Grey Sheets

Who are GreySheeters Anonymous?


Greysheeters Anonymous are a 12-step fellowship with the stated purpose of helping people who struggle with food addiction. Like many 12-step programmes, GSA is rooted in the 12-step tradition started by Alcoholics Anonymous.


GreySheeters Anonymous was started by a group of dissenters from Overeaters Anonymous, which split in the mid-eighties. They believed a more radical approach was needed to address overeating, based on the concept of abstinence from foods that they believed caused cravings in the first place.


This means GreySheeters Anonymous has a different ethos to many other 12-step-based abstinence programmes, and unlike some other groups set up to address compulsive eating, weight loss and dieting are included as part of the programme. This can be seen on their website, where one of their most frequently asked questions is, ‘How long does it take to lose weight?’

What is a compulsive eater?


Other programmes like Overeaters Anonymous state that they are for everyone who struggles with some form of compulsion around eating, but GreySheeters has a much more specific definition of who it’s for – people who struggle with compulsive overeating.


Compulsive overeating is often used interchangeably with binge eating disorder, which is characterised by frequent episodes of eating unusually large quantities of food and being unable to stop.

What does GreySheets addicts anonymous UK provide help for?


GreySheeters Anonymous states that their focus is on people who are not able to stop thinking about food, have found their eating interferes with work and home life, and are unhappy no matter their size – and unlike some other compulsive eating programmes, weight loss is included as a goal. GreySheeters provides an eating plan with a very rigid structure to attempt to control the compulsions members experience around food.

How does GreySheeters anonymous work?


As a 12-step-based programme, GSA incorporates its own form of the 12 steps and 12 traditions started by Alcoholics Anonymous and incorporates the concept of a higher power. The 12 Steps are:


  • Step one: Admitting your powerless over food
  • Step two: Coming to believe that a higher power can restore you
  • Step three: Turning your will over to a higher power
  • Step four: Making a searching and fearless moral inventory
  • Step five: Admitting the nature of your wrongs to your higher power
  • Step six: Readying to ask your higher power to remove your shortcomings
  • Step seven: Asking your higher power to remove your shortcomings
  • Step eight: Making a list of those you have wronged
  • Step nine: Making amends to people where possible, except where it would cause injury
  • Step ten: Continuing to take a moral inventory, and admitting wrongs where necessary
  • Step eleven: Improving your relationship with your higher power through prayer and meditation
  • Step twelve: A spiritual awakening.


As belief in a higher power is integral to the 12 Steps of GreySheeters Anonymous, the programme may better fit people who already believe in, or are open to, the concept of God or spirituality. GreySheeters Anonymous do state that you don’t need to belong to a particular faith to join. However, daily prayer and meditation are part of the programme.

What is the GreySheet food plan?


Central to GreySheeters Anonymous is the GreySheet Food Plan, named for the grey paper on which it was originally printed. While some other programmes focus on refraining from compulsive eating and are less prescriptive about what that entails, Greysheeters is all about the GreySheet Food Plan. The plan represents one of the most significant differences between Greysheeters and other compulsive eating programmes.


The GreySheet Food Plan was originally distributed by another 12-step-based compulsive eating programme, Overeaters Anonymous, until 1986. They no longer distribute or endorse this plan.


Most 12-step programmes have a central tenet of abstinence from damaging behaviours or compulsions. However, GreySheeters Anonymous states that for ‘carbohydrate-sensitive people, ‘ artificial sugars and starches induce cravings – so they believe total abstinence from most carbohydrates is necessary.


GreySheeters Anonymous claims that this plan is not a diet. However, the plan severely restricts what, how much, and how often a person can eat. The GreySheets Plan is high-protein and low-carbohydrate and eliminates all sugar, alcohol and grain products. The plan lists all permitted foods, and food not included in the GreySheets plan is not allowed.

Only three meals a day are permitted, and you cannot skip a meal. All meals must be weighed no matter where you are—this includes restaurants, parties, and even within the home.
All meals must be written down and submitted to a GSA food sponsor. No snacking in between meals is permitted, and only coffee, water or zero-calorie drinks can be consumed.


If followed, The GreySheet Food Plan provides approximately 1200 calories a day. This is a very low number of calories, generally recognised as the minimum required for basic bodily functions. Eating this little can result in negative health effects, such as fatigue, headaches and gallstones, and is associated with significant weight regain when the restrictions are lifted. The GreySheets Plan’s restrictive form of eating is summed up in two of their slogans ‘”Don’t Eat No Matter What” and “There Is Always Another Meal Coming.’


The GreySheet Plan is only available from a GreySheeters Anonymous sponsor for those who are willing to work with a sponsor and be abstinent as they define it.

GreySheeters Anonymous near me


GSA meetings can be found on their website or by Googling ‘GreySheets Meetings Near Me’.


At present, they only hold in-person meetings in London and Brighton, but like many 12-step programmes, they hold meetings by telephone and online.

What happens in a typical GreySheeters Meeting?


There are several things which are specific to GSA meetings that are not commonly found in other 12-step programmes. Eating is banned in GreySheeters meetings, and only zero-calorie drinks are allowed. When sharing experiences, naming specific foods isn’t allowed, and only generic terms like ‘carbohydrate’ can be used.


GreySheet meetings follow a particular structure. Before attending, prospective members are made aware of the ground rules and the expectations to follow the GreySheets Plan, which they are expected to follow with no exceptions.


Meetings are led by a member who has at least 90 days of continued abstinence as defined by the GreySheets Plan. This member will speak about their experiences for approximately 15-20 minutes at the beginning.


Announcements, abstinence day counts, milestones and sharing of experiences follow, and the meetings typically close with the Serenity Prayer.


GSA recommends attending three meetings a week.

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How long are GreySheets meetings?
Unless otherwise stated, GSA meetings last for one hour.
Are GreySheets meetings free?
GreySheeters Anonymous state the only criteria for membership is the desire to stop eating compulsively, and they do not charge for membership. They do ask for donations, but no one is obliged to pay them. Most of their literature can be downloaded for free, and the GreySheets Plan is free from a sponsor. GSA acknowledges that there may be a cost associated with buying food that is compliant with the GreySheets Plan. Fresh vegetables and proteins are more expensive than pre-made or ultra-processed food products, which the plan does not allow.

(Click here to see works cited)

  • (n.d.). History of GSA – GreySheeters Anonymous. [online] Available at:
  • (n.d.). Especially for Newcomers – GreySheeters Anonymous. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2024]
  • Cleveland Clinic (2023). Binge Eating Disorder: Causes, Treatments & Complications. [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at:
  • (n.d.). Especially for Newcomers – GreySheeters Anonymous. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2024].
  • (n.d.). 12 Steps & 12 Traditions – GreySheeters Anonymous. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2024].