Sunday, 13 March 2011

Gretel's weekly rant - slogans for success

Gretel Hallet, came on our Chocolate Fairy Training in 2008 and is 1 day and 1/2 day workshops in Norwich. If you live in the area and would like to attend a Beyond Chocolate course, Gretel would love to hear from you! Meet Gretel.

There are no strangers here
Only friends you have yet to meet

Slimming World has a slogan on the board outside the room where they meet. Whoever came up with this slogan deserves a life annuity – it’s pure genius. There is so much contained in these few words; there’s the promise of friendship, the reassurance that you won’t be faced with a load of strangers, the support of a fellowship of members, a future full of hope. To say nothing of the juxtaposition of the words ‘strangers’ and ‘friends’, turning one into the other. Pure genius. I take off my hat to you!

It set me thinking. If Beyond Chocolate is to compete on a national scale (or even global, let’s think big!), what would our slogan be? We would need to come up with something catchy, something that promises what Beyond Chocolate can offer. We do already have ‘Taste The Freedom’, which is a great slogan, but what the Slimming World slogan offers is somehow more personal.

How about

There are no failures here
Only successes we can all measure


There are no guarantees
Only certainties

But I’m sure you can come up with something much better than that!

Although I admire the sheer cunning of the message, I can’t admire what Slimming World is actually doing. I know some people who read this blog object to us ‘bashing’ the diet industry, but really it deserves it. Slimming World offers failure on an attractive plate, garnished with criticism and sprinkled with false hope. I have heard women discussing what they ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ eat; how they manage their ‘syns’ with the eagle eye of an accountant fiddling the books, of their ‘failures’ and how ‘bad’ they’ve been this week. I know from experience that every woman who walks through that door is doomed to ultimate failure and is messing up her metabolism to boot.

On the Google search engine, Slimming World comes up with another slogan, ‘because you’re amazing’. Again I have to hand it to them. They are entirely right. Women are amazing, but they are amazing just the way they are – not just because they want to hand over lots of money and control over their eating to an organisation that is, to be frank, in it for the money.

How many broken dreams do there have to be before the diet industry finally admits what many scientists and nutritionists are telling us – diets don’t work. Those women attending the Slimming World meetings are amazing; their dedication and determination to succeed in the face of certain failure is truly extraordinary. How very much better it would be if they turned that dedication and determination towards working with their bodies and towards freeing themselves from the yo-yo diet-binge nightmare.

We would love them to come and Taste the Freedom we offer.


  1. Hi Gretel,
    I read your post with interest because, as an erstwhile SW consultant - and, more importantly, as a convert to the wonderful and almost miraculous freedom of Beyond Chocolate - it rang a few bells for me! Having dieted all my life, I had a modicum of weight loss success with SW and was very quickly recruited to the ranks before I could regain the weight (which I did of course!). During my time as a consultant, I felt very concious of the fact that we were using the slogans you mention (and others) to pull people in while, at the same time, spending our meetings talking about getting bums on seats, keeping them there as long as possible, making money and selling products. I felt particularly uncomfortable that ALL consultant awards hinge on attendance figures ONLY and that target member figures are taken out and almost considered a by-product of the job. Consultants do not get paid or receive any awards for generating target members and they do not suffer any consequences if their members never reach their goals. Only those who enter members for the national competitions are feted by the company - purely for promotional purposes. In the end, I couldn't get away from the feeling that members were being sold false hope in the name of vast profit. SW, like any other weight loss organisation, entices unhappy people back time and time again but, in my personal opinion, the fact that SW, in particular, present themselves as loving, caring, full of heart and almost philanthropic in their approach makes them more dishonest than most. It upsets me to think that I was ever a part of it and that I earned money off the back of people's misery and desperation.
    At the end of the day, they are a very competitive business in a very competitive field and there is no room for sentimentality - unless its a slogan on a poster which places false hope in the hearts and minds of the vulnerable people it draws in.
    I hope that, one day, Beyond Chocolate can reach all those people that queue week after week to hand over hard earned cash just to get on a pair of scales and to be told what to eat - because the TRUE freedom of making peace with food and friends with our body is what makes us 'amazing' and the 'friend we have yet to meet' is within us because it IS us and thats where real, loving and lasting success lies.

