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Breaking Free from Emotional Eating

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  570 ratings  ·  42 reviews
There is an end to the anguish of emotional eating -- and this book explainshow to achieve it. Geneen Roth, whose Feeding the Hungry Heart and When FoodIs Love have brought understanding and acceptance to tens of thousands ofreaders over the last two decades, here outlines her proven program forresolving the conflicts at the root of overeating. Using simple techniquesdevel ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Plume (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,138)
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ConnieK
I am devouring Roth's books. 4 in a row and, of course, in accordance with (most of) the Guidelines:
- I read them when I'm hungry for them
- Stop when I'm satisfied
- Read without distraction
- Reading while sitting down in a calm environment
- Love, love, love what I'm reading so I'm ready with gusto, enjoyment, and pleasure
- Reading just what my body/mind/soul craves

This woman is a genius!!

Marci
I just read the following quote today. It's one of the reasons I love reading Geneen Roth's ideas about eating and health.

"When we give up dieting, we take back something we were often too young to know we had given away: our own voice. Our ability to make decisions about what to eat and when. Our belief in ourselves. Our right to decide what goes into our mouths. Unlike the diets that appear monthly in magazines or the thermal pants that sweat off pounds, unlike a lover or a friend or a car, yo
...more
Bonnie Brien
Well I didn't really read this. Just a few chapters. I learned that my eating "problems" are not severe at all, and so I don't need major intervention. The one helpful thing I learned was to make sure that I'm eating because I'm hungry, and not for other reasons. It was nice to hear from someone who views food in a similar way to me.
Cathy
A book that everyone needs to read. Whether or not you use food as a drug it allows more understanding on the subject. Like 10 yrs of psychotherapy in a book!
Abby
I expected something a little different going into this one, and writing this review two months after reading it, I'm surprised to say that I find myself thinking about Breaking Free a lot. My major criticism still holds true: Geneen Roth encourages emotional eaters to embrace their cravings and trust that the body will eventually work things out. This would be fine if it weren't for the fact that so many people crave addictive and harmful substances like sugar and processed foods and alcohol. W ...more
Nancy
May 06, 2015 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nancy by: Karen
Shelves: non-fiction
Breaking Free goes hand in hand with a book I read previously, Eating Awareness Training. While EAT focuses on learning to hear and trust your own body, Breaking Free gets down to the nitty-gritty of helping you figure out why you eat when you aren't actually hungry for food. I really like this mindfulness and body awareness approach. It is very straight forward. That doesn't mean it is easy, as it can be very difficult to figure out and undo years/decades of mindless and emotional eating.

I find
...more
Molly
Sep 20, 2010 Molly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Out of all Geneen Roth books I have read, this is my least favorite and I think it is because she offers a TON of tips to help you not eat emotionally. To me, the tips were that of WW meetings and every "diet" magazine article out there. (And they probably borrowed them from Roth) it is just stuff, I have read 3 million times already.

And, I have to admit that I got a little pissy when I read about her being fat at 145. I hope to God she if 3 feet tall if she considers that fat ;)

Toward the middl
...more
H.A.
I got through about three chapters before I gave up on this as total crap. There is some wisdom in it about learning to trust your body, but I'm sorry, suggesting that a life-long compulsive eater just "go ahead and eat whatever you want until your body gets sick of it and magically starts to want what's good for it," is... wow, so many negative adjectives to use here! Dangerous, stupid, ridiculous, irresponsible, need I go on?

I don't know, maybe it could help others, but if I went that route, I
...more
Xanthi
I often eat when I am bored or eat just for the pleasure of it. Does that make me an 'emotional eater'? Yes, but after reading this book, it made me realize I am a very moderate one. The author describes emotional eating of a whole different level, in this book. This isn't simply a book about bad habits, but rather about people (mostly women it seems) with some very serious issues with eating and their mental health. I dare say most of us are emotional eaters to some degree, but not to the degre ...more
Carly
This book had great advice, and asked very valuable questions! I agree with many reviewers that it would function well as a workbook, with spaces to write in your answers, and practice the exercises. Because it's essentially a workbook without the workbook format, it was tedious to read at times. But, overall, another excellent resource from Geneen Roth!
Amber
Great book to help with compulsive eating - or any compulsive behavior, for that matter. Lots of helpful insight, and a bunch of activities one can do to help understand compulsive behavior and how to change and grow. Definitely will be a re-read!
Brittney
This book was actually life changing.
Angela
I am writing this review one year after having read the book. I try not to wait so long, but sometimes life simply interferes...

