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Book Review--"Breaking Free from Emotional Eating", by Geneen Roth

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is the third book I set myself to read during my healing from foot surgery. The opinions are solely my own.

Ms. Roth has been there. She is, or has been, an emotional eater and is very emphatic with we who suffer as well. I could not find academic credentials for her, she teaches and runs workshops. I did not visit hr website. What does she say?

Ms. Roth's advice is of the "give yourself a break" category. Forget scales, or "calorie counting" (her words) and even exercise if you want to, just be very aware when and why you eat, and you will reach some weight that you and your body is happy with.

Now, I am not being (too) sarcastic. I read these self help books--an activity I used to eschew like poison--because they usually have something to give to me. And this book does as well.

One of Ms. Roth's messages that resonated is stop eating as if you will never be able to eat the food again. That is, if you want cake, and chips, and ice cream (there are no "bad foods" in her world view) go ahead and eat them with the idea in mind that you can go right ahead and eat them in the next minute, or hour, or day, or week, and so on. This will likely minimize binging. There may be some lack of reality here, such as having dollars to purchase what you want, but the book seems to be aimed to an educated and reasonable well-off audience.

Another message is eat what you really want, or else you will you eat what you don't want and then go ahead and eat what you do want anyway. Again, socially, this might be awkward, as your family lets say sits down to a three course meal and you sit down to a pint of ice cream (or to nothing at all if you don't want to eat at the pre-ordained suppertime). But, the idea of trying to put off binging by eating something else resonates with me. With me, it doesn't work.

Ms. Roth provides many helpful hints and brief exercises that are understandable and doable. She addresses areas such as family of origin, social eating, exercise, the concepts of wanting, needing, and having.

So, this book is not psychological, or Freudian, but pretty much common-sensical. It is kind, and forgiving, and she writes like she knows you. There is value in this.

The book is of fairly small dimensions and on decent quality paper with a reasonable sized font. Easy to hold and carry around.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALLIKIA 7/24/2012 9:01AM

    I may have to look into this book. I do agree with her on having the thing you want and not treating it as a "I'll NEVER be able to eat this EVER again" kind of event...but I agree with ROCKMAN does that address the emotional aspects of the problem of emotional eating? Still, it might be interesting to see what she has to say...

Thanks for the review!

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/24/2012 12:43AM

    I remember one summer when I lot weight without counting calories, tracking or weighing foods or exercise. I was occupied with outdoor work and had things to do all times. It is an interesting concept because it involves abandoning the ideas about how my compulsiveness works. Thanks for the review!

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ROCKMAN6797 7/23/2012 11:39PM

    Her ideas are good but how does this address the emotional issue? I am not really certain that eating the food is the problem. It seems to me that most emotional eaters have other reasons for choosing to assuage their issues with food. It seems a deeper approach might be the better approach for the emotional eating issue.
Thanks for reviewing the book Bonita!

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DOVE1010 7/23/2012 8:47PM

    I'm an emotional eater. I am very rarely hungry. I never give myself time to get hungry because I am always snacking on something hence the weight problem. Not sure the book would help me with my EE problem though, but it might help someone else. Thanks for the heads up on the book. emoticon

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MEXGAL1 7/23/2012 8:01PM

    Thanks so much for the review. Sounds like you gave us the. Est parts of the book.
Have a great evening!

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MUSICNERD1993 7/23/2012 5:50PM

    Hmm, seems like an interesting view...I don't think it'd help me at all, but maybe someone else would benefit from doing the things she suggests.
Thanks for the review!
emoticon emoticon

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KMSIMMONS1 7/23/2012 4:44PM

  Thanks for this review. I'll probably not waste my time on it!!! But your time on it, and review, helped me to come to that conclusion so THANKS!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/23/2012 4:42PM

    omg, a name from the 80's. attended some of her workshops

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How am I doing?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This is a difficult journey, Sparkfriends, and I roll along with it as best I can.

I have one more week until my second visit to that lovely place I have already blogged about, the Fracture Clinic. I do believe the pins will come out of my foot, and the bandage will be diminished or even done away with all together. But, I am not so sure that I will be allowed to drive or walk on the treadmill. I am working on accepting this, so as to avoid some possible serious disappointment. But hey, the pins will be out. I am going to take them home, and use them for key holders or maybe costume Jewellery.

