What is OA?

What’s OA?

Overeaters Anonymous (or ‘OA’ as it is commonly referred) is a fellowship of people who work a 12 Step program to recover from compulsive eating.  OA is NOT a diet club, a shrink session, a for-profit industry, or a gym.  The OA program and fellowship is committed to assisting individuals to recover from compulsive eating, anorexia, bulimia, obesity, and food addiction.  If you struggle with your relationship with food, you are no longer alone.

Who’s in OA?

Everyone and anyone can be a member of OA.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.  There are no dues or fees for OA membership and we are fully self-supporting through our own contributions.  The people who attend meetings and work the OA program come from all walks of life, nations, cultures, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economics, and physical stature.  The disease of food addiction does not care what you look like, how much money you have, or how smart you are.  Some members are extremely obese, while others are super skinny due to bulimia or anorexia, and still others are a normal weight.  Size does not matter; we are bonded by the terror, shame, guilt, and bewilderment that we have felt due to an obsession with food or weight.

Wait – does this really work?

The majority of OA members have been around the block trying to find a solution to their problems with food.  We have tried various things, some more than others, to try and control our weight and eating patterns.  For example, some have tried diets, gyms, magic pills, nutritionists, vitamin shots, body wraps, pre-prepared food, hypnosis, therapy, self-help books, and for some of us even surgery.  In OA we find a long term answer to our problem because we learn the truth about food addiction…we learn that we have an allergy that has made us very sick people.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery is available for anyone who desires it and all that is needed is to attend OA meetings, work the 12 steps, take some suggestions, and help others.

How do I know if OA is right for me?

Only you can decide if you are a food addict.  Every member of OA who has experienced the promise of recovery has done so only after working the 12 steps of OA.  These members all experienced different patterns of problem eating that include

  • Obsession with their body weight, size, or shape;
  • Eating binges;
  • Preoccupation with diets;
  • Grazing;
  • Starving or food restriction;
  • Induced vomiting after eating;
  • Obsession with food;
  • Over-exercising;
  • Inappropriate use of laxatives;
  • Inability to stop eating after taking the first bite.

The following is a list of questions taken directly from the OA approved pamphlet, “15 Questions”.  These questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive eater.

1)       Do you eat when you’re not hungry?

2)      Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?

3)      Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse after overeating?

4)      Do you give too much time and thought to food?

5)      Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?

6)      Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?

7)      Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?

8)      Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?

9)      Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?

10)   Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?

11)   Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?

12)   Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?

13)   Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?

14)   Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?

15)   Does your eating behavior make others unhappy?

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