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Overeaters Anonymous - anyone anonymously out there want to share?!

(107 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 00:22:58

Dear anyone

A few weeks ago I started attending Overeaters Anonymous. If you do not not know these meetings they are free (donations are taken to cover costs) there is no membership and no requirement except that people have a desire to stop compulsively overeating, there is a book which people can buy and follow, which helps people in a 12 step programme. It is all new to me and I felt I needed some support from people who are also using the OA 12 steps.

This is their UK website

I have struggled with my eating for a very long time and had tried a lot of other things.

I am a firm believer in finding good support in good places and this is a place I have found support. I have got the 12 steps book and am getting started. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous

Would anyone like to share thoughts specifically around the Overeaters Anonymous (OA) way?

Like the meetings maybe we can keep from specific references to food or food descriptions and just talk about how we are feeling about our eating and how we are doing and anything else that is relevant to us, how things are going etc, please?

I am a newbie so hope someone more experienced will jump on in.

If anyone who has not been to an OA meeting wants to join in and hear more they can.

Welcome one and all, I know that threads come and go but I will try and check often and if you want to join us, please do. grin

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 00:26:52

I am so happy that this week I went to a new OA meeting, to see how things are done a tiny bit differently at this one! Some of the same people there so it felt very friendly and good.

I am also delighted I have spoken to my counsellor, who I saw for a few weeks a while ago and she has agreed to see me again, she is volunteering so I am very, very lucky to get counselling for free! I explained a bit about OA and she is happy to see me and feels OA is compatible with her work, which makes me feel very happy as I certainly really respect her.

I wish good luck and success to all who are trying to stop overeating compulsively.

Hi, I would be very interested in this. I am a compulsive eater and sometimes to it secretly and feel very guilty afterwards. My digestive system is suffering a lot. Yet I still manage to eat to excess.

Do you need to stand up and talk at these meetings? Do you have to share things? I think is be very anxious about that but would love the support if that makes any sense at all!

Well done to you for taking the first steps to stop your addiction. You should be proud.

LoisWilkerson1 Tue 04-Nov-14 00:38:17

I'm a recovered overeater, seven years, although I didn't go to OA, I did use the website alot. You can do it, it takes time though, very slow process but it works. Good luck op.

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 00:48:34

Thanks so much * Thereistoomuchconfusion* I was not sure if anyone would join me so welcome!

You do not need to stand up or to share. At least in the two different locations of meetings I have been to you do not need to do that.

At the start of the meeting we have (at the ones I have been at) introduced ourselves simply by our name and if we have a problem, such as 'Compulsive overeater' we have named that problem. The meetings I been to have been relatively small, think under 10, but that really would depend where you were.

If you wish to find a meeting you put your location into the website here remembering to select the country you are in, I found that easier to go via the left side of the web page, country then town. For my area there were about 4 choices which were a variety of distances away and on different days.

For the place I chose there was a phone number and so I could call the lady in question (it was a lady in this case) and ask a bit more about it. If you wanted to ask about standing up of having to speak you could ask. At the meetings I attended we sat down the whole time. I would imagine if it were a very big meeting then it might be easier to stand but of course you could start by asking the sort of size of the meeting. The size of the two venues I have been to showed me even if the room were full it would still be a relatively small meeting.

As far as having to speak, I did not feel I had to, it was very much, 'share if you would like to'. After the meeting people stayed for a few minutes and chatted and I would say you could say as much or as little as you liked. Due to the nature of 'anonymous' we only used first names and we were asked to give a mobile number and a member did send me a text to encourage me after the meeting. The fact it was just a mobile number also felt it was anonymous, it was not my home phone or email where I may not want to be contacted, so it did feel very private. But even that I would say if you felt concerned about giving your mobile number you could ask the contact for the group if it was necessary.

If I am honest when i first got the text I felt like, oh they are making contact, but then I felt it was kind, it was a person from the meeting, not a bit organisation! They were clear that we could share mobile numbers so if I had not wanted anyone to text me I could have said I didn't want to leave it. The person who texted me has also become someone I would feel able to talk to or perhaps ask for directions if I got lost (when i went to the alternative venue) so really it was a good thing.

Hope that all makes sense.

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 01:13:45

Thanks so much LoisWilkerson1.

violetbean Tue 04-Nov-14 06:53:11

Hoping to go to my first meeting on Thursday <bag of nerves>

violetbean Tue 04-Nov-14 09:42:44

Oops just realised I arranged to have dinner with my parents on Thursday <facepalm>

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 10:09:22

violetbean I hope you get along to a meeting soon. Let us know how you get on, if it is helpful to chat.

