Right before Borders closed a few months ago (excuse me while I wipe away a tear), I stopped at the closing sale and picked up a huge stack of books. One of them was Lost and Found, by Geneen Roth (of Women, Food and God fame, among other things).
Though this book is primarily about money (Roth invested her life savings with Bernie Madoff, so you can guess how that turned out), it’s also about food. I’m less than halfway through, but wanted to share some passages that resonated with me:
From page 41:
When I was fat, I thought the point of being thin was finally being able to eat coffee ice cream and white, powdery doughnuts all day long,and not gain weight. But when I started losing weight by not dieting, I began to understand that even though I could eat rice pudding for breakfast, I wouldn’t be able to think straight afterward if I did. It wasn’t about what I could (afford) to eat; it was about connecting eating with something bigger than my desires of the moment.
This is something I needed to read. My downfall has always been my of-the-moment urges and cravings. I need to recognize that I am not FORBIDDEN from eating those foods and that I CAN eat them–but that I don’t really want to. What I really want is to be healthy, be active and feel fabulous. I am not depriving myself; I am affirming myself.
Roth expands on this on page 62:
…I understood that food wasn’t good or bad and eating wasn’t about right or wrong or being loved or rejected. It was only about this body–my body–and figuring out what it needed to move, think, thrive. Removing judgments from food made eating much simpler; it’s not that my crazy eating suddenly disappeared, it’s that when my perspective shifted, and my orientation was about what gave my body energy versus what drained it, decisions about cheesecake or ice cream slowly lost their fraught, hysterical quality…
Roth also writes frequently about awareness and being in the present moment, so I decided to give that a shot this morning when I found myself reading the paper, checking Facebook on my nook and talking to the dogs, while shoveling my breakfast in my mouth. I set everything aside, looked at the food, closed my eyes as I took a bite and took full notice of the food I was eating: the texture, the taste, the satisfaction. It took me about three times longer than it usually does to eat, and it was immensely more satisfying.
I look forward to reading more from Geneen Roth, and I’d encourage anyone who has issues with food to do the same!