02 August 2010

If you're not hungry, don't eat.

This is one of the scariest guidelines I cam across when first reading Geneen Roth's Women, Food and God a few months ago. I had several reasons why this wasn't going to work for me.

1. If I let myself get hungry I will become cranky and unable to make wise decisions about what to eat.

2. What if I skip eating at lunch time and get hungry an hour later and food isn't available to me at that time?

3. It would be rude not to eat if others are eating.

4. Eating comforts me and helps me settle down.

Well, I decided to go for it despite all of my excuses because quite frankly, the author wrote about all of those too, so I knew she had already heard them before and would not have been impressed with my creativity. I realized that I'm not so special in this regard and that other people have the same reasons excuses for not doing what is logical.

I've been doing really well with not eating unless I'm hungry. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out if I'm hungry or not. But I make that dertermination (as best I can) before I begin to gobble. And here's what I found out:

1. If I happen to get hungry, I'll be ok. I can have a light snack in my purse to tide me over. I'm a grown-up now and it isn't as if I'm not allowed to snack because I didn't finish my veggies.

2. While most people do encourage me to eat with them, I realize that it's not my responsibility to make them comfortable by eating along with them. I can have a lemonade or ice water and sit with somebody who is eating and be quite engaging and charming. (ok, maybe that's a bit much. lol)

3. Eating does not really comfort me. It just keeps me from thinking of what's bothering me. Avoidance isn't comfort. If avoidance is what I'm seeking, there are other ways to do it, but in the end I'm going to have to deal with whatever is troubling me so I may as well do it sooner rather than later. Gorging myself with food actually makes me quite UNCOMFORTABLE and I don't want to do that anymore.

I'm thinking about this today because I have been mentoring one of my IRL friends in this process and she is just now starting to get it. Last night her hubby stopped and treated the whole family to ice cream and she wasn't hungry so she didn't get anything! I am SO proud of her! I know that now that's she's survived the first time, it's going to get easier and easier and she was so proud of herself when she told me. I could just hear her smile stretching from ear to ear over the phone. I think it's starting to "click" with her. Whoo hoo!


  1. I bought the book and can't get into it. I'm going to keep prodding through it, though, and maybe start again from the beginning. I think the message is there, but maybe I'm just not wanting to receive it at the moment. I'll let you know.

  2. I had a hard time getting into it until chapter 4..then I went head first. I am listening on audio and that's a lot easier for me, personally.

    I'm on chapter 6 now and plan to lay down later and listen to another couple of chapters.

  3. Hi,
    I, too, have read Roth’s books. I just finished When Food is Love. I am reading Women, Food and God (and listening on tape). Some of her ideas really resonate with me. I have not gone so far as to eat only when I am hungry. But, I am trying to understand more about why I overeat. For me this is a journey of self discovery and understanding besides a journey to better health and of course lightening my load.

    Julie from http://julielostandfound.blogspot.com/ nominated me for an award. I am now nominating you. I did not see the Versatile Blogger award on your blog. Here is what I wrote about you:

    Lanie Panie: http://healthyschmealthy.blogspot.com: Lanie Panie writes that her goals are to adopt a healthy lifestyle and take better care of the environment, including our home. Loads of good information, too.

    Please go to my blog to find the rules for this award.

    Michele at

  4. Well, just try it at your own pace. Not everything is going to resonate with you but you might find a few gems in there that make a big difference to you!

  5. Thanks, Michele, for the award. I will follow through with it in the a.m. It's my first one!

  6. This is such a great post! It's something I am working on right now, too! I think it's possibly one of the hardest lessons to learn. If i could learn this one thing, I probably wouldn't gain another pound. P.S. thanks so much for coming to visit my blog! I promise to post more soon. Things have been a bit hectic, but I so appreciate having all these wonderful supportive people to join on this journey!

  7. I plan to read the book soon although when I watched Roth on Oprah months ago I was not sure I could buy in. But I have to say that this post is so clearly written and sane. I love it. I struggle daily with eating when not hungry. You raise great points.


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.
Don't be a hater!