On Eating, Susie Orbach (6/10)

A short and accessible book on intuitive eating with practical and non-threatening advice

On Eating, Susie Orbach (6/10)

Rating: 6/10
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🤔 Pre Read Exercise: What Do I Know About This Topic/Book?

This book is about the human relationship with food. The author is a therapist; it's underlying narrative is somewhat self-helpey and psychological. I've had some challenges with food and been through some crazy diets, hitting super low body fat, and then binge eating on the way back up to normal weight... so I've thought about my relationship with food and meditated on mindful and mindless eating in the past.

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. A short book on intuitive eating
  2. Relatively practical and non-threatening advice on eating
  3. Very accessible, written in 1-page per advice format

🎨 Impressions

The book's incredibly short and doesn't go into too much detail. It's a bit of a touchy/feely wishy/washy book which is cool... but I'm an analytical person that likes to really get deep into the weeds of things... and this only covered the surface of the topic. Which - for me - also did and does serve a purpose. So it's a good book overall. And I'm glad I read it. It leaned on the feminist and body image side of things a little too much for me personally, though.

🔍 How I Discovered It

Recommended by a friend.

🥰 Who Would Like It?

I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of their relationship with food and perhaps has some eating disorder or challenge with mindless/mindful eating.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

This book helped me think and re-frame things I've previously thought about or knew about from a different perspective.

💬 My Favourite Quotes

  • If no food you imagine seems to match your hunger, perhaps you aren't hungry for food at all. Maybe what you're hungry for is: a hug, a weep, a sleep, a break, a boyfriend, a chat with your friend. Give yourself time to discover what you are really hungry for.
  • Find out why you eat when you aren't hungry. Address the reasons directly. Food can only satisfy stomach hunger. It cannot make other hungers go away. It can only postpone them or temporarily cover them up.
  • If you are lonely and you eat, you will have given yourself a reason why you are lonely - 'I'm too fat and therefore I am lonely.' You won't have addressed your loneliness; rather, you will have taken yourself a step away from solving it. You will also - without meaning to - have given yourself an extra problem: a food problem.
  • If you are eating when you aren't hungry, stop and ask yourself what you are hungry for. If you can't come up with an answer, and don't know what exactly you need at that time, don't despair. This is not a reason to eat. It is a reason to be pleased with yourself for not eating and not adding to your original problem.
  • If you can't work out what you are feeling and what would be satisfying, try feeling regret about not knowing the answer. Recognising you don't know will calm and soothe you more successfully than eating when you are not physically hungry for food.
  • If you are, for example, nervous or reluctant to acknowledge your anger, think about why. Did you come from an angry or violent home? Or were you never allowed to express anger when you were growing up? Think about the personal reasons why you regard anger in the way that you do. Remember anger is just a feeling like any other. You may not be easy with it but you can learn to accept it. You don't always have to show it just because you feeling it.
  • And what about the feelings close to anger? Can you accept feelings of helplessness? Can you allow yourself to feel sad? Can you recognise rage in yourself? Is disappointment a feeling you know? Is it difficult to admit to feeling depressed? These emotions can be hard to accept. But you don't have to do anything with them, just experience them privately for yourself.