BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Overeaters Anonymous group of Bellow Falls recently celebrated their fifth anniversary with a cumulative loss of 755 pounds.
The local OA began in 2013 with C, a relocated member of 28 years looking for support in addition to her telephone meetings and Kathy who at that time weighed 458 pounds. They meet every Monday and now have seven committed members.
Overeaters Anonymous is a proven program patterned after the 12 step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous for anyone with compulsive eating disorders. The local OA work with Sojourns Registered Dietitian Ruth Goldstein and links new members with a sponsor who helps guide them with support and a food plan.
Weekly meetings offer guest speakers who share their strengths, hopes, and past experiences. Ron from Massachusetts called in and described his story. The heaviest he reached was 240 pounds and his triglyceride levels were at 728. A member for 23 years now, Ron currently weighs 150 and his triglycerides are at 101. Because of the emotional and spiritual recovery the program entails, Ron made real bonds and has been married now for 21 years.
Local members shared their similar experiences. Katie agreed with the deep and spiritual connections she has experienced and now can be full mentally instead of her past focus on food, because of sponsor support. Lisa acknowledged her heaviest weight was 326 pounds and today at 187, she enjoys a normal weight and a healthy body. Each night, she writes her food plan for the next day and a gratitude list. “This program is great for your soul,” she says.
Valerie has been a member for 18 months, at her heaviest weighed 300 pounds and was on numerous medications for pain. She slept a lot and did not work due to her disability. Now Valerie is taking a refresher course for her R.N. license, and at 147 pounds, she is healthier than ever.
Kathy highlighted that eating disorders are a “self-centered disease, and the lies we tell ourselves” stop us from being with the people that we love. “I can’t look at old pictures of myself because I feel the loneliness, isolation, and pain of that person.”
C added, “The past is your greatest asset” and contributes to the success of helping others.
If you are interested in joining OA, you can find more information at www.oa.org. There are also meetings by phone to fit virtually any schedule.