  2. Wow! Thank you very much indeed for your comment - it's great to know that the gut feeling I had about SW was right - that what they offer is false and that you can confirm that Beyond Chocolate offers women what SW only pretends to. Thank you for your honesty in relating your feelings and experiences too. I think your comment is better than my blog!

  3. I was really shocked by your comments, Anonymous (and how funny that we have the same name!). I am astonished that SW was only interested in numbers of clients rather than in their weight loss ... I thought the whole purpose of the company was to help people lose weight - clearly not!

  4. Really eye-opening comments, Anonymous!

  5. "There are no strangers here just friends you have yet to meet" Not always true! I re-joined SW so many times, as did so many others. There were'nt many strangers but lots of familiar faces, disenchanted victims of the diet industry, hoping that this time would be the last time they had to join. Im so glad I discovered BC.Thank you!

  6. Thanks for the positive comments (especially Gretel!!!) - I thought I may get lambasted there for a bit although I suppose there's time yet!!! SW's official line would be, of course, that they DO care about their members. Indeed, there are some consultants who ARE passionate about what they do because they are caring (but misled) individuals who understand what it is to be unhappy with their bodies. Many of them actually make relatively little money - even losses - out of their groups but continue because they love 'helping' people. They are told by SW that they are 'special', that its possible to grow their groups and make more money and they're carried along by the sense of euphoria that the training induces. Although some do leave quickly, disillusioned by their experience, others carry on for years, seemingly unable to let go of the elusive SW dream and all it offers.
    I would argue that its actually those at the top, making the big bucks out of the business, who know exactly how cynically they put this 'caring' mentality out there in order to attract members (and consultants). In my view, the decision makers, the carrot danglers and the image gurus seem to say one thing and do another to get where THEY need to be - the number 1 slot on the dieting industry's success list with its obvious and clear myriad benefits ...... unless they too really believe their own hype???!!!
    I KNOW dieting doesn't work because I've seen hundreds of my members fail, beat themselves up, torture themselves and sink deeper and deeper into self-hatred while returning to group time and time again in a desperate attempt to succeed with the 'this time I'll do it' promise on their lips - and it breaks my heart to think about it.
    Maybe one day, the dieting industry as a whole WILL, as Gretel says, embrace the fact that dieting doesn't work - and then maybe they too will get on with helping those who have been crushed by dieting to heal themselves in a loving and complete way. Here's hoping eh?

  7. Another very powerful post, Anonymous. I'm so glad that you are out of that trap and able to view it so clearly having been previously caught up in it. As I said earlier - your comments are better than my original article - how about writing up your experiences of being a Slimming Group leader and putting it forward as a Beyond Chocolate blog?

  8. Hi there Anonymous, Yes, another very powerful post.
    However, I am still caught up in the diet trap!

    Yet I can say though that I believe 100% that weight gain/loss is 3/4 a Psychological problem and 1/4 changing what and how we eat.

    I returned to Slimming World in October to get a "Quick" weight loss and have lost 2st since then. And yes I feel much better. I plan to lose more.

    Infact I was so pleased that I was considering becoming a consultant, till I read your post, and till I found out about the 3000 leaflets to be posted in one day!

    The bottom line though is that I dont want Chocolate, ice - cream, cakes, sweets etc. I want WHAT THESE THINGS DO FOR ME!

    I have deep rooted issues (As most people do) related to my past and I am pretty sure that I eat junk food to stuff down the negative feelings that I am unable to deal with, or, that are too painful and threaten to overwhelm me if I dont eat that ice cream or what have you.

    I looked at Beyond Chocolate, even joined a couple of Master Classes and downloaded an MP3. I know all the rules:
    Eat when you are hungry.
    Eat what you want.
    Stop when you are satisfied.
    Put it on a plate, sit down and focus.
    etc etc etc.

