Information For Newcomers

Information on this page comes from the OA World Service main web site.  Feel free to use the information here, or follow the links here for more information:

OA World Service web site

Newcomers Section

Are You a Compulsive Overeater?

Many of us have found it useful to answer the following questions to help determine if we have a problem with compulsive eating.

  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 I eat?
  4. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
  5. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
  6. When my emotions are intense – whether positive or negative – do I find myself reaching for food?
  7. Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
  8. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
  9. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
  10. Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
  11. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies or beverages?
  12. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
  13. Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
  14. Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
  15. 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.

In Overeaters Anonymous, you’ll find members who are extremely overweight, even morbidly obese; moderately overweight; average weight; underweight; still maintaining periodic control over their eating behavior; or totally unable to control their compulsive eating.

OA members experience many different patterns of food behaviors. These “symptoms” are as varied as our membership. Among them are:

  • obsession with body weight, size and shape
  • eating binges or grazing
  • preoccupation with reducing diets
  • starving
  • laxative or diuretic abuse
  • excessive exercise
  • inducing vomiting after eating
  • chewing and spitting out food
  • use of diet pills, shots and other medical interventions to control weight
  • inability to stop eating certain foods after taking the first bite
  • fantasies about food
  • vulnerability to quick-weight-loss schemes
  • constant preoccupation with food
  • using food as a reward or comfort
  • Our symptoms may vary, but we share a common bond: we are powerless over food and our lives are unmanageable.

What you WILL find at meetings is:

  • Acceptance of you as you are now, as you were, as you will be.
  • Understanding of the problems you now face; problems almost certainly shared by others in the group.
  • Communication that comes as the natural result of our mutual understanding and acceptance.
  • Recovery from your illness.
  • Power to enter a new way of life through the acceptance and understanding of yourself, the practice of the Twelve-Step recovery program, the belief in a power greater than yourself, and the support and companionship of the group.

To Atheists and Agnostic

A page has been added to oa.org in the Newcomers section titled “To Atheists and Agnostics.” The text is directly excerpted from the pamphlet “What If I Don’t Believe in God?” and was approved for publication.

See it here: http://www.oa.org/newcomers/to-atheists-and-agnostics/

If you decide that you are one of us, we welcome you with open arms.Whatever your circumstances,we offer you the gift of acceptance.You are not alone anymore.

Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous.
Welcome home!