Book Review: Emotional Overeating by Marcia Sirota, M.D.

Never dieting again? I need to know the secret!

A transforming and impactful read, Emotional Overeating: Know the Triggers, Heal Your Mind and Never Diet Again by Marcia Sirota, MD, is for anyone who is changing their life. She is upfront and honest about what is causing the pounds to pack on, why we feel the need to stuff our emotions down with food and, most importantly, how to change it.

The sheer amount of tidbits that I want to share with you would require me to send out the book to everyone that is sincere about working through their thought processes around overeating. This book is a key tool to changing your mind, which will change your body.

“The more we try to fill the spiritual void within ourselves with materialistic solutions, the more empty and unhappy we are, and the more hopeless and enraged we’ll become.” (pg 17)

Empty? Enraged? Not understanding? Unhappy? Hopeless? It’s likely that you could be feeling these things as you try yet another diet, another shake, another way. Identifying my emotions first was a starting point. I felt attached to the scale, a prisoner of the pounds and I obsessed over what to eat. I was at a point of weighing myself multiple times a day. Not great.

“People who have the power to improve their own lives and the lives of others are a lot happier than people who try to have power over others.” (pg 20)

 

Reading non-fiction helps me to pick up ideas on how to improve my life in ways that work for me.

I focus on constantly improving my methods and habits because I’m not perfect either and I love to hear what others are doing and to help others when they’re ready for it.

This book is chock full of empowering methods to improve yourself. Sirota explores the true root of overeating issues, mainly to do with childhoods, parental impacts and unresolved issues. There are visioning exercises that I tried and they were extremely helpful to breaking through my barriers with weight loss.

“If you’re berating yourself for old mistakes or carrying a grudge against someone who hurt you, you can’t be happy now…If things aren’t the way you want them to be today, it’s your responsibility to change them for the better.” (pg 23)

This passage may not be new news and you are likely nodding at the truth of your responsibility. However, Sirota doesn’t put it all on you:

“It’s your parents’ responsibility, whatever they experienced in their own childhoods, to discover and resolve their own emotional issues prior to starting a family.” (pg 30)

Yep. Your parents have something to do with it too (surprise, surprise).

This is how cycles continue and why some find themselves listening to their parents’ instructions on what they should or shouldn’t do even decades later. Along with pieces of wisdom like this, Sirota works the reader through the roles and relationships of the Inner Child (ID), the Healthy Adult (Ego), and the Criticizing Parent (Super Ego). It is the first time that I have done significant work to meet and work with my Inner Child to understand what she needs. The result for me was a better understanding of my base needs to feel love, have someone listen to me and understand me. The cavaet? I’m that someone. I need to love, listen to and understand myself more. An unexpected result was that cravings have very little power over my actions now. When I have a craving, it is much easier to ask “what do I really need?” and, most of the time, it is reassurance and the craving passes.

Another reason that I read non-fiction books is to learn. Sometimes it all doesn’t speak to who I am but it may help someone else.

“The victim feels like she’s been hurt, wrong and hard done by. She’s the “adult child” of an alcoholic; the “survivor” of abuse or trauma. This is her primary identity, more than any other role she inhabits in her adult life. She’s overly invested in seeing herself as wounded and in need of compensation for her wounds.” (Pg 72)

Sirota explains the victim role and behaviour beautifully and objectively. I know individuals who fall into this category and have this as their primary identity. In trying to understand these people in my life, it was clarified:

“By identifying herself as a victim, a woman can never escape this role and she’ll live her adult life being the wounded child, pursuing child-like solutions to her wounds.” (PG 72)

The word never in this passage struck me. Hard. This was a moment of clarity for me. I cannot help others who identify primarily as a victim and it is likely that I am dealing with their wounded child in many of our interactions. Since reading this book, seeing the inner child within my interactions has guided my actions towards others and has helped in some cases. In others, the child has won out over the Healthy Adult.

Overall, my experience with this book was downright HARD!

In many of my reviews, I write how the pace of the book was for me.  I would like to mention that this book was insanely difficult for me to digest (pun intended). My usual reading pace can range from 40-100+ pages a day, depending on the topic. I could barely read 15 pages of this book because of the impact to my thought processes and realizations. I would read, reflect, talk over and come to terms with the immense amount of discovery in this book. “It’s simple, but it’s not easy” and that’s how I feel about my process in reading Emotional Overeating.

