Friday, February 12, 2010
When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair
We’re going to take a slight detour today from our week of delicious recipes to talk about the book I am reading right now. It’s called “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair” by Geneen Roth. In the book she provides “50 ways to feel thin, gorgeous, and happy, when you feel anything but.” She points out in her forward that our culture links fatness with a wide array of undesirable qualities and that, unfortunately, so do women who struggle with their weight.
Throughout the book Roth uses feelings of being “fat” interchangeably with feelings of being unworthy, unattractive, useless or incompetent so it really is for the every-woman, not just those with body-image issues. She says that if you do not identify with feelings of fatness that you can substitute whatever you don’t want to feel or be in its place because issues of the heart are universal. I couldn’t agree with her more.
What’s great about this book is that it is a series of 50 short little chapters so it’s not a huge time commitment and it’s an easy, fun read. In a playful tone, Roth asks us to stop dieting, cultivate curiosity and kindness towards ourselves, applaud our strengths and celebrate our successes, stare at REAL women’s bodies (not supermodels, movie stars or elite athletes) and remember that everyone, even the thin, have cellulite, get old and die.
She reminds us that diets are ineffective because deprivation, fear, shame and guilt do not – and cannot – lead to lasting change. Long-lasting change can only come through kindness to yourself and a willingness to act on your own behalf. This principle can apply to any aspect of your life that you want to improve or change, it’s not limited to dieting and weight-loss. We must learn to STOP the negative self-talk and the self-loathing and learn how to become our own advocates. We must treat ourselves the way we would treat a dear friend.
Which brings me to one of my favorite chapters in her book: Chapter 3: When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair. Roth paints a mental picture of inviting a friend to dinner and telling her that you are going to eat the way you eat when you are alone. When she arrives, you lead her to the kitchen, open the refrigerator and stare … then you start picking through cold leftovers with your fingers. We would never actually treat a friend this way and yet so many of us treat ourselves in exactly this manner.
Roth also talks about the sneaky ways we tend to undermine ourselves and gives us strategies to feel powerful and gorgeous even in the midst of a “Fat-and-Ugly” attack and much, much more.
I hope you will order this book because I would love to know what you think about it. It really is an easy, fun read so you won’t feel bogged down by unusually deep and heavy material. But you may just feel a bit more empowered and positive when you finish.
I am obsessed with this book and think everyone should keep a copy of it on their nightstand.