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826 of 851 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
*****
Geneen Roth hits a home run with her latest book about overeating and so much more in "Women Food and God". The theme of the book is that the way we eat, the way we think about food and handle ourselves around it is the way we do everything. The author then shows us how and why this is the case. She describes the food retreats she runs and the women who attend them, and as a reader you will surely identify in some way with every single person--and with the lesson she illustrates from their lives. This is a more complex book than her earlier books because of the spiritual dimension; she sees problems with overeating as gateways to spiritual enlightenment. She convinced me (and will convince you as well) that instead of trying to get rid of or fix our eating problems, we need to use them to see within ourselves, to learn important spiritual life lessons from our feelings, and to grow and heal so that we will end up eating as a spiritual practice. And so that we'll have a permanent end to the misery of always struggling with our weight and self-image, and always striving to improve our relationship with food.

The book is so good that for me, just reading it was like a spiritual awakening in this area of my life. I found it motivational, inspirational, and scary in a good way--and the author makes the whole process doable with descriptions of practices that can be used on the food healing/awakening journey such as meditation, inquiry, and eating guidelines. These practices are all specific to the process and they are described in detail. This spiritual dimension is generic and does not require a particular religious belief, or even any religious belief. It would be compatible with any type of spirituality. The type of eating practiced is intuitive eating (listening to your body to discern what it wants), and no matter what your way of eating, you can apply an intuitive approach to it--this book is about a way of living and relating to food, not about a food plan.

If you have read the author's other books (as I have) you will find much new information here. Other key themes of the book include mindfulness, presence, and feeling your feelings. The author is brutal but honest in describing how destructive the dieting industry is to women. Again, this is definitely not a diet book or eating plan, but instead a way of experiencing life which allows you to be present and aware so that you are able to listen to your body and choose food based on nourishment and self-care.

Although it is a quick read (I read it in one evening), this book is so valuable that you will want to refer back to it, highlight it for future reference, take notes in the margins, and use parts for journal prompts. There is only one negative, and it is a biggy: the paper in this hardback book is similar to super cheap mass market paperback-type paper. I have never seen an actual book of any type with such paper, though! I tried to highlight sections and the highlighter not only would bleed through to the reverse side of the page, but sometimes onto the previous page! It is hard to describe how frustrating this was---a book that is a true keeper on throw-away paper. I highlighted anyway and my book is a mess, but I decided to rebuy it on Kindle when it comes out. I've never done this before, but it's that good of a book--worth months (or maybe years) of therapy. I also would buy it again if it is reprinted (and I'll bet it will be) with a paper that matches the quality of the book.

That flaw aside, I'm so glad I bought this book. I have read many, many books on overeating, diet and nutrition, self-help, styles of eating, and more, and this book stands apart from the crowd. The message is an important one for any woman who wants to handle her relationship with food, her weight, and her spirituality in a healthy way, and to become whole. If that is you, you will not be disappointed, I promise.

Highest recommendation.
*****
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178 of 195 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wow, this book was wonderful. So well written, with humor and spiritual wisdom. Very powerful sentences throughout.
I have had eating disorders since my first diet at the age of 14. I remember getting a bit of approval for losing weight; even though I wasn't overweight to begin with. Thus started my long, sad, disordered eating story. I never did get the real love from my parents; but boy did I try to look good striving for it.
I continued to eat everything on my plate and be a "good girl". Certain foods were BAD, others GOOD. I was an excellent student. So, by the time I was an adult I am exactly as Geneen Roth describes herself - eating for every reason besides hunger. If I felt angry or lonely I'd eat. I'd binge when I couldn't express myself to those I wanted to be close to - family members and boyfriends. I was living on a field of death. I would get so tired of the yo yo, up and down with the weight gain and sorrow, then a time of eating healthy, and then cravings, and more binges.
Finally I understand more about this illness: Geneen makes it clear that I am distracting myself with the focus on this yo yo story. I now want to look at the truth, at all of me (short comings and positive traits), and start living. I don't need to be stuck in this compulsive eating hell. I no longer need my mom's approval, or anyone else's - just my own self- validation will do, thank you.
The guidelines and suggestions are helpful and yet, not so easy to follow; but well worth it for me. The spiritual guidelines and love throughout are priceless. Hello, I can really learn to love Eileen on a daily basis, around food, around work, my friends and family, anything (as long as I'm in the moment). Food is not love, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it, and eat it when I'm hungry and when I'm craving something. It all comes down to what Geneen calls THE VOICE; and I know very well that mine needed to change. I have started that change. My voice speaks slower now, and with more kindness towards myself. I don't judge food and I don't judge myself eating food (all kinds of food). I find that I am even being kinder to my husband lately; he noticed as well.
I have heard a lot of these ideas before, but the way they are presented in this book; it's like a Bible for compulsive overeaters. Keep it handy; I will refer to this book, and read it many times - as it is helping me create the habits I want, to be as close to God, and to a normal eater as I can get.
Thank you so much Ms.Roth for this creative work of art and compassion!
Eileen
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159 of 187 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Women, Food & God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything is a book that could help you stop overeating. However, Roth's ethereal language can make the concepts hard to grasp in practical terms. Plenty of "aha" moments, but these can be fleeting with Roth's airy way of nailing it down and applying it to your life.

