I had lunch with a friend of mine the other day and I can’t get the thoughts about it out of my head. I’m on this diet, and doing well, and she’s very heavy. I say that to be nice, but really she’s fat. Why is it that saying someone is fat is considered an insult? If I had said she’s short it wouldn’t be insulting… ah, well, these are musings for another post…

This woman and I have been friends for only a few years now and yet I could tell from day one that she has a food addiction. It doesn’t take super intuition to figure it out. It’s incredibly clear based on the way she deals with food. I was really open about my food issues with her from the beginning. I suppose I was thinking in terms of 12 Stepping. I even got her to go to a meeting with me once. But on the way home she spent the whole car ride talking about how it was a completely incompatible time with her work schedule and she didn’t see how she could possibly go to another meeting at another time given the fact that she has a kid.

I work too.

I have two kids.

But, I let it go. She wasn’t ready.

Fast forward to last week. I’m on this diet and we were getting together for lunch.

I was honest and direct. I emailed her and told her that since I was on a diet I would bring my own food. She was fine with it.

When I got there she did, inevitably, ask me about my weight loss attempt and how the diet was going. I answered her questions but distinctly refrained from any evangelizing. I’m trying not to push her and at the same time I am focusing on just today so who am I to make any claims.However, I did, as I said, answer her questions, including the information that I’ve lost 13 pounds in 4 weeks.

When I was finished she launched into a millions reasons why she couldn’t be on that diet. It all rubbed me the wrong way at the time and it wasn’t until a day or two later that I figured out why.

Every reason she gave was about why the diet was bad, or wrong, or wouldn’t work. None of the reasons were about her. Unless you count, “I couldn’t do that because that’s crazy” as being about her. I don’t.

I realized later that what I what I was thinking… what I really wanted to say… what I didn’t say was, “Diets are hard. They aren’t supposed to be easy. They are about giving something up to gain something better. It takes strength and courage and requires the willingness to attempt, to risk failure. They demand of us that we see ourselves as able to change and require the persistence of the vision of who we can be at the end. Not who we will be. Who we can be. And each moment of each day we have to hold onto that vision as our sword and shield in the face of temptation. Diets require that we remember the pain that the addiction causes and do the work to reject the quick and easy comfort of food for the lasting and meaningful sanity that comes from abstaining. All things worth having require work. Diets and weight loss are no different. Yes, most diets appear “crazy”, but I’ve never been on one that didn’t work. What stopped working was me. In Overeaters Anonymous we say, “It works if you work it.” Yes, it does. When I stopped working so did the diets. And that doesn’t just mean following a meal plan. It means working to process my emotions, my spirituality, keeping a food journal, keeping a journal of thoughts, working to better myself as a whole person, not just to lower the numbers on the scale. In the past when I’ve been unable to meet my goals it was because they were too grand, too far off, to much a promise of something unreal, or too wrapped up in only the numbers and devoid of the emotional work required. When my goal became, “just for today” and I was ready to walk the spiritual and emotional path as well then a world of possibility and promise opened to me. It’s still hard. It still sends me to bed at 8pm some nights just so I’m not near the food in my kitchen. But that sacrifice is worth it. The pain of abstaining from my trigger foods is so much less than the pain of living in that addiction, obsession, and compulsion. Diets are hard. But I am worth it.”

Of course, what I did say was just, “Well, it works for me.”

I don’t know how to 12th Step someone.

But maybe, writing this down, I can 12th Step myself.