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Are We In Recovery????? Hello, my name is…..

If you are in substance abuse recovery, you might find this post a little uncomfortable and may want to skip it.


Every Thursday, my husband and I have a date night. This involves going out to eat usually. We’ve been doing it 20 years now. We’ve lived in three places in the last 25 years: a suburb of Houston, Texas, Fort Myers, Florida and now a sleepy ranch town somewhere in Texas with a population of about 5,000 people. Our little town has one steakhouse (naturally), one Italian restaurant, four Mexican restaurants and one diner that is open sometimes at night. Anything else is at least 40 minutes away. So, unless we are planning to drive a distance, we are going out in town, and I have to think about how to stick to the calorie deficit diet on our date night.


One night as we were heading out for date night, I found myself planning my food intake and debating whether I wanted a low cal beer or not with dinner and if I wanted to eat potatoes or not. I thought to myself “God, this is a pain in the ass. I’m so over this.” It occurred to me that whenever we ate anywhere but at home, I had to plan defensively my interaction with food. At that moment, it was a mentally exhausting thought to the point that I was willing to stop having our date nights.


As I continued to agonize over what I was going to be eating and drinking and the calorie hit I was going to take, I wondered if how I plan to interact with food outside my home environment was similar to how people recovering from an alcohol addiction have to plan when they are going to be in an environment that includes alcohol.


Then the truth really hit me in the face. I was always going to have to be on the defensive with food, probably for the rest of my life, if I did not want to gain back the 70 plus pounds (so far) I’ve lost. Food is my slippery slope, and if I’m not careful, I could wind up in a caloric free-fall, gaining back what I have lost.


I can’t believe in all my years of trying to lose weight that this analogy had only just occurred to me. I’m sure it is because I’ve never truly examined the psychological and emotional aspects of my eating behaviors before now.


I do not want to diminish the seriousness of alcohol or drug addiction with this analogy. I have relatives in substance abuse recovery and grew up with a functioning alcoholic parent. I know that dieting and substance abuse recovery are very different. My thought was that both require behavior modifications and taking care when exposed to challenging environments.


I realized that whenever I go out to eat or to an event where I will be eating, I will have to plan ahead of time what I’m going to eat, how much I’m going to eat, and what I’m going to say to the host if the event is at someone’s home. I will have to manage my calories if the choices are not great.


Luckily for me, family events are the most common instances where I’m at someone’s home for a meal so they are relatively easy to plan. We have a relative whose signature family meal is spaghetti and five-layer garlic bread. In that situation, I will bring food with me that I know I can eat, and my family understands how serious I’m being about my weight and health.


However, when going out, I really think hard about what I’m going to eat. Will it include bread or potato? Am I going to have a caloric craft beer, a low-calorie beer or just drink plain iced tea? The challenge is to enjoy my meal without feeling like I’m eating something I normally eat on this diet at home.


I’m sure someone is thinking “why doesn’t she just have a cheat day and enjoy her date night?” Let me say this. Date night always includes food. But if my joy in it is about the food, then the joy isn’t about spending time over a meal with my husband and not having to cook or clean up. The focus then becomes about what food I’m going to eat, which I don’t think is healthy for me.


Just so you don’t fret, I had a beer and one hefty slice and a second helping smaller slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on my husband’s birthday, a non-food-logging birthday weekend for myself a few weeks later and I had ice cream last week. I do treat myself, but I am at the point where I get more joy from the weight loss than the consumption of a high calorie treat.


I’ve accepted that for me, I’m always going to have to monitor my food intake honestly and with prejudice. I’m hoping I can get to the point where I don’t have to weigh and measure all my food, that I will be able to ‘eyeball’ it and know that the portion size is not too large. I’m not sure I trust myself enough yet to not slowly up the portion size without some measuring for accountability. For example, when we went out for ice cream (which was my substitute for lunch that day), I made myself order a small, but the voice inside of me was chanting “you really need at least a medium, the small won’t be enough.” I ignored it and the small was plenty big. Now I am in month seven and I’m still measuring and weighing food but I’m trying to guess how much a portion weighs to see how close my guess is.


There is a lot to unpack in this touchy post. I understand that how I feel and how everyone else may feel is different. Feelings are not right or wrong. They’re just feelings, which are important in this process since they can dictate behavior and reactions. My goal is to share something I realized about myself that might help someone or give someone something to think about.


Here is information on how a calorie-deficit diet works:

This is How We Do It! (


Are you in an unhealthy relationship with food?

In a Relationship With Food (


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7th Decade Redhead
7th Decade Redhead

I'm 60+ years old female retiree who is finally figuring out why she's been struggling with losing weight her whole life. I want to share the lessons I learned so others can help themselves with their own weight loss struggles earlier in their lives.

60 Pounds by 60 Years
60 Pounds by 60 Years

My final weight loss attempt after 40 years of different diet failures. No shakes, no supplements, no surgery, no crazy food, no purchased meal plans, no fasting. Creating a healthier relationship with food and facing the painful truth about my relationship surrounding food. No BS, just common sense. And it worked.

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