A Maine Diet That Involves Women, Food, and God
I love food, right? But I realize that a lot of the time, I’m not really tasting it, beyond the first bite or two. Sad to say, I’m pretty much shoveling it in. It’s a different thing to actually sit there and taste, really taste, the food.
Yup, as you so wisely suspected, I’ve found a new diet book: “Women, Food and God.” You’d think with a name like that, it’s about praying to be thin. But honey, if that worked, I’d weigh a hundred and fifteen pounds right now!
I saw the author, Geneen Roth, on Oprah last May, and her book looked interesting. Of course, Oprah was all jacked up about it. Not that that means all that much. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Oprah, but to be honest, we don’t always have the same taste in books. A lot of the time, her choices just don’t grab me, you know?
Anyways, “Women, Food and God” is not about dieting at all. In fact, it’s about not dieting. Well, that got my attention, let me tell you.
See, I’m real good at not dieting: pigging out and gaining weight, then starving myself to lose the weight, and then doing it all over again. Been doing that for years! So you can understand how intrigued I was with Geneen’s concept of not dieting, and magically arriving at your normal weight. But as it turns out, it’s not magic at all.
Actually, the book’s kind of deep. One of those deals where you should probably read it more than once. And do the exercises in the back. To be honest, I had a hard time getting into it at first. There was just too much talk of “using food to ease the pain of your childhood” kind of thing.
But then I was talking with my niece Caitlin, who is wise beyond her years. (She’d read the book, of course.) Caitlin says to me, “Aunt Ida. I think what she’s really asking is, when do you use food to kind of escape from your life?”
Ah! Once I started thinking of it like that, it was easier to understand what Geneen’s saying. (Caitlin’s such a smart cookie!) So the basic thing is: “Eat when you’re hungry. (Check!) Eat what your body wants. (Sounds good.) Eat with gusto (Always do!), but here’s the deal: eat only until you’re satisfied.” I get that, I’m thinking as I read it. Then, one morning in the shower, I really got it. (Sometimes, I do my best thinking in the bathroom.)
It come to me, What would my life be like if I actually give up dieting? Wow, now there’s a liberating thought! But then my heart sinks. If I give up dieting, I’d also have to give up pigging out. Whoa! I like pigging out. Well, I don’t like feeling so full I’m going to burst, or waking up in the middle of the night with heartburn. Who does? But it’s comforting to know that if things are a little stressful at work, I can have a King Size Snickers Bar and feel better. Or that I can have Peanut Buster Parfait to celebrate….just about anything.
I got to thinking, If I didn’t spend time depriving myself, would I still feel the need to eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra when I take the brakes off? And did that King Size Snickers bar really make me feel better?
The revelations just kept coming. For years I’ve been saying, I’ve got to control my portions, and stop eating when I’m full. But you know what? “Stop eating when I’m full” is actually a lot more food than “Eat until I’m satisfied.” It blew me away when I realized just how little food it takes for me to feel satisfied, if I’m eating what I want instead of what I think I should have.
So, early days yet, but so far so good. I did have a moment of panic when I found myself thinking, Oh, my God, Ida! You have to buckle down and take off this five pounds you gained during the summer, because you know going to gain at least another five over the holidays, and then where will you be?
Instead of reaching for the Ring Dings, I took a deep breath and says to myself, Well, maybe if you don’t starve yourself now, you won’t feel the need to eat like a truck driver from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. It’s kind of mind game, isn’t it? I’ll keep you posted on how I make out.
Now, if someone could come up with a no-exercise plan!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here.)