Reader Response to Chapter 9 of Roth’s _Women Food and God_

Quick disclaimer: I show pictures of my abdomen before and after a tummy tuck, so if an un-Hollywood body freaks you out, please don’t read today’s post.

A few months ago, my mother-in-law presented me with a book, Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, in the hopes that Roth could help me in my weight loss journey. I pasted a smile on my face and thanked her. Once I opened to the dust jacket’s inner flap, however, I realized my husband’s dear mom might have given me a self-help book I’d actually enjoy reading. Beginning with her teenage years, the author reportedly had gained and lost over a thousand pounds. Roth had my attention: She’d broken the yo-yo dieting cycle, and I wanted to know how.

Due to school and the holidays, I wasn’t able to continue reading Roth’s book until this week. I’m glad I did. Chapter Nine, titled “Breath by Breath,” really spoke to me. Roth tells of a women who believed her suffering was caused by her thighs, so she had liposuction to smooth out the dimples and crinkles. After a painful recovery, no one, not even the woman, noticed the effects of liposuction. In the end, she’d drained half her savings to still hate her thighs.

Which brings me to, well, me. I’m going to share pictures with you that I’ve only shared with Jude. In 2008, I convinced my husband a tummy tuck would boost my self-esteem and scheduled an appointment with a doctor to learn more about hacking off the extra flab hanging off my belly.  The surgery was set for May, and the credit card was charged. I took before and after pictures. Take a look.





After a needed blood transfusion of two pints and weeks of dealing with tubes to drain the wounds, the stretch marks were still there. The pants were the same size. And little did I know that, two years later, I’d gain the weight back, making the tummy tuck a moot surgery.

But Roth gives me hope. She writes, “Change happens not by hatred but by love.” Again that word: love. My body is beautiful, whether I’m 150 pounds or over 200 pounds. Some days this is harder to believe than others, but I’m trying. I should cycle because I love the occasional bug hitting my leg, not because it drops the number on the scale. I should jog because I love smelling detergent when I pass the Laundromat, not because it tones my butt. And I should eat yogurt instead of chips because my body works better when I don’t stuff it with junk.

I wish I could change my way of thinking overnight, but I’m contending with twenty-six years of learning to hate my body. But right now, for this minute, I’m going to give it a little love.

About lachihuahuaespicy

I write. You can find the following authors on my bookshelf: Kafka, Murakami, Auster, Austen, as well as Hiromu Arakawa and Alan Moore. View all posts by lachihuahuaespicy

4 responses to “Reader Response to Chapter 9 of Roth’s _Women Food and God_

  • knowwhentoshutup

    What an inspirational post. I really think it is harder to change the thoughts, feelings and emotions on this journey, rather than the number on the scale. I like to use humor as a shield, but some days, I wish I could go back and re-learn how to live without thinking about my body, without caring how others see me or what they think.

    • cheeseadditional

      Exactly! And, our thoughts need to change along with the number on the scale in order for this to work. Rose of the Golden Girls said if we couldn’t diet, we’d have nothing to do for the rest of our lives. I thought that was true at one time, but now I see it really isn’t. Still funny, though. 🙂 I ♥ Rose.

  • 40 Pounds By June

    Dani — beautiful soul searching thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I’m the elder of this group(sigh)and I’ve been through many years of body image issues (like most American females!). Just not satisfied with the way we “look”. And missing the real point. Thanks for sharing the book – I’m going to get it — for me AND my daughter.
    On a lighter note (no pun intended!), score one for mother-in-laws 🙂

    • cheeseadditional

      Yes, mother-in-laws aren’t too bad. LOL My in-laws have been beautiful about showing love to a little one that’s not biologically their grandchild. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

      The book is really good. She reminds us, “Eventually you will stop wanting to do anything that interferes with the increasing brightness you have come to associate with being alive.” What a radical way to think–to change my eating habits into healthier ones not because society tells me to, but because it feels good to be alive.

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