The finger surgery went well, the stitches have already dissolved and aside from some swelling it is fine. The locking action is no longer there, no more arthritic node bump. It is a bit stiff but is getting better. I watched the surgery, it is cool to see the tendon move up and down as you move your finger. Well, what did you expect from someone who gets excited about titanium sporks?

Working from home is going great, and I am almost finished reading a book that I will review in a blog.

Sometimes the days go slow, and sometimes the pain and discomfort are a bit difficult to bear. I go on SP multiple times a day, find it and you, my Sparkfriends, very supportive.

And so the recovery goes, one day at a time.....

Have a good one, everybody! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALLIKIA 7/23/2012 8:15AM

    Glad to hear that you're recovering. I hope you get good news from the Doc!

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MUSICNERD1993 7/21/2012 12:02AM

    I'm glad your surgery went well! I'm sure it'll make practicing a bit easier?
Speedy recovery! You're doing great!

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MEXGAL1 7/20/2012 10:13AM

    Wow, you have been through a lot. I too have both bad hands and feet and know that I will have to deal with it. I have put off doing anything to my feet until we take a trip to Seattle next month. The good news is that I am not having so much pain that I can't walk. I just use a lot of pain creams.
Continue to heal well! speedy recovery

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GUITARWOMAN 7/20/2012 8:08AM

    Yes Raul, there was an incision in my hand pulled apart by a clamp and I saw the glistening tendon (they really do shine!) moving.

I am walking outside, about .7 miles each moring, again, please do not tell my surgeon :-).


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MEDDYPEDDY 7/20/2012 3:06AM

    Promising, "only" needs patience... be well! Heal quick!

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ROCKMAN6797 7/19/2012 10:32PM

    Glad to read that your pins are coming out? Did your doctor warn you to not do any walking activity or are you in pain? It seems to me the best thing for your recovery would be to get moving again, perhaps not for an extended period of time, but get you moving nevertheless.
I sure hope that you are wrong Bonita!

Glad to read your hand surgery went well. We you talk about the tendons do you mean throught the skin or did you actually (gulp) see them??? I would have paid to see that!

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PUDLECRAZY 7/19/2012 9:23PM

    It is sooooo hard to wait to heal completely, but this sounds like movement in the right direction. I was so out of touch that I missed your post about your finger surgery. Yay! I'm glad you got that over with as well and it sounds like it is healing up very nicely.

You are my soul sister! I enjoyed watching the pins get removed from my thumb and while I haven't made jewelry from them, they are in a see through container.

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/19/2012 9:09PM

    And you are doing great. You planned well and are healing nicely, outstanding

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Some Thoughts on Turning 64........

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sixty-four. I can't believe I made it this far! But here I am.....and some thoughts, in no particular order...

First, and I hope you will forgive this feisty old lady, a bit of "when I was your age".

I was born in the first half of the last century, a time of optimism that led families to create the baby boom generation. This has been fortunate for me, my generation carries the strength you can have in numbers, I had a secure and meaningful career and will end up with an indexed pension.

But, I was born before the polio vaccine was invented. I knew people who had polio. Families, if they could, got out of the cities for the summer to avoid the children becoming ill. One of my earliest school memories is being lined up in the gym, given a needle, given a lollipop, and being sent into the auditorium to watch cartoons. That, my Sparkfriends, was the polio vaccine.

And technology! When I was in university, I wrote my papers on a portable manual typewriter. My DH had a Smith Corona portable manual, it was built like a brick you-know-what, we still have it and it still works. I took a programming course and we entered our programs onto punch cards and gave them to the geeks who guarded the IBM 360, which filled a room. I typed my DH's PHD thesis on an IBM Selectric, which was top of the line.

Okay, enough of memory lane.

What have I learned? Keep growing and learning. Do kindness. Do volunteer work. Don't sweat the small stuff. Follow your passions, or at least one or two!

And it is never too late to change your life After gaining and losing and losing and gaining for decades, I had my aha moment in May 2009. I was 61, almost 62. And, no matter how late in your life you may start, no regrets about what went before. Look forward!

Birthday presents? In September, when I will be celebrating my two year maintenance anniversary, I will fulfill my creative side with a new guitar. For this birthday, I chose to honor the geek/nerd that I am. So, I have asked for, and it is in the mail, a high tech purse specially designed to carry an iPad. And a spork. Not just any spork, I have a plastic one and have broken another plastic one. Google spork if you don't know what it is, best utensil ever if you carry all your food with you.

