Author: Geneen Roth
Info: Copyright 2010 Scribner; New York
Where acquired: Thrift store find.
Why: Like The Daniel Plan, I though this book would be another helpful tool in my arsenal against food addiction.
Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): #
What it's about: The author asserts that one's eating habits are a direct reflection of his spiritual life. She asserts that her techniques will negate the negative effects of this connection.
"No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can't stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting--of leaving ourselves--hundreds of times a day." - p. 37
"At some point, it becomes about the weight. When you can't live the rest of your life with ease, the weight itself needs to be addressed. Not so that you can become super-model thin. Not so that you can look like an image in your mind that has nothing to do with your body, your age, your life. You need to address the weight because without addressing it, you don't actually live. You schlep yourself from place to place, out of breath. Sitting is painful. Flying is torturous. Going to the movies is challenging. You become so burdened with the problem you've created that your life become small and your focus becomes narrow. Life become about your limitations. What you can and cannot do. How much you can hide. How ashamed you are of yourself. You close down your senses, you leave the world of sounds, of color, of laughter in favor of a reality you've created yourself. If you keep using food as a drug, if your life becomes about your weight, you miss everything that is not related to your weight problem. You die without ever having lived." pp. 59-60
"...the associations we have with feelings are in the past....It's that we perceive a present-day feeling through historical eyes. Through the eyes of a child." p. 103
What I Liked:
The one epiphany I gleaned from this volume is this. I have grown weary with my present emotional connection with food being based on past emotions. I'm tired of navel gazing and reliving childhood hurts over and over in the name of "recovery." Could we please move on and learn to live in the now? To eat in the now?
What I didn’t like:
- The author's reference to God is a misnomer. Roth admits at the very beginning that she doesn't believe in the God of the Bible. Her belief is in more of a higher power--basically, a supreme being she can make out of what she wants--and sometimes that higher power is her. Had I known this, I most likely would not have purchased the book. It was in the Christian book section of the thrift store. Whoever stocked the shelves may have just seen "God" in the title and assumed--just like I did.
- It's a quick read, but it still takes her a long time to even remotely get to the point. Although Roth makes it a point to tell the reader what's wrong with diets and deprivation, she leaves the reader quite spiritually and mentally empty with a lot of flowery maxims, but no real substance to hang onto.
- Her "eat what you what when you're hungry and feel your feelings when you are not" approach looks good on paper, but in reality reads of resigning oneself to poor mental and physical health. This, she calls the Guidelines, goes into a multi chapter monologue where she describes what eating her way should accomplish, but not how to go about doing it until the very last page of the book. Apparently, Roth forgot that eating what one wants and listening to one's body is what causes excessive bodily weight gain. Her assumptions about mental health asserts that "no one is broken," however, her method of dealing with feelings, called the Inquiry (which is never fully described), dives into that brokenness. Her technique, plus her sentence structure shows that she is confused and wants others to be confused also. Sorry, this has "Guru trying to sell a book but doesn't have a clue" written all over it.
- If you're sensitive to language, you won't like this one.
- Since when is this only a female problem?
Although this book has a few good points, it's not a volume I would read again. I also wouldn't recommend it to anyone, believer or not.