I recently finished an amazing book called Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. Geneen is the author of 8 books on emotional eating, including the bestseller When Food is Love. Geneen’s work has been profound for my own healing throughout the years, starting from when I first picked up a book of hers at age 14 or 15 after I was becoming more aware that I myself had an issue with eating and had for my whole life thus far.
This most recent book of Geneen’s brings in the significance of our relationship and beliefs surrounding the presence which we call God, or Spirit, the Universe or the Oneness to our eating. Over the 7 or so years of my own active exploration into myself through emotional eating, I have arrived at the same realization that Geneen outlines in this book: that disordered and emotional eating is, at it’s core, a spiritual imbalance. From Geneen’s book:
“Our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself. I believe we are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions; everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat… If we are interested in finding out what we actually believe – not what we think, not what we say, but what our souls are convinced is the bottom-line truth about life and afterlife – we need go no further than the food on our plates. God is not just in the details; God is also in the muffins, the sweet potatoes and the tomato vegetable soup. God – however we define him or her – is on our plates.”
This illustrates the premise of Geneen’s book, but what hit home the most for me from this passage is how she emphasizes that no matter what we think we believe or say we believe, how we eat illustrates what we really believe. Having been on a spiritual path myself for several years and being around other women who are on a spiritual path, it hit me that so many of us say and maybe really believe that we believe things about God and life that we contradict when we eat.
Some examples. Many of us say that the Universe is abundant and limitless. So why do we eat as if we’re going to starve by not eating this right here, right now? Why do we act out a core belief in lack and limitation through our eating? As if missing out on this meal equates to a huge loss? Why do we cling if the Universe always provides for us?
It can go the other way too. Perhaps one believes that pleasure is not spiritual and prioritizing our desires signifies an attachment to this material world. So, we don’t let ourselves pursue what we really want, to use our time for what really makes us happy, because we filter it through a dysfunctional filter of ‘spiritual legitimacy’. And then, the part of us that knows this is ridiculous finds the only way it can relax and experience pleasure – through food.
In other words, we have intellectual beliefs about the nature of God and life, and they may all be completely true, but our eating is a very profound way for us to realize which beliefs are only that – intellectual. It allows us to see that maybe at our core we actually do believe that there is not enough, that we will be left behind, that God punishes, that pleasure is bad and unconscious, etc. The good news is that once we realize what actually believe beyond our minds, we can begin to address the causes of those false and unsupportive beliefs and let them go.
Later, I’ll share more about my own uncovering of some of these beliefs. For now, I highly recommend you read ‘Women Food and God’ by Geneen Roth, and if you’d like, any of her other wonderful books as well. I’ll love to hear from you how you enjoy them.