from "Women Food and God" by Geneen Roth

"For almost two decades, the suffering I felt about anything . . . was expressed in my relationship with food. Overeating was my way to punish and shame myself; each time I gained weight, each time I failed at a diet, I proved to myself that my deepest fear was true: I was pathetic and doomed and I didnt deserve to live.

. . . Dieting was like praying. It was a plaintive cry to whoever was listening: I know I am fat. I know I am ugly. I know I am undiciplined, but see how hard I try. See how violently I restrict myself, deprive myself, punish myself. Surely there must be a reward for those who know how horrible they are.

And precisely because dieting and bingeing were the main ways I expressed my despair, the consequences of not dieting were staggering. Making the decision to stop dieting was like committing heresy, like breaking a vow that was never supposed to be broken. It was like saying, 'You were wrong, God, you were wrong, mom, I am worth saving,' and, somehow, by deciding that I was no longer going to collude with the belief in my own degradation, something I never would have called me showed up: the presence of loveliness, the awareness of kindness and the unmistakable knowledge that I belonged here."

[on what an important role the quest to diet and lose weight has taken on in so many of our lives] "The constant war with food and body size is important if they want to be loved. They are like Sisyphus pushing the bolder up the mountain, and almost getting there but never actually arriving. The great thing about being Sisyphus is that you have your work cut out for you. You always have something to do. As long as you are striving and pushing and trying hard to do something that can never be done, you know who you are: someone with a weight problem who is working to be thin. You don't have to feel lost or helpless because you always have a goal and that goal can never be reached."

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