Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are you in a battle?

I'll be here in Lake Como, Italy, this time next week!!

Hello All:

A while back I bought Geneen Roths book, "Women Food and God". As with most books I read about, or see talked about on a TV show, I buy them and never fully read them cover to cover. So anxious am I to get to the "meat' of the book, that I skim through, trying to get to the good parts fast. I need his information now...right now. I need to sit and gradually read these books ( Wheat Belly, Secrets To A Healthy Metabolism, and Make It Paleo come to mind), and really grasp what they have to say. I'll get to it eventually right?

Then there are the endless blog sites that I subscribe to, recipes sites, and self help sites. Usually, I peruse them quickly, but this morning, this one from Geneen Roth really caught my eye. Read it below and let me know if any of you see yourselves in her story. I did.

 This was from Geneen Roth's newsletter that was in my email inbox this morning. Very good stuff!

Ending the War

with Food


Imagine this: You are walking in a meadow on a fresh autumn day. The leaves are turning a burnished gold and red. You come upon a long table covered in a white linen cloth with vases of flowers at perfect intervals. Then you notice the food.

The food!

It is as if someone knew you were arriving, because the  table is laden with every food that you have ever loved -- even the foods you won't let yourself eat because they're too expensive or too fattening. A platter of poached salmon, fried sweet potatoes, three different kinds of dessert, including Chocolate Decadence Cake, cheesecake, and the exact flavor of ice cream you love. Homemade bread and every cheese imaginable. And food from your childhood is here: Hostess Sno Balls, roasted marshmallows, mashed potatoes, butterscotch pudding. It is a feast and it is just for you. Only you.

If all those foods were equal -- if you could eat bread with the same recklessness that you could eat broccoli -- what would you choose?

Take your time. There is no rush to decide. The food will be here.

Now, ask yourself: Would you take small bites of everything? Would you settle on one thing, eat as much of it as you want, then go on to the next? Or, given free rein,would you feel so overwhelmed that you'd just start with a fork in both hands and wild abandon in your heart? Are you like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day when he realizes that he can eat all the pie he wants and not gain weight?

"I'd eat everything!" you say.

Or "I'd dive into the triple-cream Brie and never come up for air."

"At last," you say, "I get to ignore my diabetes and scrape all the icing from the carrot cake and eat it with a spoon."

And some of you say, "Gimme a break. Cholesterol is real and so is my heart condition. And, by the way, what's the point of this fantasy?"

Before I get to the point, I want to tell you one of my favorite stories about eating what you think you want.

Years ago, a woman named Oona attended one of my 

workshops with her 11-year-old daughter, Miranda. At the time we met, Miranda was what my own mother used to call me -- pudgy. Round cheeks, round knees, round hands. A body that looked like it was made of circles. Miranda was not exactly fat, but her mother was very worried. She watched over Miranda's meals, commented on what she ate, took desserts away. Oona had been a fat child, had struggled with weight most of her life, and didn't want to see her daughter suffer the same way.

All in all, it was your basic mother-daughter war. Miranda hid food from Oona; Oona was enraged that, despite her hyper-vigilance, her child was gaining weight.

My solution floored both of them. I spoke bluntly to Oona: Fill up a pillowcase with Miranda's favorite food -- M&M's -- and give it to her, and whenever it gets even a quarter empty, fill it back up again. Stop commenting on her body. End the war now. Come back to me in a month and tell me how it's going.

Miranda thought she had died and gone to candy-coated heaven. Oona just wanted to strangle me.

A month later, Oona was convinced that miracles did happen.

During the first week, Miranda took the pillowcase everywhere; she even slept with it. For the first time, she could eat what she wanted without feeling rejected by her mother.

During the second week, she stopped taking the pillowcase to school. She ate fewer M&M's.

In week three, she hardly touched them. By week four, she never wanted to see another M&M again.

But more important than the M&M's was that the war had stopped. Miranda no longer needed to eat to pay her mother back for her constant disapproval. She no longer needed the comfort of M&M's to make up for the hurt of her mother's rejection.

Although this story actually happened, I'd like you to take it as a metaphor rather than as an example of something you should try with yourself or your daughter, because the point of both stories is not the food but your attitude about it. The point is stopping the war you have with yourself and your body. The point is that we can be free from the endless cycle of depriving and restricting ourselves if we cultivate tenderness and kindness toward ourselves.