“Real love isn’t given in the hope of receiving something in return but from the experience of emotional fullness.” (pg 152)

“Self love is the experience of being full and fulfilled, with love to share.” (pg 152)

Emotional Overeating is an act of love. From Sirota to readers, from readers to themselves and from readers to others. I feel absolutely blessed to have come across this work and to have received the gifts of discovery. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with weight loss, addiction, and would like to discover something about themselves.

 

Book Review: The Toughest Prison of All by Floyd C. Forsberg

Toughest Prison of All

The Toughest Prison of All cover

Floyd C. Forsberg, bank robber and changed man, tells his story about life on the inside, outside and on some people’s bad sides. Part of the synopsis of the book is “[he] spent his time behind bars planning the biggest bank heist in history and longing for the simple love of his soul mate. When he robbed the First National Bank of Nevada in 1974, he achieved his first goal. But with a million dollars of the bank’s money in his hands and the FBI constantly on his tail, he would have to escape The Toughest Prison of All to achieve peace.”

Forsberg (or Frosty, the name of his cruder, meaner side), writes from his own perspective. He explores what it was like to plan and rob banks, escape prison and be on the run. All the while wishing for stability and a sense of normalcy. It was uncomfortable to read at first due to the retelling of his childhood and the obvious impact that would have on his future. It was uncomfortable because I wanted to root for him. I couldn’t. There were so many opportunities for Forsberg to make a change and he chose not to. A lot of people have those types of people in their lives and it is unsettling to be in their mind.

It is a bold book written with depth, capturing the attention and keeps it throughout. . Each time I remember that this is someon’es past, their history, my stomach churns. It is a true look into the American justice and prison system and there are clearly gaps within the system. A rehabilitation system. Particularly around the ability to report, investigate and punish those within the ranks, as Forsberg addresses. Overall, Toughest Prison is a decent read, with an interesting storyline and somewhat interesting characters. It’s a predictable book with a sort of happy ending and is a cautionary tale.

 

This book review was done for BookTasters. If you’d like to get free books in exchange for an honest review, they’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

Book Review: Swear On This Life by Renée Carlino

Swear on this life

3 Stars – Quick, somewhat romantic read. (I swear).

Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino was chosen for a book club that I host, the Edmonton Chapter of The Girly Book Club. Yes, that is a shameless plug.  A “beach read”, which is a novel that I could lay in the sun with and drink slushie drinks while travelling along with Emiline, Trevor, Cara and Jase. The story within a story format is enjoyable and is clearly written for a young adult audience, given its blatant predictability. I appreciate that Emiline’s childhood hardships are explored in a depth that garners sympathy for her adult character. However, that doesn’t dismiss her inability to make decisions or be very self aware into her late 20s.

Late Bloomers

This is a late-bloomer book written in the young adult genre (teenagers as the main characters) since the adult versions of Em and Jase hadn’t had the opportunity to truly come into their own due to their circumstances as children. There is a type of strength that comes with having to grow up when you are still a child and a craving for safety that can be very hard to break out of. Emiline demonstrates this need for safety through her relationship with Trevor. Oh Trevor. Trevor and Emiline. Sigh. They’re that couple that you know. The ones that, from a hundred yards away, strangers can tell that they shouldn’t be together. They’re simply too wrapped up in themselves to care about anyone else. For example:

“He assumed his standard position as he slouched against the cushions, his feet kicked up on the coffee table, his hands clasped together behind his head. It struck me that there was something wrong about his casualness. We had just had a fight, yet his body language suggested that nothing had happened.” (page 95)

Em has her past and Trevor lost everything before he had the opportunity to really have anything. Together, they make a passive aggressive and angry pair.

In Swear on This Life, Carlino made some interesting choices in how she concluded the story (or didn’t). The neat bow Carlino places on many of the characters near the end of the book is surreal.  Real life isn’t like that and maybe that’s her playing with her fiction factor. Overall, a fun, fast read. Solid 3 stars.

 

Book Review: Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl

Cover of Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl - Reviewed January 2017
Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl is truly a gift from her heart to yours.

