May 14, 2010
Last updated: March 08, 2011
Top 10 Reviewer - View all my reviews
Author Geneen Roth shares behind-the-scenes experiences from the twice-yearly retreats she runs for people wanting to become more conscious and aware of their approach to eating... and life... in this enlightening book. With entertaining stories from Roth's clients and her own personal life, Women, Food and God illustrates the amazing gift we get from getting to fully understand our relationship with food, and how to become aware of what lies beyond the pain we run from when we don't eat mindfully.
The mindfulness advocated by Roth has more to do with meditation and psychological well-being than traditional religion, and contains little spiritual direction in the form of traditional religious approaches. Roth describes her personal journey of yo-yo dieting for years before taking a deeper look at what was truly troubling her. "Using eating as a doorway to freedom from suffering" is a rather prevalent practice in much of Western society, and Roth shows us how we can become mindful that it's OK to stop bolting through doorways, and learn that we are just fine just as we are.
Reading this book is a little bit like participating in one of Roth's retreats, in that it takes us into the uncomfortable place where we notice we'd rather be thinking about anything other than our own emotional defense mechanisms. Roth explains how over-eating, workaholism, cynicism, and other patterns of running away from our emotions are obsessions that we can let go of as we accept our lives exactly as they are.
The key to success in mastering our relationship with food, Roth says, is in learning to come back to feeling and being present in our lives every time we make a break for it and try to run away... and observe that there is always a part of us that is not broken. The eating then becomes a matter of eating what one is hungry for when one is hungry for it, and not eating otherwise... just as simple as that.
I love Geneen Roth's honesty about how she's felt during challenging times in her life, and her sense of humor, which helps readers relate to how much better it can be to get off the binging / purging / dieting cycle and into a state of self acceptance. This book is perfect for anyone interested in a better relationship with food, or a greater sense of appreciating life -- highly recommended!