AcrossthePond55 Tue 04-Nov-14 23:08:34

Good luck to all. It's a struggle but so well worth it!

I've let a little creep up so I'm now watching it until I can get it off. It does happen, but I've learned to just let it go, not get angry at myself, and just get back on the pony and ride!

Italiangreyhound Wed 05-Nov-14 18:13:07

Today has been a good day, ish. I am feeling better. Leaving a little food on my plate and resisting cakes! Which I don't like anyway.

Thanks Acrossthepond.

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Nov-14 02:10:45

Things are pretty mixed for me this week.

I have had some bad news about my health. At a visit to the nurse for a fasting blood test for a possible problem in one (unrelated to overeating) area I have found out I might be diabetic.

The nurse is going to checking and get back to me.

In a scan, for this (unrelated area) thing I also found out I might have a problem with my liver!

I so much hope not! That is being checked too. I have over eaten for best part of 25 years and always felt a tiny bit smug that I had 'got away with it' as there were no huge 'symptoms' except me being pretty big and my knees creaking.

Now the food is catching me up!

I am so thankful I am going to OA because I would probably feel really bad if I was not tackling it.

I am thankful I found OA when I did, just a few days before the nurse said I might have diabetes!

I went to an extra meeting this week (Inormally just go once a week) but I felt I really needed it.

I also went to regular meeting and it was so nice to see regular faces there.

I have found in last few days I am actually leaving a bit of food here and there. Not a lot, just a spoonful of cottage cheese, a few crisps, or half a slice of toast. I am wasting left over food in the bin instead of wasting it in my mouth!

I tried to explain to rake thin husband how good it feels to not have to finish every mouthful. He was pleased, I know, but I am not sure he really gets it. It's so rare for me to feel full and stop! I normally feel full, dismiss the thought and plough on!

Hope someone else will come along and share some success stories or failures with me.

I am going to need a food plan soon, any tips from OA, anyone?


AcrossthePond55 Fri 07-Nov-14 15:09:31

You KOKO! Every day a new one. Every step a movement to the future!

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Nov-14 15:28:40

What's KOKO?? Across? Thanks so much, I am moving on every day.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 07-Nov-14 17:26:12

It means "Keep On Keeping On". Doing what you're doing.

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Nov-14 18:43:13

Fab, thanks.

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Nov-14 22:45:02

Have managed to do a few good things today, cooking only three of something when there were four! Leaving one for later, something I used to find so hard.

Eating half of something and saving the other half until after dinner! Again, something I always used to find almost impossible!

I believe this is the OA honeymoon. I wonder if I will suddenly wake up and find it is over! I really hope not. I am working through the book.

imalostcause Sat 08-Nov-14 22:59:20

Hi Italian. I too overeat, it's comfort eating. My problem is sweet stuff and snacking in the evening.

I don't want to attend a group - suffering with depression and struggle to get out of the house alone sometimes - but I will look at the website.

How are you doing today?

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Nov-14 23:20:49

I am pretty much feeling brilliant today, thanks, imalostcause! And if you read the previous few posts you will know I have possible problems with diabetes and fatty liver. But I must admit getting some control over eating has made me feel brilliant!

Really imalostcause I do not think you are a lost cause as your mumsnet nickname suggests. You just need help.

Are you getting help for depression? Is it long term/related to a recent pregnancy/baby or unhappy life experience? Whatever it is, please see your GP for help if you have not done so. And if you have, please try whatever has been recommended, if you think it is right for you; if what has been recommended is not working, please try again.

I had OCD in my teens and twenties and it was not diagnosed or treated. It kind of morphed into my over eating and the rest is history. I had anxiety in my thirties and I got help (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from my local hospital, refereed via my GP) and it was sorted quite quickly without use of drugs etc.

If you are struggling to get out of the house is it agoraphobia? Or something else?

please do seek help.

With OA there is a 12 step book, linked to above, and it is possibly not essential to go to a group. But I feel the group is a big plus if you can find the right one.

Good luck. Please post some more if you want to talk.

imalostcause Sun 09-Nov-14 00:44:00

Thanks Italian smile Glad you're feeling good today.

Yes, I see my gp about my depression and am taking antidepressants, have been since early this year. They have helped with the anxiety I was suffering with, but I'm still feeling pretty down.

It's mainly due to various things that have happened in my life, low self esteem, a phobia.

