Geneen Roth-Eating for Now
Roth calculates that she gained and lost over 1,000 pounds in 17 years
as she ricocheted from diet to bingeing and back again. In one binge
she put on 80 pounds in two months. Finally, she says, she recognized
that she was killing herself "in a very slow but very profound
way." She resolved to never go on a diet again. Since 1979 she
has been running her Breaking Free workshops where she helps people
examine the complex relationship between compulsive eating and emotional
needs and their use of food and diets.
believe so many things about food. First of all, most people believe
that if they ate what they wanted to eat, they'd only eat sugar and
fat in various combinations. They'd eat everything they are not supposed
to or not allowed to eat. They'd eat everything that's not good for
them. It's actually not true.
all the issues in our lives through food. Food is like a microcosm.
We use it to express our dreams, our fantasies, what we want to do,
what we want to be. But the problem is that it keeps us wrapped around
food, and we don't look at the rest of our lives, because we're so worried
about the size of our bodies that we never get to what we really want.
that I'm teaching people to do is to come back in their bodies. Most
of us live in our minds. We are comparing ourselves all the time to
what we think we should look like, or what somebody else has told us
we need to look like. We hardly ever spend time in our bodies. By that,
I mean sensing our legs, sensing our arms, feeling that we exist in
this body. The mind can drive you insane. There's no end to what the
mind tells you you should look like. It keeps telling you, 'When you
have this, you will be happy.'
"Oftentimes in a
workshop I'll say to 500 people, 'How many of you have lost weight before?'
Everybody raises their hands. 'How many of you were ecstatically happy
when you lost weight before?' Four people raise their hands. 'How many
of you believe you will be ecstatically happy when you lose weight again?'
Everybody raises their hands. And I think, what's that about? So a lot
of my work is directed to helping people see what they believe that's
actually not true. It's not true, and they already know it's not true,
but they are not acting on what they know.
people to be present, not just with food, but with their lives. In the
beginning, it takes a lot of awareness and it takes a commitment to
the process. It's a practice. Most of us are not used to paying attention.
We eat because it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner time; or because someone
puts it in front of us, or because we're at a restaurant or at a supermarket,
and it's free. People have to be willing to be mindful about what they're
eating. So, eat when you're hungry, and eat sitting down in a calm environment.
This doesn't include the car. It doesn't include reading and eating.
Eat what you want. Eat until you've had enough. Satisfaction is both
emotional and physical. There's a physical point of satisfaction. It
happens often that somebody is eating, and then there's one point at
which your body says, 'I've had enough now, anything you put inside
me is for your mind, not for me, your body.' You've got to be paying
attention there, so that means you've got to be present. If you're distracted,
if you're doing something else, you're going to miss that signal.
You can learn more
about Geneen Roth's workshops on the Web at www.geneenroth.com.
The Zen of Eating
The Problem Isn't Food
Tell Me More
Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.
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