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Since using my calories-in/calories-out journal three weeks ago, I've felt so much better spiritually and physically. Almost instantly my attitude changed from combative to relaxed…

Benefit #1:  Peace of mind.

Once I took the first Three Steps to food addiction recovery seriously I experienced a lessening of spiritual tension. What a relief!

1.  I admitted I was powerless over food – that my life had become unmanageable.

2.  I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

3.  I made the decision to turn my will over to the care of my Higher Power as I understood It.

Now this might freak a few people out, so bear with me. My Higher Power right now is my calorie journal. I am a great believer in accepting our Higher Power as we understand it. Too many people reject the Twelve Steps program because it's too religious. Nonsense. If your Higher Power is your toaster and that helps you accept your path to recovery, so be it. Not for me to judge.

Letting something (or someone) else light the path so that all I have to do is follow, eases my mind. Does this mean I give up taking an active part in my recovery? Of course not. In fact, I have decisions to make every time I think of eating or drinking. That I choose to make those decisions with the benevolent guidance of my calorie journal leads me to…

Benefit #2: Boost In Self-Esteem

As I said before, I do not believe in restrictive diets that encourage fast and temporary weight loss. Those regimens are toxic to the food addict. They invite you to give up all responsibility with seductive promises of instant thinness. Using a calorie journal gives me the guide; the responsibility remains mine.

Since I started this journey back in January 2009, I took up that responsibility, but it was like hiking in the wilderness with a map and no compass.

I've learned a ton since then. Mostly I learned that with a food addiction I couldn't take responsibility without guidance, but how to find healthy guidance and not succumb to a DIET? Welcome to my calorie journal, my source of power and self-esteem.

The riding analogy really helps me. Riding a horse without reins can cause panic and despair (unless you're a professional trainer or really know your horse). Riding with reins, gentle guidance and a good seat is not only a pleasure, it infuses you with the joyful side of power and responsibility. Which leads me to…

Benefit #3: More Energy

About a two weeks ago, I enslaved my family to do much needed yard work. After an hour everyone wanted a break. I was ready too, but I noticed my body was asking "What else could I do?" instead of "Where can I lie down?" Since then I've been more aware of having that extra spark of energy that I've missed so much.

In a secondary manner I admit that more energy is probably tied to losing some weight. It's got to help that I'm not carrying around what amounts to a five pound bag of potatoes all the time. My joints don't ache as much, too.

But I believe the excitement I now feel is gained from finding Hope that a woman of a certain age can lose those extra fifteen pounds in a healthy-for-life manner.