Living in France is a dream for food lovers.
Just step into the street and you’ll pass bakery windows filled with luscious pastries of every description. Step inside, and the crispy baguettes, fragrant sourdough bread and flaky croissants are just waiting to be snapped up. Gorgeous fruit and vegetable markets are just as tempting, while divine restaurants serve up tantalizing fare from around the globe.
However, for some of us eating is a worrisome business. We may love food, but find it has become a problem for us. We eat when we’re not hungry or feel our weight is affecting our life. We may binge, purge or restrict. In certain cases, the more we eat, the more empty we feel.
There is, however, a solution for eating problems that has helped many for nearly 70 years. There are approximately 6,500 meetings in over 80 countries, including one in Saint-Germain-en-Laye! This solution is Overeaters Anonymous, a support program that helps deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms of compulsive overeating.
OA is an international fellowship of people from all walks of life (and body sizes) who meet in order to help solve a common problem: compulsive overeating. The only requirement is a desire to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues, fees, weigh-ins or diets.
How does it work?
The OA program is patterned after that of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Members have found that the 12-step program of recovery works as well for compulsive overeaters as it does for alcoholics.
The concept of abstinence is the basis of OA’s program of recovery. By admitting inability to control compulsive eating in the past, and abandoning the idea that all one needs in order to be able to eat normally is “a little willpower”, it becomes possible to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors. This is accomplished while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight.
Some of the recovery tools members use include:
- following a plan of eating (for weight loss or weight gain, any medically approved eating plan is acceptable). Members often chose their plan of eating with the help of their sponsors.
- being sponsored, or mentored, by a program member who has what we want
- going to face-to-face or online meetings
- phoning or texting other members
- using writing to recover from the symptoms of compulsive eating
- reading program literature
- setting up an action plan (for example, an exercise program)
- respecting members’ anonymity
- providing service in the fellowship
Members are given the choice about what kind of eating plan works best for their specific abstinence, as well as different tools to help support their recovery. The experience of recovery has helped many to be at peace with struggling over food issues and to live a fuller, more meaningful life without obsessing over food, weight, body image, calories, or exercise.
English-language meetings are held Fridays from 12:30 to 13:30 at Lifespace,
There are also three other English meetings in Paris, as well as French meetings throughout the week. See our website for more details.
By Anna Four
06 14 69 41 47