LifeRing Recovery

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LifeRing Recovery: a self-help alternative for recovery from alcoholism and other chemical dependency. Group support for abstinence from alcohol and “drugs” by empowering the sober self within you. Completely secular: no prayers, Higher Powers or Steps.

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Mary's Sober Diary   Sobriety/Recovery Journals

Started 12/8/08 by marylouise50; 53850 views.
Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)



Yes, loosing weight is hard, I've been trying for years.  Here's what finally worked for me - maybe it will help.  

I got pneumonia last year over July 4th weekend.  I was in the hospital for 5 days and then in a rehab facility for 5 days.  During that time, I lost 15 pounds.  That gave me a jump which got me motivated.  But what really helped was the way they served food in the rehab facility.  The food was pretty bland, but they served it in several small plates - a small piece of meat in one, a small portion of vegetables in another, and usually a cup of canned fruit (like peaches) or a small piece of cake.  Even though the total amount they gave me was less that I would have usually eaten, because the plates were so small, it looked like enough and I felt satisfied.

So when I got out, I decided to continue this practice.  The idea is rigid portion control.  I still eat everything I like eating, but I eat smaller portions.  I bring the food to the table in smaller plates when I can, and I don't go back into the kitchen for more.  I particularly keep my protein portions smaller - 4 to 6 oz - and keep my vegetable portions bigger and starch lower.  I wind up eating the same size portions as my wife, who was over 60 pounds lighter than me at the start.  So far this has worked - I've lost almost a pound a week for 28 weeks - and it's a diet I think I can continue to live with.  The only thing I gave up entirely was a bialy and cream cheese I used to get at a nearby bagel shop after my morning walk.  Since I got to my initial goal of 200 pounds, I now have this,  just not so often.  It's more like a special treat than an everyday snack.  And I do have snacks during the day, usually nuts or dried fruit - but I try to keep the portions small.

I think this works for me because I could never manage just giving up good food.  I enjoy  cooking and eating good food, and I'm still doing it, just with smaller portions, which seems to be quite doable.  And fortunately, I've never been a big dessert fan.  I usually have a few cookies before I go to bed,  but that's it.

Hope this helps - but don't try the pneumonia to start!



From: LolaBug


Lol! Brian, my weight loss was kickstarted with diverticulitis. Didn't feel much like eating anyway, and certainly not anything big. 

I agree, portion control is everything. I like to use small plates, too. 

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)


Hi Lola! 

I haven't been here for a while and it's nice to see you doing so well and sounding so upbeat.  Weight. Ah, the perennial battle! I have found that not drinking means my weight is rather easier to control. I'm probably about 10 pounds over my ideal weight and have been for ages. But I'm very short- only 5ft, so that is actually quite a lot for me. But I'm torn. I've spent my whole life since I was 15 going on diets, and came close to being anorexic in my late teens. Luckily I dodged that bullet though. When I was in sixth form, around 17, a naturally very slim girl in the year above initiated a conversation with me, can t remember how she started it, but the gist of what she had to say was that I was as skinny as she was and really didn't need to lose any more  weight. it took me aback. she looked me in the eye and said, you don't think you are, do you? But you are.  Looking back, and having been a teacher myself, I have a feeling that a teacher might have put her up to this as an intervention into what was probably plain for everyone to see. I'm actually grateful for that. It didn't cure me of my body dissatisfaction completely but it definitely helped. 

A couple of years ago my husband went on the 'fast 800' diet and lost about 24 pounds. I tried it for a few days but it made me feel so depressed I just couldn't hack it. I'm not a massive eater really but I love sweet foods and removing sugar completely from my diet definitely changed my sense of reality!

I read a book called 'Appetite- why Women Want' by Caroline Knapp, who also wrote Drinking, a Love Story. Fascinating stuff.  My feeling is that girls and women somehow get dissociated from their natural appetites and our relationship with food gets screwed up for lots of reasons. I know when I was young I was aspiring to a body shape that just isn't natural for me.  If I'd have weighed then what I do now then I would have considered myself a whale. Now, I'd like to be a bit slimmer but I'm not sure I can be arsed! I really loathe the semi moral tone people take when women are fat or looking old. Fat is definitely a feminist issue. 

