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Old 07-20-2010, 09:55 AM   #1
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Default When Food is Love

I just finished reading an amazing book - "When Food is Love" by Geneen Roth which analyzes the connections between compulsive eating and intimacy. I found it fascinating and it made me take a deeper look at why I eat and why there is so much "drama" in life concerning food. I would love to discuss it. Here's an excerpt:

"We eat the way we live. What we do with food, we do in our lives. Eating is a stage upon which we act out our beliefs about ourselves. As compulsive eaters, we use food to somatize our deepest fears, dreams, and convictions. Something is wrong when we find ourselves reeling into paroxysms of despair from eating a piece of garlic bread or three eclairs. Something is wrong when we feel we have to deprive ourselves of foods we love because we believe we would abuse them - or ourselves -if we allowed them in our lives. Something is wrong and we are using food to express it."

I found myself spiraling into despair just yesterday over a handful of corn chips that were "off plan" - and was almost ready to quit for the rest of the week and try again later...........

What do you think - do you eat the way you live? Always afraid that one wrong move will ruin everything - feeling that you can't trust yourself with yourself?
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:16 AM   #2
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At first, when I was dieting aggressively to get the weight off, I wouldn't let myself pig out. Instead, if someone was eating potato chips, and offered me some, I would ask for two. And then that's it. Just for the taste. Same thing with sweets. At first I couldn't go buy that stuff. I didn't trust myself, but the ultimate moment of truth and strength came when someone gave me a donut, and to not be rude, I accepted it, but it sat on my desk the whole day. That's when I knew that my will power overcame my addiction to junk food. Great thread! Now I can buy whatever I want, and I'm able to limit myself on what I eat! So far so good, 7 months maintaining!
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:58 AM   #3
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While I think Roth has an interesting idea - paralleling the pattern of how we eat with the patterns in our lives that do not involve eating, she still places far too much emphasis on the emotions in reference to eating.

Eating is an unbelievably strong, undeniable urge that must be satiated in order to continue living. In one sense, this urge has nothing to do with emotions - it is beyond emotions. In the Timaeus, Plato states that hunger is our only bodily urge/desire that cannot be tamed by the powers of reason (due to its strength, reason will not listen).

That being said, and siding more with Roth, eating does take on an emotional dimension- in that eating is the most essential component in our first relationship with our mother. Patterns are formed during this time (as small babies), which many say are kept throughout adulthood.

Regardless of whether I agree with Roth or not - I do think her writing opens up new ideas to a wide variety of people about the burden of eating and weight. However, whenever I hear, for example, Oprah speaking about conquering her eating problem through the conquering of her emotions - I can't help but think the view is superficially one-sided.
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf

Last edited by bonnnie; 07-20-2010 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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I used to be afraid, but now I know I can have an off plan meal and go right back to my plan at the next meal and the next. As long as I'm on plan 90-95% of the time all is well. I finally stopped letting one false move turn into days and days of mistakes and just accepted, sometimes I want a cookie. But I don't have to eat the whole bag, and if I do then I try to identify why and not do that next time. A good example is that I recently discovered that I live dark chocolate almonds. The kill a sweet craving and dark chocolate and almonds are really good for you, but they are highly caloric. I figured out how to incorporate them as occasional snacks. For a few weeks this worked great, but at some point the became a trigger food and I've had to eliminate them for now.

I liked Gennen's books, but honestly I find them a little too deep and I feel like she's giving food WAY too much power. I know the emotional relationship can be very complicated, but it doesn't have to be. I only realized this when I started viewing food as fuel for my body and my workouts and accepting that sometimes I just crave the ugly stuff and as long ad I'm back on plan immediately afterwards that's ok for me. I guess I'm choosing to not allow food to have that pull over me anymore. Whether or not it's really my choice only time will tell.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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I think that for some people, food is a very emotional habit. For others, it's mere sustenance. And yet still, for others, it's a demon, and others, it's a dream come true, etc.

I agree with ncuneo, in that Roth's books are a little bit too deep. I have her most recent book, "Women, Food & God" - and I honestly can't seem to finish it. I guess I thought it would speak to me; it doesn't. Or at least, hasn't thus far, and I'm only in chapter two.

You CAN have ANYTHING you want,
but you CAN'T have EVERYTHING you want!
~my mama!
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