Losing and maintaining weight is a difficult and intimately personal struggle, but it’s not one that anyone needs to go through alone. There are literally millions of people forging their own paths to their better selves, and together, they offer support, advice, and inspiration to one another.
The Twelve Steps
Most recovery programs, including many for food and weight-loss related support, are based on Twelve Steps. Despite inherent religious references, Twelve Step groups welcome members of all faiths, or even none at all. Roughly, these steps are, following tradition of Compulsive Eaters Anonymous (described more below) :
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 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 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 power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Compulsive Eaters Anonymous HOW (CEA-HOW)
For those struggling with overeating, CEA-HOW offers support and guidance to help you to end your battle with food. By adopting Twelve Steps, members encourage and remind one another to focus on their goals and use tools of group to gain strength. Focus not on negative issues, but rather on sharing recovery feedback and stories and discussing weighing and measuring three healthy meals per day with no snacking in-between, and relies largely on a phone tree for support. They offer both in-person and online support groups with no dues or fees around world. The group is self-supported through contributions. And their online meetings host chats, scheduled at various times to meet many needs. Some literature is available for free download. In all, program reaches out to focus on three main areas; spiritual, physical, emotional. More information can be found at http://www.ceahow.org .
Eating Addictions Anonymous/SANE (EAA/SANE)
Eating Addictions Anonymous helps people dealing with a wide range of body image disorders, ranging from anorexics to bulimics to compulsive overeaters and everyone in-between. They stress that a spiritual, holistic approach is absolutely necessary to overcoming this disease, and pledge, using their 12-steps, to spend each day refraining from using food as a drug-type alternative and addressing body image issues. In addition to Twelve Steps, group focuses on SANE philosophy or method—Spiritual Surrender, Absolute Commitment, Necessary Action and Emotional Healing. There are no fees or dues. For locations near you, contact Eating Addictions Anonymous, General Service Office, PO Box 8151, Silver Spring , MD 20907-8151. USA Telephone: (202) 882-6528. For more information, visit http://www.eatingaddictionsanonymous.org .
Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA)
The only requirement for joining Eating Disorders Anonymous is a desire to end one’s struggle with an eating disorder. Their goal is balance, not abstinence. This self-supporting agency has no fees, dues or food plans. They invite people with disorders of all types and severity come together to find common ground and reach common goals. The group stresses that one can end an eating disorder with right support and right steps. Members are empowered to see past food and begin living with ability to see and make alternate choices. Find a meeting location online or email: firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, recovery stories downloadable at no-charge in Microsoft Word format, pdf brochures, and more, visit http://www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org .
Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA)
Food Addicts Anonymous relies on Twelve Steps and a food plan (not a diet) to conquer addictions to food, specifically sugar, flour and wheat. Fats and high-carbohydrate refined, processed foods are also on their watch list, eliminating binging, cravings and shame. Instead, members focus on progress a single day at a time and are empowered with understanding that being addicted to food is like a chemical dependency; as with any other drug, only way to fight addiction is to stop ingesting chemical. There are no special foods to buy; simple, regular grocery store food is used. There are over 150 FAA chapters around world to join. For more information, meeting locations and times, chatroom meetings, Online Loop (a Yahoo email-based daily communication network) and more, visit http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org .