I don't have agoraphobia per se, I can leave the house, just don't like going places along as I get very anxious, and don't like having to socialise with people.

Currently life is very difficult. Dh has been out of work for over a year, financially we are in a mess, lots of debt, not earning enough to cover outgoings. I seek comfort in food sad I'm piling on weight, my clothes don't for anymore, which is making me even more unhappy.

Italiangreyhound Sun 09-Nov-14 01:38:36

So sorry imalostcause I can't really recommend what to do except tackle each of these areas gradually and get whatever help is on offer.

I am sure these areas of life all have a knock on effect and when you see some positive development in one area it may well improve another. Please also find some areas of life to be happy in, because I do feel that can change things. Even getting a little exercise etc could make you feel better.

There are courses that are helping people who are struggling with finances. Have you looked on line for genuine advice organisations which are charities? It's not something I know about but I know some churches in our area are running some sort of charity that aims to help people deal with finances.

Could you ask your GP for a referral to get some talking therapy help like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I had anxiety 15 years ago and the CBT worked very well. You could certainly ask for help with your phobia and depression etc.

I can only really say OA has helped me a lot. It is free (they do send round a collection bag because they cover costs of literature they give out (leaflets etc) and renting the room they meet in but you do not need to give anything at your first meeting and of course as it is a donation it is really up to you. Where as with a diet club you usually pay week by week whether you attend or not and whether you lose weight or not. having said this your gp might be able to offer you free membership of a diet club if you weight and BMI is sufficiently high.

Each branch of OA might have a contact person, who you can call and chat to, this would give you an idea about the group and maybe even ask them if they would be there on the day you go so you would feel like you know someone there.

I am sure OA is not for everyone but I have found it very helpful indeed.

I hope you will find a group and see if it is for you. At the very least it may help you because it is all about what is going on in the mind in relation to food and eating and not about how many calories in something etc. You sound wise enough to have worked out where some of your problems with eating and food come from and that is probably a part of finding solutions.

All the best.

Italiangreyhound Sun 09-Nov-14 22:01:31

Pretty good day.

I had something for a sweet snack at teatime and ate half of it. I saved the other half for dessert. I was also able to not eat all of my dinner! Pretty unusual for me.

The group tonight was lovely, such great people. I am so glad I found OA.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 10-Nov-14 00:15:30

Yay you, Italian.

No foods are 'off limits'. It's all portion control. I used to tell myself that that second piece of cake wasn't going to taste any better than the one I just ate, so I didn't need that second piece! Same thing with 'halfsies'.

ExhaustedWithLife Mon 10-Nov-14 22:39:14

HI all, and thank you to Italian for setting up the thread.

I've just done my 3rd meeting with OA and, although I'm finding it a godsend to finally meet people who understand, I'm also struggling with a lot of aspects of it - not being on a diet, not losing weight, still eating things I shouldn't be or in portions sizes that are too big.

I'm tired and struggling.

Will be lovely to share my journey x

Italiangreyhound Tue 11-Nov-14 00:46:21

Exhausted lovely to hear from you.

I'm so glad you have made it to three meetings.

'not being on a diet' it is tough when you have been programmed to think you will be on a diet all the time. But long term, rest of my life I want to eat healthily, so that is the most important thing.

'not losing weight' I really hope for both of us this will come.

'still eating things I shouldn't be or in portions sizes that are too big.' I can't really advice you much here as I have done all that. I guess just try slowing down when you eat a bit, thinking as you eat how lovely the food is and enjoying every mouthful. You may find that you don't need to eat the whole portion. I have started portioning with a view to eating a whole thing but not necessarily in one whole go! Observing the OA not talking about food thing I would say...

I had a ready meal dinner, quite big, I would have normally eaten it all in one go, I took half onto my plate and then another quarter. the final quarter (about a starter size) is now in my fridge to have with lunch tomorrow.

A sweet treat after lunch or dinner I am cutting in half and really savouring it and then eating the other half later that day as my dessert after dinner or my late afternoon snack.

I am only really able to do this because I do genuinely feel less interested in eating and food. I also think as I am now eating more slowly I do notice that point where I feel full and am really making an effort to stop, even if that means throwing away half a slice of toast etc. Better to waste it in the bin than in the tummy. However, I can only really do this because I feel I have a kind of supernatural strength at the moment. It's not my ability at work.

I cannot really advice because I am so new to OA, but maybe Acrossthepond will ave some advice.

All bets wishes, keep going. It works if you work it!

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