Wow. Knowing that I’m about to attempt to sum up this weekend in just a few paragraphs seems like a complete disservice to the magic that was the past 48 hours. I’ll absolutely do my best to honor the experience, but know that sometimes, you really have to attend personally to gain the full experience. But, let’s give this a try…
As I mentioned on Friday, I flew to San Francisco for some soul searching this weekend. And, you guys… it truly was that – – and more. Nestled just outside of San Francisco at the lovely Pullman Hotel, I arrived with plenty of time and swiftly unpacked my few belongings I’d brought with me. I grabbed a quick dinner in the hotel bar, and then headed to check into the Geneen Roth Women, Weight, and Power workshop excited to learn and hopeful for impact.
Per usual, I walked up to the registration table feeling nervous. What in the heck was I nervous about? My brain takes over a bit when it comes to going to events like this solo. Was I the only person who didn’t bring a friend? Was I the only person who flew in alone? OMG… I don’t have my water bottle – – they said to bring a water bottle. And, the list goes on. Thankfully, I started chatting with a few ladies fairly quickly and it helped me to take the edge off a bit. My nerves were still high, but at the same time, I wanted to get prime seating at the event to make sure I was in the thick of things. So, awkward and early, I was.
When they opened the doors to let us in, the room was set up auditorium style and I snagged a seat right in the front of the room. At the last event I attended, I learned quickly that arriving early meant you had the best seating. And this wasn’t calculus, this was a topic I was intensely interested in. Once I’d selected my seat, I flagged a few of the ladies I was chatting with to join me – – and thankfully, they did, making this solo attendee feel a lot better about being there. This is a view from my seat. Right up in all of the action!
Geneen kicked off Friday night with a strong introduction to what the weekend was going to be about. She told us what we could expect: lots of partner work, lots of sharing, and an opportunity for us to challenge the way we think about things. The topic: Our relationship with food.
Geneen Roth is a pioneer in this field, and one of the first to ever link food with spirituality. She has written more than 10 books, has sat down with Oprah numerous times, and is frankly, a badass. She commands the room with a steady voice and challenges you to dig beneath the surface; she speaks with authority and experience. She also has a way of making you feel like her every word is directed at you in the most supportive of ways. As someone who has spent some time on a stage, I admire her ability to do this… and mostly, her passion for helping women worldwide by sharing her story.
The workshop itself was incredible, and I highly recommend it if you’ve got interest in attending something similar. She conducts a 1.5 day workshop on the East coast in the fall (link here) and week-long retreats with students for a more intensive hands-on approach. The 1.5 day workshop is an incredible introduction to her teachings, as are any of her books, podcasts, and appearances – – for me, these have been a great place to start.
Based upon conversations I’ve had with many of you, I know I’m not alone out here trying to build a more solid relationship with my eating. Also – – What I’m about to share below may not resonate with you one bit. If that’s the case, feel free to pop back in later in the week when we’re back to my regular programming. If it does resonate with you, girl… you’re not alone and this post is for you. <3
My Relationship with Food is Incredibly Complex, but it’s Not Terribly Unique
My circumstances might be unique. The foods I reach for when I’m stressed out might be different. The way I interact with food, however, is pretty textbook (Geneen Roth textbook, that is.) I found this to be extremely true as I visited with people around the room. As I paired myself with someone new for each exercise, it was astonishing to find that we were all haunted so similarly. I even found one young woman in particular, who may be leading a parallel life to mine for the number of times we each said “me too” when we shared information.
I also think it’s important to mention that I have FULL FAITH that each of these women are stronger than their experience thus far, they are more bold than that pan of brownies on the counter, and they’re deserving of every single dream they expressed. Their sharing meant so much to me and makes me want to commit myself to this program and achieve my goals by their side. “Me too, my friend. Me too.”
I Give Way Too Much Credit to the “Crazy Aunt in the Attic”
In several of her best-selling books, Geneen references the “crazy aunt in the attic” as that nagging voice that belittles you, casts judgment, and tries to keep you status quo. If we go back how I described my nerves upon arrival, Was I the only person who didn’t bring a friend? Was I the only person who flew in alone? These criticisms and fear-producing thoughts are brought to me by my crazy aunt in the attic (AKA – that insane voice in my head.)
Geneen actually had us do an exercise about halfway through the session where we wrote down 10 criticisms that the “aunt” had made since we arrived. It was incredible how quickly these words leapt to my paper. In a rare moment of sharing, I actually shared via microphone my entire list to the full workshop (something I never do in settings like this especially when it’s a deeply personal topic.)
My list was terrible and full of non-truths, but they were things that got me all spun up earlier in the event. Why do we do this? Why do we let our mind play these games with us? Geneen walked us through some silencing techniques… and I’m pleased to say that I plan on shutting down my “crazy aunt” in the days ahead. It’s just way too counterproductive, and frankly… knowing how to do that is half the battle.
Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines are GOALS AF
“If love could talk to you about food, this is what love would say.”
I love the simplicity of these guidelines, and that they don’t carry any calorie limits or food limitations of any type. Take a peek and see how many of these you execute on a daily basis.
- Eat when you are hungry.
- Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
- Eat without distractions. Distraction include television, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, surfing the internet, reading, intense or anxiety producing conversations and music.
- Eat only what your body (not your mind) wants.
- Eat until you are satisfied.
- Eat (as if) in full view of others.
- Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.
During the workshop, we were encouraged to give these a try during meals and during exercises. While they sound simple, there are quite a few that I’m going to need to spend more time with to build up. Just the same, I love the concept here… Isn’t this how we all should be eating every day? I’d think so.
Geneen’s retreats go deep on these guidelines, incorporating meditation and extensive practice into their execution.
I’ve Come Too Far to Only Come this Far
Think about these words for a moment, and let it soak in. For me, it definitely rings true. I’ve been someone that’s been on a diet most of my life. I was first put on a diet when I was about 8 years old and was taught to be embarrassed about what I was eating. It was the first time in my life when value was placed on how I looked. If I was eating what I was told I could eat, I was good. Otherwise, I was bad. More than 30 years later in many ways, I’m still that 8 year old on a diet trying to figure things out. I still have a tendency to define the good and the bad of the day based upon what goes in my mouth and frankly, I’m ready to shift that narrative.
If we truly live the way we eat as Geneen mentions, I’ve got some work to do. I don’t want to be in my 70s and still worrying about what size I am or what I’m eating (or not eating) at a restaurant, and I’ll be damned if I let any of this hold me back any further. There has to be a solution… and I believe Geneen may the answer here. This is exactly why I flew all the way to Northern California to hear her speak.
On the plane ride home, I began to read Geneen’s latest book My Messy, Magnificent Life and I’m really enjoying it. I’m excited to kick off the morning with breakfast, paired with Geneen’s eating guidelines. With every conscious bite I take, I know there will be learning. I look forward to getting started.
Special thanks to Geneen and her team for hosting us this weekend, and to the brave, dynamic, beautiful women who attended with me – – I am forever grateful. xo