Eating disorders are life-threatening illnesses that impact millions of people every year. They include anorexia (self-starvation and excessive weight loss), bulimia (cycling between binge eating and purging), binge eating disorder (recurring binging), and even atypical disorders such as orthorexia (obsession with a specific way of eating).
In recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we are reviewing the work of Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Geneen Roth, a pioneer in helping heal emotional eating for thousands of women.
In her teaching and books, Roth says that she’s gained and lost over a thousand pounds from years of fad dieting and then breaking her restrictive eating patterns. One day, she decided to just stop dieting, yo-yoing between being dangerously underweight and dangerously overweight, and just eat whatever she wanted by making conscious choices and asking her body what it wanted. Once she started trusting her body, she found her ideal size without effort.
In Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, Roth explains that your relationship with food is a mirror for your core beliefs about life. Whether you eat too much or too little, your behavior is your way of avoiding the real underlying issue that is causing the way you eat. And food becomes a way of putting life on hold.
She shows readers how to end the war with their bodies by changing the way they see food – eating only when they are hungry, enjoying exactly the foods that their bodies want, and allowing them to feel their feelings instead of eating over them or denying that they exist at all. Her “rules” for eating are simple, yet profound: ask your body what it really wants and listen for the answer. Trust that what it says is true. When you eat, allow yourself to be present while eating. Sit down and enjoy your food. If your body says it’s no longer hungry, stop eating.
Women Food and God is a groundbreaking NY Times bestseller that reveals the truth about why diets don’t work. Oprah has praised it, saying, “This book is an opportunity to finally end the war with weight and unlock the door to freedom.”
Much of what Roth teaches links to Integrative Nutrition’s theory of primary food – that it’s not just food that feeds us. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.
What’s your favorite way to get your fill of primary food?