“Hi, my name is Angie, and I’m
I said those words last night at my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
What a bizarre thing to hear yourself say to a group of strangers in a church recreation room on a Tuesday night. Bizarre, but good too – I was in a room of people who did nothing but nod and smile in understanding when they heard me mumble those words.
I decided over the weekend to try OA. I have had a terrible cold, and one night I sent Jason out to see friends while I sat on the couch sniffling and thinking about my weight ups and downs over the years. I pondered the fact that I’m not much of a sweets person, I don’t eat an inordinate amount of cheese, processed or high-fat foods, and most of the foods I like are healthy and vegetable based. My real issue is just eating too much of whatever I happen to have in front of me.
So, last night, I fessed up to my crimes: eating everything on the table when I go out to eat, bingeing on food during periods of boredom, and breaking up tedium at work by snacking – even when I’m not hungry. I am telling you only my part of the story because as OA is anonymous, I cannot reveal anything else that was shared at the meeting. I will only say that members varied much in size, background and experience, and many of their stories were quite inspirational.
Now, because OA is free, I figure it’s the best first step if I’m planning to make support a component of my weight loss effort. Also, the 12-step method seems to have worked for many people who suffer from a variety of addictions (gambling, narcotics, and most notably, alcohol).
According to OA, members are characterized by any number of behaviors or traits, including an obsession with size, a constant preoccupation with food, and an inability to stop eating after the first bite. (To see the full list, visit the OA link above.) I fit a number of the characteristics, so I consider myself a good candidate for the 12-step program.
Some of you might review the 12 steps and raise your eyebrows. I did the same, believe me. As someone of questionable faith, I sort of resist the idea of passing the baton to a higher power. I also think overeating is a habit, not really a defect, and I don’t think I’ve ever hurt anyone through my overeating, thus I also don’t believe I need to make amends to anyone (Step 8). Telling myself I’m “powerless” isn’t so easy, either. It’s obvious the OA 12 steps were created based on the very first 12-step program: Alcoholics Anonymous. We all know true alcoholics can really do some harm to themselves and others, and that alcohol can certainly exacerbate existing character defects. But I still maintain it’s a habit, not a defect. That’s a matter of opinion.
SO, why am I doing it? Well, because I need accountability. Maybe throughout the OA journey, I will be able to look back and find the program’s tenets more agreeable, but initially, this is about support and accountability. Also, OA offers a helpful Tools of Recovery feature to aid in the refrain from overeating. I think it’ll be helpful, and I’ll explore my journey both in OA and here for you.
Cheers to moderate eating –