110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Living a life of recovery from food addiction, one day at a time — Food Addicts in Recovery offers information session Saturday, Jan. 25
By Pat Andrews
posted Jan 16, 2014 - 4:27:52pm
A West Volusia woman said her disease is in remission, and she wants to offer hope to people still suffering from that disease: food addiction.
We're calling this woman "Lynn." It’s not her real name, because confidentiality and anonymity are elements of the program that's helping her — Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA).
FA is a 12-step program based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The FA groups in Volusia County are planning an information session, open the public, 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at United Presbyterian Church in Daytona Beach, at 730 Beville Road.
Here's Lynn's story, as she told it to The Beacon.
Like most people who fight the battle of the pounds, Lynn tried many diets. None worked for long, and she would gain back the weight she'd lost, plus more. At 5 feet 5 inches tall and 224 pounds, Lynn was miserable, and unable to control her eating.
She had had a problem with food, and with sugar in particular, since childhood. She remembers stealing money from her parents or using her lunch money to buy candy, then lying to the school-cafeteria "lunch ladies" about why she had no money to buy lunch.
Anyone who wants to find out more about FA is welcome to attend. The open house and the FA program are free of charge.
FA has been in West Volusia since 2005. The DeLand group meets 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays at First Christian Church of DeLand, 1401 W. New York Ave., and the Orange City group meets 7-8:30 p.m. Mondays at Orange City United Methodist Church, 396 E. University Ave.
Call the FA hotline at 386-258-0610; to speak to someone in West Volusia, call 386-736-9467.
Visit the website for more information, including other meeting sites in Volusia County and the 20 questions, at www.foodaddicts.org.
Lynn, now in her early 60s, was always very active physically, and didn't have much problem with her weight until she was in her 40s. She had overcome other addictive behaviors, but returned to overeating, her first addiction, especially after she remarried and she and her husband worked to blend their children into a family. The children were often bitterly resistant, she said.
Lynn turned to food. Going into menopause made it worse, slowing her metabolism, she said.
"I stuffed down my feelings with food," Lynn said. It was a pattern from childhood, accompanied by trying to please everyone.
"I used food like an alcoholic treats alcohol. It was my drug of choice," she said.
Lynn made many resolutions to stop overeating. Most of them lasted only until midmorning.
During an FA meeting, others told similar stories — resolutions made and broken, diets begun and failed, thousands of dollars spent on commercial diet programs — all to no avail. The weight, if lost, always returned, plus more.
It's a progressive disease, Lynn said.
Adults who are overweight or obese account for 65.6 percent of the adult population, versus the 65 percent statewide average, and underweight Volusian adults account for 1.3 percent of the population.
There’s still hope for high-school and middle-school youth — 70.9 percent of the population is at a healthy weight, according to the statistics, which is a little higher than the state average of 68.7 percent. Middle-school and high-school students who are overweight or obese account for 25 percent of those age groups, 2 percent lower than the state average. Students who are underweight account for 4.1 percent of the population.
For Lynn, the turning point came one day at church when she saw an FA brochure on a bulletin board. She read the brochure’s 20 questions to find out if she was a food addict. Lynn recognized the truth, she said: She is a food addict.
Lynn began her pilgrimage with FA in 2002. When she entered her first meeting, she thought she was in the wrong room, because it was filled with "pencil-thin" people who seemed happy, totally unlike her, she said.
She lost 95 pounds in 10 months with FA and has maintained a healthy weight ever since.
She marvels at remaining in a "normal-sized body." Plus, with the weight loss and change in food choices, Lynn no longer needs medication for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol or depression.
Read the whole storyin the Jan. 16-19 Weekend edition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to email@example.com.
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