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Old 06-15-2013, 04:16 PM   #1
Senior LCF Member
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 75
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WOE: Paleolithic-no dairy, moderate amounts of fruit
What Does Abstinence Really Mean?

Ok, so I'm re-trying OA. I think the program has a lot of merits, but there are things about it that I don't like.
a) I feel funny saying, "Hello, my name is Lucy and I'm a food addict." For me, that sounds like defining oneself by one's eating disorder, and I'm not comfortable with that. I fully admit that I do have an eating disorder, but I don't like defining myself as a compulsive overeater *when I introduce myself.* I do overeat compulsively, and am fine with admitting that, but I guess some of the language the group uses, which I know is designed to get people to face their own choices and addiction, seems insulting.
b) I don't necessarily understand what OA means by abstinent. One time a woman told me that I would have to avoid white flour and sugar *FOR LIFE.* I do think that those foods can be triggering, however, I also feel that for me, "abstinence" means that I don't/didn't *binge.* Often I find that if I have a small quantity of sugar or whatever at a family gathering, I don't feel the need to stuff myself with more of it. If, however, I start eating sugar because it's there and I"m upset, it triggers a binge. So, my goal is to stop binging. I don't like it when people imply that if you eat a cupcake on your birthday, you're not "abstinent."

I don't know, maybe I'm still in quasi-denial about the impact of sugar or my need to give it up completely, but I'm not sure. Has anyone come to a happy medium as far as all of this is concerned? I would also welcome people's experiences with OA.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:50 AM   #2
Senior LCF member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,114
Gallery: Leo41
Stats: 340 then/145 now
WOE: Low carb/calorie cycling
I don't have any experience with OA, but I am like you when it comes to sugar.

If I eat in response to an 'urge,' it becomes compulsive overeating. But if I make an informed choice to have a dessert at the end of a restaurant meal, it's not a 'trigger' for continued overeating.

I know that I don't have to abstain for life, but I have to learn to deal with those 'urges' to overeat compulsively. I've read a lot about this, and it's a matter of finding the right approach. Sometimes I'm very successful in getting rid of the urge--but I'm still vulnerable and sometimes give in. I want to be able to do this all the time.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:02 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 5,599
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Stats: 170/128.2/125-130 5'1
WOE: lc
The OA groups I have visited only required that you abstain from the foods you feel like you compulsively overeat. Everyone was allowed to pick there own eating plan and define their own abstinence.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tyrone Georgia U.S.A.
Posts: 569
Gallery: E.W.
Stats: 312/310/ a lot less
WOE: Low Carb
Start Date: restart again 10/27/2014
I went to a regular basis for about 3 years. In the end I found it rather depressing.
In paticular the little reading at the start of the program sorry I have to paraphrase
it " rarley have we seen the program fail for those who have followed our path" well
of the 200 or more people I saw try the program I just saw 3 lose there weight and
keep it off realy long term.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:23 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,070
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Seems to be an approach that works for some people, but not for others.
Only you can make the final determination if it works for you.
A lot like the AA . . . it obviously works for some people but others don't like the admitting powerlessness part, or the group part.

Personally I think that willpower is overrated, but again some people can will their way through recovery and others find that willpower is not enough.

I never did AA to stop drinking, but it has saved the lives of several people I know. At some point it becomes recognizing what works for us and what doesn't. And at some point recognizing what is not working and trying another stategy.

In the addictions forum there is occasional discussion of OA. You may already know this.

Should be good reading here.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:27 AM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 1,676
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WOE: TOPS-Reached KOPS status on 11-5-15/Juddd
I know someone who goes to OA but doesn't take it seriously because I guess they think it's an all or nothing thing and once they "mess up" they might as well not bother. Do you have a TOPS in your area? I think it's similar in a lot of ways but it doesn't define you in the way you mentioned OA does.
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become". -Buddha
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