Louize Mclaren tells Audrey why she is so glad she trained as a Chocolate Fairy...
Why did you decide to train as a Chocolate Fairy?
I thought that being a Chocolate Fairy would be a fascinating, challenging and rewarding job. Attending the Beyond Chocolate workshop myself in October 2007 really blew me away, I came away energised and hopeful and so so excited. It was a brilliant day and I met some fantastic women. My life really did change after that and when the email came through a few months later about being a Chocolate Fairy I didn’t hesitate, I knew its what I wanted to do. Not only would I get to spend a year working on my relationship with food and my body with Sophie and Audrey but at the end of it I would be able to help and support other women do the same.
What was the training like?
I knew some of the other ladies who I’d be training with from the Forum so we met in London and made our way to the residential on the Isle of White, which was the start of our training. The residential was intense, fun, interesting, eye-opening and I won’t lie, it was tough as well. Twenty years of dieting and hating myself was never going to be a joy to unravel but I couldn’t have done it with better people or in a more supportive environment. Audrey and Sophie were flexible and always open to feedback and if at any time something wasn’t working we would discuss it. During the training I learned a lot about myself – the good, the bad and the ugly. I cannot emphasise enough the privilege of the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful group of women all working through similar issues but all with our own stories and experiences. The training lived up to and exceeded expectations and although at times it was really challenging I’m so glad I did it.
Living in Edinburgh and working full time I knew I’d have to be committed and organised to attend monthly meetings in London. I booked all my train tickets well in advance and it didn’t work out as expensive as I thought it would.
How did it impact your relationship with food and your body?
The impact I’m happy to say has been long lasting. I feel as if I have a much much deeper understanding of the Beyond Chocolate principles and how to apply them to my life. I know myself well, I know what works and what doesn’t and I know when I fall how to pick myself back up quickly. The biggest skill I’ve learned is how to apply Beyond Chocolate to my life at all times – when I’m busy, stressed, happy, miserable, with friends, eating out, on holiday and every other situation life can throw at me. I’ve recently had a baby and my relationship with food and my body had completely turned upside down. Just when I thought I’d got the hang of it, everything changed. During pregnancy I had to adapt my eating to suit my ever changing hunger scale and learn to love my growing body. After an initial period of adjustment to pregnancy intuitive eating once again became the norm and weight gain was minimal. Adapting to life as a new mum with breast feeding, sleepless nights and raging hormones took a little more adjusting to but finally 6 months on I am eating what I want, when I’m hungry, stopping happily when satisfied and have more time to get out and move. Plus I am lighter now than when I fell pregnant. I’m not convinced I would have been able to do this as quickly had I not had the additional benefit of chocolate fairy training.
What was the best bit of the training?
This is impossible as there were so many ‘best bits’! Spending time with Sophie and Audrey and learning from them was a highlight, meeting so many inspiring women, the residential on the Isle of White was magical. Really being able to get to the bottom of my overeating and learning the skills to manage that and communicate this to other women. However, one of my favourite parts of the training was the graduation workshop we did at the end where we all go to present a part of the one day workshop to real women, although nerve wracking it made me realise that this is what I wanted to do.
What would you say to someone who is considering training to be Fairy?
I’d say go for it. It was one of the best things I’ve done and I feel so lucky having done it and now being part of the chocolate fairy network. Even if I never run a workshop (which I think is unlikely) the year's training was invaluable to me and I now look forward to a life without the misery of continuous overeating and dieting.
Join us in October 2011 for the next Chocolate Fairy Training - it will be the best decision you make this year!