Overeaters Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous is not just for people who want or need to lose weight. It's not about dieting at all. This organization is for people who have an unhealthy relationship with food, no matter what the number on the scale says.

Overeaters Anonymous Overview

Overeaters Anonymous is a support group for people who are compulsive overeaters. By attending meetings with people like themselves, members get strength and hope from each other so that they can learn how have better eating habits. They also find out how to stop using food as a comfort measure, bingeing and purging, or exercising to excess as a way to deal with their obsession with food and weight issues.


The organization gives its members unconditional acceptance and support on their journey to abstain from overeating - one day at a time. The Overeaters Anonymous program doesn't include diet tips or advice, since going on a restrictive diet may encourage someone to overeat due to a sense of feeling deprived. The program doesn't provide counseling as part of its services, either.

Traditions, Steps, and Process

As a 12-step program, members of the program need to first admit that they are powerless over their compulsive eating. They turn their lives over to a Higher Power for help. Members also develop an eating plan to help them understand their issues around food and make better choices going forward.

Meetings of Overeaters Anonymous groups can be held with as few as two members. They share their experiences with compulsive eating, as well as their success stories. Between meetings, members can reach out to each other by phone when they want to get help from their sponsor.

Overeaters Anonymous members are encouraged to write about their journey to abstinence from compulsive overeating. The act of committing thoughts and feelings to paper gives members a record of their thoughts and feelings about an event, and gives them a tool to understand their behavior.

Effectiveness: Does Overeaters Anonymous Work?

A testimonial from an Overeaters Anonymous member is posted on the group's web site.

Getting a Sponsor

The organization recommends that newcomers choose a sponsor. This person is someone who is involved with the program and who has experienced some level of recovery. The sponsor shares his or her experience and success with the newcomer to help both of them.

By attending meetings and getting to know other members, the newcomer can find someone they would like to act as their sponsor. The newcomer approaches a prospective sponsor and simply asks if they would be willing to perform this role.

Find an Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Near You

Overeaters Anonymous has groups operating in 75 countries with more than 6,500 meetings every week. A search tool on the organization's web site is available to help you find a face-to-face meeting nearby. You also have the option of attending online or telephone meetings if you are unable to go to one in person.