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December 10, 2018 – Here we go again, approaching “The Holidays”— almost like a fifth season of the year — starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Eve. Until recently I entered this season with a combination of happy excitement and anxious trepidation. I was happy about all the fun and frivolity, especially anticipating all the appetizing and inspiring food that would come my way. At the same time, I worried about that special holiday food and how much I would eat. I could predict I’d be weighing at least eight pounds more the day after New Year’s Eve. I’d begin January with a heavy feeling of remorse, but be determined to begin yet another diet. That new “post-holidays” weight loss plan usually started well, full of hope and promise, but ended in failure by mid-February (or sometimes earlier!).

This cycle continued for nearly 30 years of my life, and I felt powerless to change it. I was a victim of the seasons and felt hopeless to come through them without the additional eight pounds — and the self-loathing that accompanied it. Over the years I’ve signed up for a membership in all (I do mean all) of the well-known commercial weight loss programs, and a few other lesser known approaches. They all worked for a short while, and then I would be unable to sustain the weight loss, and my weight would climb, often even higher than before. I might more or less manage this food addiction up to the holidays, but then I was easy pickins for all the candy, cookies, cakes, exotic drinks, and whatever beckoned my appetite.

This pattern changed a few years ago when I was invited to a Food Addicts in Recovery meeting — which we know as FA. Some of us new to FA were put off by the word “addict,” and we’d swear we were not one. But upon deeper reflection, we came to see that our relationship with food was as unhealthy and uncontrollable as any other addition. At FA, I met people who had not only lost their weight (some over 100 pounds or more), but most importantly, kept that weight off year after year!

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At last I’d found a program that worked for me and still does so, holiday season after holiday season. What is it about this program that works? Well, there is a bit of a mystery to it, but there are several key elements that we know are crucial to unlocking FA’s success. There is community with the regular and ongoing support of others who have the same issues around food, support at meetings and through ongoing connections through phone calls when needed. In addition there is the regular and sustained guidance of a sponsor who “has been there.” Plus, the educational information that comes from well-researched material — available to members all around the world — serves as a building block for self-awareness and understanding.

The surprising aspect of this program is that it is absolutely free—no charge. That’s a welcome relief to those of us who have spent thousands of dollars over the years trying unsuccessfully to control our weight and manage our relationships with food.

A consistent and amazing aspect of the program is that for those who continue to participate in the program, the weight comes off easily without hunger or strenuous exercise. Furthermore, it stays off. Most of us have maintained our right weight for many years now.

Another significant aspect for many of us has to do with the health benefits. Many of us who have lost substantial weight find that we can lower or even discontinue medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and other weight-related health risks. This has amazed and delighted our doctors who have discussed our weight issues with us but had limited advice around how to deal with it. Doctors are one of the main sources of referral to the FA program.

So we want you to know how welcome you are to join us if you want to make permanent changes in your relationship with food and eating. Local FA meetings are held regularly on Monday evening, Wednesday afternoon, and Saturday morning. There are also meetings in Auburn, Roseville, and Sacramento! For details call Lori at 530-913-7387. We’d love to have you join us and bring a friend. We could actually get through this Holiday season feeling good about ourselves. What a concept!