Books

Book 597: Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food – Arlene Englander

Toward the middle of last year I started accepting fewer and fewer unsolicited review requests, but periodically a few come up from publicists or publishers I’ve worked with previously and this was one of them.

As a larger guy, (are guys plus sized?) I’ve always been curious about over eating and overeaters anonymous, but there are so many other books to read that I never looked into them. So when the publicist reached out to me about this back in July 2017, I figured why not.* That being said, I should be ashamed I didn’t get around to reading it until early 2018 though.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Englander’s writing style. It’s both conversational and professional. Most of the time she gets her complex points across succinctly while simultaneously making you feel like she’s sitting beside you and this is just something that happened to come up in the conversation. Add in that she comes at this from a psychotherapist’s perspective rather than a nutritionist and you’ve got something that I felt is much more approachable than your standard counting calories, physiology, diet-language, how-to guides.

I did feel that the acronyms (there were only 4 or 5) were somewhat forgettable unless you write them down and live them, which is totally the point, but I didn’t. I vaguely remember RAFT and SAD, but don’t really know what they stood for. That being said, she wrote her anecdotes in such a way that even though I have know idea what the acronyms are, I’m already better at recognizing when I’m full and have even occasionally stopped eating then! So she did something right.

I also really enjoyed her humor and the unexpected things she threw into the book. They weren’t really that unexpected, but the way she wrote about them and her informal/casual tone made them that much better:

“Sex!–Surprise! I bet you never expected to find this here. Yes, what can be the most sensual, spiritual, loving, and uplifting experience known to humankind is also calorie burning, stress relieving, and a lot of fun! If you don’t have a loving significant other, please consider choosing someone you know and trust, someone you care about and who cares about you. And yes, that can even be yourself! Even if you fault your body for not being picture perfect (whatever that may be), learning the pleasure your body can give you may help you appreciate it more. If you’ve never experienced the joy of orgasm, a wonderful classic titled For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach, is worth checking out. And remember, let your fantasies run wild. They are your own. There’s no need to judge or censor. Allow yourself—and if possible, your partner—this precious opportunity to soothe and self-soothe.” (65)

It wasn’t really a surprised it was on her list, I mean every teenager talks about how sex burns calories (whether they’re having any or not), but the kindness and openness with how she writes about it was truly gratifying. She acknowledged self love, friends with benefits, romantic love, and even offered practical advice/reading recommendations.

And then, if I wasn’t already impressed she threw in a mention of knitting:

“As was mentioned earlier, if you feel you must watch for at least an hour a day, one thing that you can do to help minimize snacking is to take up a craft. Yes, it’s true that according to some retirement humor the word craft is an acronym for ‘can’t remember a f***ing thing!’ But for many of us of all ages who love knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, weaving—just to name a few—crafts mean fun, relaxation, great gifts for friends, and the ability to wear a small size. (Many Hollywood actresses knit to relax rather than snack between sets!)” (113)

I’ve definitely been knitting a lot more recently and I know I also haven’t been snacking so this one was a no brainer for me. The only downside is if I’m knitting, I’m not reading and that’s sad 😦

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend it and I may re-read it again in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed Englander’s writing style and found her tips and tricks truly helpful. I’m not sure the book alone has helped me discover what it is that makes me overeat, I’m guessing boredom if that’s what I do, but I feel that’s something I would need to explore more with an actual person rather than just a book.

*I received a copy of Let Go Of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food from a publicist in return for my honest opinion. No money or goods were exchanged.

Opening Line: “‘Love my food?,’ you may be asking.”

Closing Line: “I’ve enjoyed our journey together. I hope you have, too. All my best wishes as you move forward!” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)

Additional Quotes from Let Go of Emotional Overeating
“Emotional overeating can be defined as eating neither for enjoyment nor for satisfaction of hunger, but in a desperate attempt to distract oneself from painful thoughts and feelings.” (13)

“One of the best antidotes for the if-onlys we spoke of earlier is this: ‘I did the best I could.’ Yet clients often say to me, ‘It wasn’t the best! If only I’d done such and such my life would be so much better now.’ To this I offer the amended, even more helpful version of the above rejoinder: ‘I did the best I could, given who I was then and what I knew at the time.‘” (45)

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