Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path To Almost Everything
Author: Geneen Roth
Unabridged Audio Version (Time: 5:30:45)
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2010
This seems to be required reading for North American women this summer, and although I'm definitely not a sheep when it comes to the books that choose me, for some reason I was intrigued. I listened to the unabridged audio version in one sitting during a long car trip. It gave me a lot to think about.
The author has had plenty of her own issues with food. She shares her personal experiences with weight gain, diets, and binge eating and says that she has gained and lost over 1000 pounds. Three decades ago, she made a sort of spiritual connection with food that helped her lose weight and keep it off. Now she conducts seminars on body image, apparently mostly with women.
She quotes Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron: "Never underestimate the inclination to bolt." Roth says you can't just bolt whenever you feel like it. Instead, you have to let yourself feel your emotions. Many people with eating issues don't want to feel their emotions. This discussion made me realize that there have been many times in my life when I've bolted in order to avoid unpleasantness when maybe what I really did was miss out on a growth experience. Another point she makes is: if you don't like yourself as you are now, you won't like yourself after you've lost weight (or after your eyelift . . . or after your liposuction . . . or whatever). You have to learn to love yourself and stop listening to the inner voice that tells you you're not good enough. (OK, you're probably humming Kum Ba Yah now, so I'll move along.)
Some of the stories had me laughing, while others brought tears to my eyes. Particularly memorable are the stories of Mookie the cat . . . and the "successful" CEO who admitted that she's wanted to die since she was about 10 years old because she never felt like she fit in anywhere.
There are some eating rules (guidelines?) . . . the first one is: eat only when you're hungry. May seem like a big "Duh!" -- but if you really think about it, how many of us truly do that? You'll have to read the book (or listen to it) to get the other guidelines.
If I have any "issue" with Women Food and God, it's the title. I know several men who could benefit from reading it, but with that title, the book might as well be wrapped in a pink cover. I'm just sayin' . . .