Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: When Food is Love

Geneen Roth's "When Food is Love" came out in 1993. In 1993, I was a freshman in high school, and almost every day when we walked home, my friend and I stopped at a convenience store and bought sodas, candies, chips. If I'd read "When Food is Love" when I was 14, it couldn't have helped me for a number of reasons.

However, at the age of 31, I am now what they call a grown-ass woman, and I'm prepared to learn all about why I am so retarded around food. Roth first helped me understand myself when I read "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair," which I've been singing the praises of on this blog for years. As I've mentioned previously, she also recently published "Women, Food and God," which I want to read, but am not currently able to download on Kindle. So to bide my time, I downloaded "When Food is Love" for $9 instead.

And I cried almost every time I read it. I stopped reading it for about three weeks because it was too much. It was turning me into a basket case. I read two fiction novels in the meantime. And then I went back to it, looking for the answer I want and need: What do I need to do to stop being a Food Retard? And what I found was that Roth definitely told me WHY I am a Food Retard.

"Compulsion does not develop in a vacuum; it begins in relationship. Compulsion is what we resorted to when we felt we didn't matter to people who mattered to us," Roth writes.

She touched very lightly on how to stop being a Food Retard, but really didn't get into it. I finished the book last night, and as Kindle informed me that I'd read 100% of it, I said out loud, "No!"

Because I'm still a Food Retard. And it's not completely clear to me how I'm going to stop. Today I downloaded "Breaking Free From Emotional Eating," by none other than Geneen Roth. I am funding Roth's early retirement. I am a Roth junkie. I need Roth to take me by the ears and tell me to stop being a retard.

Which she wouldn't do, because she advocates treating oneself with kindness and curiosity. Therefore physical violence and calling oneself a Food Retard are probably not high on her list of self-healing techniques.

I recommend this book for men and women alike. If nothing else, it will help you understand why you act the way you do. Roth tells personal stories and stories of people that you will find yourself relating to, eerily. And you will mentally begin psychoanalyzing everyone you know. It's uncomfortable to think about, but if you, like me, think that you have a bit of a food compulsion, this will be eye-opening.


  1. Ok, I know I sound like a broken record but I kept thinking, "She's too hard on herself. " Then Roth confirmed my thoughts. You're not alone. We're all on this crazy journey together. Each one of us with our own unique issues but we all have issues. I'm walking with you!

  2. OK, so I've been reading Pull Up A Chair, and it's totally rocking my world. Thank you. I had to tell my husband 30 pages into it that I was going to be getting a little more emotional than usual. Just so glad to be reading this. BTW, when will you be letting the secret out about your former job? I've been reading your blog for quite a while now, and find myself so very curious!

    ~Michelle in Coos Bay, OR

  3. Michelle - I'm glad you like that book! I keep it on my bedside table at all times, it's like my bible. It just rings true.

    I hadn't even realized that I never really explained what I did for a living! I think that sounds like a good blog post idea. :-)

    Trisha - you're too kind to me. Thank you for your support.