My Binge-eating Story

It was 2010, and I was 45 years old, probably 250+ lbs, not married and hopeless. Oh, and I was also unemployed at the time.

A year or so earlier, my older sister got “the surgery.” I knew for sure that my family MUST be talking about me. If SHE could get “the surgery” and lose weight, why couldn’t Kim?

The truth was that I wasn’t ready. And I didn’t have insurance, so surgery was out. But I wasn’t ready. I KNEW food. I KNEW what it did to me. What I knew, even though it hurt me, was more comforting than what I didn’t know.

So, what did I know?

Here’s what I knew:

Every time I ate that huge brownie after a huge lunch I would get so drained from the sugar rush I would want to pass out. So, instead of that, I ate more sugar to keep the rush coming.

Every time I ate the large ice cream cone from Carvel, I had to eat it in my car, since I didn’t want anyone to see “the fat lady eating again.” I had shame enough to hide, but it never stopped me from eating.

Every time I ate, I didn’t eat to hurt anyone or to stuff my feelings. I ate because if I didn’t eat, I would be obsessing over the food. Eating the food stopped the obsession, for just a few seconds. Then it kicked in full force after that and I couldn’t stop.

In other words, I ate the ice cream because my mind spent a lot of time thinking about it and I needed to stop that. The only way I knew to get rid of the obsession of the moment was to give in to it.

This vicious cycle went on for years, and it didn’t matter what I ate or how I was feeling at the time. If I was at a wedding I obsessed over the cake. If I was at a funeral, I obsessed over the influx of food sure to follow.

If I had a long day at work (which was everyday since I commuted to NYC for many of those years), then I looked forward to the food waiting for me at home. But before that, I looked forward to the candy bar waiting for me at Penn Station.

During my commute, I loathed sitting in the middle seat. I was too big. So, I had to hang off the edge of the aisle seat. That’s just what it was like. I was just surviving, not thriving.

In 2010, I got sick of living this way. So, July 17th, I put down the food for what I hope is the last time. I was at a music festival and that was the last time I had an ice cream cone. I ate it in public this time, because there were plenty of people there who looked like me and ate like me. But I put it down that night.

There’s a twelve step program for people who eat like I did. I didn’t go to it right away though. I didn’t want to. I had been in that fellowship in the 1990’s and felt it wasn’t for me. Instead, I took these fat blocker pills. Overeating while on those things scared the bejeezus out of me. One side effect was “having oily gas.” Well, I always had a lot of gas but I didn’t want oiliness! LOL.

Fear really is a great motivator. I kept on those pills for a few months and I stayed on that food plan. Those pills were expensive and I was unemployed. I knew soon enough that I could no longer keep buying them. I needed to do something.

Always being a praying person, I turned to my faith. Then I turned to my friends. We all agreed that I should give the twelve steps another try.

I can’t remember the exact date that I walked back into a meeting, but I know it was the Thursday afternoon beginner meeting at the local library. Some guy named Tony gave me a copy of the book that shows addicts how to recover. I told him I didn’t have any money. He said that was alright, the cost was on him.

I didn’t really understand the importance of that gesture until much later. I thought he was being kind. I realize now that he also did that so he could survive himself. That is also the reason I am sharing this story. I do it so that I, too, can survive. I still have that copy of the book and use it even now, 10 years later.

My story isn’t usual, but I know I am not unique. Most people put down the food after going to their first meeting, but I did it before. It doesn’t matter, really. As long as we put down the food and keep it down.

It’s been 10 years now and it’s been one hell of a ride. I have not worked the program perfectly, but I work it. There is no magic to it. I simply work with a sponsor and work the steps. I started with the first step and try to live my best in steps 10, 11, 12.

And today, I am 56 years old, abstinent for over 10 years, maintain and 90+ lb weight loss and I am happily married. But most importantly, even if everyone of these things were to cease to exist, I would no longer live in hopelessness, because I know there is a solution.

The Peace of Wild Things: A Wendell Berry Sabbath Poem

One of my spiritual practices this Lent is to meditate on one of Wendell Berry’s Sabbath Poems. I thought I’d share one of them here. The film is by the On Being Project.


The Lost Art of Accountability

There’s a lot of talk lately about reconciliation and unity. However, one crucial step is missing: accountability.

“We need to move forward,” or “We’re willing to work with you, but we won’t just follow in lock-step ” is what we hear on television.

Critical self-evaluation of past actions is as true for groups as it is for individuals. If we move forward without this important reflection, then it will just be a kind superficial unity. Go along to get along. Old grievances will lie just under the surface and fester into resentment.

