and a wife!)... I am absolutely broke and cannot afford this, but I know it's the right thing to do. I am currently on a crazy nation-wide job search. I have three possibilities at this point, and I have no idea how serious they are or if their salaries could support our family. I'm a pastor, and so salaries are typically not very high.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fear of a Repeat Performance

Hi, I'm Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I want to talk about one thing here quickly while I'm thinking about it.

This past summer I was doing pretty well on this food plan... a modified version that included probably too much alcohol... but I was doing OK. I had dropped down to 195 pounds. All that changed when I had some visitors, relatives that I love a lot. They are both compulsive overeaters, and it has had terrible effects on their health and the quality of their lives. But that week that we spent together wreaked havoc on my program (which was, admittedly, very weak). I ended up eating just like them by the end of the week, and it just went downhill from there.

So why am I talking about it now? Because they're coming to visit next week. And I'm a little afraid of that. But I pray that this time around I can do it right. I'll talk about it and I'll make healthy choices.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Dodging a Bullet

Good morning... I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Well, friends... I'm doing OK today. I am sitting in a Panera Bread restaurant drinking coffee and working/blogging.

I walked in, though, and the smell about knocked me off my feet. I am a big fan of bread, so why I would choose to surround myself with it when it's not in my plan right now is a mystery to me. Damn, it smells good in here. My addict started whispering in my ear: "One bagel is NOT going to sabotage your food plan. You can get a whole grain bagel with no butter or cream cheese. You are on Day 26 of your food abstinence. You're going to add in whole grains in four days anyway. No one will know. Just do it."

And by the grace of God I opened my mouth and said, "Just a small coffee please."

This feels like it's taking a long time. But the miracles of recovery are already all around me. I don't have the crazy cravings I had just a month ago. There's a sense of peace around my eating. I am committed to this, one day at a time, for the long haul. I'm actually at peace (today, anyway) with the idea that I might never again, for the rest of my life, eat sugar. I still am compulsive about my weight, getting on the scale several times a day. And I want results faster, even though I have seen a 15-pound weight loss in less than a month (remarkable by any standard), I am not satisfied. I seem to remember a faster loss before, but I think I'm imagining things. I think I'm not satisfied because this is the THIRD time I've seen significant weight loss... and I'm not convinced I'll make it this time! I've done this so many times, lost 15-20 pounds and then put it back on and then some... But this time feels different again... I'm committed to my food plan. For Today, I'll make it... I'll make it...

I wonder if I need to make fewer weigh-ins part of my abstinence. That scares me, and I'm not willing to do it yet. But I'll think and pray about it - really. And if you have any feedback, I'm happy to receive it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Three Weeks and Eleven Pounds

Hey, I'm Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

So three weeks ago today was the last time I ate compulsively. I'm grateful for nearly three weeks of abstinence and 11 pounds "released" to God.

Lots to say but not much time. More later.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It Is What It Is

Hi, I'm Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Today is Day Eleven for me, I think, and I'm very grateful for that. I have a sense that this time it's gonna work. Ha! How many times have I said that? A thousand? Two thousand?

And yet...

Something about starting this blog up again, something about having a consistent spiritual practice of reading scriptures, journaling, praying... for more than one day... It's feeling like there is some real surrender happening this time. Some real recovery.

And just today on the scales... a little gift. I think today I was 211.6 pounds. Let's revisit my weight history:

Most of my life I was slightly overweight... In college I probably hovered around 190-200 pounds. When I got married I started to slowly put it on, getting up to around 230 pounds by about 2000. I was 29 years old, had been married 7 years and had 2 kids. My first significant weight loss was right after my twins were born in 2001. I really buckled down and made it happen... Counted calories like a madman - no more than 2000 per day - and worked out about 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And yes, I lost weight. I looked and felt great. I got down to, I think, 185 pounds.

So, victorious over fat, I stopped working out so regularly and started eating more food again. As you know, that didn't work. I got fat again, this time topping out at 236. And more than the fat, I was completely out of control and compulsive in my eating.

My eating got crazy back then - sneaking food, charging food, lots of fast food, eating 5-6 meals a day, making and eating entire boxes of mac-n-cheese in one meal, eating multiple bowls of cereal covered in sugar, late at night... and then, of course, eating sensibly in front of other people.

And I shouldn't talk about this as if it's all SO FAR back in my history. Truth is, I've done some of this in the past couple years as well, on and off.

So then I found OA. In 2006 I went to some meetings and then ended up starting my own group. I found real, true abstinence. God removed my cravings, my obsession around food. I was free from sugar and refined white flour for seven months. I ate only three meals a day and non-caloric drinks. I lost 64 pounds, the most I had ever lost in my life at one time, and finally realized, for the first time since - probably - high school, my goal weight of 172.

