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Book Review: Healing Your Hungry Heart

Sometimes I search books out and other times books find me. I know if I am listening to the radio and I hear a book reviewed I will grab a piece of paper and jot the title down. Now with kindle, I go and order online with a quick click. This book, Healing the Hungry Heart, by Joanna Poppink, found me.

Interestingly, I received an e-mail from Ms. Poppink, complimenting me on blog post that I had written about Daniel Siegle’s book, Mindsight. She then asked if I would be willing to review her book. When she told me the title, I immediately said, “yes.” This is not the first time I was influenced by a book’s title or cover. In 1980 when I was working for Dr. Martha Davis, a non verbal communication researcher, I organized her bookshelf and the cover of Frogs Into Princes, the first NLP book, grabbed my attention.

So I am familiar with being influenced by titles and covers, and when it comes to dealing with hunger, eating and weight, my antennae go up. I have been working with eating issues since I was a teenager. Fortunately nothing ever became severe, but the extra portions, the extra pounds were ongoing issues. I remember reading that body image and eating issues were a pandemic for women. More recently, men are also dealing with overeating, body image and weight control. A majority of my private practice consists of clients wanting to lose weight and changing their eating behavior.  This topic never goes away, but fortunately there are clinicians out there making a difference to help clients heal.

Ms. Poppink, a well established therapist in Los Angeles, California,  is one of those clinicians. In this book she is very honest about her bulimic history and based on her recovery she has developed many excellent suggestions for healing.  Her book is a practical guide for men and women to begin a cognitive and behavioral process to change eating behaviors. At the end of each chapter, Ms. Poppink, offers practical tasks to practice. Throughout the book she includes her own stories and examples of her clients to help the reader identify and discover ways to overcome their eating issues.

There was a time that I ‘devoured’ any book about food and eating. I thought I had read all there was to read, but Ms. Poppink has added some original ideas that I believe are helpful to anyone who is self aware about their eating issues.  The new ideas that have stayed with me are these: When you are dealing with emotional eating ask yourself what feeling are you dealing with and go search for a poem, (use the internet of course), that will best help you express yourself. I liked this suggestion as I believe that poetry touches both the conscious and unconscious mind and will help myself and clients get to a greater connection and resolve. Another suggestion is whenever you are eating to backtrack where the food came from. This means to think about the process of growth, the animal, the farm, the truck, the seed, however far you can follow the chain. This exercise is useful as a way to also backtrack moments when something triggers you and retracing the steps can help you figure out what set up the pattern.  Another suggestion that may not be original, but I found it useful, was Ms. Poppink, talking about saying, “No.” She asks the reader, whether the reader has difficulty saying no, maintaining boundaries. She suggested practicing saying no and being okay with that. I think this is very useful to help someone create boundaries about what they place in their body, and to be reminded of their own power.

Ms. Poppink has many other suggestions including breathing, (always a good idea), remaining mindful, creating a spiritual ritual before eating, journaling, joining support groups and discovering other pleasures besides food. Another suggestion is to go into the future with your achieved weight loss or healing goal, and from that point of view, look back and see what action steps you took to accomplish that. In our NLP training we call this technique, Act As If. It is very useful for identifying steps towards your goals.

I am glad that this book and Ms. Poppink found me. I recommend you now find it for yourself. And when you do, let me know what suggestions worked for you.

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