Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Feeding the Hungry Heart: The Experience of Compulsive Eating” as Want to Read:
Feeding the Hungry Heart: The Experience of Compulsive Eating
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Feeding the Hungry Heart: The Experience of Compulsive Eating

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  447 ratings  ·  27 reviews
This is how Geneen Roth remembers her time as an emotional overeater and self-starver. After years of struggle, Roth finally broke free from the destructive cycle of bingeing and purging. In the two decades since her triumph, she has gone on to help tens of thousands of others do the same through her lectures, workshops, and retreats. Those she has met during this time hav ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Plume (first published 1981)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Feeding the Hungry Heart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Feeding the Hungry Heart

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 871)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book, and others by Geneen Roth, was recommended to me by a med student working with my physician. She too had struggled with her weight and had found answers that changed her life through Ms. Roth's ideas.

Ms. Roth's philosophy is that intuitively we know what we should be eating to be healthy, that forcing ourselves to follow strict diets may work for some but not for all, and that if someone learns to truly love themself they, too, will take good care of their health and their body--natur
Jennifer H
Oct 21, 2009 Jennifer H rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Cindy Boone-McGuiness
This is one of my go-to books when I'm feeling out of control with compulsive eating. Geneen has a lot of words of wisdom that turn into self-esteem building mantras for those who have issues with food.
First of all, PHEW! I am so glad that I am not, never have been, and hopefully will never be in the shoes of the women who contributed their stories to this book. Some stories are simply heart-wrenching and brought tears to my eyes. However, like so many women, I have suffered from body image issues and have used food to console myself, so this book did speak to me in some ways. In particular, this book is a good reminder to always accept your body the way it is, learn to distinguish real hunger ...more
I so wish I'd read this book about twenty years ago! Though I've never experienced the binge/diet cycle, I certainly can relate to many of the described attitudes towards food. I think my young adulthood would've been very different if I'd discovered Geneen Roth before now. Food doesn't have to be forbidden, and we don't need to fear our appetites. What fantastic news!
I read this book because it was mentioned by a writer for Refinery 29, an online magazine that I like, who is writing about her experiences with intuitive eating. It's a great segment, and if you want to check it out, google "anti-diet project." As for this book, it wasn't as groundbreaking for me as "When Food is Love," but it was still enjoyable. Good for anyone who identifies as using food as a balm for any type of stress or sadness in your life.
Roth writes about her own experiences as an emotional eater who both binges and purges as well as attempts to diet and inevitably fails, just as 95% of other dieters fail and eventually gain the weight they lost back.

Much of this book is about connecting to how one feels about food and how one feels about the self by reading how others connected to food and others discovered their feelings. The book is about having an emotional experience as you read it. If you are looking for diet tips, you'll
I enjoyed the parts written by Geneen Roth, but wasn't as taken with the personal stories of the women from her workshops, etc. I ended up just reading her introductions of each section then skimming the rest.
I'm not really a new-age, self-help reader so I didn't know what to expect with this one, but I really enjoyed it. Roth makes a close study of emotional eating and explains the condition with compassion, forgiveness, and awareness, while suggesting ways to break free from this condition. The book intersperses fiction, poetry, and advice from Roth. I wasn't sure I'd dig that mix, but I really enjoyed the way it broke up the text. It wasn't just 200 pages about emotional eating. Instead, it contai ...more
I read this book in high school at the recommendation of a nutritionist. It changed the way I think about my body and food.
I did not like the way the story alternated between Roth's experiences and those of the individuals who attended her workshop. I would have liked to have known what happened to some of these people - if they ever overcame their compulsive eating behaviors.
Spook Harrison
I liked Roth's second book better, though the poems and content from others was interesting and further proved to me the ubiquitous nature of women's issues with food and eating for reasons other than the physical.
it gives a simple and gentle solution to stop using food as a pacifier for our emotional needs instead if nurturing our feelings and pushing them away. it is a great start to learning self love and trust.thanks Geneen
Mar 29, 2009 Cathie marked it as to-read
I just finished reading Jennifer Louden's "The Woman's Comfort Book" and in the footnotes she references this book. She said if you read it you will "...never diet again." Hey, it's worth a shot!
The stories they had in the book reminded me alot of myself, and others reminded me of people who were really determined to try and keep weight off of them.
Becky Schulman
Saw myself in a lot of the examples. I really am going to have to go back through all of these books with a highlighter this time.
Rachel Pillar
This book was just what I needed. I highly recommend reading if you suffer from compulsive eating.
Nov 09, 2011 Lynn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
Recommended by a friend who is a compulsive eater, much of this book did not resonate with me.
May 04, 2011 Chavonne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone determined to read all of Roth's books
Eh. It was nice to hear others' stories (I'm not alone, hurrah!), but I found this book lacking.
Not as good as "Women, Food and God" but it was good to hear from others and their experiences.
This is an extremely helpful book for anyone who struggles with emotional eating.
I cried through half this book; I could so relate....
I like this author, gave me lots to think about.
Apr 18, 2011 Amanda is currently reading it
Shelves: nonfiction
So hits really close to home.
interesting, but also really bad.
Seminal Geneen Roth.
Kyrci marked it as to-read
Dec 24, 2014
Tara marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Mony Vodita
Mony Vodita marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 29 30 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession
  • The Hungry Self: Women, Eating and Identity
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food--includes CD
  • Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling
  • Body Clutter: Love Your Body, Love Yourself
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
  • Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too
  • The Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa, and the Repressed Feminine (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 4)
  • Necessary Losses: The Loves Illusions Dependencies and Impossible Expectations That All of us Have
  • Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food
  • The Dance of Fear: Rising Above Anxiety, Fear, and Shame to Be Your Best and Bravest Self
  • Ethnicity and Family Therapy
  • Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward
  • The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection
  • Hunger Pains
  • Adult Children of Abusive Parents
  • Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Professional
  • The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss
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} Breaking Free from Emotional Eating

Share This Book

“Bingeing is such an emotionally frenetic activity that no other concerns can exist in the same space. It is a hell that people who are food-sensitive are familiar with; and, because it is known, it is therefore not so terrifying as some of the problems that are outside our control. Problems like divorce, illness, death.” 9 likes
“No act of love is ever wasted.” 4 likes
More quotes…