I see my 19 year old daughter going through a lot of what I went through. She is training in performing arts, so there's even more pressure on her to be slim. And she is, but like me, never satisfied. She is also super-fit, which I never was!  She is currently at home and since New Year has been vegan. I don't criticise her desire to be slim or eat ultra-clean because i feel she will discover her own balance in time. I have mostly cooked vegan for all of us since Jan 1 and I'm happy to see she can still eat a decent meal, so I'm not worried about her getting an eating disorder. My parents weren't perfect, but they purposely (?) did not get into a fight with me over my restricted eating as a teenager, making it into a battleground just hardens into an obsession with control on both sides and becomes part of the problem.  

I guess I think our relationship with food, as women, is a fascinating and complex one. I'd still like to lose half a stone though relaxed

All the best

E xx


From: LolaBug


What a wonderful post, Elsie! Thank you! I'm going to have to read it again to absorb everything, but what jumped out at me is that I did not know Caroline Knapp wrote another book. I read Drinking years ago, when I first got sober, and I loved it. I was so sad when I heard that she had died.

I will have to look for the other book because I would love to know her thoughts on food. Having been in the recovery community for a long time, I know food and alcohol are two sides of the same coin, especially for women. In fact, it's not uncommon for women who have had gastric bypass surgery to become alcoholics.

Obviously there are underlying issues.

I don't follow the program of AA (I do Women For Sobriety) but I found a great Zoom meeting that runs 24/7. Like any good alcoholic, I'm hooked on it. If you're interested, it's called the 319, because it was started on March 19th of last year. I'm "Erica in Massachusetts" there (Lola is my granddog's name. She's a Bug-- Pug/Boston Terrier mix.)


From: MaryLouise3


Another anniversary, now 14 years sober and glad of it.

We've had a tough time during the pandemic in South Africa but it has also been a very interesting social experiment and one I didn't ever expect to live through. In March last year, we went into the strictest militarised lockdown in the world with no alcohol or nicotine sales allowed. Some people tried to buy blackmarket alcohol and were arrested and sent to prison, others began brewing pineapple beer or home made cider, but most just stayed sober and many found they preferred that. Over public holidays and Christmas, emergency casualty wards were empty because so much lawless behaviour in a society like ours is fuelled by substance abuse. Many people, casual drinkers who had never thought of themselves as having any problem with alcohol went through mild withdrawal symptoms and that changed attitudes towards dependence and addiction. People discovered that they could go out to eat at socially distanced outdoor restaurant areas without having to drink with meals, and the debates over living differently and substance-free activities were all over our social media. The rules have been slightly relaxed but alcohol is only available in small quantities and the majority of people don't bother -- the old tolerance of binge drinking in pubs has gone. From next year education in schools and workplaces will focus on living free of addictive substances, even if you don't think you have a problem. Not moralistic but an awareness that alcohol is not a harmless life-enhancer and impacts too negatively on our society.

Although I read here each week, I don't post that often (computer problems) but remain grateful as ever to LifeRing for helping me stay sober over the years. In the last years of drinking I felt my life had dwindled away to a daily battle of drink/don't drink (I usually lost), that inwardly divided self always at war with itself, living in a kind of tunnel vision with nothing to look forward to except more of the same obliviousness. In early sobriety I realised I needed to get  what I called 'the bigger picture' beyond the short-term immediate gratification and each day sober meant I could wake up to a another day and then the hope of another week or month or year, the hope of building a more spacious and happier long-term future. In this last year of lockdown, I've gone back to that again, that there's a great wide world out beyond these walls and we will be able to reconnect and resume fuller lives again one of these days. Nothing learned in recovery is ever wasted! 

Many thanks and stay safe, friends