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.

Interesting, huh?

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.


  1. I am purchasing it TODAY!!!

    Sounds very interesting!!

    Though I am thin and yes I still do have cellulite which I am trying to become friends with.People always comment on how thin I am. let me tell you, it ain't all what it's cracked up to be because thinness doesn't bring happiness. In some weird way, when people comment on how thin I am, I start to "feel" pressure. It's actually a really uncomfortable feeling and you have no way to answer them. I mean o.k so I am thin does that really make someone who they are???? I really hate hate hate when women comment on their own body weight. I think we put too much pressure on each other (women) and compare ourselves to one another WAY to much.I know I can be quilty of this and it sucks and it's stupid and a waste of time! When women start talking like I do this, I have this, I am going there....sometimes I feel I have to start stating all my haves and things and UGH!!!! Let's NOT even talk about the KID factor. Wait somehow I just got off the subject of food and weight and dragged a whole gamet of crap into this post. I will STOP here and just purchase this lovely book Erin just recommeded.

    I really need spell check on this damn sight!!!

    Other fellow Monkees...have a FAB day!


  2. Wow, what great timing. I'm in the downward spiral part of my vicious body image cycle.

    Why? Because I've been eating terribly and haven't been working out.

    Why? Because I'm "recovering" from pneumonia and haven't gotten back to the gym - ok, yesterday was probably the first day I truly should have gone back.

    Why don't I go? Because I don't want to...I don't want to see the people/staff that I did the previous weight loss program with and for them to "see" that I've gained weight back and haven't been there. And because when I'm down...I hate working out.

    Why aren't I trying to get in every workout possible -- I have a 1/2 marathon in 5 weeks??????????

    And then in my sabotaging mind, I'm hurting me. I'd never say those things to someone else, why do I say them to me? A friend of mine recently told me I needed to work on getting to a place where I'm really happy with me and just LIVE! You might as well ask me to do the ironman in 6 months. Seriously, it feels THAT impossible!

    And that my friends makes me really sad. I am a strong woman (or so I think!! :), I have many friends for whom I am very grateful, my husband LOVES me (that's the positive side of it :), we have 2 healthy children, I have a new work from home job with incredible potential that I really like...YET...

    I spend way too much time in the deep, miry pits of despair over the size of my body, my legs, my arms...I have these fleeting thoughts of how I'm wasting sooo much time, energy, and health hating myself and trying to just get to where I want to be. And the worst part is probably how I compare myself to other women who are thinner, more fit, or have recently lost weight. I get soooooo jealous of women who lose weight because that's ALLLLLL I want to do.

    DARE I just concentrate on a very holistic approach to health which includes my sweet heart & mind in the forefront of being "well"? I'm probably developing cancer from the negative thoughts before I am the excess weight...that's how toxic it feels.

    Off to to get this book...

  3. I'm going to try and try again if I must, to treat myself like my body's VIP guest.

    Thanks, Erin!

  4. I am so darn excited that we are reading Roth. I've never read this one, but I'll order today.
    Roth gets it, guys..she really does. She helped Sister and me start to get a grip. START, I said. Not done yet.

    Erin, your posts get more and more lovely. You are such a great writer and coach. Thank you for taking such good care of us.

    Life with love- i am going to say a prayer for you. I HEAR you, Sister.

    Love G

  5. oh my goodness...LWL...what is this i spend waaaay too much money on books at amazon, should i be using this site instead?

  6. Thanks Erin! I just put it on hold at the library. I can't wait to read it.
    Monkees, I love you all just the way you are!! Don't forget we are all here to support each other.
    Erin, you are a great coach like G said.

  7. LWL:

    First of all, I LOVE your honesty. Thank you for sharing what's on your mind and in your heart.

    Second, have you considered readjusting your goal for the half-marathon? Just because you registered for the race doesn't mean you HAVE to do it ... if now is not the right time for you. Or, if you were planning to run it maybe you could change your plan and decide to walk it. Set an ACHIEVABLE goal for yourself so that you feel a sense of accomplishment after the race rather than feeling like you have let yourself down or could have done better. Sometimes in life we self-sabatoge by setting unrealistic goals so then we have one more thing to feel badly about and the cycle continues.

    Maybe by changing your focus with the race you can then start to exercise or just move your body (go for a walk) b/c you know it will feel good rather than b/c it feels like something you HAVE to do in preparation for the race. You would be practicing KINDNESS to yourself if you are able to do this. The bottom line is that there are no shortage of races for which you can train and run so there is no shame in postponing this one until you are at a place in your life where you have the time and energy to devote to training. Just an idea.

    Finally, you CAN do as your friend suggested and change your mental outlook just as you CAN do an ironman. Both require proper training. That's all. You don't train for an IM by going out and swimming 2 miles, biking 112 and running 26 on the first day of training. Just as you don't snap your fingers and make your body image issues disappear in an instant. You start out by swimming that first lap and running that first mile. And you BUILD on that base. Right? (I've done a few half-ironman's so I know a little something about training and building a base so I LOVE that you used that analogy :)

    So, why don't you pick ONE thing to start doing that is kind and generous to yourself each day and when that feels easy you add something else (maybe pick one thing you like about yoruself and look in the mirror and TELL yourself what is good or strong or beautiful about you until you BELIEVE it).

    Consider this your IM training to a happier, healthier you :)

  8. Glennon - is just another site to get things cheaply. I don't buy a lot online so maybe it's not the best deal out there and you do have to pay multiple s/h if you order from different sellers but i just got the book for under $5 including s/h.

    Erin, can't wait to read that again and let it settle into me. You've done HALF IRONMANS!?!?!? WOW! That's amazing...I had a season of doing triathlons, just sprint & olympic, but wow...I obviously like that metaphor too. Thank you, thank you.

  9. Great recommendation, Erin, I can't wait to get it! I need this book badly. I have been reading along on your blog, but still pulling out every excuse in the book for not getting started on some of the awesome recipes posted! Now, I HAVE been working like crazy, but still.....

    like LWL, I keep thinking about how big my stomach still is, that I only have 3 weeks until vacation, so what's the point of starting now? It's easier to just sit back and wallow in this .... ugh. But I know I need to make a positive step in the right direction. I won't be there overnight, but I just need to make a teeny, tiny bit of progress and I think I'll feel better.

    so, I told my husband last night "we need to talk." I told him about the blog and the awesome recipes, and said, "so, I'm thinking about just 2x per week, I make a dinner that does not have any meat or fish in it, just plant based stuff, beans, etc. What do you think?" I totally expected rebellion, but after 14 years together, I should know the man better!! He very simply said, "ok, that sounds good."

    so before I leave work today, I am printing out these recipes from this week and trying some new stuff this weekend!!! And buying the book!!! Because I WILL feel as fabulous as I actually am!


  10. YEAH KELLY!!! And YEAH for Rob. I knew I liked that guy! As you know, it's been an evolution for us and now Eric actually notices that he feels kinda gross and bogged down after a high-protein and/or high-fat meal. But he started out in the "yeah sure honey, whatever" category at first too.

    Call me this weekend if you want some additional recipes or ideas. It looks like we will be snowed in with the "make-a-wish" oxygen babies :-)