I Wish I Were Thin. . .I Wish I Were Fat: The Real Reasons We Overeat and What We Can Do about It

Michelle Joy Levine, Author
Michelle Joy Levine, Author Vanderbilt Press $23.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-9656686-4-4
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-684-85738-1
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Taking a Freudian approach, New York City psychoanalyst Levine states that most cases of obesity arise from unconscious desires to be fat, desires that sabotage the conscious wish to be thin. Once these unconscious desires are made known (fear of being sexually desirable, fear of being envied, suppressed rage toward a controlling parent and oedipal impulses all figure prominently), conflicts about eating and image are more readily resolved. Levine's concrete suggestions include countering the desire to overeat (or eat a gratifying, fattening treat) with 10-minutes' worth of concentration on that craving as a sabotaging of the wish to be slim, and then to find a reward in something other than food. Another suggestion stems from the idea that overeating is often caused by the desire to reconnect with one's nurturing mother. Meditate for five minutes while repeating ""mommy and I are one,"" Levine says. These ideas will be understood best by readers familiar--and comfortable--with Freud's interpretation of human behavior. Others may find the suggestion that they really want to be fat hard to swallow. Levine's direct but fairly wooden prose does not ease the difficult work of recognizing and accepting repressed or sublimated desires, but her approach may well offer a breakthrough for some with chronic weight problems. (Sept.)
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