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Bites: Attitude of gratitude

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Halloween has just gone, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. These holidays are traditionally associated with treats and sweets. Excessive eating and a hint of gluttony are synonymous with these dates for everyone. However, the parties can prove to be a trying time, especially for people struggling with weight loss. Overeaters Anonymous can prove a lifeline for compulsive overeaters. As a result, the California Central Coast Intergroup of Overeaters Anonymous is sponsoring a special meeting called “Attitude of Gratitude,” to be held one week before Thanksgiving.

The 13 weekly OA meetings throughout the Central Coast are not diet clubs. They constitute a support group to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual help to members in combating the symptoms of overeating. The American Medical Association identifies three eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. In 1960, OA was founded and is patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. It adapts the 12-step program for an addiction to food. Overeating is an illness, and OA provides a proven, workable method to combat the illness. Just like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, the program is spiritual, working on the premise that if one surrenders to a higher power, the preoccupation will lessen and in many cases, leave the sufferer entirely. This paves the way for a new lifestyle.

All meetings are self-supporting through contributions, yet no one is turned away for lack of funds. They prove invaluable for sufferers. One local member of Overeaters Anonymous said, “Most of us came to OA after repeated failures in dieting or in keeping the weight off. What we’ve discovered is more serenity around food and eating. Once our life improves, the need to stuff down problems with food goes away. It’s a whole new life.”

For many people suffering from addiction, the problem rarely revolves around the substance, be it food, alcohol, or drugs. Underlying, deeply rooted issues tend to be the source of the trouble, and food is the solution, not the problem. Spencer stressed the importance of the meetings for those with an addiction to food. She said it “provides the kind of support many of us need prior to the holidays when there is so much emphasis on food.”

The meeting will be open to all members of the public and is on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Rancho Del Arroyo Mobile Home Park Clubhouse, 2700 Cienaga (Hwy. 1), in Oceano from 7 to 9 p.m. See more at oa.org.

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