No, my Sparkfriends, not just any spork. A TITANIUM spork! How cool is that?

Have a good one!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 7/19/2012 8:33PM

    Happy birthday, sweet friend! Great blog!

Like you, I had friends who contracted polio, and it was a constant worry. Then the polio vaccine came out. We were lined up in the gym for our vaccines, which were delivered in sugar cubes instead of lollypops. And that was that. The polio epidemic was over, just that quick.

Soap box time. I understand the fears parents have of children developing autism from vaccinations, but we are also old enough to know what happens when there aren't vaccinations. I was extremely ill with pertussis (whooping cough) as a young child, and knew people who suffered physical consequences of their mothers contracting German measles while they were pregnant. Polio killed and crippled many people. I am very grateful for vaccinations against these diseases - the risks are far less than the risks of the illnesses they prevent.

How is your foot doing? I have been so out of touch!

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CALLIKIA 7/16/2012 9:56AM

Keep looking forward! ;)

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/16/2012 4:15AM

    HOORAY ! Aha-moment at 61 - not too late for me then! Love both the memory lane part and the experience part! You are an inspiration! I think I am going to give me a fire hoop for birthday!

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MUSICNERD1993 7/15/2012 9:56PM

    New guitar? How exciting!!!
You are full of inspiration and wisdom! I hope you've had a wonderful birthday!
emoticon emoticon

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KRISKECK 7/15/2012 8:40PM

    I love your perspective! Wonderful! And the spork - my son is fascinated with them and I got him a titanium spork for his 24th birthday recently as he was preparing for his big post-college experience of the lifetime - hiking a chunk of the Appalachian Trail. So, happy birthday to you and enjoy your spork!

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MEXGAL1 7/15/2012 8:24PM

    You crack me up! So many memories. I, being for years younger than you, at least by the time I was vaccinated they had developed the "sugar cube". But I remember standing in line for other ouchies.. Like the TB tests.
Had to look up the looking thing.
Happy 64!

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LDRICHEL 7/15/2012 7:53PM

    You are AWESOME.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 7/15/2012 5:16PM

    When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now.....

Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greeting, bottle of wine...

If I stay out to a quarter to two, will you lock the door?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when's I'm 64?
--Beatles emoticon

Raul, this and so many other songs are in my head!


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ROCKMAN6797 7/15/2012 5:09PM

    OMG, do you know the Beatles wrote a song about your birthday?! emoticon
I googled spork, went to the Wikipedia page and guess what I saw? A picture of a titanium spork! How funny is that!

Happy Birthday Bonita!


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LOSTLIME 7/15/2012 4:14PM

    Happy 64th! I am 56 and remember being lined up in the gym and given a lollipop. I also remember going to my mother's job at the IRS and seeing the computer room.
That was something in those days. We would make wreaths with the computer cards
every Xmas.

Congrats on your 2year maintainence! Good for you getting a guitar. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

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A Month Later.....

Monday, July 09, 2012

Well almost. Surgery was on June 11.

I thought I would provide an update. I have also come across a few blogs lately from those considering these kinds of procedures, or who have to have them, so this may help.

In no particular order....

Complications. I am apparently allergic to ibuprofen, and developed a lovely (but not itchy) rash. So I had to stop it, and in order to manage on Tylenol arthritis alone and not kill my liver, I am dealing with more pain and discomfort. And, the area of my foot and lower leg that I cannot get wet developed a lovely condition. Alcohol application and cortisone cream are keeping it under control.

Healing. I still have the pins in and am still wearing the walking boot--see picture on my page. But, the foot feels better, more normal. The bones are knitting for sure.

Activity. Ah, this is interesting. I arm cycle 20 minutes a day. I do upper body weights 3times a week, my own workout, no more workout videos. I do both of these in the basement and watch recorded shows, mostly extreme makeover.

And, I have started walking outside every day, about a half mile. Don't tell my surgeon! I use the cane for support and as a visual symbol to others to be careful near me. I go at a blazing two miles an hour! I am passed by bicycle riders, joggers, walkers, strollers, and little old ladies. Wait! I am a little old lady and am being passed by my peeps!

