This book was recommended to me twice. Once almost a year and a half ago, and again this spring. Finally, I read it. And I am so grateful that I did.
I have shared in the past about my efforts to follow different diets and such but have never shared about weight/body image/eating disorder history. Slowly, I will reveal more as my comfort increases. I am realizing that my hiding the parts of me that I am ashamed of, is not helping me move beyond them.
Women Food and God is written by Geneen Roth. She has shamelessly shared her eating history with her books and retreats. I will read many more of her books. It was as though she had crawled into my head and was writing about what she discovered.
I have known for years that I don’t overeat because of hunger. My emotional eating has been in my consciousness for quite some time. Knowing that I’m an emotional eater, didn’t ever change it though. When I was a teen, I picked up smoking to replace some of the food. That kept me from getting fat (although I would have sworn to you that I was obese…in a size six). When that didn’t work anymore and the weight started to climb, I took to bulimia. That was effective for many years, in conjunction with the smoking, to continue to overeat, to hide from my feelings and anxieties, and not have others know.
When I decided that bulimia was not the way to go, my weight slowly crept up. Although I has stopped the purging, I had not stopped the emotional eating. To stop would’ve meant actually feeling sad, lonely, like a failure, not enough, angry, and hurt. That was not possible for me. I was pretty sure, although not consciously, that if my anxieties were not subdued, they would overtake me and likely kill me.
Reading Women Food and God when I did was perfect timing. She gives tools to learn how to sit with these uncomfortable feelings, to stop fighting them and pushing them away with food or other compulsive behaviours. In her book she teaches that to visit these feelings, to be curious about their pressence and teachings, can provide peace from the insanity of overeating. Reading this while learning how to do Mindfulness Meditation, has been a lovely combination.
I still eat foods that I shouldn’t and I have chosen to eat emotionally, it’s just that now, I have chosen to do that. Before, it was not a choice. It was a compulsion.
With practice, I get better and better at sitting with these discomforts. I know now that they won’t kill me. And although I still give in to be comfortable at times, they are less dramatic, and less frequent than ever before.
For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful that I will be able to lose weight, keep it off, and have peace. Ahhh.
Till next time,