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Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  834 ratings  ·  69 reviews
By weaving practical insights and exercises through a rich tapestry of multicultural myths, ancient legends, and folktales, Anita Johnston helps the millions of women preoccupied with their weight discover and address the issues behind their negative attitudes toward food.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 13th 2000 by Gürze Books (first published June 16th 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 08, 2007 Teresa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women
I loved this book because although it was about eating disorders generally, it was mostly just about being a woman in today's world and we can access our personal power as women to enrich our own lives. It changed the way I look at myself! Very thought provoking. I would recommend it to any woman who feels like she has lost sight of who she is, regardless of her relationship with food.
It is hard for me to articulate what I feel about this book because it made such a deep impression on me. Before reading this book I felt like strong rushing waters from a broken dam, vaguely wanting to go a certain direction but not really being able to harness the energy and power bursting out all over the place. This situation, if left, would either turn destructive, or in to a stagnant lake. When I read this book it taught me how to gather my rushing waters and direct them in to a healthy ch ...more
Sep 14, 2007 Sheri rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women who struggle with eating
Shelves: favorites
I love the use of myths and stories in this book. The author relates these to real life issues in a way that propelled me forward in my life. I highlighted so much and will reference those sections over and over again. This book made a real difference in my life.
this is probably one of the best most life altering pieces of non-ficton i've ever read and that includes crimethinc! i know the title sounds a little touchy-feely and i was nervous about it since i don't read a lot of self-help but i don't think there is anyone, man or woman, who could read this book and not walk away a better person. i read it really slowly because it took so much time to really process each chapter. i think even if you have no issues with food/weight/body issues (and if so, c ...more
I affectionately call this book "The Moon Book," and I plan to read it many more times, and keep it handy. The Moon Book is geared toward anyone with "disordered eating" and I consider anyone who has yo-yo-dieted as having disordered eating, which is me, in addition to the officially diagnosed anorexia/bulimia disorders, which is not me. In the moon book there are a lot of stories and folk tales that help give analogies to what people with disordered eating are going through or to give them tool ...more
The myth parts of the book got on my nerves, and eventually I skipped through those parts.

But I think this is a book worth reading for Johnston's insights, which have stuck with me on almost a cellular level. They go beyond the "fashion magazines are giving us all eating disorders" perspective to a more historical and biological feminist perspective. One that particularly made me think, is this:

"...there is such an emphasis on thin, angular bodies, which very few women come by naturally...why h
I LOVE this book. I am a mentor through MentorConnect, a web-based mentoring program for those suffering with an eating disorder to find a safe and safe supportive environment to share their experiences and if they wish to be matched with a mentor, someone who has recovered from an eating disorder. I read this book YEARS ago but had forgotten how good it was. I just re-read it in less than 1 day. I could not put it down! Anita Johnston talks about true HEALING from an eating disorder, not just b ...more
Johnston's approach -- through myths, metaphors, and storytelling, as the book's subtitle puts it -- bypasses the rational and reaches into that part of the brain that really controls appetite, pleasure, and physical and emotional well-being. She encourages us to treat with seriousness and respect those parts of us most denied by Western society. It is by calling back the child, the feminine, and the intuitive from exile that we can begin to fully inhabit our bodies, enjoy our food, and walk the ...more
May 03, 2009 C rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: friends
Recommended to C by: natasha
I learned so much about my own identity as a woman and how we are all connected through experiences. imagine if we understood our bodies to be reflections of cycles found in nature ( changing seasons, ebb& flow of of the tides, waning & waxing of the moon) we'd realize the power that we possess!

in order for a woman to heal she must embrace the darkness that precedes renewal. she must recover those parts of herself that she disowned and denied to fit the mold. whatever that mold may be.
Oct 30, 2014 Bennath rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women affected by Western society's female ideals
Recommended to Bennath by: counselor
This book offers the possibility of transformation from within for many women. The author lovingly elucidates how many of us are living in societies that do us psychological and physical harm by casting shame on the natural female body and presenting emotionality and intuitiveness as expressions of feminine weakness. The heartfelt, imaginative stories and accompanying guidance in this book have helped transform my self-image from one mired in the shame of having fallen short of society's rules a ...more
Courtney Lindwall
Feb 13, 2015 Courtney Lindwall rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Women who Diet
Multiple women had recommended this book to me as an insightful guide for mending broken relationships with food. While there were certain parts of the book I found useful/powerful, I had trouble connecting to much of the advice.

The book is organized around these "myths," which she uses as metaphors for our eating disorders. I would've just skipped the myths and talked more directly about the disordered behavior. I also thought some of the chapters were a leeeettle too new age-y for me. I'm not
Any woman could benefit from reading this book, whether she has an eating disorder or not. I appreciated the use of folktales and myths to understand the inner stories we live. This book reminded me of the wisdom in valuing the intuitive and the feminine, and being curious about the mysteries of one's self.
May 28, 2011 Emmybird is currently reading it
I am really enjoying this book. Insightful and interesting. I picked it up as professional literature but I'm loving it just for me. I'd recommend it to any woman interested in thinking about her relationship with food. It requires some interpersonal reflection but it's worth the work.
Tanya Simon
The first time I read it, it helped me let go of some past issues. The next time helped me see how to forgive. This time I will read it to deal with my weight. Excellent, excellent book!
Elizabeth Gordon
Shed a whole new light on eating disorders. Some of it was sort of redundant and I didn't completely buy everything the author said, but some of it was very insightful and encouraging.
This book is really insightful into why so many women in our culture have food issues (she mainly focuses on disordered eating--not just eating disorders, but also things like cyclical dieting, emotional eating, weight obsession, sudden days of "feeling fat" etc.) There are a lot of compelling thoughts about the overvaluation of masculine energy in our culture and how tapping into our feminine instincts and voice can help with assertiveness, inner peace, and mind/body harmony. The storytelling c ...more
K.S. Thompson
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I ordered a copy and once it arrived, I made the commitment to read one chapter per night. I was astounded by what happened! Every morning that followed, I had a “lightbulb moment”.

