040. My Personal Experience with Overeaters Anonymous

overeaters anonymous

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

In This Blog

Episode Transcript

Hey, it’s Ryann, the host of the Food Freedom Lab. Today, let’s dive into a personal story about my experience with Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Grab your coffee, and let’s chat about why I attended OA, what I gained from it, and ultimately, why I stopped going.

Discovering Overeaters Anonymous

Picture this — it’s 2013, and I’m struggling with binge eating. Feeling lost and desperate, I stumble upon OA. Their mission resonates with me: a fellowship for those recovering from compulsive overeating. No dues or fees, self-supporting, and the promise of understanding from shared experiences.

OA Approach

OA’s approach involves abstinence from compulsive eating, particularly flour and sugar. They prescribe a food plan, and members receive chips or tokens for days without these substances. The idea is that, like any addiction, we’re powerless and must abstain. At this point, I’m sold; I believe I’ve found my solution.

The 12 Steps

OA adapts the 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous, emphasizing acknowledging powerlessness over food. While I struggle with this concept, my desperation leads me to accept it. The steps become a central part of OA’s program.

Challenges with Flour and Sugar Abstinence

As I commit to flour and sugar abstinence, my binge eating escalates. I feel more out of control and question my sanity. I realize restricting these foods intensifies my struggles rather than alleviating them.

A Shift in Perspective

After a year of this cycle, I begin to question OA’s approach. What if flour and sugar aren’t my problem? What if there’s a larger issue? However, OA doesn’t entertain alternatives, and I decide to take matters into my own hands.

Changing My Approach

I continue attending OA for support but modify my perspective. Instead of focusing solely on flour and sugar, I track days without bingeing and restricting. This shift brings some relief, and I recognize the importance of support, even if it doesn’t align entirely with my needs.

Gratitude and Critique

While acknowledging OA’s positives — the sense of community, shared struggles, and free support — I question their strict approach to flour and sugar. If I’d been told earlier that my problem was restricting, body shame, and attaching morality to numbers, perhaps my journey would have taken a different course.

A Personal Takeaway

My takeaway is clear — every individual’s journey is unique. OA might provide valuable support for some, while others may need a different approach. Recovery involves addressing the root causes, not just symptoms.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering OA or any support group, weigh its benefits against your personal needs. Support is crucial, but it’s essential to question whether the approach aligns with your understanding of the problem.

Remember, above all, do what works for you. If you’re struggling, reach out for support, and know that there’s hope. This journey isn’t about restricting flour or sugar; it’s about uncovering and addressing the larger problem.

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Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.