You have no idea how good this feels. My legs have that lovely ache of a workout that helped but did not create injury. And, this morning, I saw a fox trot out of the wood lot near my home, take a drink from a puddle left by a sprinkler, and then trot away. Priceless.

And, I am getting to my workplace at least once a week, with lifts from helpful colleagues. Today we stopped at a grocery store! How wonderful! I used a shopping cart as a walking aid and walked around! I bought some greek yogurt! I felt like a human being.

Guitar, working from home, and "serious reading" continue.

Now, just as I am feeling better, I go for more surgery next Monday. Not big, local anesthetic. I am having a trigger finger released and an arthritic node removed. Essential for keyboarding and guitar.

And in a couple of weeks I am having a tooth capped.

Whoo-hoo, bring it on! It is the summer of repair and restoration. All for the good!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPYSOUL91 7/11/2012 10:47AM

    Love how you handled this surgery and kept yourself involved with your health

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WILDFLOWERMA 7/11/2012 12:04AM

    You are amazing - such positive energy, no matter the challenges. Wishing you speedy healing.

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MUSICNERD1993 7/10/2012 2:33PM

    I love that you still work out, go for walks, and practice despite any difficulties! I'm glad you're doing well. I look forward to your next update!


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MEDDYPEDDY 7/10/2012 12:28PM

    A very encouraging blog - thanks! I can feel your ambition all over the ocean and I really love that you report your progress and good moments!

Be well!

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ROCKMAN6797 7/10/2012 1:30AM

    It sounds like you are definitely on the road to recovery Bonita!
I love the fact that you are being a rebel and taking extended walks.
Continue healing and soon you will be the walking maven you were prior to the surgery!

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MEXGAL1 7/9/2012 10:12PM

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I have signed up to be notified of your blogs to read about your progress. So glad you are doing well.
Have a nice evening.

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JUNEAU2010 7/9/2012 9:33PM

    I love your wonderful attitude despite the current and looming difficulties!

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Book Review--Shrink Yourself by Roger Gould, M.D.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

This is the second of my four "serious reads" whilst recovering from my foot surgery. I found out about this one right here on Sparkpeople. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

Dr. Gould is a psychoanalyst. This form of therapy and the theory behind it are not my favorites--the cognitive-behavioral stuff just makes a lot more sense. And I was not entirely pleased by the double meaning title. Shrink as in both lose weight and get analyzed. Cute.

But, to be fair, emotional eating is likely, at least for some of us, pretty deeply rooted in early life experiences. So, I kept my prejudices in check and read it.

It turns out that for me some of the concepts make sense. Dr. Gould says we binge to put ourselves in a food trance so we do not have to face difficult emotions and situations. Fair enough.

He goes on to Identify some of the left over and inappropriate feelings from childhood that can cause emotional eating--feelings of powerlessness, self-doubt, frustration, lack of safety, rebellion, and emptiness. One of his interesting pieces is that he personifies our inner voice that keeps us eating emotionally as a character called Harriet. So far so good, I was able to identify some of those feelings in myself and I could relate to Harriet.

Dr. Gould then goes on to give a number of activities that can be used to address these leftover feelings. I assessed them to be too complex to do on one's own. I think this kind of change takes real in person therapy.

Dr. Gould also states he has a website where you can do the program on line.

Conclusion? Give it a read if this kind of thinking matches your worldview. You will likely get something out of it.

Technically, the font size is fine but the paper is of a poor quality.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 7/10/2012 12:31PM

    And one of my names are Harriet... hmm

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MOSTMOM1 7/9/2012 8:54AM

    Hmm, I'm guessing I'd be on the same page as you. Thanks for sharing your review.

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/5/2012 10:48AM

    good review

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FEB_SHOWERS16 7/5/2012 9:58AM

    Sounds like something I could definitely benefit from as I have an extreme Binge Eating Disorder. Besides my binges, I'm incredibly healthy and eat right and practice moderation and exercise. But those binges get me... and I have no doubt their from childhood as that's when they began. Thanks for the review!

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PATRISNA 7/5/2012 8:25AM


I enjoyed reading your review. I hope your foot is healing well. Take care of yourself.


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ROCKMAN6797 7/5/2012 7:46AM

    Interesting sounds that one would have to go through some intense therapy in order to first be able to figure out why one emotionally ate and second how to overcome this feeling to stop emotional eating. Not really certain that a book or a website could help. Thanks for sharing your review of the book Bonita.

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