You’re about to learn everything you need to know about Overeaters Anonymous. We dug deep into the group mission, possible side effects, research and participant support. We also read stories from people who’ve experienced the program. Then, we summarized it all to give you the bottom line.
What is Overeaters Anonymous?
To start with, Overeaters Anonymous, also called OA, is a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Participants identify trigger foods and work to abstain from them in order to take control of eating habits. The number of meetings you attend depends upon the level of support you’re looking for.
Overeaters Anonymous is based out of New Mexico, but there are meetings across the United States. It looks like the organization hit the internet in 1997, so they’ve been around quite a while. There doesn’t appear to be a charge to attend the meetings, but donations are encouraged. You can find a local meetup using the official website and there are success stories, but read on…
Mixed Experiences – “There’s Good and Bad”
The first thing we noticed with Overeaters Anonymous was that some people had great experiences with the program and others soon found out the structure was not what they needed. “OA is hit or miss,” says our Research Editor. “Some people immediately respond to the support and others just don’t catch on.”
Abstinence is a big part of the program. As one follower put it, “What happened to me is that instead of bringing me freedom, my abstinence became another manifestation of my eating disorder.”
Another woman saw results after a little time, “The first month was hellish. And then it worked. I dropped 20 pounds, and 80 percent of my crazy cravings disappeared.”
Meetings – “Are There Any Near You?”
There are three main types of meetings to choose from – face-to-face, telephone and online. This means everyone has access to the 12-step program, but traditionally the in-person option is what people look for. You can search the official website for a local program, but you won’t always find one.
“We searched several smaller towns and each time the meetings we found within 100 miles were no less than one hour away,” our Research Editor shared. “If it takes that long to get there, that’s more than enough reason not to go.”
Years of research have taught us that it’s the small things, like mixed experiences, that hinder any chance of success. If Overeaters Anonymous reviews are both good and bad, that could stop someone from giving it a try.
The Science – “Is There Research Behind the Program?”
Research has actually been completed on Overeaters Anonymous, in hopes of figuring out why it works for some and not for others. One problem could be that participants generally self-diagnose an eating disorder before attending meetings. However, according to testing, there’s no answer to how or why it works.
The Bottom Line – Does Overeaters Anonymous Work?
Should you look for an Overeaters Anonymous meeting in your area? Well, we are all for using support groups to better your weight-loss results. If you feel you are addicted to overeating, or even a specific food, a program like this can be helpful for some. We do have reservations because there’s no proven way to determine if it will work or not.
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