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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Women, Food & God

I started reading the new Geneen Roth book Women, Food & God yesterday. I placed it on reserve at the library and have been anxiously awaiting it for months. Other books I've requested have come in and I keep checking my spot on the waiting list and yesterday, finally, I got an email saying it was waiting for me! Yea!

For those of you who are not familiar with Geneen Roth, she has several really great books about compulsive eating. Basically she writes that diets are bunk and that we can lose weight naturally by listening to ourselves, being mindful as we eat, caring for ourselves, etc. I've always enjoyed her books even though I'm not sure I've ever really been able to practice her theories. Actually I know I've never been able to practice her theories. Pre-band the message to stop dieting for me was like permission to binge, even though that is NOT the message of the books. I was attracted to the message, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work in my life. Probably because I was too scared to give up dieting or the negative self-talk.

I am five chapters into the new book and I'm completely disappointed. I've always enjoyed the parts of Geneen's books where she talks about her own life: her problems with her mom, her childhood, her relationship with her husband, her friendships. I would sort of skim the new-agey parts, but this book is so far all new-agey parts. It isn't that there's no value in these parts, but I guess I just don't find them as interesting.

So I am wondering if that is because I am uncomfortable with all the touchy-feely crap. I have done the therapy thing in my life. I've done the self-help book thing. I've done the eating disorder group therapy thing. I've done the 12-step thing. I have examined every teeny tiny bit of the minutiae of my relationship with food. I've looked at it, studied it, railed against it, been complacent with it, ignored it. And I don't mean to sound as if these things didn't have value and meaning. They did. I know many of you see a therapist and I don't want to suggest that there is anything wrong with that. But for me, in my life, I've come to the "shit or get off the pot"-part of my life. I can look at my issues, bitch about them, identify the cause, understand them completely. Or I can quit belly-aching and actually do something about it.

I dated a man for four years named Eddie. I adored him. We had an incredible connection. I remember holding him in my arms as we made love and feeling like we were actually one person. I mention Eddie because he is still belly-aching about his problems. He will be 50 this year. He has no children. He has no long-term significant relationships. His life thus far has been spent agonizing over every problem, real or imagined. He is stuck. He sees a therapist and talks and talks and talks, but never acts.

Sometimes when you talk about things all the time, they seem worse than they are. I guess if you look at anything closely enough, it will appear bigger and more significant than it actually is.

My action plan begins and ends with the lap-band. After years of trying to figure out "My problem with food", I picked a really effective tool that really works for me. It isn't perfect, but it is the best option for me. It is working. And that's not all talk.

10 comments:

Sherry said...

What insight! I too have been VERY disappointed in Roth's book but mostly because I think she's a terrible writer! The beginning parts where she's trying to recreate the dialogue she had with women at her retreat made me want to gag.

That said, I think you've found your 'way' of handling your problems and that is key. I have a therapist friend who has told me a few times (in reference to other people) that when someone complains about something all the time and doesn't do anything to change it, it is because they don't WANT to change it. They actually enjoy the problem, deep down. I think that is probably very true for most people. For me, the Lap-Band was the 'getting off the pot' because I was tired of hearing myself bitch about my weight problem. I'm sure everyone else was too!

Pamela E. Williams said...

Good post Amanda. I'm a member of that "shit or get off the pot" club as well. I've seen a therapist in the past but it was because of the cancer. My oncologist insisted upon it for all of his patients. I don't frown upon psychologists because I worked with them for several years and I know their value, but with that said I also know the value in action. I have a friend that constantly talks about all her problems, she's in pain (everything always hurts), what is she going to do with her life etc, etc, so and so, ad nauseum. I get tired of telling her the same thing. The bible says "faith without works is dead." That means pray but get up off your butt and do something about the situation.

Susan said...

Can I get an Amen! Change is hard and painful. Even though addictions are also hard, they are in many ways comforting and absolutely familiar. It takes courage to want to change and good for you!!

Stephanie said...

LOL, Pamela, with your shit or get off the pot comment. I was thinking just the same...Amanda, it's great that you have the resolve and the determination to succeed. You are taking all the right steps! :)

Jacquie said...

I am not a fan of her current book either. Great post though, as always.

Bonnie said...

I checked it out from the library, but never got around to reading it. Not I don't feel so bad.

DB said...

I love this post. This band was absolutely the best choice for hubby & me as well. As you said, it's not perfect, but it's doing it's thing & we are getting healthier by the day.

Girl Bandit said...

Love love love this post...yep after all the therapy I had been as far as I could go with it...the band was getting off the pot for me too...Live that saying by the way. Won't waste my money on the book...thanks. Can you tell me which one was good????

amandakiska said...

GB - Appetites & When Food is Love are GREAT books. Also Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating is sort of the nuts and bolts of what Geneen Roth preaches.

Amaris said...

I love Geneen's early works, but didn't feel compelled to read this one. Glad I skipped it. I've seen a therapist for years because I have bipolar disorder and my psych doc requires it. Luckily, I have a very action-oriented therapist. It won't do to sit in his office and kvetch, week after week. He's been very supportive of my decision to get banded; in fact, he's happy that I'm getting off the proverbial pot!

Keep up the insightful posts. I'm glad I found you!