What is Overeaters Anonymous (OA)?

Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet in order to help solve a common problem – compulsive overeating. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

How did OA start?

In January 1960, three people living in Los Angeles, California, began meeting for the purpose of helping each other with their eating problems. They had tried everything else and failed. The program they followed was – and continues to be – patterned after the Alcoholics Anonymous program. From that first meeting, OA has grown until today there are thousands of meetings in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries throughout the world.

How do OA members lose weight and maintain their normal weight?

The concept of abstinence is the basis of OA’s program of recovery. By admitting inability to control compulsive overeating in the past, and abandoning the idea that all one needs to be able to eat normally is “a little willpower,” it becomes possible to abstain from overeating – one day at a time.

OA offers the newcomer support in dealing with both the physical and emotional symptoms of compulsive overeating. For weight loss, any medically approved eating plan is acceptable.

How is OA funded?

Overeaters Anonymous has no dues or fees for membership. It is entirely self-supporting through contributions. Most groups “pass the basket” at meetings to cover expenses. OA does not solicit or accept outside contributions.

Why is OA “anonymous”?

Anonymity allows the fellowship to govern itself through principles rather than personalities. Social and economic status has no relevance in OA; we are all compulsive overeaters. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, television and other media of communication provides assurance that OA membership will not be disclosed.

Is OA a religious organisation?

Overeaters Anonymous has no religious requirement, affiliation, or orientation. The twelve-step program of recovery is considered “spiritual” because it deals with inner change, and encourages members to develop a relationship with a Higher Power.

Some people choose the God of their understanding. Others, like atheists or agnostics, may use a concept of their own choosing, such as Love or Peace, or just see the OA fellowship itself as a Higher Power. OA welcomes people of any religious belief, including atheists and agnostics.

Where can I find OA?

You can find a South Island Overeaters Anonymous meeting by looking at our meetings list page. It includes virtual meetings hosted within Region 10. (Region 10 includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, SouthEast Asia, and the Pacific Islands).

To find a meeting anywhere in the world, look on the oa.org website.

Is Overeaters Anonymous for me?

Are you unsure if OA can help you? Try our 15 questions which will help you determine if you are a compulsive eater and if Overeaters Anonymous can help you.