Top positive review
224 people found this helpful
pretty darn good in many ways
on May 26, 2008
See update for Jan. 2013 below.
First, I thought it was very interesting that when I searched for this just now, Amazon suggested to pair it with The Beck Diet Solution, which I discovered last summer and am using as well. Dealing with emotional eating is where I thought Beck fell short. This book helps fills that gap and so much more. I did a two-weekend training course on stopping emotional eating 27 years ago, but there was no follow-up, and it involved a lot of gimmicky things like 'selling" your right to overeat, and affirmations that would somehow magically make you act differently. Thousands of affirmations later-no such luck.
I definitely disagree with a few reviewers who said that it doesn't have any solutions. It has a sequence of recommended activities. The problem is when it comes right down to it is that a person is going to have to CHOOSE not to eat sometimes when he/she really, really wants to! No book can make you do that, unless firearms are involved, and that would be a temporary fix anyway. The book tries to help the reader realize that it is really more painful to continue emotional eating than it is to stop it, no matter how hard it seems at the time. A person must also choose to do something else besides eat. That is the bottom line. What would you do if you didn't overeat?
Another plus is that Gould does not recommend any certain diet, though he does advocate eating regular meals and choosing mostly wholesome food. It's up to each person to determine what foods will allow her/him to eat amounts that provide the peace we are looking for. (Beck says research shows few people maintain weight loss without some kind of systematic plan, but regimented systems are contraindicated for healing emotional eating. To each her path.) He also doesn't recommend substituting some low-cal food to replace the junk we want to eat when we aren't hungry. Drinking a lot of water, trying to fill up on celery, all those tactics, in my opinion, just make things worse later. Bite the bullet and face not eating at all until you are hungry for real food! Eating is not going to solve the problem!
In my years of trying to diet (I actually stayed on them only a few times, but I learned a lot about what healthier foods taste delicious to me and let me eat amounts I want often enough), I have changed what I eat for meals so much that I can't imagine putting a bag of chips in with my lunch, but you could do it, if that's what pleases you most. My downfall wasn't meals; it was a bag of chocolate kisses at a time, or 3/4 of a carton of ice cream, or a package of cookie dough-many of you know the drill. And it wasn't necessarily mindless, I KNEW I was eating the whole package. When I was in the middle of it, I couldn't imagine what it was going to take for me not to do it. But it has happened, for now, at least.
I've not binged for nearly two weeks (okay, I know that is a short time, but I've been working up to it, not just jumping in for the honeymoon), and I've been more active. I'm more comfortable in lots of clothes, and there is even a pair of fallback cords that are very close to going to the thrift store pile. I used to adore Geneen Roth, the queen of emotional eating writers, and definitely credit her with my having a much gentler attitude toward my body and habits, plus with eating, even overeating, everything without guilt, which I think also helped lay the foundation, but Gould made it more me-centered. Finally, without his even mentioning anything religious, his approach dovetails quite well with a spiritual practice i've been implementing in other areas of my life. I'm very grateful I found the book.
I will say that i do recommend trying to find a support group in your effort, either live or online. I haven't done his online program, so I can't speak for that, but I joined (for free) Sparkpeople.com and got on a message board team called Living Binge Free that has also helped me have a place to kick around ideas and share success, as well as be lovingly made accountable. There is also a team there devoted just to Shrink Yourself.
Good luck in your quest. If you had given up for awhile, I think this will be a good bet to return to the issue.
UPDATE February of 2012. I have now been using the No S Diet program (by Reinhard Engels http://www.amazon.com/Diet-Strikingly-Weight-Loss-DietersRaving-DroppingPounds/dp/0399534040 or a modified version free online at nosdiet.com)for a little over two years. It's not written for bingers, but it's helped me immensely. I've lost 25 lbs. (13% of my weight) and fat is still getting slowly whittled off. I still appreciate Gould's work, but find that most books aimed at the binge crowd spend too much time on emotions and not enough on the inner thoughts that we have that give us permission to eat at inappropriate times. Also, though a strict regimen is contraindicated for bingers, most programs have too little structure. I find the three-meal structure five days a week a Godsend. It's ironic, because 25 years ago, I thought that was impossible. (It was the recommendation from OA at the time.) Now, I think of it as integral. Giving ourselves the option to make decisions to eat or not countless times a day is not productive. No one has to starve on three good meals a day, and deprivation becomes a just another fantasy hunger issue.
Read Shrink Yourself for emotional savvy, but use No S for structure. And weekends are for the grown-up in you to be in charge of all the decisions. It's a great way to live.
Update Jan. 14, 2013. Finished my third year of No S. Down another 5% of my weight for a total weight loss of about 18% of my weight. I can't say I never want to overeat or that I never do, but it's so manageable in comparison to how I used to live. Most of the time, I really do prefer to eat sanely and it is not a struggle. The biggest struggle is the onslaught of diet madness and food pushing, but I can be in lots of situations that used to be a nightmare and not feel any anxiety.