And again... I had arrived. It was a wonderful achievement, a banner moment in my life. I really felt serenity and I had experienced a lot of freedom from the physical effects of compulsive overeating. I was actually... skinny! I still had some flab around my waist that I didn't like. I didn't like the shape of me, but I was a shadow of my former self, and I loved it. I relished it. I wore cool shirts that were tight on me. I was wearing some size 34 jeans. Insane.

And then I had a milkshake at Baskin-Robbins. You know, because this time I could handle it.

Here I am again, two years later. Over the last two years I have gained and lost, gained and gained and gained and gained and lost, gained and gained and gained and gained and gained and lost again...

In fact, since I started recording my weight on, back in October '07, I've bounced around from a low of 191.6 on January 22, 2008 to a high of 222.2 on February 8 of this year. My lowest weight in the last year was on July 24, 2008. I weighed in at an astonishing (for me at the time) 195.8. Why did I stop? I was doing pretty well... Lots of reasons. Mostly I think because some compulsive eaters I love a lot came to visit for a week, and I basically got sucked back into their addiction along with them. That's OK. It is what it is. Now we move on. For Today, right?

Here's my Skinnyr chart:

Crazy, huh? But no shame... It is what it is. And there IS a solution. And I'm taking the right steps, one day at a time, to find serenity and freedom and, yes, weight loss.

Like I was saying at the beginning of the post. This morning, I weighed 211.6. That was a gift. It's going to come off. Stay on the plan. Do the right thing. God, remove my excess weight as you remove my character defects and my cravings! Amen...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weight Loss Will Come... Right?

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm really grateful that I'm still "on plan" today. And that's really all I have, right? Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Today, though, I am abstinent. I'm grateful.

I WISH I could see some quicker results. But it's going to come, in God's time. I need to let go of control. Sunday morning was really hard. I stepped on the scale for the first time in a week, having been abstinent for a full week, and I weighed 215 pounds. That sucked. I was hoping for 210. But I know that my expectations are unrealistic. I put this weight back on over two years. To think it's gonna all come off in a really short time is unrealistic. Seems like it did last time, though. Of course, this time I'm two years older. 37 is not 35, as I am well aware.

Sometime I think my body is saying "We'll see... Show me you're actually serious this time. Show me that you can get past a week... Then we might talk about weight loss." :)

Now I need to go practice my faith... This *is* a spiritual program after all. I need to read the scriptures, to pray and to journal. That's what I need. Now. Here I go.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spiraling Into... Surrender?

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm listening to the innocence mission, a favorite band of mine. Their sound could adequately be descibed as "serene." And since that's what we as addicts in recovery are constantly asking God for, it's a good thing to listen to.

Today is Day Six for me. It's been quite a while since I had this much continual abstinence... probably since the summer.

I have a little bit of a predicament coming tomorrow night. You know, it's not. Now that I "hear" myself talking about it, it's not a problem at all. I am meeting a friend and going to a concert, and I want to drink a beer. Beer is not a problem for me as far as the alcohol goes. It's just that it's not on the plan. And EVERY TIME I go off the plan, even a little bit, I spiral out of control.

I SHOULD say I spiral INTO control. I try to control it. "OK, a little alcohol is fine. I'll eat less tomorrow..." quickly becomes "Maybe one cookie won't hurt this one time," which - for me - leads to sneaky McDonald's drive-thru trips.

So I need to let go, to surrender control to God. No drinking for me. It's Diet Coke. No problem. Should be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Used To Be Famous...

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

How funny... Doing a search for OA bloggers, I stumbled upon this. I had forgotten that the original incarnation of my blog actually got a little attention! Wish I hadn't deleted it. There was a lot of great stuff there.

Diary of a Mad Overeater 3.0?

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm blogging anonymously, and I like it because I can say whatever the hell I want! I just went back and read through the posts from the last six months. Sheesh. I can read denial, control, fear... in every line!

I surrender to you, God. I am at the end of my rope. I don't even know what I weigh right now, and I'm not worried about it. I will weigh again on Sunday morning and record it on Skinnyr.

Today is my fourth day of continuous abstinence on the HOW plan: three pre-planned meals a day. No sugar. No refined white flour.

Annie Dillard wrote, "How we live our days is, of course, how we live our lives." Wow. That is a challenging and powerful quote for me today. So For Today, I surrender. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (my weight, my history, my past successes and failures, my debts), the courage to change the things I can (the way I spend TODAY - both money and time, the food I put into my mouth today, the way I attack the jobs that are laid out in front of me) and the wisdom to know the difference.

I hope some of my old blogging friends will find me again. Dodi, are you out there? I am feeling pretty alone in this. I made this a private blog for too long. I'm gonna come looking for some of you.