Long before NBC introduced The Biggest Loser prime time series, food addicts certainly were known to be unkind and even downright cruel to each other — even (or especially?) while working on our/their recovery.

Men’s Support GroupI detest the whole notion that weight loss should be some sort of competitive sport! I want to be of encouragement to others who share my addiction, not be obsessed on losing weight faster than somone else.

Jealousy, undermining another addict’s accomplishments or belittling their struggles are behaviors that have NO place in settings that claim to offer addict-to-addict support.

Part of my motivation for beginning the One Bite Fellowship for male food addicts was my commitment to creating a  support structure free from competitiveness and focused on positively sharing experience, strength and hope among those who share a common addiction (not to mention a common gender).

I’m NOT anti-women by any means. The male-only membership requirement for One Bite Fellowship is one way to provide an emotionally-safe space for men struggling with food addiction. Some men, especially while still early in their recovery process, need and even prefer involvement in a male-only group.

Despite the fact that Slim-Fast, Nutri System and Weight Watchers have FINALLY begun to market more specifically to men, obviously the diet industry and the myriad of support groups available to food addicts are STILL mostly focused on reaching out to women. Unless it is an organization with a special focus like OBF, the vast majority of support group members are women.

I’ve been at this “recovery thing” for quite a while. In fact, I began attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings neazrly 30 years ago (I was just 20 years old when I attended my first meeting. What happened to my youth!?!).

Part of “why” I left OA nearly six years ago had to do with men-bashing that went on at many of the OA meetings I attended. It felt to me as if many of the women had more than just “food issues” on their plate (so to speak) as many shared that they had a history of being abused by (one or more) men. With that background it was understandable why women also would prefer to be part of a women-only group (as evidenced by the fact that many women-only groups exist within OA).

Within Alcoholics Anonymous and many other 12 Steps fellowships exists a one paragraph document known as the Responsibility Pledge. It reads (to paraphrase it on behalf of One Bite Fellowship): “I am responsible when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of One Bite Fellowship always to be there. And for that, I am responsible.” 

And how do I/we respond to these needing our help — to those seeking support for their recovery process? With compassion, generousity of time, open ears, thoughtful words and gentleness of spirit.