Gretel Hallet, came on our Chocolate Fairy Training last year and is running workshops in East Anglia. If you live in the area and would like to attend a Beyond Chocolate course, Gretel would love to hear from you! Meet Gretel.
I’ve just started work in a new office and the ladies here seem remarkably free from dieting angst, which makes for a more comfortable office environment for me. However, we do let a room upstairs to a major slimming club, once a week. On the appointed day, I watched a succession of women head up the stairs to the meeting and, had I not known where they were going, I wouldn’t have guessed it was to a slimming club. Frankly, none of them was overweight – but possibly they all thought they were. Or maybe they were slimming down for a special event (Wedding season is on the way). I can’t know without asking them but the temptation to slip a Beyond Chocolate leaflet into their hands as they pass my office is very strong. As a crusading Chocolate Fairy, I want to save them all!
Instead, I took my lunch (chosen for its deliciousness not its calories or fat value) into our staff room, which is just opposite the slimming club’s room. From there I could hear the club leader’s voice, rising and falling with each member’s individual triumph or tragedy and the rather half-hearted applause that punctuated each announcement. There was something about the sound that made my toes curl and also made me thank my lucky stars (again!) that I am a Beyond Chocolater and will NEVER have to go through that again.
Maybe for some women these clubs are supportive and helpful and without them these women would be dieting in miserable isolation. Misery, they say, craves company, and that, to my mind, is what the slimming clubs offer their members. Let’s get together because we’re all in the same boat and only by sticking together will we get through this. What slimming clubs seem to fail to address is what happens when their members do ‘get through’ to the other side. Certainly my experience of dieting was that once I’d reached my target weight, no-one seemed to know how I could stay there. My only options seemed to be: diet forever or pile it all (and more) back on.
What I hope for the future of Beyond Chocolate is one where we can hold clubs for women who want the support of other women who are not dieting anymore and are working on their relationship with food and their body. It may be that we would need to think of ways of acknowledging and ‘rewarding’ the successes that these women achieve – each in their own way. Because, after all, success breeds success and we all like to be acknowledged for our successes. However, for Beyond Chocolaters, success can mean so many things and is so much more than just reaching a target weight: success can, of course, mean weight loss and it can also mean no longer diving into the biscuit barrel when life throws you a curve-ball, or enjoying exercise for its own sake, or accepting your body as it is now on your way to having the body you want and much, much more.
Diets measure success in very narrow terms. Weight off, good. Weight on, bad. Beyond Chocolate measures success in a whole range of different ways and it won’t necessarily be the same different women. I like that about Beyond Chocolate and I hope we can carry the positive message out into our respective communities and save as many women as we can from yo-yo dieting misery. Are you with us?!