How to Know it is Time to Join Overeaters Anonymous

Losing the battle against food? Diet, exercise, and willpower failing you?

Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay

“I got lost in being fat.” My friend told me as we drove towards her house one afternoon. “This addiction is so embarrassing! Sometimes I wish I was an alcoholic because you can hide that. Overeating? I have to wear that every day.”

My friend was 5'2,” and she had crossed over into the 300-pound range. She opted for gastric bypass surgery to help get her back to a state of normalcy but was finding that, after a year, she was still struggling with weight.

She was exhausted from the typical offhand remark, “Why don’t you just go on a diet? Why don’t you just stop eating x, y or z? Couldn’t you work out more or get a personal trainer?” Easy advice from people who aren’t struggling, and alienating as hell. These comments often made her feel like she was broken.

So why write this now? Because it’s the New Year. Everyone is joining a gym, starting a new diet, resolving never to eat sugar (or some other perceived evil agent of weight gain) again and believing it will stick. For some, it does. For most, though, the month of January will see the success that the rest of the year will not.

This post is for all of you out there who have been struggling with food and weight for years, and feel like you are consistently losing the battle.

I am asking that instead of one more resolution about how you are going to do better, be better, fix this, that you consider saying the following:

I cannot fix this or stop this. I am addicted to food and I don’t know how to stop eating.

Does that statement frighten you? It should. It is an admission that you are not enough, that you need help, that your willpower is insufficient to overcome an addiction to food.

The best part is that admission is not the end, it is just the beginning. It is also absolutely and terrifyingly humbling.

We live in a self-help society, where the belief is that we should be able to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and turn our lives around 180 degrees.

Addiction doesn’t play by those rules. Addiction is waiting for you on your best day, your worst day and in your boredom. Get a promotion? Eat. Break up with someone? Eat. Nothing to do for an hour? Eat.

(And, to be clear, you could easily substitute the word “drink” in there for an alcoholic, or “use drugs” in there for the drug addict.)

But you have a way out that maybe you haven’t considered before. If you can say that you need help, you can take a step towards finding other people to join with you and fight your way out of addiction.

Overeaters Anonymous is a gathering of people who are admitting they are powerless over food, which makes their lives feel unmanageable.

Not sure if this is you? They offer a quiz you can take to help you determine if you are a compulsive overeater.

Maybe you take the quiz and fall right on the edge between two different categories. Don’t stop there. Your issue still exists. Take the chance and attend a meeting. You can show up and just listen to other people’s stories. You can learn from their experience strength and hope.

Best of all, you don’t have to agree with everyone or have the same story. You can take what you like and leave all the rest.

Are you ready? Are you tired of losing the battle against food? Are you willing to consider that you are not enough and that others can help you?

Make a New Years Resolution to get your butt to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and see if something resonates with you.

Being addicted to food doesn’t mean you are broken. Admitting you are addicted to food offers you access to a way out.