    But I cannot get my head around the "Eat what ever you want" part of it because I have done that for years and I was heavier than I have ever been. I was 14st 1lb when I went back to Slimming World again. I am now 12st 1lb.

    I know and I agree, that there is a strong chance it may all go back on again and I am aware that diets dont work, not unless you are strong enough to deal with your emotions in an healthy way anyway.

    But right now, whilst I am always fancying cream cakes/chocolate etc, I know I am feeling like a smoker who has given up, and is standing in a cigarette shop whilst his friend buys cigarettes. I am desperately wanting that fix to stuff down those negative feelings.

    Really though, your post does not surprise me Anonymous and I do not like being involved with Slimming World. But right now I cannot see a way around it because wether you go by Beyond Chocolates rules or Slimming Worlds rules, you are constantly thinking about food related issues.

    I think now that I will forget the idea of being a consultant. Thank you for your very interesting post.

  9. Hello
    I am also an ex slimming-consultant from the Company mentioned here.
    When I left I had lots of reasons to leave, but one thing that really pushed me over the edge was the fact that all the while I was a member and a consultant, I was being brainwashed subtly into believing that the SW eating plan was the best and the only way to lose weight. Of course, since discovering BC back in June 2009, I have found myself and know it is not the case!
    In our talk that we gave new members we were encouraged to include things like, if you can't lose weight with food optimising then you can't lose it at all! And I believed this! And every week I spend several hours brainwashing people. This really saddens me now when I look back.
    I am glad to be out of the dieting industry!

  10. Perhaps Shirl needs to actually go on a proper BC course? I read the book, several times, and other books it recommended too, and they were amazing and life changing , but not quite enough to replace the diet-mentality. Then I actually went on the course and everything came together. I discovered things about myself I had no idea about by just reading the books. That interaction with the group leader and the other people in the group made all the difference. You don't get that from books or CDs. Give it a go, Shirl! It could change your life - for the better!

  11. Hi there,

    Yet another ex-consultant of SW here. Amongst other things I left because I worked out that my earnings for my last year with the company were £2-97 per hour. I didn't like the advice we were encouraged to give our members when the plan didn't work for them. I was told by my manager that they obviously weren't following the plan if they weren't losing weight. Perhaps it was just the plan that wasn't working? The greatest satisfaction I got was filling in the leaving questionnaire. The last question was something like "If we take action based on your comments would you consider coming back to work for us?" I replied that I thought there was very little chance that they would take any notice of anything I had written as it would not be what they wanted to hear. Small personal victory perhaps, but it felt like a victory nonetheless!

  12. Hi
    The trouble is - and I'm with Shirl on this - the BC courses cost the equivalent of umpteen SW classes or similar.
    Like her, I've read BC and several of the books they recommend. BUT when I eat what I want I eat too much of it! Actually most of what I eat is very healthy.
    I'm doing Rosemary C at the moment after trying to follow the BC principles for several months and putting on weight. Maybe I need the discipline of "doing" a diet??

    And sorry but isn't BC trying to earn a living too by encouraging people to go on these courses?? Oh dear, that will provoke some angry responses.

  13. Hi Anonymous, Yes, BC courses cost the price of umpteen SW classes. I have read the Beyond Chocolate Book and as I said, even got one of their MP3s and been at a couple of their Masterclasses. But I cannot get my head round eating what I want. I have done that for years now (Comfort eating) and I have also put on weight. Also, another thing is that I have no idea when I am genuinely hungry and not emotionally hungry. And whilst I have not got the book handy with me at the moment, I think it mentions this in it, doesnt it.
    Beyond Chocolate is all about eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full, eating slowly etc isnt it. If I had to go down this route, I would be monitoring myself all the time and worried about getting it wrong.

    And yes, I agree, BC is trying to earn a living by encouraging people to go to these classes.

    Having said that, I know I have my doubts but they may be very good. I dont deny that. If I went along, I may discover things about myself as you did, and everything may come together. But its too big an expense and the classes are too far off too.

