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Published in December 2001, 'Calm Eating' draws together Dr Rick Kausman's own writings, inspirational quotes from some of his clients who are personally dealing with issues of weight management, and quotes from other writers who share Dr Kausman's philosophy of discarding the diet mentality and learning to look at food and yourself in a positive and nurturing light.
You can dip into 'Calm Eating' at random, or read through it page by page – in either case, the warm, witty and wise advice inside this book will motivate and inspire you to really enjoy one of life's great pleasures – the food we eat.
Book Review of 'Calm Eating',
By Sally Hunwick
'Calm Eating' by Dr Rick Kausman looks like a coffee table book; it's small, easy to read, and there are pictures of little butterflies throughout. And perhaps that is exactly what Dr Kausman wants you to think, such an easy read that you might be prepared to pick it up and start flicking through. Nor does it matter where you start, because each page tells its own story.
'Calm eating', those two words seem so obvious. Why would it be anything else? As children, we eat perhaps not particularly calmly, but certainly without fear and anxiety. When I was a child, the most stressful thing about eating, was the fear that mum might have packed me sandwiches made with (very uncool) multigrain bread, or given me squashy bananas instead of quartered apple. I remember rushing home from school as a young teenager, to find out what afternoon tea mum had prepared for us. Food was not frightening; it was what it was supposed to be - enjoyment, energy and a part of life.
“It makes sense to accept food as a necessity and as a pleasure. It banishes deprivation, and brings back the ability to experience the physical and emotionally enjoyable offerings of food. It is not wrong to enjoy food.” (Samantha)
So why is it that food, for many of us, is not calm? And I should say right here that, this book is not written expressly for people with eating disorders. There is a lesson there, I'm sure, for everyone. This book is about eating, but mainly Dr Kausman is trying to get across the importance of acceptance within our lives. Acceptance of our appearance, acceptance of what we eat, acceptance of how we feel, and importantly acceptance of how food makes us feel.
“Acceptance does not imply self-delusion. It involves coming to terms with what is.”
And if you can do that, the rest will follow. 'Calm Eating' is an innocent looking book with very serious messages. There are quotes throughout, from people who have lived through years of anxiety and fear over their body image, which manifests itself in destructive ways of eating. One woman named Mardie is quoted as saying “ It was like coming out of a dark prison and seeing the sky for the first time in twenty years. Why did I do that to myself, ruin my enjoyment by rushing and gorging?”
Food is so simple; it is our fuel for life, yet somehow many of us have become slave to it. 'Calm Eating' works at breaking down those walls, with simple instructions such as “It is normal or natural to overeat occasionally. It is normal or natural to undereat occasionally.” Or “I can have it if I want it, but do I really feel like it? I can have it if I want it, but will I really enjoy it?”
Quotes that act as mantras which might need to be repeated a thousand times inside our heads, before the day arrives when we believe them. When we are “no longer a prisoner to food.” (Alan)
'Calm Eating' is a book of thoughts, rather than the typical self-help manual. It doesn't give instruction so much as offer hope for people who have become lost in the labyrinth of fat, calories, weight, food, eating and not eating. Perhaps it is even comforting to realise that many people suffer with feelings of anxiety, fear and guilt when it comes to food, eating and the shape of their bodies.
The message Dr Kausman seems to be portraying throughout the book is that we can blame these fears on many things: society's predisposition with thinness, the fast food industry or the technologies that make life too easy. But in the end we have to look to ourselves and accept ourselves for what and who we are.
“I'm good enough just as I am.” Now repeat until you believe.
Book Review of 'Calm Eating'
Making Peace with Food,
Reviewed by Lenora Risse
For those of us who struggle with food, weight and diets, the two words 'calm' and 'eating' hardly belong in the same sentence. The notion of 'eating' is more likely to trigger thoughts of panic and fear, rather than calmness or pleasure. Yet in his recently-published book, Calm Eating, Australian doctor Rick Kausman offers a collection of reassuring messages and supportive advice which can help readers to make peace with food.
This book contains inspiring quotes, consoling facts and comforting thoughts which readers can use as tools towards building a healthy relationship with food. The book includes quotes from other practitioners and motivational authors, as well as actual eating-disorder patients. Readers may find they can strongly identify with these other sufferers' feelings. As a result, hopefully readers will learn to share their positive attitudes and the sense of empowerment and liberation they express in their re-evaluated approach towards food.
To help achieve a sense of 'calmness' with respect to food, the author encourages readers to listen and respect their body by 'intuitive eating' – responding to your body's natural hunger cues and physical needs. Eating with all your senses helps to develop safe and proper eating habits. Readers are also advised to view all food as 'neutral' by removing any emotional and moral associations. The book also considers what constitutes 'normal' or 'natural' eating, and gives a rational assessment of diets, the body and exercise.
Although the book focuses initially on eating issues, the author rightly acknowledges that such problems are likely to stem from deeper personal insecurities. As such, the book broadens its focus to encompass issues beyond food and dieting. It explores issues of self-acceptance, true beauty, nurturing the inner self, and acknowledging the soul beyond the physical body. In an uplifting spirit, the book concludes with encouraging words about the accomplishment of goals, reminding readers that progress is achieved by small, successive steps, coupled with much patience and persistence.
Small, portable and very readable, the book may serve as a practical instrument for people attempting to overcome their struggle with food. The words may be used as positive affirmations to counteract negative thoughts, making the book a comforting companion especially at mealtimes. Clearly arranging the contents according to themes, the book is very 'user friendly'. Neatly presented, it would make a heart-felt gift.
Amongst some of the most meaningful messages, the book encourages us to be guided by our inner selves, rather than try to control it:
'It can be scary to trust our intuition, but it is almost dangerous not to trust it'.
'Have faith in the human body – it is an amazing self-regulator. If we learn to listen rather than to dictate to our bodies, we can arrive at a far better understanding of ourselves as a whole'.
The book also reminds us to recognise the value within every person, our inherent needs, and the duty to fulfil those needs:
'Being self caring is understanding that you have important needs that must be met, that you are worthy, and that you have a responsibility to yourself'.
We are also reminded that success is a gradual, but forward-moving journey:
'Progress is succeeding at small steps along the way'.
And even supermodels have a point to make, which may bring relief to the rest of us!
'Even I don't look like Cindy Crawford when I get up in the morning'.
Personally, I found that regularly reading the quotes particularly relevant to me, especially around meal-times or whenever I was alone, helped strengthen my ability to challenge the negative thoughts that would typically harass and condemn me. These negative thoughts are the disruptive force that distort our relationship with food. Using positive affirmations – such as the ones contained in this book, specifically designed to challenge a distorted, fearful attitude towards food – gave me power to silence this condemning force. This instilled me with confidence to accept myself just as I am, and gave me freedom to create a more peaceful, healthy, empowered relationship with food and my body. Although the negative voice may still loom, I have greater strength to answer back to its callous commands. Gradually, it has faded into near silence.
Hopefully, with the aid of such tools as this book of strength and inspiration, you too may discover that there is such things as 'calm eating' after all. Beyond making peace with food, hopefully you will discover the contended serenity of accepting yourself, just as you are.