Sunday, June 30, 2013

66. "Women Food and God" by Geneen Roth

Roth, Geneen. Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. New York: Scribner, 2010.
211 pages.
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

Roth writes, "On the first morning of my retreats, I tell my students that the great blessing of their lives is their relationships with food" (27). In Women Food and God, Roth explains that everything we know about ourselves and our lives can be unlocked by breaking down our relationship with food. Her target audience is individuals who struggle with disordered eating whether they binge eat or starve. Her approach to healing from disordered eating boils down to being kind to yourself. 

Roth's approach to healing from disordered eating draws from the Buddhist practice of mindfulness and the practice of inquiry. Both of the practices involve living fully in one's body rather than caving to your incessant brain chatter. In the inquiry process one is to ask what they are feeling in their body. Is it a burning sensation? How big is it? Is it moving? Does it have a color? A shape? The goal is that in doing this, a person will learn to listen to the needs of his/her body rather than just eating on auto-pilot. When we listen to the needs of our body and eat when we are hungry, when hungry eat exactly what our body is telling us we need, and stop when we are full, Roth argues, that our weight will level out to our "natural body weight" and the battles that take place in our hearts over food will come to a stop. 

Roth's work is compelling and applicable even for individuals who don't necessarily suffer from disordered eating. Her practices are outlined in easy-to-implement steps that would benefit anyone wanting to get in better touch with their bodies. Interestingly, she points out that when we are able to get in touch with our bodies we are also more easily able to access the part of ourselves many conceptualize as "souls," "God," "Buddha nature," or "consciousness." The book is not specific to any religion or creed but is instead a good practice of psychological health. I certainly recommend this to anyone interested in self-improvement!

4.5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: KEEP


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