Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Not About the Weight, but It's Not Not About the Weight.

I'm reading Geneen Roth's book, Women Food and God. After giving it a bad review without even reading it (just from what I saw on the Oprah interview), I picked up a copy before my trip to Fairbanks. I decided I wasn't being fair since I hadn't read the book and only caught 30 minutes of the Oprah-Geneen interview.

I'm on chapter five of the book and so far, I'm impressed. In fact, I'm so impressed I signed up for the Geneen Roth two-day workshop on October 8-9 in Seattle. Grace will be attending too, and I'm super excited to meet her (forget Geneen, I get to meet Grace!).

Women Food And God
An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
with Geneen Roth
Holiday Inn Seattle SeaTac Airport

This is just down the street from my office so I don't even have to drive into the city, an added bonus.

If you want to sign up for the workshop, here's the  link:

Also, if you go to this link, there's a popup where you can sign up to get a free chapter from the book, Women Food And God, emailed to you. I signed up for it myself and was sent the free chapter, and it's chapter four, the best chapter I've read so far. I'm on chapter five, but chapter four was the one that really hit home with me.

The one paragraph that that's really struck me is in chapter four, page 52:

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent and very, very short--even at a hundred years old--life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine.

I could practically quote the entire first five chapters of the book. I've highlighted and underlined many sentences and paragraphs because it seems like she's speaking about me. It seems the key is finding out the issue and facing it, not necessarily fixing it. This is a new concept to me. I know my issues but I thought I had to fix them, which seemed insurmountable. Geneen says we're not broken, and we don't need to be fixed, we just need to face the issues and feel the pain. It won't kill us. A very difficult thing to do. It's so much easier to run away from it, compulsive overeat and let weight become the primary issue.

Strangely, this book is giving me a sense of peace about my weight. I don't feel as freaked out about coming back from vacation and having gained six pounds in nine days.

When I stepped on the scales this morning, my first morning back home, I looked into the mirror first and told myself regardless of what the scale said it didn't make me a bad person. It didn't make me lazy or stupid or ugly. It didn't define me. I weighed, and I'm 173 pounds.

Yes, I'm up a few pounds, but considering I ate cookies, candy, and a lot of meals at restaurants, and I barely exercised (three gym visits and a few walks in nine days), the gain was expected. I'm surprisingly not upset, not shaming myself, not doing the negative talk that "I'm a fat, lazy, stupid pig and why did I do this to myself?"

Perhaps if I'd read more of the book while I was on vacation, the results might have been different, but I accept me as I am now.

One more quote from the book that had a profound impact on me, chapter four, page 53. I wish I'd read this before my vacation. :)

Sometimes people will say, "But I just like the taste of food. In fact, I love the taste! Why can't it be that simple? I overeat because I like food."


When you like something, you pay attention to it. When you like something--love something--you take time with it. You want to be present for every second of the rapture.

Overeating does not lead to rapture. It leads to burping and farting and being so sick that you can think of anything but how full you are. That's not love; that's suffering.

Weight (too much or too little) is a by-product. Weight is what happens when you use food to flatten your life. Even with aching joints, it's not about food. Even with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure. It's about your desire to flatten you life. It's about the fact that you've given up without saying so. It's about your belief that it's not possible to live any other way--and you're using food to act that out without ever having to admit it.

I highly recommend this book, Food God and Women, and will be periodically writing about it as I continue reading.
The vacation

I had a great time in Fairbanks. Nine days with my family was bliss. I'm very fortunate that I have such a wonderful family. They're people I'd hang out with even if I wasn't related to them.

They're not perfect by any means (neither am I), and we have dysfunctional things just like anyone else, even some Jerry Springer shows could be made on some of it, but for the most part, they're awesome.

A few pictures from my trip (out of order, but I'm too lazy/tired to rearrange them).

Mt. McKinley or Denali (as they call it now). From the plane window flying to Fairbanks.

 Fairbanks, from the plane window. I actually stayed at my sister's place, 30 miles from town. But this is the town where I went to high school and college. I grew up closer to Shaw Creek, 80 miles south of Fairbanks.

