Monday, 18 April 2011

Beyond Chocolate ‘mistakes’ number 3 – Picking the Most Challenging Bit to do First

Gretel Hallet, is a trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate, get in touch with Gretel. 

In Beyond Chocolate terms this can mean going straight for the ‘Stocking Up’ part of ‘Eat Whatever You Want’ and then bingeing on chocolate/cake/crisps (delete as applicable), throwing up your hands in despair because ‘it doesn’t work’ and going back to the diet club.

It’s not possible to hear everything all at once, so often, in our experience, women who attend Beyond Chocolate Workshops remember the bits that appeal to them most. And what often appeals most is ‘stocking up’.

I can quite understand why stocking up is so attractive. After years of dieting and being told what to eat and when and how much, an apparent ‘free for all’ is very appealing. The newly liberated ex-dieter rushes out to the supermarket and fills her trolley with formerly ‘forbidden foods’. Then she finds over the next few weeks that the presence of those foods in her house turns her into a Munch Monster. She just can’t stop eating those foods and so she decides it doesn’t work and stops buying them.

However, the bit she probably didn’t quite remember from the workshop was the bit that said, (like ‘Eat Whatever You Want’), stocking up isn’t a licence to binge – it’s about working on transforming our feelings about formerly ‘forbidden’ foods and starting to view them as ‘normal’ foods. And it takes nerves of steel and utter determination to see it through. For me it has meant giant bars of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate broken into pieces and put in a glass jar on my desk at work. It’s meant another glass jar of Cadbury’s mini eggs on my desk at home. And every time I eat some of the chocolate – I fill the jar up again. 

To the top.

Every time.

For some of us it’s also about ensuring we have more than we can possibly eat in one go all the time, providing a reassuring ‘plenty’ to avoid the feeling of possible famine (or ‘running out’ or feeling we ‘just have to finish up that last little bit’).

And so it’s possible that this actually isn’t the best place to start for new Beyond Chocolaters – it’s certainly not the easiest place to start and it’s so far from our previous experiences as dieters, that it’s more likely to make us feel that we’ve ‘failed’.

If you reach this point, I suggest looking back at the other 9 principles on offer and choosing one of them instead to work with. Why not ensure yourself some success at the outset?

The 10 principles are intended to be used in conjunction with each other, in balance. So taking one out to over-focus on may well be counterproductive, particularly when you are just starting out. Be kind to yourself first and foremost.


  1. This really is fascinating - it has got me really thinking about what happens if you focus on just one principle.
    I think the first principle I focussed on was (as it probably is for many) Eat whatever you want. However I still managed to 'fall off the wagon' (see your previous blog!) as it isn't always possible to eat what you want. I really struggled with this - how can I follow this principle unless I live in a supermarket with a chef??!
    Over time I have come to realise that NONE of the principles will work completely independently, and NONE are possible to follow all the time... And I am now much happier and confident about my path.

    Thank you Gretel and please keep writing!

  2. Thank you, Violasophie! I'm glad that the blogs are helping you to work though the principles for yourself. Eat whatever you want is a very seductive principle for ex-dieters, but it is one to be approached with caution in isolation from the others. All 10 in balance is the ultimate aim, but working with one at a time can be beneficial and feel less swamping at first.

  3. It has taken me almost a year to get used to the "Eat whatever you want" principle.But now I have jars of chocolate in my kitchen hardly touched. That would never have happened before BC. I'm now working on the "Eat when you are hungry" principle. I'm really enjoying this one!! I'm enjoying my food so much more. I think my weight is starting to go down slightly but at the moment working through the principles & improving my relationship with food is more important. I'm loving the BC journey :-)

  4. Excellent work, Tracy and thanks for sharing this with us. I think it can take time for us to work through these principles and sometimes we can be impatient and give up too soon. Diets often promise results in a seemingly impossible short amount of time and we expect Beyond Chocolate to have similar time frames, but for something to work properly, it's worth taking the time over, as you are discovering.


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