When I first read Love Letters, I ditched the suggested guide and read it cover to cover. Mainly so that I would be able to give an appropriate review on content. However, this review will cover content and experience, as I took some additional time to experience the book as recommended, by reading Letters randomly.

Reading the book in rogue style (cover to cover) tugged at my insides in a blessed way. Something within me knew that certain letters were just. Right. Dahl doesn’t back down from the darker, deeper emotions that visit each of us during the course of living. The importance of the emotional pairings demonstrates the duality of perception. Not simply that life is duality but rather, that acceptance of the emotional experience is okay. It is okay to accept grief when it comes to you. Same with depression. The Letters acknowledge these seasons in our lives, along with an appreciation for them and a line of caution about how they may impact us. There is a balance and sense of honour for each Letter, regardless of the topic. Readers will experience emotional ties to this book that they didn’t know they had and should prepare to be surprised by what arises.

Take some time with the book.

Readers should take the time to enjoy the preface of Love Letters, as it explains Dahl’s intentional use of Love as a verb (yes, with a capital L!), rearrangements and dis-section of some terms. As I was reading the preface, I was thankful for the explanation of the deliberate choices she had made in getting her point across. I am also deeply grateful for her sharing the process it took to arrive at the concept for the Love Letters.

When reading the book as intended, I arrived at the same set of letters a few times and have come to appreciate the need for constant reminders during this season of my life. I discovered that reading the Letters out loud had more impact for me. Made me read at a slower speed and really consider the communication from the Letters to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The length of the Letters is perfect (maximum of four pages) and the smaller details are well-thought out (like the hearts around the page numbers). I would recommend it for anyone who would like to look at their emotions in a different way, is looking to explore their internal world, or is curious about what Letters may let them do.

Four stars.


Completed this for BookTasters. Want to get free books in exchange for an honest review? They’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

Book Review: The Farm on Nieuw Land Road:Jenna Kroon Series by Hannah Warren

Cover of The Farm on Nieuw Land Road: The Jenna Kroon Series by Hannah Warren - Review January 2017
The dynamic dancer, Jenna Kroon, is back in “The Farm on Nieuw Land Road” by Hannah Warren.

This is the second book in the Jenna Kroon series and another home run for Warren. After witnessing multiple tragedies in the first book, The Cottage on The Border, Jenna is back with her eyes open to her past and a focus on her future.

She is across the pond now, in New York, dancing with a large dance company. Jenna is surpassing her previous dance experience in Europe. She has begun to make a dramatic entrance in the American dance realm. With her hours of dedication and practice, success is inevitable. As she is preparing to complete an entrance examination to a highly coveted choreography course, she stumbles across a glimmer of friendship and struggles to open herself up to the notion that she can be likeable and, in turn, friendly to others. Jenna, as all beings are, is complex and her complexity is what makes her interesting. Grappling with the level of friendship plus her intense dedication to dance lands Jenna where she seems to consistently land, in the hospital.

Upon her discharge, Jenna decides that she is going to heal her head wound at home, at the cottage she was in during book one. This doesn’t last long and she ends up staying with the at Nieuw farm, which proves to be as adventurous.

At Nieuw Farm, Jenna discovers more about herself than her past and unearths her potential while healing, again, from an apparent eating disorder.

THWAP!

Like a shot of whiskey, Warren’s writing and storyline looks great in the light, goes down smoothly and sends heat through the body.  The second book of the trilogy hits hard. We go deeper into Jenna’s vulnerability, exposing her humanity to the cold air of reality and connection. Personally, I am perched with anticipation for the third novel in this series. Jenna is an enjoyable character and I will relish the third installation in this series.

Finally, I would like to comment on the cover art for the novel. The artwork captures the intensity of Jenna’s personality, the focal point for the book. The setting is the secondary influence to the reader’s eye. Readers will also notice that Jenna’s character is, rightfully, placed above all else.

Another solid five stars!

Format: ebook
Pages:  312
Days to Read: 8


Completed this for BookTasters. If you’d like to get free books in exchange for an honest review, they’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

Book Review: The Cottage on The Border: Jenna Kroon Series by Hannah Warren

Cover of The Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren - Review
The Cottage on the Border, the first in the Jenna Kroon series by Hannah Warren, captures the depth and complexity of love, struggle and family.

