Body Image

Review: “When Food is Love” by Geneen Roth


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I just finished reading Geneen Roth’s “When Food is Love” and I must say it is a definite must read!

In this book, Geneen takes you through the history of her relationships and draws a parallel between her relational compulsions and her compulsive eating. For those of you who read my blog regularly you will know that I have had my fair share of unhealthy relationship patterns and this book really opened my eyes to the whys of my relationship choices.

Geneen pinpoints one of the main root issues of choosing unhealthy or hopeless relationships as being a desire to run for your pain and your true self and to distract you from it by creating pain in unhealthy/unloving relationships – the same way we use food as a means to suppress our emotions. As Geneen points out: “We eat the way we live. What we do with food, we do in our lives.”

Here are some of the highlights:

  • “For both men and women, the focus on food provides a distraction from underlying issues of trust and intimacy. We’d rather lose weight than be close to another human being. We’d rather focus on our bodies than love or be loved. It’s safer: we know where the pain will come from, we’re in control.”
  • “When we allow our bodies or our weight to interfere with the quality of intimacy in our lives…we are trying to protect ourselves from being hurt. Again. But the hurt we are protecting ourselves from is not in the present. Nor is it in the future. We are trying to protect ourselves from feeling a hurt that has nothing to do with our lives now….”
  • “Breaking free from compulsive eating is a process, but it’s a radical process because it asks that you stop being a victim. It gives you choice, self-responsibility. It asks that you stop waiting for someone to make you better.”
  • Just as I ate compulsively for good reasons, I chose inappropriate partners for good reasons as well. The way I ate and the way I loved stemmed from the same source…”
  • “Making myself sick from eating too much chocolate was no different from choosing partners for whom I could never be more than icing on the cake of their lives.”
  • “If we feel that something or someone can right what is wrong, then we will become compulsive about having it always.”

And, my favourite, the end:

“When food is love, love is hard and lacquer-shiny. Love is outside of you, another thing to acquire and make yours. When love is love, there is nothing standing between you and your breaking heart. Love moves you. And that is good.”

Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

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