Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Women, Food and God

Last night I finished Women, Food and God and as promised here is my review.  This is just my personal opinion and only what I took from the book....  I do recommend reading it and you may get an entirely different message. 
As you may know I was a little skeptical when I started this book and I still remain semi skeptical but there were things in this book that made me cry, made me pull my feet off the ledge they were propped and sit up straight, make me a believer but most of all it got me to think.  There were things she (Geneen Roth) said in this book that I've never heard anyone say that hit me on such a level that it was honestly and completely comforting.  Its very possible that the information thats in this book is nothing new, maybe I've heard these concepts tossed around throughout my life but at that moment, in that chair reading that particular line something went click.

One thing that I really thought about during this book is self loathing.  When I was 50lbs heavier I was never ever one to talk down about myself (at least not out loud).  But I had friends who made fat jokes about themselves and I hated it.  It sounded terrible, desperate, and pathetic.  I don't know if I felt like I didn't need to further bring it to peoples attention that I was fat or if I felt that if I pretended I didn't know that I was people wouldn't notice either (I think that latter).  Since losing 47lbs, actually since having a good chunk of it off I find myself beating myself up more than ever!  Whats that about?  I hate my thighs still and I don't remember paying too much attention to them before and I always thought I was smaller than I was I just couldn't allow myself to look at pic of myself, those never lied.  I realize now that losing weight has peeled off layers I didn't know were there and I'm left completely vulnerable and uncomfortable.  I feel like people see me more clearly therefore are more likly to judge me.  How's that for eye opening, how did that escape me before?  Dunno, but I see it clear as day now.  Its also not just physical, I'm struggling with how people take being around me.  I used to love to be around people and now I feel like everyone hates me and I'm the most annoying person to be around.  The truth is people love me, they enjoy being around me, I'm told this all the time because I have a life-of-the-party kind of personality but I have to say that I really hate this about myself and am always wishing I was one of the girls that just fades into the background.

Ok, breathe.

The second thought that resonated with me is the idea of not allowing myself to feel pain.  The reason I was skeptical of this idea is because I do feel pain, I think I feel it all the time, but is the pain I'm feeling linked in anyway shape or form to food & weight?  A-ha.  She talks about something in the book that I've NEVER heard someone talk about before.  Something I have talked to my mother about and in my own mind have blamed her for because my whole life she was such a worrier and now I'm a compulsive worrier as well.  Here is an exerpt from the book;

"I used to think... that the less I showed up, the less it would hurt when I lost everything.  .............  Sometimes I shock myself.  Sometimes I wish my husband, Matt, would just die and get it overwith.  In my most regressed moments (seeing through the eyes of a child), I live between fearing doom and wishing for it, between worrying that Matt will die every time he walks out the door and convincing myself that I will be relieved when he does. "

Now the second part is a little hard to swallow because I never in my heart ever thought I wish J would just die and get it overwith because I really do believe losing him would break me.  The idea of it is too much to take.  I'm willing to accept that its only me and Geneen who have ever felt this way but every time J leaves the house I imagine that it will be the last time I see him.  I'm scared to death that my father will have a heart attack on the golf course and everytime my mother calls while I'm out I imagine if I don't call her back right away something may happen and I'll always live in regret.  Ok so, pretty heavy right?  This is the idea that I've created for myself that I cannot handle anything.  That I am not strong enough, that I will break, snap, my heart is not resilient and it will crumble.

It goes on to say that life as we know it is not intolerable, the pain has already happened and we continue to push it down instead of just feel it because, you know what?  We will be fine, out hearts will not crumble and we are stronger than we let ourselves be.  If we could just stop eating for a second to feel for one second we would discover that its not all that bad, well... we will. not. break. and thats the point

I really do believe that how these two points link up for me is that eating is creating a secondary issue.  One that is manageable, and in my control.  I started wondering if I eat to cover up pain.  I decided for the last two days to feel when I wanted to eat.  I have decided to try and listen to my body an what it wants and not what my head wants.  This will be hard but I think it will be worth the effort. 

"It takes great effort to be effortless at anything"

Ok so, sorry for the long post.  She does get into many other things in the book obviously, like eating guidelines, disengaging the "voice",  meditating.  This is just the two points that really stayed with me and, in a way, cracked me open.  I hope you all read it and share your thoughts. I hope it can be enlightening for you in some way.  Cheers


TJ said...

wow...sounds like a really life changing book- really sounds like it makes you take a look at your life.

I think because my weight loss journey has taken me so long that I have had time to grow. I have learned a lot about myself in the past (almost) 3 years.

I'm gonna take a peek at that book...thanks for the review!

{Absolutely, Positively} Josie said...

what a beautiful, introspective post, Keri! i love reading your thoughts. it never fails to amaze me how little our eating habits often have to do with honest hunger. you won't break. you are strong, and you've got a support system, and i'm glad to be part of it!

dawne said...

I'm going to read it! Thanks for review!

Genie @ Diet of 51 said...

I did not think I was interested in this book, but from your review, I might very well be!

That "worry" stuff is me, totally! What's that about? I drive my husband and son crazy with my doom-anticipating fears. I didn't necessarily think of it being related to my eating, except for the stress of it....

Hmmmmmm..... Thanks for the revelations about you and the book. I'd say you learned A LOT!