Wouldn't OA-90's eating plan be like anorexia or orthorexia all over again? - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wouldn't OA-90's eating plan be like anorexia or orthorexia all over again?


Hi everyone,

I usually post in the AA forums but food is one of my addictions, too. I guess you could say it was my earliest addiction. I've had disordered eating behaviors my entire life--overeating especially sweets or carbs, anorexia, non-purging type bulimia, orthorexia, and obsessing compulsively about food.

I did go to OA for a short time, but I am confused. The OA-90 eating plan just seems very strict and I worry it's going to just fuel my old anorexic or orthorexic behavior because it is strict, cuts out a lot of foods, involves weighing and measuring, etc. There also seems a lot of emphasis on the actual eating plan, vs on the spiritual malady.

I also am concerned it's going to lead to my eating habits becoming an embarrassment/sense of attention that I do not want to deal with.
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Someone here recommended the book by Josie Spinardi called "How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans, Too" and it's really worth a read. It focuses on being mindful and present when we eat and how to stop the I'm good/I'm so bad dance we do with what and how much we eat. Maybe take a look?

I find that the more restricted I feel about eating and the more rituals there are with calorie counting and weighing, the more likely I am to feel deprived and rebellious. The three things that helped me lose 25 pounds four years ago were 1) not drinking any beverage with calories, 2) not eating out, because restaurant food is nearly always significantly more caloric and less healthy than what you prepare at home, and 3) moving. I run twice a week for five or six miles and walk every day for at least half an hour. Those three rules still work for me, but we're all different.

Wishing you health...
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to this side of the forum.

I have not been a member of OA in part due to local. In part because I have found that for me the rules around food were a big trigger.

I have done a lot of Al-Anon and found that has helped my food behaviors.

I also have been fortunate to work with a good therapist and that is where I work on a lot of food stuff, including the decision on if OA was a good fit for me.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Someone here recommended the book by Josie Spinardi called "How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans, Too" and it's really worth a read. It focuses on being mindful and present when we eat and how to stop the I'm good/I'm so bad dance we do with what and how much we eat. Maybe take a look?
Thanks for the recommendation. I love to read about mindfulness so this is perfect.

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I find that the more restricted I feel about eating and the more rituals there are with calorie counting and weighing, the more likely I am to feel deprived and rebellious.
That's exactly my concern and question about OA and I'm just curious if people who go there as over eaters are just living on the other side of the coin, or does this way of living not lead to restrictive type obsessive thinking about what *not* to eat?
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Centered3-

Welcome to this side of the forum.

I have not been a member of OA in part due to local. In part because I have found that for me the rules around food were a big trigger.

I have done a lot of Al-Anon and found that has helped my food behaviors.

I also have been fortunate to work with a good therapist and that is where I work on a lot of food stuff, including the decision on if OA was a good fit for me.
Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts. That's interesting that Al-anon helped with your food behaviors. Might I ask if you were overeating or undereating (or maybe that doesn't matter....) May I ask what in Al-anon helped with your food issues? I was in Al-anon/ACoA years ago.

That's great you found a therapist who helped specifically with food issues. It seems with my therapist we bounce around on a lot of different subjects, which is frustrating.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts. That's interesting that Al-anon helped with your food behaviors. Might I ask if you were overeating or undereating (or maybe that doesn't matter....) May I ask what in Al-anon helped with your food issues? I was in Al-anon/ACoA years ago.

That's great you found a therapist who helped specifically with food issues. It seems with my therapist we bounce around on a lot of different subjects, which is frustrating.
So I actually was in recovery for my Eating Disorder (mainly binge eating disorder/overeating) but it has taken many forms over the years when I met, feel in love with and married a problem drinker.

I was working hard on my recovery but as that relationship started to struggle I kept sitting in therapy appts and blaming myself for all the challenges we were having. Never did I want to look at the elephant in the room that was impacting us just as much......his drinking.

I don't want to make it sound like my loved one that got me here was replaceable. He is not. I however due to my family of origin was destined for loving an addict. His addiction + My codependency = LOVE. As challenges came up though our separate coping mechanisms began to drive a wedge into the system of relating.

I knew I lived with codependency when I met my husband. What I did not realize was how insidious it was, and that it was not just the behaviors for me, but the motivation of my behaviors. I truly believed that if I fixed my behaviors and "got it right," I could make our relationship work.

My therapist helped a lot with my codependency. That is a one:one relationship though, and she has very healthy boundaries and I began to realize that for me to get better I needed to practice what I was learning outside of that environment.

This was at the same time that my husband chose to have an affair. Something in my snapped. I FINALLY started to deal with the affair (mainly by not taking it on as my fault) and was finally willing to deal with the fact that he had a hard time with alcohol.

I was FINALLY ready for Al-anon and taking my codependency on the road and watch it in action with other people. For me talking about my challenges....and seeing that I was not alone helped to multiple the joy/triumphs and divide and dissipate the challenges. I also attended a lot of Open AA meetings (I do not have an inappropriate relationship with alcohol at this time in my life) which I found equally as helpful and frankly often found people in AA more willing to look at their challenges head on.

When I started to dig in and deal with my codependent behaviors and tendencies I started to need food less for coping with the same things. At open AA meetings I just substituted the word alcohol out, and the word food or people/places/things in.

My journey with food has brought me many places. I have worked with dietitians, massage, therapy, eating disorder group therapy, Al-Anon, Open AA, Equine therapy, Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction workshops, Energy work etc. For me if I AM "working" on something recovery related it is ALWAYS helping all of my challenges....not just one.

Part of this journey was trying things out to see what helped and what did not. Part of this journey was realizing that sometime to heal a wound you have to be willing to sit with the hurt and yuck to feel better. Part of this journey for me has been about just learning how to take gentle care of myself, and to surround myself with people who support that. Part of this has been about realizing I am not alone in these struggles and that there is not any shame in struggling.

