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Publication: Dear Abby
Daughter Gains Both Weight And Guilt After Mother's Death

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          ABBY - June 3, 2008 
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ABBY: Before her death, I promised my mother that I would 
not get fat like her. Now I'm finding it hard to keep that 
promise. Ever since we lost Mama, I have slowly gained a 
little each year. I have tried to lose, but all I do is 
look at food and I gain.

If this keeps up I'll become the size my mother was. Does 
that mean I failed her because I broke my promise? I feel 
so guilty. Please help me. 

LIKE MAMA: The answer is no, so stop feeling guilty. Guilt 
has nothing to do with it. It's common for people to gain 
weight after 30, and I can confirm from personal experience 
that it doesn't happen because anyone "looks" at food.

Weight gain is a form of banking. If we deposit more money 
in our saving account than we spend, we have a large 
savings account. On the other hand, if we spend more than 
save, the account dwindles. It's the same with weight. Eat 
more calories than we burn, the result is a fat we-know-
what. To "spend" calories rather than wearing them, a 
change in diet and a program of regular exercise are 

Also, people don't necessarily eat because they are 
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ABBY: I am alive because, in one of your columns, you 
provided the contact information for Overeaters Anonymous. 
I wrote to the address listed and, within days, received 
a friendly note offering support. Like many others with 
an overeating problem, I waited more than two years before 
going to my first meeting. But that meeting changed my 
life. I have been in recovery from compulsive eating for 
32 years. My life today is better than I could have ever 

There are about 6,500 Overeaters Anonymous (OA) groups 
in 75 countries. Patterned after the 12-step program of 
Alcoholics Anonymous, they offer recovery from compulsive 
eating. Because today obesity, with all its attendant 
health problems, is acknowledged as an epidemic, I hope 
you will again mention OA to your readers. Fellow 
sufferers and their physicians are sometimes resorting 
to drastic measures to help them lose weight. My life
was saved thanks to this program and the fact your 
mentioned it. Thank you. 

DONNA S.: Thank YOU for the timely reminder that for 
weight loss, a support group can make the difference 
between success and failure. Overeaters Anonymous is 
listed in many telephone books and also on the Internet 
at http://www.oa.org. It charges no dues or fees, and 
no membership lists are kept. There is no shaming, no 
weighing in and no embarrassment. Everyone meets on 
common ground and is welcomed with open arms into a 
fellowship of women and men who all share the same 
problem. The only requirement for membership is the 
desire to stop eating compulsively.

ABBY: Do you think a person can be taught "common sense," 
or is it something you are born with? 

CURIOUS: Common sense is something a person is born with. 
I have heard from many people with professional degrees, 
but no common sense.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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