Tools for Recovery

OA has nine tools for recovery. I am a project manager, so I started with the first one, which is about making a plan of eating. I know from both personal and professional experience that when I don’t make a plan, I am planning to fail. Trite, but true. So true.

OA doesn’t prescribe a plan, which is kind of daunting, frankly. There are pamphlets with guidelines, but you still have to figure out your own plan. Sticking to your plan is referred to as abstinence. As in, I was abstinent yesterday, meaning I ate on plan. Since my first meeting, I have been abstinent many days, but off plan probably just as many.

I am supported by my very own Group of Divas (my higher power right now) who share with me an OA story about a baby bird, flapping it’s wings and going up and down, landing splat on the sidewalk and then resting before taking off again, still wobbling, but moving.

Another reminds me of the Confucius quote that says “it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.” I have this one on my cube wall at work, about software development projects, but have a hard time being willing to apply it to myself.

So here’s my plan, such as it is. I humbly offer it, not as a recommendation like so many of my past posts, but as a record of the commitment I am making to myself. I pledge that if I make a change to this plan, I will discuss it with my sponsor.

For Today, I will eat: 

Breakfast: protein drink with coffee and cream. I love cream in my coffee, it has less sugar than milk or even half-and-half and I enjoy it. I am okay with the extra fat and calories. I usually have half on the drive to work/Pilates class, then the other half at my desk. I was struggling with weekends because I was NOT starting the day with this. Today I’m trying more consistency on the weekends, so that’s my breakfast.

Mid-morning: initially I was having a bowl of oatmeal with a tbsp of cream and 1/4 tsp of sugar. After a month of this, I find that I am rarely hungry enough at mid-morning to have a snack. But if I am hungry, these are in my desk at work and I can pull one out and nuke it in the microwave. (Costco has the steel cut oats in packs of 8 for $9.  Cheaper when I was making it myself on weekends and eating it all week, but the reality is that I’m not doing that anymore so why pretend?)

Lunch: mostly leftover meat from the night before with veggies. Sometimes quinoa but I am finding that just about any carbs during the day triggers cravings for what OA calls “alcoholic foods”. (Everyone’s list is different. I’ll talk about mine soon, but chips, donuts, french fries, pizza, etc, etc. Fat, salty, sweet or all of the above.) I am trying to stick with eating slowly, stopping when I am satisfied and keeping the rest for later if I get hungry. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. I’ll keep working on it.

Afternoons: If I am hungry and not just bored or stressed, I will eat the rest of my lunch or if that is gone, then I have a box of Nature’s Valley Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter protein bars in my desk. If I am truly stressed out, I will treat myself to one with a 2nd cup of coffee. (I have really cut back – was having 6 cups a day, now down to 1-2 as I am drinking more water. More about my oral fixation later.)

Post-Workout: I have added 2 afternoon Pilates classes to my two early morning classes. After working out, I like some protein right away and I also like to replenish my salt levels, so I will have a 2oz bag of nuts (I keep them in the car) after working out and on my 40 minute drive home.

Dinner: I am very, very, very, very lucky that my husband wants to cook dinner. He has been very helpful in having protein and veggies available. He’s also agreed to cook the hashbrowns that he and our son love during the day so I am not tempted. I love them. I am powerless at this point and I eat them. Someday that may change, for now, he’s helping. At this point, dinner is sometimes a problem because there’s pasta or potatoes or bread that I find it impossible to resist. My goal, as I get more abstinent, is to be able to eat my food and leave that stuff alone. I am not there yet.

Late Nights: I do not have a late night snack. I get up at 5am, so I go to bed early. I have no need of a late night snack and when I think I do, I am lying to myself.

Backup plan: I made a whole crock pot full of chicken breast and packed it up and froze it. In theory I should be able to pull this out and nuke it when I am hungry and there are no other good choices. In reality, I am forgetting this, but that’s the goal.

Water: I have a 32oz mug at work and some elderflower cordial and lemon slices. I am trying to drink 3 of these a day. This is a huge improvement from my 1 cup or less of water a day. I live in a freakin desert and I wasn’t drinking water. How insane is that?

Supplements: I take a gummie multi-vite, a chocolate calcium chew, chewable b12 and a lysine (to help me avoid cold sores). I put them on my desk at work and I remember most days. Eventually, I’ll try to get to weekends, but this is better than I was doing, so progress.

Alcohol: I am (mostly) avoiding alcohol because it removes my inhibitions around eating. My goal is to go out when there is an opportunity, but drink sparkling water with lemon. We’ll see how that goes.

OA has a long-winded podcast on this topic. Not very professional (OA prides themselves on being real members, not professionals, by the way) but good material.

Right now, I am not weighing or measuring, but I am using smaller plates again.

There are no fruits on this plan. Later I may add in apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or oranges which have a lot of fiber. (Oops. There I go again – planning for more than one day.)

Credit for the image to: and


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