My sister and I by the gravel pit where we go swimming. It was only warm enough one day to swim, 72 degrees. It was a very cold July this year.

My brother, Jerry, on our 4-wheeler trip to Shaw Creek flats, down the Alyeska Pipeline Road.

My brother, his wife and Goldie, the Alaskan Pomeranian. Sweetest dog ever.

Moose in the field next door to my sister's 400 acres, Eielson Farm Road.

My great niece, Joanna, and her daughter, my grand niece, Layla. Sweetest and smartest two-year old I've ever met. And she lovesme. :)

On our 4-wheeling trip, next to the pipeline.

Me in the rain. Official army rain poncho ($50), best investment I ever made. Kept me dry and warm.

More pipeline.

Trumpeter Swans, living on a little island in the middle of a lake. There were actually four adults and babies, but I couldn't get close enough to get good pictures.

A bull moose that ran out from a lake and then took off under the pipeline on the other side of the road. He had sense enough to duck down when going under the pipeline. Proof that the wildlife are doing just fine with the pipeline. We saw nine moose that day, cows, baby moose, and bulls.

Me and my niece Linda.

Osprey nest. I have pictures of the Osprey, but he or she wouldn't pose for me so not very good pictures. It did scream at us while we were taking pictures. Huge bird, with probably about a 10 to 12 foot wingspan.

Going up a very steep hill on the 4-wheelers. My 72-year old sister was driving. She's owned 4-wheelers for years she's never driven one. It was her first time. Even though my brother told us to be sure to be in 4-wheel drive he forgot to put his rig in 4W drive so he got stuck. We had to back all the way down this hill. I was sure the thing was going to flip over backwards and we were all going to die. Scary but fun times. :)


Debbie said...

Wow that looks like fun trip. Looks like the pipeline makes a good 4-wheeler trail to. I love the pics of the wildlife. Glad you had a good time.

Roxie said...

Awesome pictures - you and your family look so happy - and pink is YOUR color. I'm so glad you had a good time.

I'm jealous of the Grace meeting AND the Roth seminar. I haven't picked up the book yet, but plan to do so soon. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts about it.

Welcome home - we've missed you!

Carrieheff said...

I'm finding I feel the same way about the book. I'm not getting as emotional or upset about my weight. I'm not beating myself up when I have a bad day. I'm not obsessing about everything that I do or don't do or eat or don't eat. Definitely worth the money and time so far.

Anonymous said...

It looks like your vacation was wonderful. I have always wanted to see a moose out in the wild. Do I have to travel to Alaska or is there one closer to home (Washington)?

Glad you gave Geneen's book another chance. And I'm jealous that you get to meet her.

Good post.

Grace said...

Diana...I'm SOOOOO excited to meet you!!! I've been thinking the same thing...who really cares about the seminar, I get to meet Diana! :-)

Heck, if it turns out we just hate it, we can go have a glass of

I love the pictures of your trip, they are all wonderful. Looks like you had a fabulous time. Welcome back!

Miz said...

you lost me :) had me at the GR workshop.

that will be amazing....


Kimberly said...

Great advice whether one is religious or not... It hits at the core of why we overeat. It's not because the food tastes so good, usually. (Anyone who has downed a bag of Cheetoes knows that they don't even taste that great after the first handful or two.) It's what's missing inside and that we use food (or drugs) to fill the void. Thanks for sharing!

bbubblyb said...

Looks like a wonderful trip Diana. Thanks for the link I'm going to read chapter 4 for sure. Sounds like a great book with a ton of insight.

M Pax said...

The book sounds very enlightening and makes a lot of sense. It seems once I made peace with myself other things fell into place. I hope you find that. I really do.

Your vacation looks fantastic.

Cozy in Texas said...

Congrats on the weight loss. The pictures are beautiful.
Less of Me

Natalia said...

"When you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug."

That is a very important, strong and potent sentence. Thanks for sharing!!!

Baby Stepping said...

I love your Alaska pics. I just found your blog so I haven't had a chance to read it yet. The picture of Mt. McKinley caught my eye because we went to Alaska last year. You have some gorgeous pictures!!!