A Weight Loss Program that Really WorksPosted on Nov 1st 2010 12:00PM by Jonny Bowden
How about one that will do even more? Like, for example, change your whole relationship with food? Or help you to understand why you use food to deal with stress?
But wait -- there's more!
Suppose I told you that the program I'm talking about was absolutely free. And that you didn't have to follow any special "diet" (though you could if you wanted to). And that there was nothing to buy, no special foods or products, no supplements, no expensive detoxes, not even a membership fee.
In fact the only thing you need to do for the program to work is show up.
Well, there is such a program, and in my opinion, it's vastly underused. Amidst the vast array of splashy infomercials and celebrity diets, it is often overlooked as an option by the many people who could use it most: people like you, trapped in a perpetual struggle with weight, going from diet to diet, frustrated beyond words at their inability to keep weight off and angry at themselves for being lifetime members of the yo-yo club.
The program? Overeaters Annonymous.
Forget everything you think you know about OA. It's not just for people who are obese. (Many OA members are of normal weight, or even what you might consider enviably thin.) It's also not a religious society -- you don't even have to believe in God to benefit from it, though you do have to trust in something greater than yourself (be it the group or your own inner "higher voice"). You don't even have to give up everything you love to eat (though your ability to be in charge of your own eating may shift significantly).
"OA members have learned how to eat to live rather than live to eat", said OA's managing director Naomi Lippel. "They come to OA to address the issues that are driving them to eat."
They also come because nothing else has worked. "Generally people who come to OA have done the yo-yo diet merry-go-round for many, many years", Lippel said. "We wind up being the last stop."
The thing of it is, OA works. And it works not by "telling" you what to eat (or not to eat) but by addressing -- in a supportive, group atmosphere, with people who share the same struggle -- the very issues that drive your unhealthy relationship with food. It addresses the addictive quality of eating and does so in a gentle, understanding and spiritually nourishing way.
Years ago, in the 1970s, OA actually had a food plan which was printed on gray paper and later became known as the "Grey Sheet." That was discontinued in the mid '80s because OA felt that it was not appropriate to dictate what people should eat. Instead, the group's mission is rather to help you understand your relationship with food. According to OA's Third Tradition, "the only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively." Nothing else is asked or demanded, and that includes having to follow a special diet.
Nonetheless the Grey Sheet remains. Interestingly, it was a very low-carb diet and it worked quite well. A splinter group, GreySheeters Annonymous, continues to use principles similar to those of OA but in conjunction with the specific Grey Sheet food plan. And OA has itself begun to offer various food plans for those who want it.
But that's not really the point.
The point is that OA isn't just about weight loss, though that's definitely a side effect of the program. The real mission of OA is to offer physical, emotional and spiritual recovery for those who suffer from compulsive eating.
If you've tried everything else, this might be a good time to give OA a shot.
As its current press release puts it: "For individuals struggling with various food addictions, especially during the holidays, Overeaters Anonymous can provide much-needed support and a path to recovery."
There's no "diet" in the world that can offer that.
Jonny Bowden, author, nutritionist and weight loss coach, cuts through all the misconceptions about diet and fitness to help you transform your body, your health and your life. Visit his website to learn more.
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