Monday, April 5, 2010

"What Are You Hungry For?

Hint: It's not food." And so starts a really interesting article in the latest issue of O Magazine. It was written by Geneen Roth and it's based on the ideas in her book Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything.

The concept that I found most fascinating is that most of us approach weight loss from a perspective of what we dislike about ourselves. We see things we don't like, and we want to change them. And we think that if we can just lose the weight, we'll be happy. Geneen says we think that, "If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being."

Which is crazy, is it not?

And you know it doesn't work. I know it doesn't work. I know for a fact that when my step-mother tells me I've gained weight, it does not help. It makes me hate my body and myself more, and then it makes me reach for the chocolate to make myself feel better. For a moment.

She goes on to say,
...there are always exquisitely good reasons why [you] turn to food. Can you imagine how your life would have been different if each time you were feeling sad or angry as a kid, an adult said to you, "Come here sweetheart, tell me all about it."?

Wow. That made me tear up a bit. I mean, honestly, as an adult, that is all I want really. For someone to care and listen and sympathize and understand. Isn't that what we all want?

The advice Geneen says she gives her students is, "To eat what they want when they are hungry and to feel what they feel when they're not." She says that if we eat when we are not physically hungry, we are using food as a drug. We're using food to kill the pain of whatever negative emotion we're trying to squash.

It's a lot to think about. I haven't read the book, but I'm thinking I probably will. I'm not a religious person, so this whole "God" aspect of the book makes me a little squeamish. I know there are church groups that help people lose weight through prayer and so forth. If it's more spiritual than religious, I can handle that and embrace it. So, we'll see.

Anyway, the main idea I've been trying to remember is that hating myself or my body is never going to make he healthy, or thin, or happy. So, I'm trying to make my choices about food and exercise and such from a place of love for myself, rather than hatred.

It kind of worked over the weekend. Today I had to work, and I didn't so much remember all that as I kept reaching for the candy bowl.

Oh, well, it's all about baby steps.


Regina said...

That does sound like a great book. If you read it please let us know if it's a "hit" or "miss".

Karen said...

I think I just had an epiphany while reading this. An aha moment, if you will.

We all want to lose weight for a lot of reasons right? To look better, to feel better, to be healthier so that we'll live longer?

Well, if I love myself enough to want to stick around for awhile, then I must care about me a little. At least enough to not need the chocolate all the time and to eat a fresh vegetable more than occasionally.

I'm going to the gym after work tonight.