San Diego County Intergroup


Food Plans in Overeaters Anonymous:
A Chronological History


1963OA member prints and distributes "Gold Sheet" - first low-carbohydrate eating plan. At this time, Conference has not approved any eating plan.
1964"Gold Sheet" printed on green paper, now called "Green Sheet." Food plan eventually printed on various colored papers.
1966, MayNational Conference approves pamphlet "To the Newcomer." "Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous means abstinence from compulsive overeating. An eating plan is the method by which we abstain. The following is our suggested method of abstinence from compulsive overeating:

(1) Three moderate meals a day with nothing in-between; and
(2) Avoidance of all individual binge foods.

Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse any particular eating plan."

Late 1960sOriginal "Gold Sheet" after several different colors is printed on gray paper. Becomes known as the "Gray Sheet."
1971, MayDiscussion at Conference "Should the OA National Service Office send out a selection of suggested guides for eating? If so, what eating plans should be suggested?"
1972, MayConference approves three "disciplined" eating plans: Plan "A" - low carbohydrate, Plan "B" - basic four food groups, and a low-carbohydrate maintenance plan. Plan A printed on gray paper and Plan B printed on orange paper.
1977, MayConference approves "Suggested Abstinence Guide for Losing Weight" replacing Plans A and B. Printed on blue paper, became known as the "Blue Sheet."
1978, MayConference motion carries "that OA publish a booklet of nutritionally sound food plans."
1979"Dignity of Choice" is published with eight different suggested plans. "Before embarking on one of these (or any other) food plans, consult your physician. Show him the plans in this booklet so he can advise you which is best for you. If he should suggest another program, be assured that it, too, is acceptable as a means of abstaining."
1985, MayWSBC - Motion to discontinue publication of "Dignity of Choice" proposed by West Germany Intergroup. Motion defeated 74 to 185.
1985, SeptemberBOT Meeting - Motion to have three registered dieticians check "Dignity of Choice" for nutritional soundness. Carried unanimously.
1985, NovemberBOT Meeting - to begin negotiations with a designation author for the writing of an OA interpretation of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Carried unanimously.
1986, JanuaryOA's attorney asked to review proposed letters regarding infringement of OA copyright to be sent to all groups and intergroups. "It has been brought to our attention that many groups/intergroups are distributing their own material, e.g., "Grey Sheet (food plan)," which contains certain portions (or substantial sections) of Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. copyrighted literature. We ask that if your group/intergroup is producing and/or distributing "Grey Sheet (food plan)" that you cease this activity immediately.
1986, MarchBOT Meeting - The following motion carries unanimously:

"That Overeaters Anonymous cease publishing and selling "Dignity of Choice" immediately and that groups and intergroups be asked to return their unsold copies for reimbursement. Since the understanding of nutritional standards changes over the years, "Dignity of Choice" was recently checked by three separate registered dieticians for nutritional soundness. In view of their reports, the board has determined that publishing "Dignity of Choice" does not fully comply with the 1978 Conference motion which stated that OA publish a booklet of nutritionally sound food plans. In discussing the matter, the Board of Trustees came to realize that publishing information on such a controversial outside issue as nutrition was, in fact, violating our Traditions and in doing so, OA has crossed into the realm of professionalism. Therefore, the Board of Trustees has determined that Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. can no longer consider publishing any food plans, in accordance with our Traditions."

1986, MarchBOT Meeting - Motion approved to develop a pamphlet incorporating the introductory section of "Dignity of Choice" and other material pertinent to the subject that "OA is not a diet club."
1986, MarchProposed letter to be sent out to OA Fellowship explaining the action of the BOT regarding food plans is forwarded to OA's attorney for review. The proposed letter asks that copies of "Dignity of Choice" be returned to WSO in accordance with the motion adopted by the BOT. The letter then quotes the BOT motion verbatim.
1986, AprilOA's attorney writes the following:

"With regard to the notice, I would suggest deleting the second and third paragraphs (from "Since the understanding... "to" ... nutritionally sound food plans.") of the quoted motion adopted by the Board of Trustees.

These quoted sections seem to indicate that the booklet was incorrect in some of its information, and this could be a basis for liability in the future. Such an admission should not be disseminated."

1986, AprilLetter written to OA's attorney:

"The trustees would like you to advise them how they should handle possible infringements of the OA, Inc. copyright on the food plans to limit the corporation's liability and theirs."

1986, MayBOT Meeting - A motion was adopted unanimously that OA, Inc. not relinquish any of its copyrights and that an annual letter be sent to groups and intergroups regarding copyright infringement.
1986, NovemberBOT Meeting - Motion adopted (11 yes, 2 no) that the following policy statement be presented to Conference 1987 for their consideration:

"The Conference, after careful consideration, believes that offering food plans at OA meetings is a violation of Tradition Ten. While each individual OA member is free to choose their own personal plan for abstinence, OA as a whole cannot print, endorse or distribute food plan information to members. Nutrition is a most controversial outside issue; the hiring of professionals to produce food plans for use at meetings also violate the Eighth Tradition, as we need always remain non-professional. Groups endorsing any food plans by distributing them at their meetings affect OA as a whole. At this time, we ask all groups, intergroup and regions of OA to adhere to the above policy statement and discontinue the use of food plan information at meetings. We ought best concern ourselves with our suggested program of recovery - the Twelve Steps."

1987, MarchBOT Meeting - Motion approved unanimously to submit the new pamphlet "OA is Not a Diet Club" to the 1987 Conference for their approval.
1987, MayWSBC approves motion submitted by BOT with slight editorial change.
1987, JulyBOT Meeting - Motion approved unanimously to send cover letter and policy statement regarding food plans to all groups, intergroups and regions.
1990, MayWSBC - The manuscript "The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous" approved.
1993, MayWSBC - The manuscript "The Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous" approved.
1997, MayWSBC - 1987 policy statement on food plans amended to read:

"The OA 1997 World Service Business Conference, after careful consideration, believes that although many individual OA members choose to follow a plan of eating for their personal plan of recovery, offering food plans at OA meetings is a violation of Tradition Ten. While each OA member is free to choose a personal plan of eating to achieve abstinence, OA as a whole cannot print, endorse or distribute food plan information to members. Nutrition is a most controversial outside issue; the hiring of professionals to produce food plans for use at meetings also violates the Eighth Tradition, as we need always remain non-professional. Groups endorsing any food plans by distributing them at their meetings affect OA as a whole. We ask all groups, intergroups and regions of OA to adhere to the above policy statement and discontinue the use of food plan information at meetings. We ought best concern ourselves with our suggested program of recovery - the Twelve Steps."

1999, MayWSBC - Membership Retention Forum held; food plan issue discussed.
1999, AugustBOT Meeting - Executive director instructed by the Board of Trustees to contact OA's attorney for legal/historical perspective on the issue of food plans in OA.
1999, NovemberBOT Meeting - Motion regarding reintroduction of food plans approved to be submitted to the WSBC 2000 for their consideration.
FYIWSBC approved reintroduction of food plans. A pamphlet is being developed. The use of a food plan is not a requirement for membership in OA. Tradition three states:

"The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating complusively."


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