Carol's Story Compulsive Eating San Jose, California

I am a compulsive overeater. I have always been one. I used food to take the edge off of life. I tried to control my food but I couldn't. I hated my body, so in turn I hated myself. If only I could lose the weight, then I would be okay. If only I could eat like normal people did, I thought.

It used to be that I could not have a loaf of bread in the house because I would have to eat it all, one slice after another until it was gone and I was miserable. I used to order Chinese food for six people and then come home and eat it all. All the while saying to myself that I was getting this mass quantity of food so I could have leftovers. There was never anything left, but the feeling of being so full and self loathing.

I would go to Weight Watchers and lose some weight, and then go out of control. I gained 100 pounds in a few years, which I lost and gained again in increments as the years went on. This crazy cycle of controlled eating and then bingeing ran my life for over 20 years.

One day I met a woman who said she had lost 50 pounds by going to Overeaters Anonymous (OA). So 11 years ago, I went to lose weight, and instead I gained a new way of living life. At first I was pretty turned off about OA. I thought that the people at the meeting were "too sick" for me, I just had a problem with food...a problem which it took me quite a while to understand just how deep the disease ran. When I hit bottom and realized that I was powerless over my food and weight compulsion and that my life was unmanageable, I began to work the 12-Step Program of recovery in OA.

The OA program has given me my life back, and helped me to let go of the weight without dieting. For me, the hardest thing to get over are the residual body image issues that still bother me, but it's nowhere near how it used to be. Long gone are the days of eating from Thursday night straight through to Sunday night. I have hope now, and I take things one day at a time, and sometimes, one meal at a time. I have learned that if you are willing to go to any lengths, you can recover.