Women Food and God is Geneen Roth's masterwork, the final book she intends to write about the subject that has fascinated her since she wrote the bestselling When Food is Love two decades ago. From the very beginning, the listener is in the grip of an intelligent, humorous and thoughtful teacher who unravels the beginning of addiction until it's logical end: a human who has denied themselves the ability to think and feel. Whether the drug is wine or chocolate, the essence of the problem is the same - opting out of life.
Women Food and God is both a powerful argument for personal investigation and change as well as a how-to that provides the listener with 7 basic guidelines for eating (the most important being never diet) as well as tools that Roth has developed over many years - and hundreds and hundreds of women - who have taken her seminars and workshops.
©2010 Geneen Roth (P)2010 Simon and Schuster
If you have struggled with your weight or bad eating habits, have tried diets unsuccessfully, still wish to gain control over your food intake and want a more holistic approach than jet another diet or a set of rules- this is "the book" for you. I found Ms Roth approach highly inspiring, enlightening and very helpful, with many truths and wisdoms often far beyond the problem with eating itself.
Author Geneen Roth had fluctuated between severe food restriction and severe binge eating all her life. Her self-worth was tied up in her weight and shape, and her existence was a miserable yo-yo of dieting and shame. She went to therapy, learned about herself, studied mindfulness and meditation, taught and wrote, and slowly began to deal with her emotional pain by learning how to sit with it and feel it instead of eating to avoid it.
Her premise is that compulsive eaters use food to escape feeling emotional pain, and I think this theory is spot on. All addictions tend to be about difficulty coping directly with emotions, and eating disorders are no different. Ms. Roth talks about her workshops for women where they learn what feelings underlie their obsessions and compulsions with food. Those real life stories demonstrate her theories really well and make you connect with her work.
Ms. Roth discusses the promise of diets, which simply don’t work:
“Diets are based on the unspoken fear that you are a madwoman, a food terrorist, a lunatic…The promise of a diet is not only that you will have a different body; it is that in having a different body, you will have a different life. If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being.”
Why do we think that we need to be harshly self-critical in order to motivate us to change, when we all know that positive reinforcement works much better than punishment for behavioral change? We have some very strange ideas about dieting in our culture.
Ms. Roth offers the “If Love Could Speak Instructions” as a counter to the resistance we feel to changing our eating habits:
“If love could speak to you about food, it would say, ‘Eat when you are hungry, sweetheart, because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy the taste of food. And why should you do anything you don’t enjoy?’ It would say, ‘Eat what your body wants, darling, otherwise you won’t feel so well, and why should you walk around feeling tired or depressed from what you put into your mouth?’ It would say ‘Stop eating when you’ve had enough, otherwise you will be uncomfortable, and why spend one minute in discomfort?’”
I like the compassion she implores us to feel for ourselves.
But what I loved most, was the revelation that you can use your journey to better eating habits as a path to spiritual growth.
I’ve been struggling with binge eating or simply overeating for quite some time now and it has long made sense to me that dieting can't be the answer. I wanted to bring in mindfulness to manage my eating. It was amazing to hear how simple and minimalistic the guidelines around mindful eating really are. And it all made total sense after hearing her concepts in the first part of the book. This is a process and not a quick fix, but step by step I am getting a lot closer and making far better choices. And best of all I am actually enjoying the journey.
Thank you, Geneen Roth, you also read the book very beautifully and with so much compassion!
"Helping to stop the insanity."
I found this book to be of immense help. I plan to listen to it as many times as it takes to internalize the message that: diets DO NOT work. They only work for the diet industry who are making millions out of the suffering of the millions of people who struggle with their weight. Her message is one of learning to really listen to the messages the body so clearly sends if we can sit still long enough to hear. Geneen Roth has been there and done it all. She knows what she is talking about and I recommend this to you.
"improve your relationship with food!"
I'm really surprised this audiobook has only one 3 star rating, with no written explanation! I loved her narrating style for starters, and the content of the book is equally as enthralling. If you have even a slightly troubled relationship with food (so basically, all serial dieters/weight conscious folks!) this book will give you great insight into the possible causes, as well as some useful advice. I think I found the book more useful based on the fact I listened in conjunction with other material of a similar nature - but believe me, if you are tired of unsuccessfully dieting then give this book a try!!
"Wonderful life changing book"
I loved this book, it has given me a path to changing my compulsive eating that has been such a depressing part of my life. I love how it's read, and she is a wonderful writer. She sounds like an inspiring, funny friend- which is just what you need I think when battling the self sabotage of compulsive eating.
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