I have a confession. I read a self help book- and I liked it.
Geneen Roth has been on Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR and everything else you’ve ever watched on TV or heard on the radio. She’s been around for a while. But maybe, like me, you missed that.
This book, in a nutshell, is about being present. Being mindful and present as an answer to life’s biggest problems is certainly no new idea. What is a bit of a unique concept is the connection that Roth makes between mindfulness and the way we treat our bodies. According to the book- and I’m paraphrasing big time- when we take the time to really pay attention to our bodies and the food we put in them, we will know what we need and therefore come to a healthier place both physically and psychologically. Mindless eating, or any compulsive behavior, is considered a result of disengaging from the present. And it makes sense when you think about it. Why would a person eat when they’re not hungry or eat food that they know will make them feel bad? According to this way of thinking, we do this because we are checked out of the present moment.
Unlike the diet industry, this book makes no claim that being a certain size is the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst thing that could happen to you, in fact, is to be so disconnected from the present that your only reference for what your body needs is a number (scale, clothing size or calorie)- again this is my interpretation of the book. The answer then is listening to your body, not shaming it, not depriving it, but learning how to feel when you’re hungry and pay attention to what your body is really telling you it needs. Really paying attention to what your body needs is not easy when you’ve spent your whole life trying to overpower your body with diets.
Whether you’re into biology, psychology, or books like Women, Food and God you can find support for the same idea. Diets can be a distraction or even part of the problem when it comes to issues with food.
After reading this book, I realize that the diets that so many of us have been on for so many years, the ones I really hope my daughter never subjects herself to, are just the flip side of mindless eating. I realize that both cause you to avoid addressing what compulsion (to eat when not hungry- a really weird habit when you think about it) is all about.
This book is (figuratively) huge; and I’m really suprised I didn’t hear of it before. I know that there are tons of people out there like me who have been caught up in the diet/indulge/regret cycle for too long. I don’t believe this book has every answer. But I love that it in a sea of books and products that only muddle the issues, Geneen Roth is looking deeper.