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Helping overeaters get back on track

A Generic Photo of the side profile of a woman biting into cheese on a cracker, with grapes. See PA Feature TOPICAL Surprising Slim. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TOPICAL Surprising Slim.
A Generic Photo of the side profile of a woman biting into cheese on a cracker, with grapes. See PA Feature TOPICAL Surprising Slim. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TOPICAL Surprising Slim.

I had tried Weightwatchers and I had also tried various other groups over the years and had a lot of nagging from my family.

I didn’t find other groups were suitable for me and, at the time, I didn’t feel that I had issues with food.

However, I eventually realised that when I reached 17 stones in weight and I had various associated medical problems, I knew I needed to do something.

Doing it for yourself is the only way it can be achieved. No one can force you into it. I decided to do some research on line and I came across Overeaters Anonymous.

YouTube showed some actual Overeaters Anonymous Meetings, though I still wasn’t totally convinced.

About five years ago I then decided to take the plunge and go to the Wednesday Morning OA Meeting, which was held at the Victoria Methodist Church, in Stafford Road in Sheffield.

There were only two of us that turned up for that early meeting and we couldn’t get into the building!

However we both persevered and, after some texting, we both turned up the following week and were warmly received by the group. We listened to stories about how people had been helped by OA by following the 12-step programme. Most of the people had a sponsor who supports them with the programme and eating needs.

At the meetings we read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which also works for eating problems.

I lost some weight quite quickly through eating more sensibly and by using the 12 step programme and by identifying a way to hand over control of my food. This is a cognitive fellowship, which involves thinking about what I am eating rather than a strict programme of eating, and it works very well for me.

Attending OA meetings has helped me with my general health and also my well being as well as improving my eating habits. The programme is not always plain sailing and, at times, it’s easy to become complacent, especially when I am under pressure and I let the eating go.

For me it is important to look at the emotional link between food and behaviour, especially using food as a comfort or outlet for anger.

I think it is helpful to ask myself what foods do I eat when things are not going so well and learning what foods trigger my overeating. I now understand the importance of taking one day at a time.

I know that everyone at the meeting is in the same position and so I know that I am not alone and others have similar issues. It is a very good support network and I can identify with the people who attend. As well as reading and discussing the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have some uninterrupted time to share our experiences of eating and how being in OA has helped us in the last week.

OA offers many different tools and you can decide what works best for you.

n To find out more contact Rachel (Monday meetings) on 07557 095730, Ollie (07973 289387) or Julie (07534 081908) forWednesday meetings, Nan (Thursdays) on 07946 437848 Helen (Saturdays) on 07799 613071 or visit oagb.org.uk.