Women Food and God – And Banana Bread

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.  – page 84 (Geneen Roth)

Okay, you’re probably wondering about the banana bread. It’s only the VERY BEST LOAF I’VE EVER MADE – EVER! I used one less banana than “the recipe” called for and mixed it in the blender (hand-mixer kacked) and also, I may have used my Nana’s recipe for Zucchini bread (also yummy) and swapped out the zucchini for two bananas, and finally, I have no idea why this turned out so rockin’ but it DID. I ate a slice – okay, two – as I began this post, so it was on my mind.

*ahem*

Women Food and God (without a comma!) by Geneen Roth is a masterpiece. Let’s get that out there first. Her first book “When Food is Love” was groundbreaking in the work of emotionally eating, of which I know a thing. Or two. Possibly 200.

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be “trust”. It is about trusting your body to do you right. So simple, really. And impossible, or so it feels when you’re in the midst of…

“…compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can’t stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting — of leaving ourselves — hundreds of times a day.” 

I’ve mentioned before that I equate my eating disorder (binging and over-eating which leads to obesity) to the very same root cause as someone who is struggling with bulimia, in particular.  The one major difference is obvious – I binge and then do not purge. But the reasons I (and my friend the bulimic) binge are identical – and the list is long. Or short. It could simply be … shame. It’s complicated, the relationship between food and women.

Roth also mentions the feelings of deprivation. I’ve mentioned deprivation in this blog, as well. And I have to stop here and tell you that several words: shame, money, food… tie together here. They’ve tied into my blog posts, this book, and my life. Since, like, forever.

Where does God fit in? Well, I suppose it depends on who (or what) you think God is. If you think God is the “self-actualized” place… or a place of light and being… or a God/Goddess in a place of reverence… or inside yourself… no matter what you think *God* is… it is the center, the core, the everything.  And when everything is right, it’s everything!

I’ve tried all sorts of tricks throughout my weight-riddled, shame-carrying, ass-squeezing-into-spaces, fat-lady-clothing-store, upper-arms-can’t-fit-in-the-blood-pressure-monitor’d life. So has most any woman with a weight issue (and most men with weight issues too, for that matter). None of that matters now.

Here’s what matters:

The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and yes, even God. (Taken from the inside cover of the book)

As I began this post, I thought of my banana bread. I thought of how happy I was when one loaf turned out fantastic and I had two bananas left, so I made another and froze it. This morning, I took out two thin slices and also heated up the one cup of coffee I allow myself a day. (I’d only taken sips earlier.) Before I started writing, I savored it all.

Then I began to comb through the book for quotes and things and was reminded that I have what I need within me. This book tells me so. And I got that “gut punch” feeling that tells me I am on to something.

Perhaps – actually, no “perhaps” about it – I am ready to do this thing. And what is “This thing?” It’s trusting that my body knows what I need. This morning, my body needed two thin slices of banana bread and half a cup of coffee with cream. And it was good.

This book is a keeper. It won’t be going to a thrift shop in a book purge today or ever. It’s the kind of reminder we all need now and then. Or every. single. day. Either way, I recommend it!

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