Two weeks ago, when I finished reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, I reached a milestone. Much of what she said made sense to me, but I don’t think I was ready to hear it until then. As for her Eating Guidelines, I hated them! Here’s why.
Eating Guidelines from Geneen Roth
1. Eat when you are hungry.
If I did that, I’d never eat! Because I rarely let myself get hungry. The only time I don’t snack is between breakfast and lunch and after a late supper.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
I actually ate a donut while standing in the kitchen recently, which is unusual for me, but yes, I do eat in the car, not a meal per se, but candy or cookies or whatever I can find. When I eat with others, can I really be calm? What if the conversation lags? Won’t they find me boring? Won’t I be bored with them?
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
Wouldn’t it be boring to just think about my food? No, that’s a shallow reaction, Norma, not a thought-out answer. Perhaps it would be interesting to evaluate what’s going on in my mouth, my stomach, and my body while eating.
4. Eat what your body wants.
How would I know what it wants? I’m so used to eating what looks good, what appeals to me at the moment, what I’m in the mood for, especially the pizza or pancakes that I just saw in a commercial.
5. Eat until you are satisfied.
Satisfied? This reminds me of the Bill Cosby episode where he says, “I’ve never been full.” How would I know if I’m full? When I do figure it out and still want more, wouldn’t it be impossible to stop eating?
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
This is a tough one! I’m often alone at mealtimes, and I hate to eat alone in public, so if I’m eating alone in a restaurant, I always take reading material. Why? Because it’s less awkward than trying to avoid making eye contact with the person in the next booth or across the aisle. At home alone, I always eat in front of the TV. If other people are around when I want to eat a snack but am too embarrassed to eat in front of them, I’ll eat it when they’re in another room. Sneaking food is one of those things I detest yet fall easily into. When I was only 6 or 7, it was like a game to sneak crackers, bread, little bits of cheese, even lettuce into my room to eat under the covers at night. Was I hungry back then or just bored? I don’t know. Perhaps both.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.
This guideline makes me smile. Despite all the negative stuff I’ve been through with dieting, I still enjoy eating a good meal.
While I’m not making any big resolutions for 2014, I’m going to think about these eating guidelines every morning and see what happens. I already told my husband that I plan to eat supper at the table before Jeopardy!, and he wants to eat with me. Maybe we’ll enjoy Jeopardy! more, too, without the distraction of food.
December 31, 2013