    God knows, I sit here now, having lost 2st and I know that Slimming World are not the long term answer. I just dont know what to do for the best lonjg term result.

  14. Hi Shirl
    You've done so well to lose 2 stone anyway, whatever way you have done it.
    The problem with SW is that they almost encourage you to overeat but on low fat boring things.

    I've recently managed to lose all of half a stone with RC - such a struggle and on 1200 cals a day - especially as I'm on steroids (although very low dose now and reducing hopefully).

    I think Ive decided to try BC and have managed ok today. Am kind of combining it with fairly low fat because my diet is naturally low fat I think. Also, I get reflux when I eat high fat. Just couldnt continue with all that calorie counting and the feeling that Iam being controlled!

    RC does do good exercise classes though, which are fun and I enjoy so am continuing with that.

    What part of the country are you in??

  15. Hi everyone - it's been really interesting to read your posts, particularly those from ex-diet club consultants. I believe many of the major diet companies sell products that members are encouraged to buy in order to maximise their weight loss? If you added up your membership + special foods + products x how many times you went back because you put all the weight back on again ... how much did you spend? I must have spent thousands over the years on all the books and equipment and products for various diets and then all the pills and patches and potions I tried when the diets all failed me ... the £150 I spent to attend my first Beyond Chocolate workshop was absolutely the best £150 I had ever spent and has freed me from a lifetime of paying out for systems that will never work in the long term. Three years on with BC and my weight is stable, I enjoy food and eating opportunities, I don't agonise on a daily basis or watch myself constantly (as some of you seem to fear) and I am FREE! I can't recommend BC highly enough. Yes, as Fairies we would like to make a bit of money spreading the word, but you wouldn't expect us to do it for nothing, would you? The slimming club consultants don't do it for nothing, do they? We can often offer discounts and/or payment over several months to spread the costs - there really is nothing like spending a day with women who share many of your concerns and experiences with food and dieting and coming away feeling that you can get your life back and become 'normal' around food ... courses are now available across the country and with good transport links it should be possible for almost everyone to reach one. The new 'Getting Started' courses are excellent value and could kickstart your liberation from dieting or provide a useful boost if you're feeling 'stuck'. We're out here to help you - please join us!

  16. Hi Anonymous, I am in the North West, above Liverpool. Yes I have done well to lose 2st and you have done well to lose half a stone with RC. I know what you mean about all that calorie counting and feeling controlled. I would not like that either. Yes I have heard that RC do good exercise classes. I am not good with anything physical as my back is bad and I could not even walk round town the other day without a walking stick to support me!!

    I do worry about my weight loss though as I know that to maintain it permanently, when I have got to target, I really need to break that link between eating junk food and the way I feel. As I may have said before, I know its not the chocolate that I want, or the cake or sweets, its the way they change how I am feeling, that I want. If only I could find something else (Not edible) that would do the same job, then weight loss would be no problem at all, to anyone. At least thats what I think anyway.

    If Beyond Chocolate came to this town, then perhaps I would be more inclined to join a "Getting Started" course.

    I was at Slimming World this morning and I had not lost, or gained. I wanted a loss! So I am carrying on regardless. But I feel like a smoker really in as much that I could easily jack it all in at the drop of a hat and have that cream cake, or in the instance of a smoker who has given up, a cigarette. No doubt about it. In my mind, Junk food is like a drug.

    I really need to stop pushing down negative feelings with junk food, permanently.

    None of this is easy is it.

  17. Hi Shirl
    I am in Dorset - so nowhere near!

    I dont really eat unhealthily, I dont think - probably just a bit too much.

    I decided to try the BC way - so made a quiche this evening - and of course ate too much and made the leftover pastry into treacle tarts and ate all of them! How daft is that?

    I have to weigh in tomorrow evening too! It's my day off tomorrow so tend to go for a long swim in the morning and I feel better after that. Could you try swimming for exercise - would that be ok with your bad back? I feel getting some exercise is the answer as it makes you feel better physically and mentally.

