When you suffer from eating disorders you carry your illness on your body. Every pound you carry is a failure, a battle lost and it can be shameful just to exist in a public space. Everything you eat becomes a punishment, a reward, an expression, pretty much anything other than nourishment for you body.
Eating in the light of the moon is a book about eating that hardly mentions food. Dr. Anita Johnston is a clinical psychologist who specializes in women’s eating disorders. Rather than focusing on food she tries to go one step deeper focusing on the role that food plays, treating it on par with any substance addiction, where the substance takes place of healthy self-soothing mechanisms.
“Whenever you ask questions with curiosity instead of judgment, you are invoking guidance.”
Johnston uses stories and storytelling as a tool. The chapters are divided into different themes, such as assertiveness, nurturance, feelings, etc. Each chapter includes one or two stories focusing on unwrapping metaphors and symbolism to identify times where one might reach for food for different reasons.
This means that the book is not a quick read. It requires a lot of the reader, but it honors the process of healing quite beautifully, never shaming the eating process, but honoring it as a tool that helped you all the while gently saying you don’t need it anymore. I read this book one chapter at a time, taking days and weeks between to work with the chapters. There are no quick-fixes here, no meal plans or counting calories, no help as to what you should eat. There is a story and then a lesson from that story. If you, like me, believe in the importance of stories it is a really impactful tool.
“Counting calories is not the answer, because eating is not the problem.”
I’m not sure one book can heal a lifetime of complicated relationships with food. Certainly the book is not perfect, it is an aged book and some of the stories are bland and uninteresting, but there is a genuine power in this book that helps restore some of the power that is lost before food. You did the best you could. Now you can do better.
CBR10Bingo: Delicious. Look, eating is right there in the title!