Friday, October 25, 2013

We wear our disease on the outside

They walk among us.  People with eating disorders who you may never suspect.  They may not be hundreds of pounds overweight, or have ever made themselves vomit (bulimics), or look painfully thin, aka. anorexic. They are called compulsive overeaters and I am one of them.

I challenge you to find a story on a compulsive overeater on the news, or featured in a television show or film. They just don't exist, so don't feel bad if you've never heard of us before.  It's really kinda of shocking though...
...when you realize how many of us are out there, meeting behind closed doors all over the place-- about 54,000 members in no less than 80 countries. [] And this is just the number of people who are aware of their illness and call themselves compulsive overeaters.  Just think of the thousands more out there who can't stop eating, are alone, miserable and have no idea there is a solution.

Fact is, I do think about this... and I want more people to know about us.  Most people know what Alcoholics Anonymous is, or have at least heard of it, but Overeater's Anonymous, not so much. OA is like the ugly step-child to AA.  It just seems sexier to say you're an alcoholic than to say you're a compulsive overeater, somehow.  Unlike alcoholics we wear our disease on the outside.  A lot of people see someone who is overweight, and they automatically make judgements about them.  Fat. Lazy. Gluttonous.  I know.  I came from a whole family of people who couldn't see an overweight person and NOT make a disparaging comment.  I'm not sure you could ever convince these people that there is such thing as a legitimate food addiction.  But who knows?  And there are other people out there who might understand, who might sympathize or even empathize... if only more of us spoke out... shared their experiences, strength and hope.

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