    Are you sure you are not a BC fairy really?? You use their language!!! Maybe you have just read a lot of stuff about BC and intuitive eating?!

    Good luck

  18. Gretel
    I get what you say, but I keep thinking that I should be able to work it out for myself once Ive got the concept from reading the book - it should be just common sense really, shouldn't it??

  19. Hi Anonymous, I see, you are a long way off! I can assure you I am not a Chocolate Fairy! I didnt realise I used their language!

    You mentioned making Quiche and the Treacle tarts and eating them all. Its not daft. If it was me we were talking about and not you, I would be saying that I knew I had eaten the tarts because doing so changed my mood and state for the better - for a short while anyway till I wanted another one and I would then get another and have those Feel Good feelings all over again. Junk food, cakes, sweets and chocolate etc all alter my mood or take away the pain. If I could just break the link between junk food and how I feel, I would be on to a winner and I am willing to bet that most of the over weight people in this country would too. So no its not daft, eating all those cakes. You have done it for a reason.

    Anyway how did you go on at the Weigh in and did you go swimming? Yes I could go swimming but I find it such hard work getting dried and dressed at the end of it. Its easier in summer when we dont need so many clothes on.

    Yes I believe exercise is meant to make us feel better physically and mentally. I went to the Gym many years ago but cant say it worked for me.

    I have just been down the Pier this afternoon with my kids so that was some exercise. However I find that I have pain somewhere almost every time I go out now, although I got so far and back on the pier this afternoon. Then when we got to the stairs to come down off it, the serious pain started again and I had to get out my folding walking stick again! Otherwise I would have not been able to get back to the car.

    I read a lot of self help books Anonymous. I have also read Beyond Chocolate. Its good. I see what they are getting at only if I eat exactly what I want, I will balloon up again and I cant get my head round it.

  20. You put on weight before because you ate what you wanted but didn't do the other things. If you eat until you're too full then you'll put on weight. The act of dieting makes you want to eat everything you feel like you shouldn't. After a while the novelty of eating anything you want wears off and you eat less. I used to be bulimic so I used to feel totally out of control around food and binge eat til I was stuffed. Now I have a totally normal relationship with food and I can't remember the last time I felt too full (or too drunk!!) as I can't make myself eat too much.

  21. Hi Shirl
    No, I didn't go for a swim as it was such lovely weather. I decided not to stick myself into a bath of chlorine but to go for an hour's walk across the fields - and I really enjoyed it.

    I know what you mean about the hassle of getting dressed and then dried and then dressed again! It was so nice not to have to drive there too - just walk out of my front door.

    Like you, I have read so many of these books - including BC at least twice - and several other intuitive eating type books. If reading made you thin, I would be emaciated! And like you, I can't trust myself to "do it properly" and actually lose weight.

    Also like you, I am sort of combining a R Conley and BC approach at the moment - eating as intuitively as I can and trying to eat fairly low fat and small portions. I find that higher fat gives me acid reflux so I tend to suffer when Ive eaten some eg the pastry the other day. Also, I am usually full enough after a small portion.

    Am only losing about half a pound a week probably but I am on steroids (small dose as I am trying to come off them gradually).

    I am sorry to hear about your back - is it a temporary condition and might it get better if you lose your weight? How much more do you want to lose? I want to lose half a stone more and then see how I feel.


  22. Hi Bev, Its been amazing hasnt it. No wonder you did not go to the pool. A walk across the fields was the better option wasnt it. With my bad back I find it really hard work getting changed at the pool, especially after I have been for a swim. It really winds me up. I have got loads of self help books and like you, if reading made you thin, I would be emaciated too! As well as BC, I have got things like, "You can heal your life" By Louise L Hay and, "The Worry Cure" By Robert L Leahy. There must be about 50 books altogether and I pick them up in Charity shops usually.

