Non-Fiction Review: Women Food and God by Geneen Roth

I’m not usually a non-fiction fan. Typically, I only purchase non-fiction books as reference materials. Not sure why I wanted to try out Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, but I decided to enter a Goodreads giveaway for it. Lucky me, I won! 🙂 I have a feeling Goodreads giveaways and I are going to be fast friends. I entered the giveaway not knowing if this would be a book to skim or not. After reading just the prologue, I realized this baby read more like a memoir than a how to get thin book. So, I settled in for a read. Before I get into the review, how about a blurb from Goodreads:

No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.

After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.

A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

I only made it a few pages into Women Food and God before I knew I would enjoy this book. Ms. Roth filled the pages with story after story which were entertaining while also educational and touching. She had an interesting take on the relationship one has with food and spirituality. I don’t subscribe to her beliefs 100% but do find merit in a lot of what she preaches.

For example, I’ve never considered myself as one who eats to numb myself to feelings. However, I imagine a lot of individuals out there do. On the other hand, her examples of people she called permitters was all me. On page 156, she had this to say:

You’re sitting in front of a chocolate cake and you notice you want the entire thing right now. You don’t care whether the band around your small intestine from the operation you just had breaks. You don’t care if anyone else in the group gets a piece. You want it all.

This is my relationship with food. I want it, not because I’m sad, not because I’m hurting, not because I’m broken. I want it simply because it’s there… and I want it all until it’s gone. It tempts me, it taunts me, it calls to me. And the only way to get the food to shut up is to eat it all right then and there.

A lot of the book was about learning or rather relearning to love oneself. To recognize and understand why one has the compulsion to overeat. I wasn’t always a gorger. As a kid, I gorged like nobody’s business. Of course back then, I was as thin as a rail. I left high school weighing only 112 lbs but could pack away food like a grown man. Sometime during my adulthood, I realized I didn’t have to eat EVERYTHING right then and there. I could save some for later. I didn’t have to leave the table with my tummy hurting. Women Food and God was a reminder of what I’d forgotten not too long ago. On page 157, Ms. Roth follows up with:

Good thing you notice. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t think that wanting it all means anything about the kind of person you are. You don’t tell yourself how selfish you are, and if the others knew that you wanted it all, they’d throw you out. None of that. You bring yourself back to the present moment, and since your body is right here, right now, since hunger or lack of it is also right here, you ask yourself if you are hungry. Simple. Am I hungry?

When I go back for seconds, thirds, and please don’t tell anyone, but fourths and fifths, I can guarantee I’m not hungry by then. I even know I’m not going to like the way my body feels after it’s stuffed, yet I persist. Now if that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.

Okay, so the example I used above may not apply to you. Here’s the thing, Ms. Roth addresses so many issues in this short book, one might be hard pressed to find everything applies to them. Like I said, I didn’t jive with all she said 100%, but quite a bit of it hit home.

One item I disliked about this book, but at the same time found beneficial was the repetition. Ms. Roth said the same thing a hundred and seven different ways… and sometimes exactly the same way twice. Here’s the thing, whenever I thought to myself, this doesn’t apply and can we just get on to the next part, she repeated the information in a way which was relevant to me personally. If I could take all the filler out to get to just the parts which inspired me personally, this book would be perfect.

If you’re struggling with weight, if you’re tired of dieting, if you want to love yourself, I highly recommend reading this book.

Woman Food and God by Geneen Roth is available at:

The Book Depository

Barnes & Nobles

You’re sitting in front of a chocolate cake and you 

notice you want the entire thing right now. You don’t care whether

the band around your small intestine from the operation you just

had breaks. You don’t care if anyone else in the group gets a

piece. You want it all.

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