Dieting and Eating to Avoid Difficult Emotions

by diana on September 5, 2011

in All the other good stuff

I am reading the book “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth and I want to quote some of the book and talk about what I am getting out of it. This may take a few blog posts. This is a fantastic book – even if you don’t have a problem with food. I can tell you that you will be able to relate the info to something in your life that you strive for.

Does dieting work? Is there really such as thing as emotional eating? Do we eat to fill a void we feel inside us?

Geneen states early in the book:

“Our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself. I believe we are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions; everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat.”

She holds retreats for women who want to end the madness of dieting and deal with their emotional eating.

What she wants to help her clients with is, as she states, “Instead of using food to avoid discomfort, they are going to learn how to tolerate what they believe is intolerable.”

She talks about how she has dieted her whole life and works with people who have done the same. She wants people to stop dieting. To do this, they need to first learn a whole new way of dealing with the feelings they have been avoiding by using food for comfort.

This is what she says about when she stopped dieting: “I stopped fighting with myself, stopped blaming myself, my mother, my latest boyfriend for my weight. And since diets were my most flagrant attempts at fixing myself, I stopped them as well.”…………”As long as you are striving and pushing and trying hard to do something that can never be done (she is speaking of dieting and losing weight here), you know who you are: someone with a weight problem who is working hard to be thin. You don’t have to feel lost of helpless because you always have a goal and that goal can never be reached.”

When a person does something for years it becomes part of their identity. A compulsion, an obsession, an addiction becomes part of who you are. It is what you do to avoid dealing with what you don’t want to deal with – usually emotions and feelings.

When a person is constantly dieting they believe they are doing something to solve their problems. They are taking steps and doing all they can do to “get better”. They believe that obtaining that goal – losing the weight – will solve pretty much everything in their life. Once that happens, they will be happy.

This book can relate to so many things. When I read it, I am relating it to things such as money, finances, success and relationships.

It is like keeping yourself so busy in your life so that you avoid doing what you know you need to do. Or to avoid feeling what you need to feel, or dealing with financial issues, relationship or family situations that bring up strong, painful or hurtful emotions that you are not ready to deal with. You do whatever you can to be “too busy” to deal with the real issues.

You may have something in your life that you have been striving to achieve, to perfect, to do that you have not been able to. You have probably built a wonderful story around why and how it is so hard for you to achieve. This becomes part of you, your story, your life.

What would happen and what would you do if this problem was solved? Would you feel lost?

I will end this post here and I will have more in my next post. In the book she does give you ways to get into your body and out of your head to notice the beliefs you have that limit you and prevent you from achieving what you are working so hard to achieve.

More later!!


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