How do I forgive myself for what I have done to my body? I have abused it and have ended up with stretch marks and all kinds of marks. I have marked myself with my food addiction.
— Colleen G., Olympia, Washington
Yes, I understand how difficult this is, but really, what is the option? That you continue to hate yourself? That you continue to abuse yourself? It's important to realize that, at any moment, you are doing the very best you can. At any moment in your past, you were doing the best you could do. If you abused yourself, as you say, then it was because you didn't know what else to do. You were in pain or discomfort, and this looked like your best choice. But you can put that in the past because it is in the past. Now is new. Today is a fresh day. Ask yourself how you want to live. Ask yourself how you would live if you loved yourself, if you cherished yourself. I call it "living as if." Live as if you like yourself. Live as if you deserve your own love. Live as if you are worthy of all that is good. It will change everything.
: Can you simply like the taste of food—or is it something more?
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Geneen Roth's 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 relationships to food, money and love are exact reflections of our deeply held beliefs about ourselves and the amount of joy, abundance, pain and scarcity we believe we have (or are allowed) to have in our lives.
Roth has appeared on many national television shows, including
The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, The NBC Nightly News, The View and
Good Morning America. Articles about Roth and her work have appeared in numerous publications, including
O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Time, Elle, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and
The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has written a monthly column in
Good Housekeeping magazine since 2007. Roth is the author of eight books, including
The New York Times best-seller
When Food Is Love and a memoir about love and loss,
The Craggy Hole in My Heart. Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything is her newest book.
Read More from Geneen Roth:
15 ideas to help you start an inner dialog about food
Watch Oprah's aha! moment
Read an excerpt from Women, Food, and God