4 out of 4 stars
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Are you happy with every aspect of your bodily appearance? This can be hard when we are deluged with messages that impose an almost unattainable standard of perfection. The diet industry is worth billions. At the same time, food products are pushed at us that have been designed to induce the so-called "bliss point" because of their fat, sugar, and salt content.
In the self-help book Let Go Of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food, licensed psychotherapist Arlene B. Englander can help you to navigate these and other risk factors for dysfunctional eating. A former emotional overeater herself, Arlene has helped her clients to stop dieting and love their food. In the book, she presents a plan that will enable you to leave behind the deprivation of restrictive diets without falling into counter-restrictive overeating, whether out of defiance or resignation. She also gives tips on how to stick to the plan when spending time with the family that may have caused the eating issues (I know mine did), at parties, or on vacation.
Those are situations that may cause stress. The chapter on stress was my favourite. Although I have read a lot about coping with stress over the years, the suggestions here for dealing with pain-producing thoughts were essentially new to me. I put them into practice right away, and they worked a treat. Compassion is front and centre, and the plan is holistic.
Coping with stress is just one aspect of the plan; the others are equally appealing. At the outset, Arlene advises you to buy a moderate amount of the food you are craving (a chocolate bar, for instance) and be present in the moment while savouring it. This was a homework assignment I was keen to do. I also followed all the other recommendations in the book immediately and felt amazing as a result. I have found delight in food, company, and more since starting the plan.
Along with the book's actionable advice, I loved its use of acronyms. These are fun and ensure that I can call the plan's principles to mind readily. They are part of the one-minute monitor that is the cornerstone of the plan.
While I am so happy to have found this plan, I did notice that some of the information in the book was not up to date. It doesn't seem to take account of the new scientific findings that bust myths about weight and health. For example, the body mass index (BMI) has been called into question as a gauge of health. The author seems to imply that fat people got that way because of overeating, but as I understand it, this may not be the case. In general, the book was a little too slanted towards associating weight loss with being healthy. However, Arlene absolutely does promote self-acceptance and freedom from perfectionism. She mentions various books on the subjects she discusses, including some towering self-help classics. It would have been helpful to gather these together in a bibliography at the end.
I loved so much about the book that I would not deduct a star for these slight negatives. It was clearly written and excellently edited. I rate it four out of four stars. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who is fed up with dieting or overeating. It will empower you to tackle the emotional roots of these, gaining infinitely more pleasure from food and life. You will learn how to stop eating when satisfied and how to avoid using food to soothe emotional pain. It's working for me!
Let Go Of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food
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