In Cottage on the Border, Jenna is a successful dancer who embodies duende. She is a master of the mixture between physical expression and emotional connection with music. Jenna’s poor health habits catch up with her early in the book and she is hospitalized. Her hospitalization culminates her career. 

In this hard time, Jenna reaches out to her brother for help. Vincent will always help his family first and comes to Jenna’s aid. Together, they begin work on Jenna’s healing path. Vincent’s roles as professional and brother are one of the secondary themes and is one key to understanding Jenna.

After small successes, Jenna discovers she has an incredible gift along with a family history that is much closer than she previously believed. Jenna wants to continue working through her struggles and demands (as is her nature) that she be left alone to do so. She and Vincent work on a method so she will be successful then it is Jenna and her ghosts.

With her piles of blonde hair and violet eyes, she dives into her treasure trove of history, alone.  

The Cottage on the Border delves into the full character of flawed humanity. I found myself cheering all the characters, which speaks to the depth of Warren’s character development. History and morality would dictate that I should not sympathize with people who have done such horrid things. This is a testament to Warren’s  writing style. Her additional sheer genius in allowing us to travel with Jenna in all her discoveries is what made this a mouth-watering read for me. Like Jenna, I couldn’t stop.

Reading The Cottage on the Border is a great experience. I simply cannot wait to read the other two books in this series.  Jenna is addicting, her struggle is superhuman and I need to know how it turns out. A solid five stars.

Format: ebook
Pages: 228
Days to Read: 9


Completed this for BookTasters. If you’d like to get free books in exchange for an honest review, they’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

Book Review: The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren

Cover of The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren - Review
This is a review of The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren.

The Blood Read Nails of War is a historic novella that digs into your soul as a quick read with relatable but wonderfully troubled main characters. Meeting as teenagers on the brink of finding themselves, Elle, Agnus and Jacques push boundaries and end their discovery of each other as quickly as they started it.

Duality is ever present between Elle and Agnus  and their differences lend well to the third in their triangle, Jacques.  Elle creates a sordid atmosphere and Agnus is forced to make a decision as a blossoming teenage girl. Jacques has an affection for Agnus and is horrified with his sister’s actions and the resulting actions from Agnus.

After a lengthy separation, the three meet again as adults. Revisiting childhood memories quickly, they deal with being thrust together by the First World War quite maturely. Those memories make way for serving the wounded from the front line. They prove to be a formidable team who works tirelessly. Each doing their best to represent their passions as war rages around them.

Warren’s writing is fast-paced, eloquent and an absolute pleasure to read. Depth of characters is established quickly through interaction with their environment and other characters. It is a pleasure to invest in well-developed characters. I cannot wait for more installments of this series as it has dug its nails into my heart.

 



Book review is provided for 
BookTasters. If you’d like to get free books in exchange for an honest review, they’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

 

What’s Up at ReadViews: January 2017

It’s January, a fabulous time to read, review and generally be ambitious.

Reading-wise, I’m pretty excited about this year. I’ve made a personal goal of reading 40 books. You can join me on Goodreads and see how I’m doing with the reading challenge!


Here are the ReadViews you can expect in January:

Cover for The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017
The Blood Nails of War
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of The Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017

The Cottage on The Border: The Jenna Kroon Series
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of The Farm on Nieuw Land Road by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017
The Farm on Nieuw Land Road: The Jenna Kroon Series
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of Lover Letters by Paulette Dahl - Reviewing in January 2017
Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living
Author Paulette Dahl


This month I’ll be reading:

Cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Reading in January 2017
The Great Gatsby
Author: F.Scott Fitzgerald

Cover of Alice Munro's Best: Selected Short Stories - Reading January 2017
Alice Munro’s Best: Selected Stories
Author: Alice Munro

Cover of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown - Reading January 2017
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Author: Brené Brown

Cover of The Rose and The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh - Reading January 2017
The Rose and The Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh

For The Girly Book Club

Cover of Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra - Reading January 2017
Only Daughter
Author: Anna Snoekstra

Book Review: The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

the-year-of-yes-by-shonda-rhimes

Wondering what might happen if you say yes for a whole year?
Discover how Shonda Rhimes did with “The Year of Yes”

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too. The Year of Yes is about a journey into breaking out of the pantry and into the small crack of life’s light.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In The Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.

 


Interested in gifting The Year of Yes? Take a peek on Amazon.