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An end in sight for America's endless struggles with food and weight?

A food addiction program based on the success of alcoholics anonymous offers hope to the American's faced with a food addiction.

The countdown to bathing-suit season has begun. Whether the goal is to lose 10 pounds or 100, most Americans these days are about to throw themselves headlong into the annual, time-sensitive personal battle with food and weight obsession.

But what of the rising number of battle veterans for whom diets no longer work? Those who have tried and failed, only to try and fail again, year after year?

A solution to food and weight problems can be found within the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) adopted years ago by a growing program called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA). Though the program was founded over 30 years ago in Boston, Massachusetts, like AA in the early days, word has yet to spread to the multitude of sufferers who have found out the hard way that diets, for them, just do not work.

Brian, a mortgage professional with a successful business in the Bay Area, was 302 pounds at 5'10" before he found FA four years ago. According to Brian, "Like so many, I was at a loss. Even diets that used to work for me didn't work any more, and I couldn't understand why. At 30, I had given up and begun working on accepting myself as a fat person, which just led to more depression and overeating. I was sick and tired of being fat, but I was even more tired of the constant chatter going on in my head about food ? all of the 'Should I eat that?' and 'I shouldn't eat that!' ? then the deep guilt and remorse once I inevitably did eat. I was completely out of control and miserable."

He now enjoys not only his healthy-sized body at 170 pounds, but his life. "This program literally saved my life. Everything else in my world was going so well, yet I was killing myself slowly with food and driving myself mad. Now I'm free from that craziness ? one day at a time. This program was my last hope, and, unlike the number of other diets I tried, FA actually worked and is still working."

Similar to AA, FA is a Twelve Step program grounded in the support and guidance of fellowship and spirituality, though not religion. The group is comprised of thousands of women and men across the country who have had trouble controlling their eating. FA offers a well-balanced food plan that is based on sound nutrition providing a solution for long term weight loss. The program is free to all, sustained by pass-the-hat donations.

Before joining the program, many adult and teen members were overweight, some by as much as 200 pounds. Others were dangerously underweight or controlled their eating to the point of obsession through anorexia, bulimia or over-exercising. Today, these same people lead fulfilling lives without abusing food. FA members offer countless stories of significant and sustained weight loss, as well as stories of recovery from food obsession, much like alcoholics who have, through AA, stopped drinking. In FA, lives are reclaimed and the despair brought on by constant thoughts of food and overeating is lifted.

Beyond the anecdotal reports of improved lives from FA's great diversity of members, many have seen a reversal of diabetes symptoms, freedom from dangerously high cholesterol and other excess-weight-related health issues. There are also numerous reports of diminished depression, and many have cancelled radical medical interventions such as gastric bypass surgery.

There are FA programs all around the country -- and over 85 regular, weekly FA meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. Meetings run 90 minutes and are populated with members of all sizes, races and religions with varying degrees of time in the program, ranging from newcomers checking out the program for the first time to people with decades in the program.

For general information and a schedule of meetings in your area, visit www.foodaddicts.org, or call 800-600-6028.

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