Are You a Compulsive Overeater?
Now that you have found Overeaters Anonymous, you may want to make sure our program is right for you. Many of us have found it useful to answer the following questions to help determine if we have a problem with compulsive eating.
- Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
- Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
- Do I have feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
- Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
- Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
- When my emotions are intense—whether positive or negative—do I find myself reaching for food?
- Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
- Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
- Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
- Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
- Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies or beverages?
- Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
- Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
- Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
- Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
Have you answered “yes” to several of these questions? If so, it is possible that you have, or are well on your way to having, a compulsive eating or overeating problem.
We have found that the way to arrest this progressive disease is to practice the Twelve Step recovery program of Overeaters Anonymous. Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive overeating and to carry this message of recovery to those who still suffer.
Is OA for You?
Only you can decide that question. No one else can make this decision for you. We who are now in OA have found a way of life which enables us to live without the need for excess food. We believe that compulsive eating is a progressive illness, one that, like alcoholism and some other illnesses, can be arrested. Remember, there is no shame in admitting you have a problem; the most important thing is to do something about it.
Here are some useful links –
What to expect at a meeting – After years of struggling with your weight and obsessing about food, you have decided to give Overeaters Anonymous a try. You find an OA meeting in the Lower Mainland by checking the meeting directory or phoning the office. Now what?
Our Invitation to You – learn more about the OA program and how it works
To Atheists and Agnostics – What If I Don’t Believe In God? The spiritual experiences and beliefs expressed by members of Overeaters Anonymous are as varied as those found in society at large. Some members have spiritual orientations; still others have come to OA with a history of religious conflict or do not accept the concept of God. Working the OA program of recovery is a highly individual process. We don’t all think alike. As stated in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, page ix, “Our common bonds are two: the disease of compulsive eating from which we all have suffered, and the solution that we all are finding as we live by the principles embodied in these Steps.” This is what unites us in OA.
Family and Friends – are you concerned about the eating behaviours of a loved one? Check out this page for information on what you can do.
Youth in OA – Many people, including the young, suffer from the disease of compulsive (out-of-control) eating. The symptoms range from overeating to bulimia or anorexia. Whether you call the problem a food disorder or a disease, the good news is that there is a solution.
Unity with Diversity – We hope that newcomers who are used to “closed doors” can find not only a welcome in OA, but also a home if they wish. As OA’s responsibility pledge states: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible.” Check out our Unity with Diversity Policy and our Checklist for groups and service bodies.
How OA changed my life – one story of the payoffs of compulsive eating and the payoffs of abstinence and recovery.
The First 12 Days in OA – An introductory program to complete over your first 12 days in OA. You will need the Welcome to Overeater’s Anonymous Newcomer’s package to complete each day’s question. Newcomer packets are available at any OA meeting.