Chapter 7 of Roth's Women Food and God begins to deal with the practical application of her approach. She begins by outlining how the way we eat reveals what we truly believe about ourselves here on earth.
In the moment that you reach for potato chips to avoid what you feel, you are effectively saying, "I have no choice but to numb myself. Some things can't be felt, understood or worked through." You are saying, "There is no possibility of change so I might as well eat." You are saying, "Goodness exists for everyone but me so I might as well eat." You are saying, "I am fundamentally flawed so I might as well eat." Or, "Food is the only true pleasure in life so I might as well eat."She goes on to describe how many of us are so deeply caught up in the stories of trauma and hurt from our childhood or our past that we're essentially unable to live cogently in the present moment. I've expressed that insight like this: Perhaps at one time we used food as a necessary coping strategy to deal with truly negative events that were occurring in real-time, but even though those events are no longer at play in our lives today, we haven't shed those eating habits or those mind-numbing coping mechanisms.
Most of us are so enthralled with the scary tigers in our minds -- our stories of loneliness, rejection, grief -- that we don't realize they are in the past. They can't hurt us anymore. When we realize that the stories we are haunted by are simply that -- stories -- we can be with what we actually feel directly, now, in our bodies. Tingling, pulsing, pressure, weightiness, heaviness, big black ball of concrete in the chest. And by being in immediate contact with what we feel, we see the link between feelings and what is beyond them. We see that we are so much more than any particular feeling, that, for example, when sadness is explored it may turn into a lush meadow of peace. Or that when we allow ourselves to feel the full heat of anger without expressing it, a mountain of strength and courage is revealed.