    I feel like I am in a "Bad" Position really because whilst I have lost 2st and want to lose another stone, I feel like I am teetering on the edge of a cliff, ready to fall over at any time - then I will be straight back into the comfort eating again. And whilst I would like to think that what Leni said is right, I know that if I eat what I want, I will not get over the novelty of doing so because I am using food for something other than genuine hunger. That is the issue for me. And if I am honest, I have done this before for years and not always eaten till I was stuffed, not by a long chalk. So its been more a case of what I eat, rather than how much.

    It sounds like you are taking a similar approach to me Bev with the RC and BC only I am with SW instead. I know I have lost 2st but its not helped with my back. I have had back trouble all my life but its been the worst its ever been this last year. I have pain in my lower back that moved down my legs into my feet. Its getting me down. I am sure they think at SW that I am making excuses when I say I cant walk far, but I am not. I will not even be able to wall properly for a few minutes when I get out of this chair because my feet are bad and my knees wont move for a while either.

    Anyway people have much worse issues than me to deal with so I try and keep positive as much as I can.

    Weekend now. Hope you have a good one.


  23. This passage below is taken from the Shrink Yourself website;

    Why Diets Fail: Emotional Hunger. The average dieter begins and breaks diets a year. Only one in every hundred people succeed in losing weight permanently. Obviously, no-one who begins something and fails feels good about it. When you break your diet you probably feel defeated, discouraged or even disgusted. Where dieting is concerned, its a story of frustration on a mass scale, and yet, the futility of dieting doesnt deter those that are determined to shed pounds. People think that this time its going to work, this time I will stick to it or this new diet, pill or surgery will do the trick. Maybe you can relate to that kind of hopeful thinking. The question is, why is it so hard to stick to a diet? In my private practice I encountered so many people who were in pain because they couldnt diet successfully that I conducted an internet interview with 17,000 dieters. It revealed that 99% of dieters broke their diets because they were stressed, depressed or bored. Essentially its emotions, not willpower, that keep you from succeeding with your diet plan.

    As I said, this was taken from the shrink yourself website. Their web address is I think it is the best site about emotional eating. And I agree entirely with what it says. I am sat here now and I am feeling all sorts of upset, painful and negative feelings. I have got all on, not diving into the kids chocolate bars. I know I want something to take the pain away and its times like this that make trying to lose weight really really hard, if not impossible. I think people who have not learned to use junk food as a way of dealing with their emotional state are very lucky indeed.


  24. Sorry, I should have said at the start, The average dieter begins and breaks 4 diets a year. Also, the man who wrote this is a Psychiatrist. You can see him at the website.

  25. Hello again everyone. I have now fallen over the cliff!!!! It was a combination of a really bad weekend and then problems with my daughter and college issues on Monday, and then only losing half a pound at the slimming club when I had eaten "Properly" all week!!! The "Bully" finally got the better of me and I gave in to it on Monday! I knew this would happen eventually. Now I am feeling really really cross with myself and dont know what to do. I have got 2st off and dont want it all to go back on again. But I have been emotional eating terrible since Monday! If I go back to the club on Monday there will be no loss on the scales and I will be mad with myself all over again!!! And the best part of it is, that its not the junk food, the chocolate cake or the ice cream, that I want. Its what these things Do for me and HOW they make me FEEL, that I want!!! So how on earth do I get the same feelings with "Something else!!" without resorting to Junk food all the time!!

    Help. I am in a bad position now.


  26. Hi Shirl
    Sorry to hear you are having a bad time. We've all been there!

    I was going ok too on my RC/BC approach, then my consultant gave us all out some charts to fill in everything we ate this week. Apparently, there is a better weight loss when you do.

    Trouble is, I'm so bl**** minded that I react differently. I immediately wanted to go against the "diet" - I had been telling myself that it wasn't a diet but that I was eating smaller portions and only when I wanted it etc (like BC).

    Now, filling in that darn form has put me off! Add to that, Friday evening mentality and a very nice bottle of the red stuff - and I've eaten and drunk too much!

    Oh dear, think I will get back on the wagon and BC tomorrow. Maybe you can do the same - I hope so?

    I hope your problems have ironed themselves out too.



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