Wednesday 26 January 2011

Stocking up on Cadbury's Dairy Milk

Gretel Hallet, came on our Chocolate Fairy Training last year. Her next workshop is in Norwich on 9th April  If you live in the area and would like to attend a Beyond Chocolate course, Gretel would love to hear from you!  Meet Gretel.

On my desk at work is a decorated glass jar with a screw top lid.  Inside it, perfectly clear to view through the glass are squares of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate.  Reaction from my work colleagues and visitors to the office varies from the admiring …
“Wow!  That’s great!”

Through the unbelieving …
“Oooh, I couldn’t have that on my desk.  I’d eat it all in one go!”
“Don’t you find you just keep eating chocolate all day?”
“How can you stand having that there?”

To the wistful …
“You must be very strong-willed …”

As you can see, the majority of the comments are quite negative.  They assume that the presence of chocolate guarantees an instant uncontrollable binge.  Or that this is some masochistic test of my iron will-power in the face of the most terrible temptation known to womankind. 

What few of them know is that it’s even worse than their wildest imaginings!
For not only do I have full glass jar of chocolate on my desk, I have a large bar in my desk drawer to keep the jar topped up!

The sight of this jar on my desk day after day, filled constantly with squares of chocolate did lead one colleague to speculate that I never actually ate any of it because the level in the jar didn’t go down at all.  (She’d clearly been monitoring it over some time!).  I took pity on her and told her that I kept it topped up from the supply in my desk drawer.  A little light dawned, but she still had no idea of the reason for all this ostentatious display of deliciousness.

This is one of the things I am doing to work on my relationship with food.  In the past if I bought chocolate, I would eat it instantly.  If unable to do so, I would hide it until I could eat it all at once, regardless of whether I still wanted it or was hungry.  This hiding of chocolate was intended to prevent anyone else from eating my precious supply.  On at least one occasion this backfired when we took down some bookshelves to paint the wall behind them and found several Flakes that were out of date by a good 2 years …

So now that my chocolate is out in the open – how does it affect me?  It makes me feel secure; I have more chocolate than I could possibly eat, so future supply is assured.  It makes me feel in control; I can eat the chocolate or not, it won’t matter, it’ll still be there tomorrow.  It helps me to know that I am slowly mending my relationship with food – some days go past and I don’t eat any of the chocolate in my jar.  On other days I eat several squares – but I always top it up straight away, so that there’s never a feeling of deprivation or a dwindling supply.

What used to happen when there was only a little of something left was that I would eat it up ‘to get rid of it’, or ‘to finish it up’ or ‘because it’s not worth keeping it’ or because I was afraid that if I didn’t, someone else would.
Now I have my jar full to the brim with wonderful squares of chocolate and I feel good about that. 

Stocking up is part of the Beyond Chocolate Principles.  It may not be something that helps everyone (particularly initially), but at some point in our relationship with food it’s certainly worth looking at how we react to quantity as well as lack.  Do either of those extremes make us more or less likely to over-eat?  If so, what can we do to reassure ourselves that even if there is a lot or very little, it’s all right and there will be food when we next want or need it?

Stocking up certainly works for me – I cope far better in a glut than in a famine.  But it’s likely to be different for you – experiment and see what happens….


  1. I think this is something to do with 'sneaking' food too as well as the fear of famine or worry of having too much 'temptation'. By even acknowledging the fact that you eat to other people you begin to be a bit more open. I have sneaked for years and years. Since I was 'that kid' at school who was large but only survived on a can of diet coke and 10benson and hedges a day (I walked about 3miles to school too to save the bus fare to buy the cigarettes!) People used to marvel at the fact. What they didn't see was how many packets of crisps I would sneak from the supply my mum brought each month, or the amount of dry weetabix one person could eat through and on and on and on. It's a revelation to be open about food now to my partner and my friends and show that, actually, I do like to eat. I'm not quite at the stage where I can carry chocolate around and not eat it, but I can buy chocolate, put it out at home and say to my partner: 'Look I brought chocolate. I might eat the whole lot but I'm going to tell you about it if I do.' It's weird being open about it though after all this time.....

  2. Good for you, indiebird! This wasn't something I addressed in the blog, but it's interesting to see what you got from it. It always used to amaze me when I saw people eating quite openly in the street - I was a secret eater too - and now I just applaud their lack of secrecy! I prefer to eat sitting down from a plate - but either way we're not hiding any more. I also remind myself that I have a right to eat, as does everyone else, and that (very probably) the majority of people are getting on with their own lives and are not watching me to see what I'm eating!

  3. I can totally relate to the eating the last bit just to finish it off, especially if it is something that might not keep!

  4. Me too - I bought a box of Ferraro Rocher chocs - to give to friends who I play cards with - but after eight of the sixteen had gone, I decided that I might as well 'get rid' of them to get them out of the way - too tempting to keep. The problem was that I'd just eaten supper and yogurt for pud so I ended up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I'm early on this course and quite afraid of having such goodies around really - BUT understand the logic of plenty. Next time I'll miss supper and eat the goodies first!

  5. This all rings so true to me too. Although I have been an on-and-off-beyond-chocolater for a few years now, I think it is only now that "living it" is really starting to sink in (rather than MAKING myself "do beyond chocolate").
    One of my biggest obsessions at the moment is making sure I have stocked up on things. I decided I needed some cereal bars for those days when I can't eat breakfast at my desk, so I told my OH to buy lots - he came home with 5 boxes (over 30 bars!) which I now have ready in case I want them. Knowing I'm not going to run out really does have a wonderful effect - I can choose NOT to eat them NOW (when I don't truly want one), because I know they will be there later if I change my mind. The result is that I finally feel I am truly in control of what I eat, rather than the food controlling me!

  6. I'm glad this is ringing a bell with you all - it took me over 20 years to reach the point of being comfortable in the midst of plenty, but I'm making the most of it now!

  7. i have been useing the BC principles for over 12 months now and this works realy well for me. yes i have put a little weight on along the way but i have now lost the cravings i once had and i am now concentrateing on only eating when i am hungry so hopefuly any excss wieght will start to dissapear. i have realised that i have come a long way since my starve and binge days thanks to BC

  8. Oh, I love this! It sounds so simple: you will be less in fear of running out if you can see that you have a good supply, and you will be less inclined to go berzerk if you can be open about having certain, formerly 'bad' foods around. I often eat something at my desk at work, rather furtively, in case colleagues see me and make negative judgements. I now plan to fill a pretty bowl with fruit AND dark chocolate and allow myself to eat whichever I choose, without guilt.


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