Book Smart

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Last year, there was a point when I asked my therapist if perhaps I was reading too many self-help books. She didn’t give me a clear, yes-or-no answer, so I kept on doing what I was doing, which was building my book knowledge about a lot of things that she and I talk about in her office. A couple of months ago, she FINALLY said that perhaps I “know” enough, at least about the kind of information I can find in books. I maybe am not clear on how to implement it in my life, but I have done enough information gathering that I have a good body of knowledge about these topics.

Anyway, I am reading a book right now. Because of course I am. That’s what I do. And this one has stuff that I kind of already know (some of it is similar to what Geneen Roth has to say about compulsive eating), but it also has a lot of personal stories of people who used to struggle with binge eating and now don’t. And I am actually highlighting things in this book because some of it really speaks strongly to me and resonates with the role that food has played in my life. The book is called Intuitive Eating, and it is written by two Registered Dieticians, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Trible. Much of it is stuff I have read before, about rejecting the diet mentality and learning to listen to your body and feeling your feelings without using food.

The first section that really spoke to me is entitled “Last Supper Eating.” Resch and Trible have to say this: “The mere perception that food might become banned can trigger overeating. Just thinking about going on that diet can create a sense of panic and sending you on a trail of eating every food that you think won’t be allowed.” Many of us have felt this before. We are going on a diet on Monday. It’s Saturday. Let’s eat ALL THE FOODS because we may never be “allowed” to eat French fries (cookies, chocolate, bacon) again. And then they say this: “Each impending diet brings with it more fear of deprivation – with the knowledge that you won’t get “enough” or get what you want. Then comes more overeating, loss of self-control, and finally, erosion of self-esteem.” So that is every time we fail at our diet because we aren’t “good” enough.

I believe this. And apparently other people feel the same way I do! Amazing! It has definitely given me something to consider as I move forward with this “not dieting” thing. Right now, I am not dieting, and I am not binge eating. However, I am still thinking about things in a diet-y way. I am still thinking about food a LOT. But I still have quite a lot of this book left to read, so I am hoping that maybe there are more insights waiting for me. It might be a step in the right direction.

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