In very many ways, the season of Lent is about being accountable for our actions. It’s why the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) is widely encouraged this time of the year.

Americans are hurting. Collectively, we have had a rough 2020. 2021 looks to give us some respite with the availability and distribution of a vaccine.

But 2020 was just the roughest of a very tough 3 years. Some of us witnessed our friends being attacked for who they are, by people who were emboldened by the rhetoric of political leadership. Last Spring we all witnessed the death of George Floyd, and African-American man. His killer was a police officer who was being filmed, and didn’t care that he was going to be viral. We witnessed the death of Ahmaud Arbery, also an African American man. His attackers killed him in broad daylight; their friend filmed it.

And then there was the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. The day the Electoral College confirmed Joe Biden for President. The insurrection was played out on live TV and streamed online.

And false accusations of voter-fraud.

And denial of the severity of Covid-19 despite the amount of people dying from it.

There have been other headline-grabbing incidents, but these will suffice.

These happened in public because people were emboldened in public.

You see, there is a LOT that people are reeling from. This is why it is soooo important to hear accountability and responsibility from those who have been a party the above described events.

Maybe they stood on the sidelines and said nothing.

Maybe they refused to acknowledge the issue.

Maybe they place blame solely on those who have perpetrated crimes and have not followed the breadcrumbs.

And maybe they stoked the flames of distrust and anger that lead to the January 6th insurrection. Whatever their level of involvement, we cannot move on unless and until accountability happens.

That’s how reconciliation works.

With this weekends CPAC conference it seems that no one is ready to admit accountability and we won’t get the reconciliation we so desperately need.

To underscore the need for accountability, take a look at this moving story of how Fred Rogers held himself accountable to his grandson. Had he not done, he never would have experiencedthe forgiveness he needed.

Skip to 1:39 for the forgiveness story

From Resentment to Gratitude

When we get offended, we sometimes choose to hold onto anger, bitterness, and pride. None of this puts us in right relationship with God, others, or ourselves. It only serves to alienate us from others.

Father Michael White, “Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021.”

Resentments will kill me.

Last March I was laid off from my job because of Covid-19. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve worked a side-gig to help make ends meet while also collecting unemployment (NY allows you to do this, up to a certain amount of $$$).

There has been much discussion about Covid relief payments to laid people. Some of it kind, some of it not so kind. Many people are in favor of those like me receiving some kind of relief from the government. A few are not.

It’s those few who have stuck in my mind.

“If we keep giving them money, what incentive do they have to work?” is what I’ve heard in various forms. It’s a rather cynical view of the American worker; that the only reason we work is because of money; if we had the chance, we would choose not to work at all.

My faith has taught me that work is an integral part of who we are; that work makes us more complete human beings. Work can be redemptive.

Nevertheless, I am irked by the notion that getting money from the government will somehow make me lazier. I am more than irked. I actually resent the implications.

Resentment will kill me. It will make me angry, and keep me there. It will color my relationships. It’s just not good.

So how do I turn that around?


As crazy as it may sound, I am grateful to those who voiced their opposition to Covid relief. They forced me to deal with my resentment. That’s always a good thing.

I am also exceptionally grateful for the extra $$$ we get from Pandemic unemployment benefits. Not only does it help us pay our bills, but more importantly, it enables me to be a caregiver to my Dad. While my brother is his primary caregiver, I am my brothers respite care giver. Every day after work, I go to Dad, allowing my brother much needed relief.

If I did not receive this extra unemployment insurance, I would HAVE to work a second job. This would make me almost completely unable to be my brothers respite care giver. He would have no one who could be there on a regular, daily basis. I can be that person solely because of this added relief. There will be a day when we no longer have it, and when it comes I may have some difficult decisions to make. And I’m okay with that, because no matter how long I receive these added benefits, I will always be grateful I had them at all.


Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021, Father Michael White

Network for Grateful Living

Lent & the Habit of Discipline

It’s easier, I think, to give up something.

Forging a new habit, or discipline, is difficult.

The past year or so, has been quite challenging, for all of us. I’ve been working two jobs for the better part of two years, and then Covid came along. Then, in October, my now 90 year old dad was hospitalized twice, for non-Covid problems. Since then, life has been “go to work; go help take care of Dad.” The second job I had is on the backburner.

Self care has been difficult, but that’s okay. Helping my brother take care of my father has taken me out of myself. It’s forced me out of my comfort zone, and that is ALWAYS a good thing.

But now we are in the season of Lent, one of my favorite liturgical seasons of the year. In Lent, I get to do a lot of self-reflection. Lent is a season of renewal. Wait, it’s actually more than that. Lent is a season of conversion: of becoming a new self.

