Monday, June 28, 2010

The HOW Plan

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

It's been a crazy couple of years. Lots of ups and downs. Unemployment. Five cross-country moves in two years. I've never been able to get back to where I was the FIRST time I tried OA and got on the HOW plan.

Well, one day at a time, I'm on Day Nine. And for some reason, this time it feels like a big deal. There's something about the stability I feel in my new job and city... We've been here 10 months now. I love my work, my home, my city. I'm feeling content.

Every time I've tried the HOW plan, I have a period of withdrawal. This time is no different, but I think I'm almost through... One day at a time, I'm going to make it.

People have been asking about the HOW plan. I'll try to explain. And I should say from the beginning that this is MODIFIED from the original "Greysheet" plan. HOW stands for honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. As most of you know, OA doesn't have an official food plan. It is up to each member, with the help of his/her sponsor and the group, to create a food plan for him/herself. I don't know all the history, but this was not always the case. There was a food plan called the "Grey Sheet" plan that was later abandoned. But there are special OA groups that use the plan. I suspect that they look down on "regular" OA groups, especially when they see no physical recovery happening. But whatever.

I tried this plan - pretty hardcore - 3-4 years ago now when I originally entered OA. And it worked. Beyond my wildest dreams. I lost 65 pounds rapidly. I lost all cravings for sugar and refined white flour. I felt great.

Until I had That Damn Milkshake.

But I digress. Every since then I've been trying to get back into this plan. Or a variation of it. My plan is just about the same, but I do allow moderate amounts of alcohol (not at home, but if I'm out with friends or someone offers it in their home) and my portions are sometimes a little bigger than the original plan allows.

So for now, I'm not having any grains at all. Just meat and veggies. That's it. And "plan-approved" salad dressing. (No sugar of any kind in the first five listed ingredients.)

I'm gonna post the Grey Sheet as a PDF in the sidebar in case anyone wants to download it and check it out!

Day Nine! Can you believe it?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where I'm At

Hi, I'm Charlie, a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

If nothing else, maybe I can provide a picture of what relapse looks and feels like, because it seems like that's all I'm good for these days.

I was doing well, eating on the HOW plan. I know where it fell apart, and it's ironic, because it was at the home of some friends who are VERY fit and health-conscious. We went there for dinner on Friday night. She set out chips and salsa. I had some, and then some more. And then I tried the pretzel chips with hummus. And then some more. A lot more. I got obsessed about the pretzel chips. I was sneaking handfuls. And this was all before dinner.

Dinner was awesome and healthy... salmon. Mmmm. But I was so stuffed I couldn't really enjoy it.

You know, come to think of it, maybe the first thing that I did "wrong" was have a glass of wine. Back in the Glory Days I didn't drink any alcohol. That was part of my abstinence. Now I feel like I'm above that, that wine and beer don't really count. HOW would say they count.

Anyway, since Friday, I've driven through Burger King, Taco Bell, Braum's and Chick-Fil-A. And that's just the fast food. I've had root beer floats the last two nights. I've eaten macaroni and cheese and pizza.

I long to be free. I want to eat again, right now. Everything in me is telling me that it doesn't matter. That eating another bowl of ice cream or cereal tonight wouldn't change anything. What's one more?

God, help.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hanging In There

Charlie, compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm still abstinent, by my old definition of abstinence (the HOW plan), and I'm feeling weak. But I'm grateful that in my weakness, God is strong, and I can release my pain and my cravings to God. I am always surprised at how HARD early abstinence is!

Thanks for caring...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More Step Work

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

More First Step work...

1a. What other solutions have I tried, and what were the results? Am I still looking for a solution outside OA?

Well. I've tried Weight Watchers, the cabbage soup diet, the Atkins diet, the Master Cleanse, a personal trainer who made me a great food plan, fasting, and compulsive calorie-counting.

The results? When I did the calorie-counting along with exercise, I lost a lot of weight and felt great about myself. Then I gained it all back.

When I did OA the first time, I lost a lot of weight and felt great about myself. Then I gained it all back.

Cabbage soup was nasty. Master Cleanse was awful. I starved the whole time and ended up cheating, stopping the fast early and binging on cheeseburgers. The personal trainer. Huh. He's a friend of mine, and I'm basically wallowing in shame right now because I've been ignoring his generous help and support. I'm basically avoiding him. Weight Watchers was OK, but honestly, it was a bummer because I was the only man there. Similar to OA, at least here in my city, but OA is better.

Yes, I'm still looking for a solution outside OA. I don't want to admit I'm sick. I want to think I can just somehow get it together and get thin.

I'm so tired of feeling fat. I'm as fat as I've ever been today. I have some gigs coming up, and I just want to look like a rocker. I sound like one... the band it awesome, and I feel great about my vocals. But I feel like I don't look the part. I'm singing these bad-ass songs, and I feel like people will be judging me based on my weight. No one will think I'm sexy, and no one will think I'm a bad-ass.

Not that I am... but when you're singing rock songs with a band, you wanna come across that way, right?

The good news is that I am not eating tonight, even though I want cereal so badly my mouth is watering. I've been drinking water.

I don't have a food plan right now. My sponsor and I have no relationship to speak of. I never call her. I wonder if I could look to find another one outside of this area... Maybe a former OA friend from the Bay Area... I think I'll look into that. Help, God!