This book is an excellent way to help you recognize false beliefs about yourself and the world, thus enabling you to release them. I could almost hear the pieces falling into place.

Having also read “Kissing the Hag” by Emma Restall Orr and “Journey to the Dark Goddess” by
An excellent book for anyone that does not feel they have a proper relationship with food. I recommend it to everyone!

To be honest, this book is written to women (but men could read it, too) and for those with eating disorders. I took the advice in this book and used it towards my unhealthy relationship with food, she does call is disordered eating throughout the book and I feel that applies to me.

This book is not a diet, but a permanent change in how we perceive ourselves, because that is ultim
Our subjective experience takes the events involving meaningless dead matter and imbues them with meaning. It is quite reasonable to interrupt the act of "imbuing physical reality with meaning" as spiritual. One method whereby people communicate the spiritual interpretation of physical events is story telling. This book gives meaning to eating disorders through the spiritual journey of story telling as Jung would have done. The stories are metaphors for various types of cognitive dissonance asso ...more
Sarah-jane Kynes
“Recovery from disordered eating is about accepting the wholeness of your being. It is about accepting all of who you are, all of your emotions, thoughts, and desires, even those you may not like or those that bring discomfort. It involves recognizing that certain attributes you have viewed as liabilities are actually assets, realizing that your sensitive nature is a part of your beauty, and understanding that your uniqueness does not have to lead to isolation, rejection, and loneliness.”

I hones
Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationships with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, & Storytelling is a book written by Anita Johnston, Ph.D. about disordered eating in women. This book points out that 95% of people diagnosed with eating disorders are female, and therefore focuses on women and the divine feminine qualities that she believes become imbalanced with eating disorders. Johnston uses myths, metaphors and fairy tales to explain how the problem with food ...more
Nov 09, 2010 Rachel added it
I finally finished this one. (Same technique, incidentally - found somethings in the middle of the book that drew me in and from there read forward and backward until completion.)

I frequently miss out on the wisdom that semi-self-help books like this one offer because I cannot quite hear wise words underneath all that jibberjabber vocabulary of cliches and damn it all I'd rather go lay in the gutter for life than sit pretty with all my shit together.

This is excessive.

But I really ended up gleani
Lauren Marotto
This book was mandatory reading at an Eating Disorder clinic I attended that's overseen by Anita Johnston. We would cover a chapter of the book every few days. Though some of this books borders on ultra feminine and did have us giggle at the later chapters (this happens when you put 10+ girls together , fighting for their lives , levity is just as important as any aspect of the ED program and recovery process). This has become one of my most loved books on Eating Disorders as its like nothing el ...more
While I was reading this book, I found myself doing well with my daily routine - my eating, my exercising, my thought processes. As soon as I was done, it all went to hell.

I am not a person who can have conversations with herself and come to conclusions that offer life-altering decisions. I have never been capable of meditation, that much quiet repose and focus. It's somehow beyond me.

And to accomplish the goals of this book, these are things you have to do. Or at least, be willing to learn. Per
I would suggest this book to not just sufferers of eating disorders, but to anyone (male or female) that is feeling out of touch with their own body.

The stories and myths included in this book help to re-root readers into their own lives. Remembering to respect one's intuition, body, and desires is the main focus of "Eating in the Light of the Moon." Yes, at times it does seem like "hippie dippie stuff," but I honestly think it is an amazing reminder to slow down and truly listen to our bodies.
Alexandra Chauran
I've never had an eating disorder, so I'm sure that affects my opinion of this book. I read it because I love the use of living myth to solve problems and for spiritual advancement. The concept of this book was amazing, and I love it. The execution was not terribly great. The author is no Joseph Campbell, so although some of her myth interpretations were spot on and amazing choices, others confused me. The Inanna myth seemed a misused stretch for the concept she wanted to be illustrating and I f ...more
It took a few chapters to get into this as my world view is a bit different than the author, but it the basic principles are good. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
In conversation and in reading-before-bed I return to this book regularly, it was what I needed the moment I got it.
I really enjoyed this look at the reasons why we eat -- emotional reasons often stemming from childhood. The author uses folk tales to hammer home her points, very effectively. She offers methods for dealing with those old emotional issues, and it has certainly given me food for thought.
Definitely gained insights that were valuable. I read it with my own personal belief filter on high, to make sure the "truths" that were being shared could jive with what I know to be TRUE. It always amazes me how all Truth is connected. Imagine that!
This life is such a unique experience for all. I like how the stories used allow an individual to see their own situation "in the light of the moon". PG would be important with this book.
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“The mermaid is an archetypal image that represents a woman who is at ease in the great waters of life, the waters of emotion and sexuality. She shows us how to embrace our instinctive sexuality and sensuality so that we can affirm the essence of our feminine nature, the wisdom of our bodies, and the playfulness of our spirits. She symbolizes our connection with our deepest instinctive feelings, our wild and untamed animal nature that exists below the surface of outward personalities. She is able to respond to her mysterious sexual impulses without abandoning her more human, conscious side. What happened to the girls who dreamed of being mermaids?” 29 likes
“If so, why has a naturally masculine shape (broad shoulders, no waist, narrow hips, flat belly) become the ideal for the female body? Why is it that those aspects of a woman’s body that are most closely related to her innate female power, the capacity of her belly, hips, and thighs to carry and sustain life, are diminished in our society’s version of a beautiful woman?” 1 likes
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