When I first started going to Overeaters Anonymous meetings 14 years ago I got on a new food plan within a couple of days. I was at a bottom point then and was so desperate to change things that I couldn’t wait to get started. While I didn’t tell everyone I knew that I was going to a 12 step program I did tell everyone I knew that I was on a new food plan. I was looking for as much moral support as I could pull together. I was 24 years old.

When I had my weight loss surgery 7 years ago I told a few important people in my life, most of my and my husband’s families, the co-workers I ate lunch with each day, and some good friends. I didn’t want to open myself up to scrutiny, but the moral support as I faced something totally unfamiliar to me was essential. I was 31 years old.

This past spring when I started The Dukan Diet I told no one other than my husband and the woman who told me about the diet. Some people ¬†noticed a change in my eating habits but I usually brushed it off if I could and didn’t get into long conversations about it except with people I felt I could deeply deeply trust. I’m 38 years old.

At each point that I’ve tried to get my weight down and find a balance to my eating I struggled with how to interact with people and social situations. I almost always found it stressful. Two years ago, while I was struggling and trying a new abstinence plan (that ultimately didn’t work for me) I became so panicked at an event I was at with my husband that I wound up in the bathroom crying on the phone with a friend trying to talk me down. We wound up leaving the event early and that amazing man took me to dinner instead so I could feel safe.

But now, it’s different. My Overeaters Anonymous food plan is just the rules of The Dukan Diet. I can go out and know that there’s bound to be a way to have my meal consist of vegetables and protein. It’s a total relief and my fears about getting myself nourished have diminished so much I barely think about it anymore. Restaurants are friendly again! The only time I worry is when I will be having a meal at someone else’s home, which frankly doesn’t happen all that much.

For today, I am so glad I have this plan that works for me and sticking to it is a comfort not a stressor.