If you want a tool to reinforce what you've learned after reading the book, try downloading Geneen Roth's MP3s. Be forewarned, I don't recommend listening to the MP3s unless you've read the book, and it can be an expensive proposition to purchase each track at almost $14 a piece.

Ultimately, the book opened my eyes for the first time to certain patterns of overeating. While the book forces you to be more thoughtful, it's still up to you to reinforce the patterns and learn the new habits she introduces. I wish there were a workbook or some kind of lesson plan we could use to help make everything stick.

Update! Since my complaint about the book is that it's too hard to put into practice by myself, I hope Geneen Roth's weekly Women Food & God online retreat from May 25 to June 29 might address that issue. Check out my site for weekly reviews of Roth's online seminar.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you have struggled with your weight, have tried every diet known to man, still need to lose weight but can't stand the thought of another diet- this is THE BOOK for you. I am a registered dietitian and I recommend this book to all my clients, those who want to lose weight, those who think they need to lose weight and those who have lost their way because of an eating disorder. Geneen really pulls everything together in this book. If you don't know how to lose weight without dieting, she will offer you a way. If you don't trust yourself around food, she will hold your hand. If you feel like a will-less, powerless beached whale destined to be fat forever she will give you hope. She writes in a way that feels as though she is speaking straight to your heart and soul, you remember, your heart and soul right?? Most likely you haven't given a whole lot of attention to your heart and soul lately, you thought food was the answer, right? Think of this book as a gift to your self, your soul.

If you are looking for someone to tell you what and when to eat, this is not the book for you. Geneen shows you how to go deep and find those feelings that you have been glazing over and stuffing down. If you are not ready to discover your true issues with food, if you are not ready to stop using food once and for all, I have a used South Beach Diet book for you ;-) All of Geneen's books are wonderful, but this one really pulls out all the stops! I highly recommend it!
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95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a long-time fan of Roth's, as a recovered chronic dieter and binge-eater, and as someone writing, counseling and teaching in the same field, I wondered she could say that she hadn't said before. The answer is not so much about brilliant new material as it is her way of pulling it altogether and writing with such clarity, humor, and beautiful language. Roth is wise, no doubt about it. Her wisdom comes from working through her own struggles with food (and life) and from experiential study of what makes for health and happiness. As a secular-leaning person, my one fear about the book was that it was going to be about spirituality or religion. It isn't. It is about finding and loving the best in yourself. Whether you're an overeater, undereater or yo-yo back in forth, you will be moved and changed by reading this book.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.
The Rules of "Normal" Eating: A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters, and Everyone in Between!,Nice Girls Finish Fat: Put Yourself First and Change Your Eating Forever,The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health,What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Treating Eating and Weight Issues
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was hoping there was some kind of eye opener, a food for thought, so to speak, but it really wasn't anything I haven't read before. In fact, I've heard this phrase for years, which sums up the gist of the book...

"It's not what you're eating. It's what's eating you."

Nothing I didn't already know.

One last note, I didn't really get the "God" part of the book, especially since she herself isn't a believer. She should've kept "God" out of it, it was misleading.
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59 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Geneen Roth has written a brilliant book. It's brilliant because it cuts right to the core of our sabotaging behaviors and gives us a practical and sustainable roadmap for breaking through. OK, confession time - it's called Women, Food and God, and I'm man and I don't have issues with my weight or food, but it has helped me immensely with my other demons. It's funny, personal and right to the point. I love this book for it's profound wisdom and I'm recommending it to everyone - men, women, teenagers, everybody!
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66 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Geneen Roth has been living, writing, and speaking about compulsive eating, food addiction, emotional eating, intuitive eating, and a non-diet approach to weight management for several decades. Having worked with thousands of people struggling with these issues, I was thrilled to read her new book, Women, Food, and God and even more excited to hear that she will appear on the Oprah show on May 12th!

