Think You're Addicted To Food? Here's A Place For You

Overeaters Anonymous is having a day-long introductory session at the Veterans Memorial Hall.

When most people think of addiction, they think of things like heroin, cigarettes, meth, alcohol and other drugs. But there are some people who, though they might not realize it, are addicted to food.

Well, you might say, of course they are. Everyone is, because without food you can’t survive. But there is a difference between eating from hunger, and eating from addiction.

Given the obesity epidemic now raging in America, it’s likely that food addiction is a bigger problem (pun intended) than most people believe.

So what is the answer? Diets work, at least at first. But the problem with diets is maintaining the weight loss over time. It’s not that difficult to lose weight on a reduced food diet, but once most people have success, they return to the kinds of eating habits that got them overweight to begin with.

Especially for the food addict, it takes a powerful intervention to take and keep the weight off. And a lot of people have found that help in various 12-step food programs.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, Overeaters Anonymous will have an open house at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 930 Ward St., to demonstrate the effectiveness of that program, and to introduce the benefits of OA to those who may be desperate for a solution.

“This program has given me special things that have happened in my life,” said Donna M., who has been in OA since 2004. “It’s a good place to share what drives compulsive overeaters to eat and not stop – to take a look at the stress we put on ourselves and the bad habits that we’ve developed over the years.”

The program follows the 12-step traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s free and open to everyone who wants to stop eating addictively. The groups are all self-supporting, and though there is a spiritual component, it is not a religious program. Everyone is invited to find a higher power of their own choosing, whether it’s the traditional idea of God, or just the group itself, or anything else, as long as it’s not you.

The program has helped Dorothy regain some sanity around food in her life.

“I can walk into Costco now and get kitty litter and toilet paper and not spend another $300,” she said. She entered the program weighing 190 pounds, and she’s maintained her present 140 pounds for years.  

“And I can’t believe how much you get to eat on this program,” she added.

The Nov. 10 meeting with feature various speakers and describe the basic and maintenance food plans, the spirituality aspects, and discuss food-related issues such as anorexia and bulimia. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m.


Dr. Pam Peeke MD November 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
As a physician specializing in weight loss and food addiction, I can't commend OA and its fellow programs highly enough. These are fellowships designed not only to manage addiction and weight problems, but life itself. Great to see the message going out widely.
Jim Caroompas November 09, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Full disclosure - I am in Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, another 12-step food addiction program. I was desperate and ready to die when I entered the program on Jan. 1, 2009 at 335 pounds. My knees were going out on me, I was pre-diabetic, could hardly walk, stand still, or sit. Couldn't tie my shoes. Had to make sure the chair I sat in could hold me. Yet I was eating constantly, and much of it was flour and sugar. I didn't understand what was happening to me, but I couldn't stop. Finally, after a couple of weeks in FA, I began to see some things. Eight months later, I had lost nearly 120 pounds. Today, I'm still in the program, and still maintaining a healthy weight loss. I get plenty of food, but I get a sense of personal recovery I never imagined possible. It literally saved my life. Maybe it's not for everyone, but it sure works for me.
Mary SMITH November 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Eating too much is directly related to your emotions. 2 studies and Dr. Leankly showed that overeating is related to depression and abuses. In over 75% of people prior depression and abuses cause overeating. Most who suffer with obesity also have prior emotional problems that can lead to overeating and food addictions. It is time to stop blaming all obesity on lack of will power; most overeating is from depression and emotional issues. The person wants to eat less but cannot See here http://foodaddictions.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/depressiondepressed-and-eating-too-much/””
MIKE ALFORD November 25, 2012 at 06:47 AM
You know Jim I was just talking about you the other and I said that you really look like you had lost a lot of weight Im on that stairmaster every night for 1 hour and Ive taken 11 months to adjust to not eating meat So you takeing off all that weight is really something to be proud of Id like to lose about 40 lbs so I can get to 180 maybe 190 but I really do comend you because its not easey --- And really Jim you look like your 15 years younger ---


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