One of my Lenten practices is meditating on Wendell Berry and the Sabbath Poetry of Lent, put out by the SALT Project, along with scripture and the lectionary. I will write about that process in a later post.

Another one of my Lenten practices is taking up this blog again. I realize that I need to write. Feeling a little rusty, but I know the more I write, the better my writing will be.

Posting on this blog is my way adding more discipline in my life. Discipline grounds me in a way nothing else does. I thrive with discipline, and thriving is what I’m lacking. Autopilot has taken over for me, as I suspect it has for most of us this year.

Consider this my (re)introductory post. To my longtime followers: thank you for your patience. To my new readers: hop on! Join me on the journey through Lent. I look forward to renewing myself with you all!


Wendell Berry and the Sabbath Poetry of Lent

This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems of Wendell Berry

Can’t Go To Mass? Participate online with Church of the Nativity!

Do What Matters. Do ONLY What Matters

Easier said than done, I know.  I have found that asking myself these two questions before any task can free up some much needed time and takes the “busyness” out of my life.

How special it was today to be able to make dinner. I had the day off and wanted to cook something that my husband, the usual chef, loves but doesn’t really have time to make. A trip to Costco and soon roast beef was turning on the rotisserie. Amazing smells filled our home.

But we had no gravy. Now, I could have gone to the store and bought it myself. After all, I have the day off, right?


I asked myself the two questions, and the answers were Yes & No. Yes, it needed to be done. No, it did not need to be done by me.


My Reasoning:

Yes, I could’ve gone to the store, but it wouldn’t be the wisest use of my time and resources.  Shopping for just one item would have taken at least 30 minutes, factoring drive time and time spent in the store. Additionally, what a waste of gas!

My husband, however, passes at least three grocery stores on his drive from work. He can easily hop on and off the highway without adding much time and wasting any gas.

It just made more sense for him to complete this shopping task.

That half hour that I would’ve spent getting one item was actually spent on you dear reader. This post was created.

Just in time for my husband to come home.

Life is Still Good Even When It’s Hard

I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard to believe in having an abundant life when circumstances are tough. I’m going through one of those times right now. Finances have been tight for the most of the year for my husband and me.  Super tight.

We live in a one bedroom apartment and we don’t live extravagantly. So, it pains us in a particular way knowing that there isn’t much we could cut that would make a difference.

What could we do?

A new job. With much thinking and weighing and measuring, we decided it was time for me to leave my job as a nanny (babysitting + cleaning house) and look for something that would not only bring a more steady paycheck, but would also make my life a bit more manageable.

Fortunately, I did not have to look long. I landed a new job as an Assistant Teacher at a local daycare center. I am beyond thrilled with this. The pay per hour is on scale with what I had been making as a nanny, but the hours are more per week and the work is LESS.


We will be able to budget more effectively. This is an amazing load off my mind.

I will miss the three boys I’ve come to treat as my own over the past 7+ years.  I have been crying over the prospect of not seeing them everyday. But I know they won’t have to be out of my life entirely. I have already told their mom that there may be times when I am available to watch them when she has to work. And I told the guys I plan on coming over and taking them out.

I know I have been a force for good in their lives. I taught them how to pray before meals. I taught them to clean up after themselves. We made up stories. We laughed, we loved. We hugged and we kissed. The mom could count on me to come everyday and stay for as long as she needed me. The boys could count on me to love them and expect great things from them. And in return they have loved me.

How much more of an abundant life could I possibly have?


How to Plan NOTHING & Get Stuff Done.

This week I was on vacation from my day job. I had my choice of what I wanted to do: work on my Thirty-One Business; work on my Organizing Business or plan NOTHING.

I opted for the latter.

My, how daunting and freeing it is to plan NOTHING. I could choose to work on either business. Or not. I could choose to blog. Or not.

Plan Nothing.Do What's Right

My week of PLANNING nothing doesn’t mean I DO NOTHING. It just means I had a lot of free time to do the important stuff.

Stuff like writing this blog post on a sidewalk outside my local coffee shop.

Reading The Tao of Pooh (because yes, I recently saw the new Christopher Robin movie and have been moved by it

And doing Tai-Chi. Because it’s an amazing moving meditative practice and because I am also on track to being a Taijifit Instructor.

Here’s My Instructor:

Oh, and COLORING! What a wonderfully meditative practice it is. Read more about it HERE.

I am currently coloring this beauty by Zondervan:

Gorgeous, right?

In the end, when I plan nothing, regular stuff like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. gets done. BUT what happens in the between time is being caught up in the beauty of things.


What do you do when you plan nothing? Tell us in the comments below 🙂

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