Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Women, Food, and God review

Call me what you will, but I am a huge Oprah Winfrey fan. I love her show (it gets DVRed every day...yeah, I'm one of those) and her magazine and when she endorses a book, I usually listen. In the case of Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth, I not only listened, I wanted to know more and I truly wanted to see if the book would speak to me, as it did so many other women.

For most of my life, I've had issues with compulsive eating, Roth's main focus in the book. I eat when I'm bored, I eat when I'm lonely, and I love to "treat" myself with food after something bad has happened during the day or if things just aren't going my way. It's my reward, it's what my husband and I do for fun (finding new restaurants), and I enjoy it. But, it's also a problem. I'm not hugely overweight, but I could lose 20lbs and be healthier. I have a family history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and early death and I don't want to follow that same path. I don't necessarily eat "junk", just the opposite actually, but I eat a lot. Geneen Roth to the rescue? Maybe.

While reading the book, I definitely had light bulb moments. The author has been in the same situation and therefore, "gets it." She gives different ways in which to discover why we eat, when we eat, and how we eat and turn it around to actually enjoying our food, something we cannot possibly do while standing up/driving/shoveling it in our mouths as fast as possible/hiding. She tells us to learn how to listen to our bodies. When we're full, we're full. Just don't put the last bite in your mouth if you're body is telling you you're full. And most of all, she tells us NOT to diet.

Dieting is the quick fix and Roth explains that the fix will indeed work for a time. But, if you aren't tackling the issues as to why you eat the way you do, you'll just get fat again.

The writing flow is done very well, making it easy to read, and thought provoking. She tells it like it is and doesn't sugarcoat. Small stories, both personal from Roth and from members of her retreats are added for examples and motivating factors. We're given a section at the end on "Beginning Inquiry," which is a learned method of truly knowing yourself (one I probably won't participate in, but it may be helpful for some), as well as a list of eating guidelines. Those are going up on my fridge.

You can read this book as if it were written by a friend. Geneen Roth really is a friend in the sense that she's gone through the dieting and yo-yo-ing and has finally found herself, her reasons for eating, and therefore has been able to change the way she is living her life, which translates into the food she consumes. It's a deep read, not funny, not light, and will probably bring up some bad memories, more than a few tears, and some self-realization...which is entirely the point. It's psychological and Roth is good at her job!

Oooh...I did want to make mention of the "God" portion of the title and text. Roth's "God" refers mainly to spirituality as a whole. This is not a guideline for how MY God tells us to live our lives. It's about connecting with ourselves spiritually to learn what's really going on and to fix that. Don't shy away because you don't believe in the Christian God (neither does Roth) and don't pick it up expecting Scriptural references. There are none.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5
It will stay on my shelves as a reference for many years. Weight loss and the ongoing struggle to find one's self is a never ending process for some of us and I'm sure I will need Roth's words in years to come. I don't want to say that this is necessarily the "thing" I've been looking for, but it certainly is an insightful read with a lot of thought-provoking statements.

Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
Geneen Roth
211 pages
Adult Non-Fiction
March 2010
Review copy received from Amazon Vine

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks!


Roxanne said...

I saw both of Oprah's episodes with the author. Cannot wait to read this book. Thanks for the review.

Just Mom said...

I've been curious about this one but also leery about the faith element would be handled. Your review makes it sound good - nudging me closer to the read!