Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Women Food and God

Publisher's Summary. No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.

After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.

A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

Review. When I picked up Geneen Roth’s new book Women, Food and God, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. And now after finishing it I am still not quite sure what to make of it. Fundamentally, Roth makes a lot of sense, but conveys her message in a lot of New Age thoughts that lost me.

Roth is sort of the anti-diet diet guru. After years of compulsive eating (both over and under), she finally gave up diets and shed the pounds. Today, thirty years diet-free and living at her natural body weight, she spreads the word to women everywhere that diets don’t work (at least not permanently).

So what does work? Eating what your body wants when it is hungry. And what if it wants hot fudge sundaes everyday? Well, that is allowed. But won’t one get fat if one eats hot fudge sundaes everyday? Yes, Roth admits, but here’s the deal, the body doesn’t really want hot fudge sundaes only the mind does. What the body wants is food that makes it run smoothly and gives it energy. And how does one determine what the body wants? Primarily by mindful eating (being aware of what and how one is consuming). Sounds pretty logical right?

But in getting to Roth’s sensible message, the reader has to wade through New Agey musings such as God being on our plates. To quote:

“[W]e are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions; everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat. When we inhale Reese’s peanut butter cups when we are not hungry, we are acting out an entire world of hope or hopelessness, of faith or doubt, of love and fear.”

Huh? Maybe because I have never been a compulsive eater I don’t get this quote. For me if I am inhaling Reese’s peanut butters cups when I am not hungry it is because: 1) they are a favorite food; and 2) they are available or 3) back in my single days I am in a bit of post-breakup indulging. I also don’t quite buy Roth’s absolute rejection of sensible diets as I believe they have their place in facilitating weight loss.

Still I don’t discount Roth’s primary message of mindful eating and feeling good about one’s body. I also appreciate that for readers struggling with eating disorders, Roth’s message as given may be exactly the right words.

Women, Food and God is an unique perspective on moving beyond diets to a healthier, happier you.

Review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.


  1. I was thinking about picking this one up, but sounds like I'll pass. Thanks for the honest review.

  2. I loved reading your thoughts on this one Kim. I listened to the audio along with the print copy and I got a lot from it, but then like the halo effect, I could relate to a lot of what she was saying and those are the parts I took away with me.