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Trying out Overeaters Anonymous

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I'm only 2 months out from my surgery, but I am feeling some emotional ways about food lately. 2 weeks ago I went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and went again this week as well. I figured this would been a good weekly supplement to my monthly support group meetings at the hospital. I love our hospital meetings and look forward to them every month. But then there's the 3-4 weeks between meetings where I feel I could use a little support.

Sometime last year I briefly looked into seeing a therapist, outside of the psychologist they have on staff at my clinic, but I never felt comfortable with the place I tried and the therapist didn't have much background with eating disorders, let alone weight loss surgery, and I never went out of my way to try another therapist. Mostly due to laziness, and I wasn't struggling very much so it really would have been a waste of money.

So what's going on in my head? I mentioned in my last post that I'm feeling the need to grocery shop and buy a lot of things for variety in my diet. That happened big time this weekend. My freezer and fridge are packed full of yummy, healthy, protein-rich food. What's the problem? I can't eat it all so why am I buying it? I am becoming a food hoarder. I'm not binging on the food, it's just sitting in the fridge. I can only eat tiny portions of anything so why am I buying all this food in bulk? Most of it is frozen food so it will last a while, but there's no reason I need to have this much food in my fridge and every day I think of something else I'd like to buy - it just popped into my head while writing this that I'd like to get some ground turnkey to make taco meat. But I have too much food already! I don't need to buy more! Before surgery my fridge and freezer were mostly bare because I'd eat out, or pick up something from the deli, occasional fast food. Now I have more food than I can reasonably handle.

So far Overeaters Anonymous is not really helping with my shopping frenzy. After the meeting on Sunday I went to church and after church I went to Trader Joe's and bought more stuff. I don't go to Trader Joe's very often so it was exciting to see all the new stuff they have. I went in there to get ONE THING and I left with a full basket and an almost $50 bill. Ridiculous.

I don't know if the Overeaters Anonymous thing is going to be something I will stick with, but it's pretty clear I have some compulsive behavior with food so I'm hopeful the meetings can assist.  But, just like with finding a therapist, I need to find a meeting that is right for me. The two meetings I went to were at an easy location for met to get to, but it has been a very small group of just 4 people each time. We take turns reading out loud from the OA books and we can briefly comment on what we are readings. We're only allowed to "share" our issues for 3 minutes and we can't "cross-talk" which means you can't comment on what another person is saying. So there's really no support/help being offered by the participants. You just say what you want to say and everyone says "thank you for sharing" and that's it.  I haven't even brought up this topic of food hoarding yet because it's never been close to the topic we are talking about. It's a very ridged structure and not as free-flowing as I would like a group-therapy-type thing to be. I've been told there are other meetings in other neighborhoods which have different formats so I need to try those and see if there is something that I am looking for. Thankfully it is free.

So that's what's going on at the moment.

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I think it's a great idea to try OA - you've identified an area in your life that you want to work on, and you're checking to see if OA is something that will help you do that. Good for you! I don't know much about how the meetings work, but it does make sense to try out a few to see which one clicks with you best. I hope you find one that works well for you. It's really great that you're being proactive and using your sense of self to direct your actions. 

As for shopping, my husband and I are just having a hard time adjusting to the different amount of food we need to be buying. He buys normal amounts, and I remind him we might not need that much, but then I find something I want and we buy that, so in the end, we often end up with too much. Funny how cutting your intake volume so much affects everything about shopping and cooking and storing food! 

Best of luck Teresa. Your honesty to yourself about your thoughts and behaviors will serve you well, I think :) 

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I wonder if part of it is the "addiction transfer" thing that happens so often after WLS.  So many people after WLS have issues with alcohol, or shopping.  I think it's best to deal with it so it doesn't continue to be a problem, but I'm glad you at least are experiencing an "addiction" that isn't harmful :)

Mine is shopping. I use it the same way I used to use food.  It's entertaining when I'm bored, comfort when I'm sad, etc.

I keep hoping I'll get addicted to exercise but so far no luck!

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Cheers to you for being so proactive @ThriftyTheresa. And I am glad you haven't let a few less than helpful OA groups deter you. Is there anyone that has attended a group meeting that you might jive with? Or if you organized a group walk after a meeting or at another time you could get more out of the encounter (and have less structured conversations!).

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I initially felt like I was hoarding food as well. I'm getting better now because I needed to prep 3 months of meals prior to a recent surgery that would leave me non-weightbearing. This meant I slowly worked my way through my freezer turning it's contents into portion controlled servings. What an eye-opener. I ended up buying another freezer....not an issue as I wanted a smaller vertical one so I could get rid of the huge chest freezer I had when the house was full of growing boys....for now though both are full!!!!

My experience showed me just how much I need to forget bulk specials and seriously shop for small serves. Imagine the end wastage if we don't reign in our old habits.  The cheaper bulk buys aren't cost saving if you end up throwing most of it away. You're doing the right thing looking for some help even if so far you haven't found the right avenue for you to get it. Hopefully, like me, you'll just settle down on the impulse buying as time goes by. At least for now the lightly has switched on in your head.

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