Eating and Meditating

I have just finished Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God, An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything (Scribner, 2010) and want to pass along some of my favorite ideas from the book. I’m one of those millions of American women who have spent hours, days, years, obsessing about my weight, even though if I had been born in another era I would have had the perfect body.

 It’s true I had been a chubby little girl who wore a 6X dress for my First Holy Communion, but my grandmother always told me I looked healthy. I didn’t consider dieting until high school, and then only vaguely thought about it. It would have been difficult to do anything about it anyway, living in an Italian-American family where cooking and eating took center stage and both were signs of love.

My first thought about being the wrong size was seeing a picture of Twiggy in Life Magazine in 1967. (I just found on Wikipedia that in 1966 Twiggy was 16 years old, 5’6″ tall, weighed 91 pounds, and had a 31-22-32 figure. Did I ever really think I could look like that?! ) I had gained ‘baby weight’ and stopped smoking, and thus began the years of wishing I could weigh 10 pounds less and always focusing on what was wrong with my body.

  Enter Women Food and God. A client told me she had begun this book, so I picked it up to see what she was reading. Of course there was something in it for me. And I want to pass these things along to you.

For me, the book is about using our bodies, our food, this material life, as a doorway to stillness, spirit, god, peace, whatever you call that ineffable sense of wholeness that comes to us in moments of grace. Some people call it their Higher Power. Some people call it God, and, as a mutual friend of the wonderful journalist Molly Ivans told me, Molly called it Fred.

It’s about creating a weight problem in order to distract ourselves from our lives.

It’s about using weight as a way to keep us believing we’re not OK.

It’s about the voice I call the Saboteur that keeps us up in the night, and how meditation helps us to see that voice for the lie it really is.

It’s about acceptance—accepting life as it is, living in the now.

Women Food and God reminded me that everything I want, need, or look forward to I actually have now. I love where Geneen writes, “We don’t want to eat hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to be hot fudge sundaes.” That’s a perfect description of how what we want to have, whether it’s a new car, a new pair of shoes, or a hot fudge sundae, is really about who we want to be. It’s true those things will make us feel special, worthy, finally OK. . . for a few minutes. But as Geneen shows us, we can bypass the intermediary things and know that right here, right now, we are as shiny as new car, as special as a new pair of shoes, and as warm and sweet as a hot fudge sundae.

Pick up this book for some thoughts on living and loving your life right now.