Overeaters Anonymous Review

Overeaters Anonymous Review


ConsumersCompare.org Staff

Updated on May 28, 2019

7.7 Out of 10
Overeaters Anonymous Review
Overeaters Anonymous Review
Reading Time: 5 minutesThe Overeaters Anonymous Diet is an organization that focuses on getting people with different eating disorders back on the right track. These disorders can range from binge eating to compulsive eating, as well as other disorders like not eating enough or over exercising. The problems in many of the members who attend OA are resolved through in person meetings where there are other members attending. In these meetings you will receive the proper tools to formulate better eating plans, as well as get overall support from others in the same situation. There are groups all over the country, which makes attending very probable no matter where you live. Overeaters Anonymous focuses on 12 steps to get your eating habits back to normal, and they also have food plans available to be customized to your specific needs. The sessions are free of charge, as everyone supports one another without charges added. All of the meetings are run by other members, and the volunteers who are there do not get paid. There is a real genuine feeling amongst the group when you take out cost because no one is entitled to getting “their money’s worth.” Many might wonder how OA is funded, and they simply run off of contributions in the group meetings. They pass around a basket which is used if you feel the need to give money to the organization. [1] The main part of the meeting revolves around the 12 step plan. Below I will name off the 12 different steps as told by the Overeaters Anonymous program and website.

Overeaters Anonymous Claims

When starting with these support groups, you will hear all about their 12 step process, which I will explain below as claimed by the site.

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” [2]

So how does this program work if you do not believe in God at all?

This was asked, and the company answered “Working the OA program of recovery is a highly individual process. We don’t all think alike. As stated in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, page ix, “Our common bonds are two: the disease of compulsive eating from which we all have suffered, and the solution that we all are finding as we live by the principles embodied in these Steps.” This is what unites us in OA. Differences regarding a spiritual concept, or lack thereof, need not keep us from working the program.” [3]

They also talk about the different tools to recovery that are used by people attending these meetings, whether they believe in God or not. Some of the tools are simply getting a plan of eating together so that you can be clear on what you should eat and when to eat. The second tool is sponsorship, otherwise known as support.

They state, “We ask a sponsor to help us through our program of recovery on all three levels, physical, emotional, and spiritual.” [4] Other ways are through service of other people, writing, phone conversations, and reading different literature.

As you can tell, the Overeaters Anonymous meetings are more than just meetings, and there is action required. For those who have a compulsive overeating problem, the Overeaters Anonymous app is also a great way to stay connected even when your group is not around and you are on the go. If you eat foods just because they are in front of you and others are eating, you can open this app and get support. These small behaviors will help to get you back on the right track, and keep you away from the problem of compulsive overeating.

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Overeaters Anonymous Ingredients

There are no ingredients to list.

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The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Overeaters Anonymous

When looking at this support group as a whole, they do not base getting better off of science. Their 12 step program is very much faith based, and if you are atheist there are still ways to join the program. They are not science based, nor are any of their tactics. There are pros and cons to this program and it is not for everyone who has problems with their weight. In regards to body image, if you struggle with body image constantly but do not overeat, this group is still open for you. One of the pros is the fact that these groups are open for anyone with body image or food related issues, whether it be overeating or undereating. Everyone’s plans can be individualized, which makes it much more personal. [5] If the dietary plan you start with doesn’t work, you can literally start over and try another plan to see if it works for you. A con would be the fact that these groups take time, commitment, and work on your end. You have to personally figure out your medical history, old eating patterns, and then change them from the inside out. They help you figure this information out with a pamphlet that reflects on why you’re making changes, and what your visions are for your desired way of eating. [6] It then breaks it down and asks questions on how well you are following those goals, if you need to ask for help, how you are preparing etc. If you are feeling overwhelmed and are worried you have to create your own eating plan, do not worry. When you attend the meetings, you can formulate a game plan with the group and then take it to your dietician or doctor to help you formulate a concrete plan.

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Word On The Street About Overeaters Anonymous

It’s true, this program is great for some people, and then it just isn’t for others. One lady named Arianna Cohen (3.17.11, 1 star) said,

“I’ve come to see the Anonymous programs as a place you go when your problem is more problematic than 12-Step. It’s a deeply flawed best option.” [7]
Other reasons for failure with certain people trying to correct their behavior is the fact that the meetings are primarily female dominant, and they take work over long periods of time. Other reasons are labeling. You have to label yourself as a compulsive eater or that you have problems, which is hard for many people. Overeaters Anonymous online will seem like it is perfect for you, but you have to actually go to a meeting before you decide one way or another. Jane(6/20/13, 4 star) said,
“My first meeting was a life-changing experience. I can honestly say that OA significantly improved my quality of life. I was so grateful to find people who did the same things I did with food.” [8]
She went from attending OA, and getting a lot out of it to not feeling like it was applicable in her life anymore. She stopped going, but still took the tools from the group with her. There are many different stories like this, as it is similar to Alcohol Anonymous. People come and go, and they are there when they need and want to be. This can be the case because the program is free, and many times people are not looking to just lose weight with OA, but rather they are looking to be freed from the chains (eating problems) holding them back from their potential.

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The Bottom Line: Is Overeaters Anonymous Worth a Try?

Yes.This program can be great for those who are willing to try it and really make life changes. The Overeaters Anonymous food plan pdf is a nice way to know whether or not you want in on the program. It is located on the main site if all you are interested in is losing weight. It is not all about weight loss, however, and more about overall livelihood and better mental health regarding how you think about your personal relationship with food. It is a free resource, which is nice, but be mindful it is faith based and could conflict with your own personal views (or align). This is a nice asset and program to take advantage of if you are in need of help with a compulsive relationship with food!

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7.7 Total Score
Overeaters Anonymous Scorecard

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