John Bradshaw


The Belly Is A Wall of Protection?!?I decided to take a break from updating this blog while starting work on a new blog that has nothing to do with the subject matter of Overactive Fork.

At some point within the past six weeks I made a (sub)conscious decision (which IS a decision of sorts) that I just wanted to do a little less work on my recovery effort.

My decision was definitely DUMB (not to mention self-destructive!). After all, my addiction NEVER takes a break from working on me, so where do I get off deciding that I can somehow “let up” on working on my recovery?  Such stinking thinking ALWAYS leads me (and most other addicts too?) to relapse.

My “SIX Week Mini-Vacation From Recovery” resulted in a 1.3 pound weight re-gain (UPDATE: As of Monday, March 31 my TEN week weight re-gain total was 3.3 pounds). Obviously, it could have been a LOT worse — I’m extremely lucky that I didn’t re-gain at least 20 pounds in a six (make that 30 pounds in a TEN) week period!

My relapses over the past few years have usually resulted in small weight re-gains — which (Duh!) STOPS my ability to continue to lose excess weight.  Then again, to be totally honest, I don’t really want to be “THIN!!!”

Pardon me while I vent…

I pretty much DETEST thin (especailly “thin and muscular”) people who tend to cop a negative attitude toward big fat slobs like me!  At times, I actually HATE these folks! I actually wish that they could become a big fat slob just like me — if not bigger, fatter and “slobbier” (Is “slobbier” a real word?) than moi!!!

REALITY CHECK: Of course I’m NEVER REALLY “angry” or “full of hate” — I just STUFF DOWN my anger and hatred to become what one rock song called a state of being “comfortably numb”!

I also pretty much DETEST any food plan that attempts to suggest a saner way to eat than does that self-deluded voice that tells me to “Go ahead, and eat just a little more…”! This is a truly pathetic attitude to cop, especially because the Weight Watchers POINTS food plan is probably the most reasonable, flexible and sanest food plan I’ve ever worked in my life!

And when it comes right down to it: I’m VERY AFRAID to be
“THIN”!!! I can remember people asking me countless time over the years if I didn’t REALLY want to be “thin”. For many years I would respond to the “earth people” with a one word answer: “Sure!” — just to  get them off my back! Anything to just SHUT THEM UP (so I can begin stuffing down even more anger and resentment).

You know who “earth people” are, right? They are the people who walk around with maybe 5 – 10 pounds of excess weight, yet claim that they “understand” what it’s like to deal with the same level of obesity as those of us who are “morbidly obese”. Heck,I’ve SPILLED MORE FOOD at one meal than these folks have probably overate over the course of their entire life!

Some other “earth people” are actually at a normal weight and rarely if ever overeat (let alone act out with any of the major self-destructive addiction). Their “addiction” per se is to feel superior to those of us who aren’t as PERFECT as they are! And don’t they have ALL the answers for all of our problems.

“Bitter…Party of one!!!”

OK. Enough of my tirade against “earth people”, food plans and everything else that gets on my last nerve when it comes to my addiction. Sometimes I just gotta’ vent before I can re-focus and re-group and get back on track with a sane(r) way of thinking. As John Bradshaw or some other 12 Step speaker once said, “Nothing ever changes until it becomes what it is.”

But back to that irritating question often asked of me, “Don’t you REALLY want to be thin?” The truth is NO (some part of me at least) would really rather stay FAT (maybe “less fat”). Deep down I’m AFRAID to let go of the layers of fat that have done such a marvelous job (?) over the years to PROTECT me!

I know this fear is crazy. But since I was in high school (I turned 50 earlier this year), I can honestly state that I have experience the FEAR being thin. Then again, perhaps fear is just another excuse to stay in the food and stay out of the exercise?

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Before, During OR After?An earlier topic I posted on had to do with just how cruel we food addicts can be to one another. One aspect of the unkindness we are capable of acting out with has to do with how judgmental we food addicts can be about other addict’s food choices. I find it rather ironic that those of us who have been out-of-control with our food intake can be awfully high and mighty — yeah, in a word: “judgmental” — when it comes to rating what and/or how much  other addicts (addicts who self-identify as being “in recovery”) eat.

And you (and I) certainly are NOT judgmental toward other addicts, right? Then tell me about that fellow who is pictured above (the guy wearing the red shirt). Did you assume that he is at his TOP weight ever? Or did you wonder if he had already lost 50, 75, 100 or more pounds? How do you emperically KNOW that he is as overweight as he has ever been? Answer: You can NOT know for sure if you just met someone. Why is it OK to assume the worst about them? Answer: It isn’t.

So to any food addict (not to metion to every exercise avoider as well) who has been negatively judged becuase of recovery effort, please know that you aren’t alone!  I, too, have had to endure nurerous judgmental comments (and hateful glances) over the years — and those words and looks definitely can hurt!

My “recovery puzzle” includes wisdom gleaned from various 12 Step fellowships, including Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. One of my favorite lines from the A.A. Big Book says, “Where alcohol has been involced, we are stragely insane.” And I can solemnly assure you that when it comes to food (and exercise) I too have a well-documented history of being “strangely insane”.

So when I hear a fellow food addict pontificate to me or other addicts about nutrition (let alone exercise) I try to NOT over-react and remember to “consider the source”. Trusting a food addict to be a dietician is about illogical as trusting a pyromaniac to work as a fireman. It just ain’t a smart idea!!!

Could you make “better” food choices than some other addict? Good for you! Did you loose weight faster than another addict did? Whoopie!!!

What’s the point of being a know-it-all with one another? Can’t we all support one another while walking DIFFERENT paths to achieve our recovery? Since when did my mouth get attached to yours? Our own individual results are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! Remember the famous disclaimer: “Your results may vary”. My experience is that our individual results often DO vary from that of another addict!

If you want “competition” go park your butt in front of your TV and watch those weight loss reality series. On the other hand, if you want to be “supportive”, then work your own program of recovery while affirming others for their sincere efforts at recovery.

Being overly critical of fellow addicts is all-too-typical behavior for those who have (and rumor has it that ALL of us addicts have this issue, to one degree or another) chronically low self-esteem. This problem is what 12 Step writer John Bradshaw refers to as “Toxic Shame”. When we who have for so long judged ourselves without mercy, it is all-too-easy to act out this way when we interact with others who share our addiction.

The tendency toward addict-to-addict judgmentalism is why I’ve decided to NOT post a whole lot of truly personal recovery information (e.g., my weight loss, food intake and accoiunting for physical exercise) on Overactive Fork. I don’t need the hateful remarks that come with shame-based addicts projecting their shame on me. NOT that I’ve ever projected ME shame on any other addicts! HA! I only (honestly) wish that were so.

Just for today I wont judge other addict’s attempts at (and results from their) recovery journey. My rate of weight loss (and yours) is God’s business (not mine or yours).