Overeating 4 Comfort?

​If that is addiction, the key could be anonymous recovery. Help yourself. 

Sujata Devadas, April 21, 2017

Alcohol, smoking, proverbial traps to addiction - you can take it away or keep a strict watch, but FOOD provides comfort too. 

You cannot ban a person from eating.

If eating lulls a person into calmer emotions, it is a comfort zone habit that traps people into an addictive vice-like entanglement with food. When this reality dawns on the sufferer, what is the escape?

Help and anonymity, FA


The sufferer can undertake a private journey to re-establish self control - a 12-steps recovery that allows each person to stay anonymous and help themselves.

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, the FA organization, grew from the foundation laid by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) using these steps and traditions to break free from addiction to food. Mutual support comes from others suffering similarly. They chose the same solution voluntarily with the intention of maintaining it and re-establishing self control.

FA is a non-profit charitable organization headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts. Central to the FA recovery process are its In-person meetings. Food addiction isolates the sufferer. Face-to-face meetings with other recovering food addicts counteracts isolation. 500 such meetings take place throughout the United States in large and small cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, and Washington, D.C.

Internationally, FA currently has groups in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico and Israel. Currently, FA has 7,500 worldwide. Quite a jump from the 177 FA members who attended the first meetings in 1998.

Legally incorporated in 1998, FA members aim to escape their distressing chronic relationship with food. They share their experience and offer mutual support to others going through the same 12 steps to recover. It is primarily funded through members contributions.

Living on the FA Frontier


Yet every FA member does not get to attend FA meetings. They may be isolated due to distance living at least 100 miles (161 km) away from an FA meeting or because of language barriers or physical constraints. But their fervent need to break free finds resonance in other FA individuals in recovery. One such Frontier recovery story is covered here.


Wherever FA meetings are not available, members attend AA meetings following  the same 12-step recovery process. They are also put in touch with an FA sponsor who is successful in working the FA program, competent to guide them with a food plan and determine a healthy weight.


FA conducts census and surveys periodically. 4,238 FA members participated in the latest survey in 2016. 2 respondents who chose to answer the survey, were from mainland China, 1 from Taiwan.


This Taiwanese member recently published her story in the local media. 

The key

It is a question of honesty. Visitors at should answer 20 questions, to assess their troubled relationship with food. Does it need to change?

Measuring Success 

No one "officially" monitors the success of FA members. Each member does their own assessment - takes a personal inventory. If they go wrong, it is promptly admitted. ”Success" happens by abstaining from food between measured meals - nothing in between, no flour, no sugar. Members avoid binging. Maintaining weight at normal body size is the goal.

FA Surveys 

In the 2016 survey with 4,238 respondents, 24 of these FA members identified themselves as Asians: 5 from South Asia, 17 Pacific Islanders. 2 from mainland China,1 from Taiwan.

96% of them reported mental health improvement; 95% in their physical health. 

96% reported weight loss. Out of this, 40% reported reaching their goal weight. Almost half (49%) reported maintaining their goal weight for 5 years or more.

The 2016 survey is being processed and further analyzed. It will be posted on close to June this year.

Personal opinions - healthcare


Although no official recognition or accreditation has been accorded by the health industry, some healthcare professionals are convinced about the effectiveness of this recovery course. Several FA members reached it because of a doctor’s recommendation.


  1. Bariatric surgeon, Dr. Carl Lowe,  Jr. has published his personal observations and view of the FA program in a chapter of the FA Book. 

2. Ophthalmologist Dr. Charles S. Hill, M.D. from Decatur, GA is not an FA member, but has patients who have benefitted from it. He says “I let other medical professionals know that FA helped many of my patients to address their weight problems and accompanying medical conditions. I have given my patients brochures, directed them to the  web site and invited them to PI sessions at my office.”​

Dr. Charles Hill refers patients to FA without hesitation.  “I ask my patients if they want to live to be 40, 50, 65.  I ask them if they want to stop taking so many medications and visiting so many doctors every month.  I ask them if they are tired of being sick all the time.  I also let them know what their life will probably be like 1, 5, or even 10 years from now, if they do not make any changes. Even those patients who seem unapproachable, might get angry, but if I, their eye doctor talk to them about their weight, they benefit from knowing there is a solution.” 

“We have FA meetings in our community. It is a disservice not to inform my patients about FA - a free recovery program that works and helps them recover physically and emotionally from obesity a life with food that is out of control.”

“Medications and procedures may address the symptoms.  But FA tackles obesity at its core.  What people eat can, will and does affect their health.  FA slows down this epidemic of obesity.”


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