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GOODBYE TO THOSE DAYS OF COMPULSIVE OVEREATING.

Byline: ANN LANDERS

Dear Ann Landers: My food-stealing days are over. I appreciate those letters you printed about folks who "sneak" food out of restaurants in pockets, plastic bags and purses. I am a recovering compulsive overeater, food addict and sneak eater, and was once a restaurant thief myself.

After a lifetime of diet programs, yo-yo weight losses and gains, shame, pain and guilt, I had to admit that I had an eating disorder. All I could think about was food. It was the center of my life. Food became my obsession - my addiction. Like a junkie, I did whatever I could get away with to have my "fix," sneaking out whatever leftover food I could find in restaurants and stuffing it into my pockets and purse. I had turned into a food shoplifter and was fortunate not to have been caught.

Five years ago, a dear friend who had noticed this compulsive behavior lovingly encouraged me to attend an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Ann, I'm thankful I had the courage to go to that first OA meeting. I no longer steal food, nor do I eat more than I need. I now know I won't starve if I don't take extra food home. I live with faith, dignity and gratitude for so much of my life today. I am also maintaining a sane, healthy weight.

I hope my letter will help others. Please print it.

- Relieved in Maryland

Dear Maryland: Your letter WILL help others. You can count on it. I have been a supporter of Overeaters Anonymous for many years and have been thanked time and time again by readers who took my advice, joined OA and let me know it changed their lives.

For those who see themselves in my column today, the address is: Overeaters Anonymous, P.O. Box 44020, Rio Rancho, N.M. 87174.

Dear Ann Landers: You have printed several delightful letters about people who met in interesting ways. I hope you'll print this one about my mother.

At age 60, she had been a widow for seven years. Mom set out on a long-planned trip to California, which included an eight-hour sightseeing bus tour of the Grand Canyon.

She was thrilled to get a window seat. But the last two members of the group to board were a newly married couple, so Mom gave up her seat and took the only remaining empty one. Her seat mate was a lonesome gentleman who wanted to talk.

In the course of the day, she learned he had been a widower for 18 months and was 10 years older than Mom. At the end of the trip, he asked for her address, and though she never expected to hear from him, he did write - almost daily for four months. The last letter was a marriage proposal.

It was a problem for Mom to tell me this because she always had warned me never to talk to strangers on buses or trains. She solved her dilemma by sending me a postcard. On one side was the picture of a plane. On the back, she wrote, "I'm on my way to Florida to decide if I want to change my name to Smith. Love, Mom." The wedding took place six weeks later.

They had 23 happy years together before Mom died. He joined her soon after. Just sign me

- A Grateful Daughter
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 1996
Words:563
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