I hope that her influence will finally shift the conversation away from restrictive diets to the meaning behind our relationship with food. More importantly, I believe that this book will help people understand that issues with food and weight are a beautiful opportunity to discover their true nature. This journey begins at different points for each of us - body dissatisfaction, a painful relationship with food, health consequences of yo-yo dieting, whatever - but the common denominator is that our obsession with food, weight, or dieting limits our ability to live the fulfilling, abundant life we crave. Every attempt to stuff down our emotions, ignore our true needs, or shame ourselves for eating the foods we love takes us further away from presence and joy. Unfortunately, our culture is so focused on counting, weighing, and measuring food and pounds that most people become even more distracted from the life they want. As I often say, people overdiet the same way they overeat.

Geneen's beautiful writing, deep insights, and knowing humor peel away the layers of denial about why people eat when they aren't physically hungry, continue to eat far beyond the point of fullness, and deprive and punish themselves. For that I would give this beautiful book ten stars. However, having worked with thousands of women (and men), I have to be honest and reluctantly admit that I am troubled by the Eating Guidelines at the back of the book. (For those that have read "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle," you'll recognize them as chapters one through eight.)

First, while I fully agree with the intent of the guidelines, I believe they have been way oversimplified (as evidenced by the fact that they fit on half a page). While they are simple, they are not easy. In my experience these habits are deeply ingrained so they require more exploration and specific strategies in order to overcome them. For example, many people have difficulty identifying hunger, fullness, and their emotional triggers for overeating (much less what to do about them) and struggle with learning to love what they eat. There are many resources to help with the process (and it is a process); I just hope that people don't become discouraged if they don't immediately "get it" when they read Women, Food, and God and decide that this didn't "work" either.

Second, I can see that the rule-like nature of the guidelines could lead people back into their eat-repent-repeat cycle. People who have been trained to diet may believe they have to adhere to the guidelines to the letter so like their diets, they may give up when they feel they have "blown it." Fortunately, perfection isn't necessary (or possible) and the awareness, enjoyment, and acceptance this book describes is not only possible, but is the only way out of their love-hate relationship with food and the beginning of their joyful, vibrant life.
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126 of 154 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am very happy for the people who find this book helpful, but I am not one of them. Some of this is quite logical, and it is certainly important to examine what your emotional motivation is for eating, but mindful eating is nothing new. I do not believe that every single thing you eat, you are eating for some deep, emotional reason. Sometimes, a piece of cake is just a piece of cake and I want it because it tastes phenomenal.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
6/25/10 Update:I recommended this book to my sisters as mentioned on my initial review. Interestingly, one sister just finished a year of losing and gaining 26 pounds via WW and bristled about too much psycho-babble. Knowing and loving her, I can't help but say that she proves Roth's findngs about people who are duped into thinking they are getting somewhere and repeatedly end up gaining it back. I'll take the psycho-babble especially the gentle inquiry recommendations. The gentle inquiry has been a great self-discovery. I am off to a family reunion in WVA where cookies are served in piles. I am preparing myself today. My review below stands firm.

I am a fan of Roth's and agree with all of the glowing comments so I won't repeat them again. Being from a family where food was substituted for alcohol and fear, this book helped me understand my siblings and my next chapter. Two of my sisters are morbidly obese and fall under Roth's research of "Permitters". You don't want to come between them and the their fork as remaining numb from their pain is a priority. The other two siblings are "Restricters" rising to the guidelines of the next diet regime. As for me (and I say this without a hint of bravado),I stopped dieting years ago while my husband danced and yelled "Free at last, free at last..." I am average - not thin, not fat, YET I continue to struggle at family parties. So I bought Roth's latest book. There were times that her insights were alarmingly real and I had to put the book down. Her enouragement to do some inquiry while "in the moment" has already helped. This book may not speak to everyone, but I dare say it speaks to many and I am one of them. I have come a long way and I know for a FACT that my happiness comes not from BBQ Kettle Chips, but from a well of goodness and surprise within me. Thank you Geenan Roth, you left me wanting more, but I am learning to enjoy what you served up!
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