Part of this journey has been about the 12 step slogan of "Take what you like and leave the rest." That means for me not that there is not value in OA, but would it complement what I wanted right now. I had to learn that there are not "Rules" to 12 step work but guidelines. Rigidity and rules was part of my unrecovered way of being in the world.

So what does your recovery journey look like right now? What can add to it that would also help with food behaviors?

Sorry this was quite the novel!!!!
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I had to learn that there are not "Rules" to 12 step work but guidelines. Rigidity and rules was part of my unrecovered way of being in the world.

So what does your recovery journey look like right now? What can add to it that would also help with food behaviors?
Sorry, LifeRecovery. I am just seeing this now. Thank you for your very helpful response. I agree with what you wrote here about "rigidity and rules" and that is what I am concerned about with OA.

My recovery journey is that I have gone through the steps thoroughly with other addictions, and the food addiction is the last remaining one to deal with.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Part of my process with the Steps was doing Patrick Carnes Step work called the Gentle Guide Through the Steps. It is designed to have both addicts side and codependency sides and as I struggle with both (food/codependency impacts my food) I did both.

I found it a great help!
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Food addiction--the final frontier! Or is it Emotional Maturity?

Centered3 & LR, I can so relate!

By doing inventory, I realized food was my first addiction. Sadly, it was just about the last to go. If depression can be an addiction, that was also one of the last to go. (the two go hand in hand)

I am an active member of OA, blessed to be abstinent and at goal weight--without rigidity!!! Only "rule" I have is to love myself unconditionally.
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Its a style of life to eat healthy. I eat healthy foods for the most part, but I eat TOO MUCH.

If I had of kept on with all the junk I ate years ago, I'd be one of the 400pounders for sure.

Does anyone just chew the delicious food and spit it out ? I could see myself trying that if I had lots of extra money.

For now I would be better off if someone else controlled my money and my food supply.
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Old 03-30-2017, 04:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The roommates food sure smells good, I'm on a diet, I'll just enjoy the smell and leave my cooling for another hour
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm in OA, gratefully abstinent. What is OA 90? Never heard of it. The eating plans in the dignity of choice pamphlet are suggestions. That's the beauty of OA, you get to find what works best for you.

Best of luck.

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Hi everyone,

I usually post in the AA forums but food is one of my addictions, too. I guess you could say it was my earliest addiction. I've had disordered eating behaviors my entire life--overeating especially sweets or carbs, anorexia, non-purging type bulimia, orthorexia, and obsessing compulsively about food.

I did go to OA for a short time, but I am confused. The OA-90 eating plan just seems very strict and I worry it's going to just fuel my old anorexic or orthorexic behavior because it is strict, cuts out a lot of foods, involves weighing and measuring, etc. There also seems a lot of emphasis on the actual eating plan, vs on the spiritual malady.

I also am concerned it's going to lead to my eating habits becoming an embarrassment/sense of attention that I do not want to deal with.
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Sorry, LifeRecovery. I am just seeing this now. Thank you for your very helpful response. I agree with what you wrote here about "rigidity and rules" and that is what I am concerned about with OA.

My recovery journey is that I have gone through the steps thoroughly with other addictions, and the food addiction is the last remaining one to deal with.
Here I am sitting in a beautiful Recovery Cafe waiting to go into my first OA meeting. I've been working the steps with an AA sponsor for a couple of years now and have managed to apply it to most if my damaging compulsive behaviour and thinking but couldn't suss out how to apply it to food.
On my drive here doing a mental inventory I too concluded that eating was my first addiction. And refusing to eat my first defiant act of self will and supposed control. Aha.
Wish me luck. Will report back later.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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So please I went. Lovely meeting and a chance to reflect and draw a line under this last binge. I've got to read through my newcomers pack and read my OA book but have a semblance of a plan starting. Thing is, every time I think I'm going somewhere with it I find myself mentally sneaking in some rationalizing thoughts... Kind of..."It will be okay to eat x if y". This food obsession if going to take some work, but I have come home with lots of hope.
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Recovery from disordered eating has been, in my experience, a marathon, not a sprint. Three years into my conscious recovery from compulsive eating, I am still learning, still adjusting, but am more forgiving of myself and others than ever in my life.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Recovery from disordered eating has been, in my experience, a marathon, not a sprint. Three years into my conscious recovery from compulsive eating, I am still learning, still adjusting, but am more forgiving of myself and others than ever in my life.
Yes. I can well believe that it will be a marathon. But doable.
I need to develop my tools and use them. One day at a time.

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Old 07-16-2017, 10:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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By the way - no mention of OA-90 at the meeting I went to, and nothing in the starter pack I was given either. There was a reluctance to talk about food (as in what people choose to plan to eat) and the focus was very much on the steps and spiritual side of recovery. When I asked what I should be eating (1 to 1 chat after the meeting) I was told gently that OA doesn't tell people what to eat, and nutritional advise should be sought elsewhere if that's what I wanted, and the 12-step program of OA to stick to what I have decided. The main thing I learned was that the abstinence part in OA is the obsessive and unhealthy side to our eating habits, so the bingeing or purging or restricting. For me, you can add secret eating and stealing food to get my sugar fix. To be honest, I never are like I did because I didn't know how to eat healthily, so they were quite right. I don't need to be told what to eat. I just need to learn how to DO it. And for me, after finding the 12-step program worked for me with alcohol and codependency, it seems logical to apply the steps to this. I just couldn't suss out how to before. Now I'm more hopeful as I have a clearer idea about what it is that I'm handing over to my Higher Power. And now I've seen it, it seems even more insane that couldn't see it before.

What is on the OA-90 plan then?

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