Good Housekeeping, Geneen Roth, Yoga, and Me …
When I took Sam for his final X- Ray, to make sure his broken collarbone was healed, we ended up waiting for the doctor in the examining room for over 45 minutes. Five year old, ball of energy, Sam was climbing the examining table like a jungle gym. He wanted to get up on the table, get down again, over and over and over again. He asked his usual million questions about every. single. device. in the room. What’s this for? What’s that? I was ready for him to have his exam and get out of there. I found a magazine and tried to distract myself. It happened to be a Good Housekeeping. On the cover was the blond woman who recently won The Biggest Loser competition. I had not watched regularly, but I once joked to some girlfriends about the night I watched it -- while eating ice cream.
Having fought a constant battle with my weight since maybe second grade, I picked up the article wondering how this woman did it, and what I really was wondering how she she was keeping it off. I read about her loss of 140 pounds at 48 years old and was impressed. Loosing weight after turning 40 seemed more impossible than ever for me. I have gained and lost and gained and lost the same 40 pounds a few times now and wondering if it was possible to do it again. From what I gleaned from the article, is that post weight loss, she does not touch fast food anymore, and that there is a serious effort involved trying to stay skinny. At one point she says she was fanatical about her exercise getting up at 4:30am every morning to exercise, she said she uses no butter and a tiny bit of olive oil when cooking. I won’t list all the things the article said - and with due respect to the hard work this woman put in to change her body - it all reeked of stringent to me.
I flicked through the magazine some more. I happened on an article written by Geneen Roth. I had seen her CD’s about changing our attitude about food on sale at the yoga studio where I practice, and considered buying it, but truth be told I was too embarrassed to take it to the counter. I had so much shame around my compulsions with food, I couldn’t even bring myself to buy a CD that might help me. When I saw the article I knew I REALLY wanted to read it but then the doctor came in for Sam’s exam. I set the magazine down and talked to the doc. When we were finished, when the doctor left the room, I stuck the magazine in my purse. Yes people, I STOLE a magazine from the doctors office. I kept it stuffed (hidden?) in my purse for 2 days, until I had a moment to read it. A couple of days later I was getting dressed and I looked down to notice the magazine open to the Roth article about food, and the quote that was highlighted on the page was:
ENDING YOUR FOOD OBESSION IS ALL ABOUT LEARNING TO STAY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.
I don’t know how else to say it but when I read that, and re read it over the next few days it is fair to say: A light bulb went off in my head. It was a total and complete epiphany for me.
Oh my god is that what it takes? STAYING IN THE PRESENY MOMENT!?!?!?!?
After the 35 YEARS of diets, the obsessing, the body shame the YEARS OF WASTED time?!?!?!? The carb counting, the stewardess diet, the cabbage soup diet, the starvation, the Atkins diet… the binging that fueled. The diets, the despair, the agony of wanting to be skinny and feeling like I just wasn’t that kind of girl who would EVER be skinny …. the answer was that I had to stay present with food and I could be done with food obsession? Honestly that clicked with me like some kind of miracle.
I decided to look for Geneen Roth online. Maybe this woman was on Twitter (yes she is). Do you know what I found out? For the love of the Internet, Geneen Roth had just written a new book. Geneen Roth was doing a reading of said book, 15 minutes from my house, two days later! Internet, I love you.
I went to that reading, sitting in the audience afterward my head reeled with the possibilities. I got it.
I thought about approaching Geneen at the book signing portion but was again too shy.
I knew in my heart maybe she might like to hear my story but I kept it to myself. Now I am needing to say, Geneen Roth, if you are out there, I want to thank you from the bottom of the heart for writing that Good House Keeping article and for writing your book…. for being brave, and being in the moment and telling the world and me all about it! It came at the right moment on the right day! Thank you.
I have been doing it. I wake up in the morning- listen to my body. I eat when I feel hungry. I stop when I am no longer hungry. I have stopped trolling around the kitchen eating bites of this and that. I wait until I am hungry before I eat. After a couple of days of this, I realize this is THE ANSWER. I begin to feel somewhat euphoric! It was if I had been let out of jail! Honestly, the food, the thinking about it, the constant mind battles- how much time and energy they have consumed in me.
A few weeks into it, I am feeling empowered. I had a day where I wanted to eat everything I saw. I ate too much. I noticed what I was doing. I made a mental note and then shifted and listened to my body again. Just like that, I realize the answer is inside me. It is in all of us.
Again, Geneen Roth, I thank you! With the help of your insight I can take all that I have learned about being present, via yoga and otherwise and apply it.
For anyone who wants a little taste of Geneen Roth and to hear a reading from her new book Women, Food and God (I found it on You Tube and realize it was filmed at the reading I went to), you can have a look and listen here. It is profound.