Oprah, Food and God

Illustration for article titled Oprah, Food and God

So I just watched yesterday’s Oprah, because I’d seen commercials the day before about how she was declaring she’d never diet again, but wouldn’t say why. I rarely watch Oprah because the TV’s almost never on around 4 p.m., but for this particular promo I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I also don’t believe in coincidences, so I set the DVR to tape Wednesday’s show, and I’m so glad I did. It was indeed about why none of us should ever diet again – not for some gimmicky reason, but something far more profound: Our relationship with food and the way we eat mirror our core beliefs and feelings about love, anger, self-worth and spirituality. This knowledge should motivate us all to be kinder to ourselves, and understand that food’s role is simply to nourish us.

For the first time, I can say I’m one step ahead of Oprah. This is the truth I’ve been learning this whole year in therapy. (The book would have been a lot cheaper.) A lot of overweight people have a seriously jacked up relationship with food.


“Your beliefs show up in your relationship with food,” author Geneen Roth said on Oprah. The whole show was based on her new book, Women Food and God.  “You’re trying to feed yourself with that which cannot fill you.” Oooh, deep. And yet we do it all the time, reaching for cookies, ice cream or chips when we’re stressed, sad or insecure, instead of allowing ourselves to stay in the moment and feel the emotions – as if to do so would cause us to self-destruct.

It was a great show, and Oprah got quite emotional, as did many members of the audience. There were several there who had attended Roth’s workshops and retreats over the years, a few who had lost more than 100 pounds – by not dieting. Go figure.

I rolled my eyes when I saw the book on display at Barnes & Noble last weekend, thinking it was just the latest entry in the tiresome parade of weight-loss books. Had I looked closer, I would have seen that the author was Geneen Roth, immediately picked it up and spent the next few hours reading it cover to cover.

I’ve been a fan of Roth’s for nearly 25 years. Way back when, Roth was struggling with eating disorders, and hers was the only book I could find from a first-person viewpoint. Feeding the Hungry Heart was a godsend; I just really wanted more information than she shared, and there really wasn’t much available outside academia. (The founders of Google were probably still playing with Transformers.)


I’m going to order Women Food and God from Amazon because I’m sure The Oprah Effect has emptied bookstore shelves by now. It’s probably a keeper, something I can refer to time and again when needed. Since starting this weight-loss journey, I’ve amassed quite the little library.

Wonder if it’s all tax deductible?

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember all things all possible for those who believe.  ~  Gail Devers


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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