Most of us want to get thin because we believe that then and only then we will be entitled to like ourselves and treat ourselves well. We want to get thin because we believe that then we will be happy. As if you are only allowed to take up space here on Earth if and when you are thin. And although what you eat really does matter in terms of how you feel in your body and the kind of energy you have to sustain the life you want, the size of your thighs at this very moment should not determine the size of your life.

What would happen if, right now, you gave yourself permission to like, respect -- even adore! -- yourself without first having to earn it by losing 10 or 20 pounds?

Consider how your food choices would change if they were based on self-respect and on what made you feel well, alive, and radiant. If you liked yourself immensely, you'd be unlikely to seek comfort in the all-ice-cream, all-the-time diet. You'd know that eating ice cream for dinner would probably make you feel happy for a second and then a little spacey and then tired. Soon you'd be cranky, yelling at your kids, picking on your spouse.

This new self-respecting you wouldn't need to seek comfort in food because you would no longer be rejecting yourself
every minute of the day. No one can handle that kind of perpetual criticism without seeking solace somewhere, and the mint chocolate chip does nicely.

Most people say they gain weight when they eat what they want. But the truth is that people gain weight when they eat what they DON'T want -- and then eat copious amounts of what they believe they do want because they're afraid they'll be deprived again. They gain weight because they argue with themselves constantly and then, bruised from the argument, eat ice cream to comfort themselves. Most of the time, and I know this is hard to believe but it is the truth, what we eat has nothing to do with the food itself; it has to do with the internal dialogue of warring with yourself. When you end the war with yourself, your food choices radically change. Every single time.

True kindness has no calories. True kindness is deciding right now that you deserve to respect and honor yourself -- here, today, no matter what.  When you make your food choices with that sort of kindness, your whole life becomes a feast.


Thought for the day:  “Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it's true.”
Geneen Roth



  1. Great Post! Thank you. That is so true and exactly what I battle with...I wasn't pudgy as I child but that is how my mom treated me when it came to food. This really helped me...just what I needed to here(read) :-)

  2. I can tell you in all honesty that since giving up wheat I don't struggle with wanting things. This is not unique to me ... many many people thank Dr. Davis everyday for that exact thing. I used to obsess and eat things I shouldn't but it all went away. I didn't have some crazy mental shift - I simply stopped eating wheat. Dr. Davis says it's the gliaden protein in wheat that stimulates an unhealthy appetite and since I've felt the difference I believe he's right.

    "The gliadin protein of wheat stimulates appetite: Even occasional exposure to the opiate-like exorphin polypeptides that result from digestion of the gliadin protein of wheat are enough to stimulate appetite. Appetite is stimulated, but not for more salmon or steak, but for carbohydrates–more wheat, more cornstarch, more candy, more soft drinks, more junk. Occasional wheat consumption therefore makes adhering to a healthy diet more difficulty, as your impulse control is under the influence of the gliadin opiate."


    Hopefully you'll read those books and come to some good conclusions for yourself :) Say "hi" to George Clooney (he lives there right?).

    1. Trina, I definitely believe that wheat is addicting. I know some people think there is a place for it in the diet, but the more wheat I get, the more I want, so i have been trying to go wheat free for the past few weeks. It's hard initially because we are so used to having wheat at almost every meal. Discouraged because I haven't lost even a lb, and I am trying to get those pounds that I gained off. I hope I can be strong against the Italian pasta!!

    2. Meat and veggies! You CAN do it :)

  3. First I want to say WOW! You are going to Italy?? How great!
    What a wonderful post. It brought tears to my eyes reading it, not because I was a pudgy child but very heavy for about 25 years. Now that I have accomplished the loss I wanted I understand the relationship with food.
    Have a good day.

  4. great post!
    This is why I stopped doing the bfc.
    I am at war with myself when Im doing it.
    Always, "wow, I cant eat more than 3strawberries or the sugars will add up"...I cant have this.i cant have that. I am not allowed that...etc. I just eat what I want and dont feel deprived anymore.

  5. I loved the post. Makes me really think about what is important.

  6. Great post:) I have my potato chips in the cupboard for just that reason, I can have them if I want to have them. Last night at Bunko I put a scotcheroo on my plate because I could have it if I wanted too, I found I didn't. It's a weird brains switch, but it is working.
    Enjoy your trip though without thinking of what you can or can't have! I know when I head to Georgia, not even close to as decadent, I am going to enjoy EVERYTHING!!! I may pay for it, but it's a once a year thing!
    Remember, I'm the rebel and you may not want to take my advice:)