After I read this book, I rapidly expanded to the highest weight I'd ever been in my life. Perhaps I took Roth's advice a little too literally. At one point in the book, she talks about the day she made the decision that she would eat whatever she wanted, to satisfaction, and eventually her body would lead her in the right direction. Her example was chocolate chip cook
...more
Stephanie
To me this book does not cultivate the discipline of self-control. I agree with everything she says about eating when your hungry. But eating whatever you want whenever you're hungry? I don't think that is such a smart idea. Plus, we need to learn self-control and self-discipline in life - we need to learn to say no to ourselves. This includes me, too.
Joanne
Geneen Roth was one of the first to explore the fact that a pizza is comfort disguised as food-- for those of us who grew up sharing good times and great conversation around the family dinner table while enjoying this Italian classic entree, we will never be able to separate the gustatory pleasure of it from the deep sense of family, love and community it's very aroma evokes. So when times get rough, we don't have to be hungry to dial 662-PAPA and order a couple of large pizzas-- it's the comfor ...more
Richie C.
Her main big idea is to realize what you're eating. It's ok to eat whatever you want, as long as you are conscious of it. Don't eat unless you're hungry and you actually want to eat what you're about to eat.

I underlined a lot of passages, but the parts I liked are surrounded by a lot of touchy-feely fluff. She doesn't seem to claim a psychological or otherwise scientific basis for her reasoning; it's really just "This is what works for me and therefore it will work for you." She doesn't even se
...more
Ellie Brandt
I recommend this book for anyone who struggles with food addiction and self-hatred.
Katherine
Brilliant! Now all I need is the drive and inner strength to put these principles into action...
Julie Ehlers
This was not the most compellingly written book in the world--my mind often wandered while reading it, which is why it took me almost 2 weeks to finish a 200-page book. Still, its message is very valuable, and I can't help but think every woman in the U.S. would be able to relate to it on some level. There have been a lot of books about intuitive eating released in the past few years, but I now realize that this one, originally published in 1986, is the mother of them all.
Kim
I took a long time to read this book, because I frankly just got bored., but it did make me think a lot about food and why I eat the way I do. It's really a book about your whole person -- not just your eating habits. If you are trying to learn more about yourself and your compulsions, then I recommend it. I believe everyone's "right" way to losing weight is different. I don't know if Geneen's is the best method for me, but I respect her approach and her expertise.
Spook Harrison
This was a great book! The tone and presentation of the information/material made it a fun read as well as an enlightening one. For me, striking the right balance of humour, information, and exercises is very important, and this book is the best on this subject that I've read in quite some time. I gave it to my sis to read after I finished it, and I may have to buy a copy. I definitely need to read her first book!
Monica Costa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison
Great information. Very uplifting and positive. I do like Geneen Roth, but by the time I got about 50 pages into this book, the content shifted toward those with binge eating disorder (BED) - something that I am not currently suffering from. One day I plan on picking this book up again, because there is a lot of good advice and information about women and our often complicated relationship with food.
Laura Craner
This book is definitely less fun to read than other Geneen Roth books. I almost wish it had been formatted like a workbook to facilitate all the introspection she wants you to do. This book is also much more self-help/therapy style. It's a good book and it details concepts everyone should understand about their bodies and the food-emotion connection, but it was hard to get through.
Pam Curtis
I enjoyed this book more than expected because the tone was very conversational. Geneen has handled her own demons and has lots of knowledge and wisdom to share. She also has some terrific perspectives on weight that are very useful for shaking you out of the mind set that the media messages drill into our brains.

I would highly recommend this book.
Diana


Excellent follow up to Feeding the Hungry Heart. Maybe I just wasn't ready to hear it all three years ago, but this book goes more into detail of what to do so that eat what you want becomes healthy. Helpful.
Karen
Between this book and another by the same author, "When Food is Love" I have finally gained a much better understanding of why we eat for emotional reasons, and better yet, how to stop it.
Katharine
This book was very helpful to me. I read it during the same period of time in which I read Banished Knowledge by Alice Miller and was looking more deeply at patterns instilled in me in childhood.
Harriet Levy
Geneen Roth has put her finger on why diets don't (and won't ever) work. If you eat for emotional reasons (and who doesn't?) this, and the companion workbook, Why Weight, are the books you need.
Jennifer Kyrnin
This is a book I know I should want to read and I know a lot of people have gained a lot of value from it, but I found it hard to get into and very hard to keep reading it.
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Geneen Roth's pioneering books were among the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight and body image. She believes that we eat the way we live, and that our relationship to food, money, love is an exact reflection of our deepest held beliefs about ourselves and the amount of joy, abundance, pain, scarcity, we b ...more
More about Geneen Roth...
Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything When Food Is Love: Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy {When You Feel Anything But} Feeding the Hungry Heart: The Experience of Compulsive Eating

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“When we give up dieting, we take back something we were often too young to know we had given away: our own voice. Our ability to make decisions about what to eat and when. Our belief in ourselves. Our right to decide what goes into our mouths. Unlike the diets that appear monthly in magazines or the thermal pants that sweat off pounds, unlike a lover or a friend or a car, your body is reliable. It doesn't go away, get lost, stolen. If you will listen, it will speak.” 17 likes
“Pay careful attention to the bodily sensations that you recognize as hunger. When you feel yourself starting to get hungry, sit down for a few minutes (and if you can’t sit down, stand still). Where in your body do you experience hunger? In your throat? Your chest? Your stomach? Your legs? How is this sensation different from the sensation, let’s say, of excitement? Or loneliness? What happens to you when you feel yourself getting hungry? Do you feel that you need to eat immediately?” 1 likes
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