A Course in Weight Loss,  21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever
by Marianne Williamson

Reviewed by Barbara Wilkinson
A book review published in Off the Shelf, Jan- Feb Issue, 2011

‘Tis the season for resolutions.  It happens every year. The turkey leftovers and plum pudding are barely digested before the weight loss ads appear.

I have reviewed several books on eating, so you know I love to eat and I enjoy good food. The sound wisdom in these books points to the negative consequences of dieting, but generally, we seem determined to shed our excess pounds in the same way that didn’t work last year.

Perhaps you read my review of Savor, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lillian Cheung, that lovely book I described as a convergence of Buddhist teaching and nutritional science. What could be more convincing than a peace activist and a doctor begging us to come off automatic pilot to savor each morsel mindfully, for the health of the planet and our well-being?

And perhaps you read my review, or better still, the book, The End of Overeating by Dr David Kessler who scientifically educated us on how altering food is creating addiction and an epidemic of obesity. He too implored us to break free of ignorance.

Mindful eating, by zen teacher, Jan Chozen Bays, MD. stands on my shelf at The Bookshelf, as yet unreviewed. It is an insightful and wise little guide, full of true stories illustrating various types of hunger. We are taught to differentiate between hunger aroused by the sight of something yummy as opposed to the hunger of heartfelt sadness. With a forward by Jon Kabat-Zinn and accompanying CD, you can’t go wrong.

Oprah Winfrey’s self-confessed illustration that diets don’t work, inspired friend, Marianne Williamson, to pen a new book. A Course in Weight Loss addresses the childhood roots of overeating, going further than any of the above books. She provides us with 21 challenging spiritual lessons to surrender our weight forever. If you attended Marianne’s recent weekend in Guelph, you know she gets directly to the point and to expect a strong religious component in all she says.

This book is not about food, but healing addictions and compulsions around food. The challenging exercises are not for the faint of heart. This would be a helpful book to work through with a supportive friend or therapist.

Dean Ornish’s down to earth introduction alone makes the book worth reading. He reminds us how the true epidemic in our culture is loneliness, depression and isolation. He shows us how what often appears to be maladaptive is truly adaptive, with awareness being the first step in healing. He reminds us that “lasting weight loss is a by-product of a deeper healing” and that this book “brilliantly illuminates a path out of the darkness”.

Barbara Wilkinson is a counselor who teaches Mindful Eating and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Whatever your New Year’s resolution, she wishes you great success and can be reached at www.barbarawilkinson.com or 519-824-9831.