Step 1 in Overeaters Anonymous

1st in OAThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Amy Margolis, Registered MSW.

The title “Overeaters Anonymous,” may conjure up the image that this is a twelve step program only for people who are overweight and/or overeat. This prevents a lot of people from walking through the door. An anorexic, who is underweight and having trouble eating, may not feel like she should show up. A bulimic of normal weight, who binges and purges, might feel like she wouldn’t belong. An over-exerciser, who obsesses about calories all day, would likely blow it off. A better title might be “Compulsive Eaters Anonymous” because Overeaters Anonymous addresses all of these food/exercise/body image addiction issues. In Southern California you can even find meetings with a specific focus such as A/B (Anorexic/Bulimic) or 100 Pounder (for those who have lost of have 100 pounds to lose).

Step 1 in Overeaters Anonymous states… “We admitted we were powerless over food and our lives had become unmanageable.” It would be more apt if this step could state… “We admitted were powerless over food, exercise, body image, shame, low self esteem etc and our lives had become unmanageable.” because all of this and more is covered in the program. The twelve steps of Overeaters Anonymous not only help you with your food addiction, but give you a blue print for living a healthy and happy life in all areas.

If you think you may have a food addiction and may be a candidate for Overeaters Anonymous, these questions may help…

1. Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?

2.Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?

3. Do I have feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment about my weight or the way

4. I eat?

5. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?

6. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?

7. When my emotions are intense—whether positive or negative—do I find myself reaching for food?

8. Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?

9. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?

10. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?

11. Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?

12. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time:food,gum,mints, candies or beverages?

13. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?

14. Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?

15. Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control”only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?

16. Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?

If you answer “yes” to several of these questions, you may be greatly helped by Overeaters Anonymous and ready to take Step 1!

Elana Clark-Faler
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