Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold

As the #SaveDave (from himself) campaign hots up, I find myself in the kitchen removing the yolks from hard-boiled eggs. 

Not only that, but I’m steaming asparagus spears and white quinoa, and roasting extra-trim beef. There will be no rich gravy or thick, sticky plum sauce for the beef – oh no – it’s a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and that’s it.

Gone are the days of bacon and potatoes deep-fried in duck fat, on pasta drenched in creamy mayonnaise in a baguette. No more the lavishly roasted duck breasts dripping sweet mandarin sauce. 

Gone, too, are the days of convenient overindulgence at the McDonald’s drive-through. No KFC family meals. No more Wacky Wednesdays at Steers.

More often than not you’ll find me at the fish deli, picking up a fresh piece of hake or kingklip. Once I even bought trout, but that’s a haddock-tasting travesty I’ll never repeat. Salmon is good, and so is tuna – and both are so easy to cook they’re practically as convenient as any fast-food drive-through you care to mention. Quinoa, on the other hand, is more troublesome and finicky to cook than duck, and less fun to eat, too. 

My work lunch boxes these days are filled with tuna, tomato and lite mayonnaise – with sprinklings of sesame seeds because fibre and roughage are things I need to care about.

I eat All Bran Flakes with fat-free milk, and sweeten my fat-free yoghurt with Agave nectar instead of sugar or honey. 

But mostly, I rip the heart of gold out of hard boiled eggs, and eat what’s left with a light dusting of salt.

In just less than three months, I’ve lost over 12kgs. My clothes fit better and I have more energy. My ulcer is less murderous and sleep – when it happens – is deep and restful. 

I miss cheese, of course, and crisps, and chilies, and ice-cream, too. But it’s all for the greater good and if it means I never have to feel the way I did in December when my ulcer ruptured, then I’m game for this all to be a permanent thing. 


© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces

I want to share the room with you, the people, their voices and stories. But I can’t.

I want to tell you all about the things they said and what I said to them in turn. But I won’t.

I want to reveal epiphanies and all our fears. I want to uncover the secrets and the scars. But I can’t.

I want my inner child to shout out all the feelings that I keep hidden and let him whisper the insecurities that shadow the others in the chairs next to me. But I won’t.

I want you to know that this is real, this group is real and we have real reasons to be here; real victories keep us coming back. 

But I can’t tell you anything about anyone in this space, because this space is sacred. Just like the promise I have made that if today I did well, tomorrow I will do better. 

My name is Dave and I am a compulsive overeater. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Image: Room, by Philipp Berndt @ unsplash free images

Overthinkers Anonymous

Overthinkers Anonymous

Do I obsess about food, or do I eat mindlessly? 

Do I eschew control or relish it to the exclusion of making good choices? 

What is moderation, really? Boring, pedestrian frailty, or lightning in a jar? Can moderation actually be acute control over my more wayward compulsions or is it merely the negation of life’s peaks and troughs? Prozac to living. 

Why do I primly eat like a pious believer during the week and gorge myself like a death row agnostic on weekends? 

Can I overlay what I learned at Narcotics Anonymous on this programme and replicate that success? Why not? Why NOT…??

There are so many questions and I not only want all the answers – ALL of them – I want them to be quick fixes with minimal emotional cost. Is this possible? Why not? Why NOT…???! 

Well.

After tonight’s Overeaters Anonymous meeting, one answer I do have is that I don’t have any of the answers. None at all. Not one that fixes any of this. 

And that’s ok. Because what I do know now is that there are answers out there, I just need to know which questions matter, because not all of them do. Many of them just get in the way, or are that conniving inner voice, Slick, undermining all my progress. 

Slick, who tells me that moderation is bereft of any validity as something that engages me. It is the single bite of a cake. It is the heavy petting instead of the rough, anonymous sex. It is the driving at 110 instead of 140. It is safe in the way that safe is dull, dreary and unappealing. It is boring and it is mundane and it is a blight and the end of personality. That has become my default understanding of moderation.

Not only do I eat too much, I think too much. 

I think I need Overthinkers Anonymous right now.

I think…

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

…and I am…

 “Hi. My name is Dave.”

“Hi. My name is Dave and I am …”

“Hi. My name is Dave…” and I am at this meeting for the first time.

The meeting starts and everyone takes turns in introducing themselves and reading from the meeting’s preamble, steps and traditions.

I don’t belong…here. Whatever “here” is. 

“Are there any newcomers?” she asks. I raise my hand.

“Hi. I’m Dave…and…I’m a compulsive overeater.” 

There. I’ve said it. I’ve given it a name. This condition. This disease. This…compulsion. I have it, and it is me and I am it.

Tonight I learned this is not about food. This has never been about food. Not for me nor for any of the others sitting in a circle here in Kenilworth. 

This is about responses, and relationships. It is about self-care and self-love. It is about being present, in life, and being witnessed, noticed, affirmed. 

And it is, finally, about witnessing ourselves, with honour. 

I expect I will be doing a lot of eating, through this journey, but the dish being served is mainly humble pie.

My name is Dave. I am a compulsive overeater and I am starting again because I belong here. 

© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.