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Breaking Free from Emotional Eating

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  965 Ratings  ·  57 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
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Plume Books (first published 1984)
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Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
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!!

Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-self-help
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
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
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Karen
Shelves: non-fiction, food
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
Bonnie Brien
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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!
Rachel Kain
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chock full of information. A true guide to helping end the cycle of emotional eating and creating a healthy relationship with food. I highly recommend tracking down a copy of "Why Weight" which is a companion workbook that I'm currently working through.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was actually life changing.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important messages for people who need to hear them. One's relationship with food can be very unhealthy, and some people don't realize that one's relationship with food is symptomatic of a bigger condition or environment.

Here's what I got: the word "enoughness" with food

eating has everything to do with what I look like

most of the time we eat in response to our minds

i knew i was tired of circling but I did't know how to do anything else (pre-recovery)

on binging: when your attention is not prese
Sophia Ciocca
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about so much more than food, and I can say with confidence that it changed my life. Roth's philosophy is radical and contrary to everything I was taught about food, control, compulsions, and pain, and I know in my heart that she's right -- that the secrets are (a) self-love and kindness no matter what we look like or what's going on in our lives; (b) learning to trust our bodies again and realize we're not crazy and there are totally logical reasons behind our compulsions, and (c) ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very poorly written piece of work. I haven’t read the author’s previous works, but she has definitely run out of things to say. The advice she gives is trite and definitely of no use to a life-long emotional eater such as me.

My advice is to not buy this book. If I’m too late, use it to light a barbecue... ;-)
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all for me, but something for everyone

Overall a good read, some parts were not applicable to me, other parts resonated so loudly that I needed a break. I could have lived without some of the personal stories and lamenting about how fat she was at 150lbs, but skimmed to find the parts for me.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
excellent & very thought-provoking.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kindle e-book
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. It didn't really shed any new light on my own issues, so it wasn't really helpful to me.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding look at the (not so) hidden forces that shape our food habits and dysfunctions.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW...Read when food is love and went into this one from there...

seriously life changing stuff here...

I seriously am moving to a much healthier happier version of myself and it carries into every other area of my life!
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diet-etc
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
Richie C.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
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
Monica Costa-Lessing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Spook Harrison
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-mental
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!
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julie Ehlers
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intuitive-eating
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.
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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

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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.” 18 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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