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Step 1 of Overeaters Anonymous: Managing Emotional Eating

This is the first post (Step 1) in my holiday tribute or Ode to the 12 Days of Christmas for Bulimics and Anorexics.  My goal is to provide a light and uplifting explanation to the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous in this series of posts.

In Step 1 of the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous it reads:

 We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.

“My name is Polly and I admit that I’m powerless over fruitcake.”

Bad joke, I admit.  But that’s what it sounds like when you read that step literally.  Now here’s my interpretation (or translation):

“My name is Polly and I admit that my life sucks, I feel fat all the time, and want another body/life because I let food, my weight, and my stomach be the obsession of my thoughts every waking moment and I’m freakin’ exhausted trying to please others.”

Ha!  You can hear the surrender and release of resistance a bit more clearly in that one, yes?  Now that’s authentic.  There’s power in being your authentic self.  With finally getting real with what your life has come to and knowing you want – and honestly, deep down – deserve a better life.

It’s only when we finally decide we can’t take another day of living like an indentured servant to [insert trigger food here] and release the control food has over our thoughts and actions that we’re able to feel free.  We have to admit that food (or stomach in my case) is all we think about and our lives have become pitifully absent of love, happiness or connection to others because of it.

How to Stop a Binge BookHow to Stop a Binge Book

Ok, I said this would be an uplifting interpretation of the 12 Steps of OA and that sounds pretty somber.  Well, living in the grasp of an eating disorder is pretty freakin’ miserable. I lived with bulimia for 20 years and speak from experience that there were some dark days and lonely nights.

I know I know – where’s the uplifting part?!

Ready?  Here it is…

Life gets easier once you admit you have a food addiction.

Sounds strange that admitting and sort of succumbing to being powerless can be a relief.  It does and you can be free once you release the resistance.

This first post and step 1 of Overeaters Anonymous are all about admitting that you are powerless over fruitcake.  Uh, I mean food.

Your work this week if you’re up for taking on the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous is to admit you’re powerless over food.  Your statement can sound a bit like mine did above, but it doesn’t have to.  Yours will reflect your situation.  It’s time for you to get authentic with yourself about what’s not working and what’s causing you to obsess – to binge and purge all the time instead of feeling joy and the love from others.

If you’d like to share your step 1 statement below in the comments, please feel free.

Get ready for my next post – Step 2 of Overeaters Anonymous (OA).  Here’s a preview:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. I want to thank you very much for your work you have made in writing this piece of writing. I am hoping the same most reliable work from you down the road as well.

  2. Hello, my name is Mia and I’m addicted to food. It’s ruining my sanity. It use to be my friend. But now I use food to punish myself. I use it to stuff myself until it hurts. I use it to show how disgusting and weak I am. It numbs me. It makes he cry yet I keep running to it. I wake up thinking of it. I plan my day…my week…my life around food. I hate it but I can’t live without it. I wish I could leave it behind for good with no future encounters but I can’t…because it is still essential for survival. It’s like an abusive boyfriend.I need to leave him alone or I’ll die but he posts my rent. I have to leave this relationship but I still need him even if a little. I don’t know if that makes since. I hate to love food. I am the slave of food. It kills me.

    1. Hi Mia,

      Way to go sister – now that’s an authentic share from a place of “I’m sick and tired of living this way”. I am trying not to make it sound like I don’t sympathize with your crazy-making life with food because I really do. I’ve totally been there. Hit that rock bottom many times until I finally did something about it. I hope you feel enough pain from releasing and acknowledging you have a problem that you’ll see something new as possible for your life and you’ll step towards that new possibility.

      There are so many ways your life can go from here. I do hope you don’t sit and stew in the muck that’s around you for another day. If you are working with a therapist, great. That’s a good start. If you’re in OA I hope you’ve asked for a sponsor. If you haven’t found someone to support you yet I highly recommend finding and/or asking for help. Recovery can happen and LOT faster when you have the help of those around you. Going it alone…could take you 20 years like me.

      Please sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t yet. I give you 10 steps to get you started when you sign up by email. They walk you through my top recommendations for starting to walk the road of recovery. If you haven’t yet, click here to check out my Guide to Getting Started to overcome bulimia.

      If I can be of any further support, email me.

      I look forward to hearing from you again.

      In joy,


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