Tuesday 3 May 2011

Beyond Chocolate ‘mistake’ number 5 – Just Not Dieting

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 response to my first blog post in the Beyond Chocolate ‘mistakes’ series, Truffle 35 said...

“I have realised I've been making a HUGE mistake. I've been expecting not to have to work very hard (at all?!) on the 'listen to your body/satiety levels' front. I thought that by just eating what I fancied, I would stop when I had enough. Not so. It takes a LOT of awareness and courage and, therefore, mental energy to stop. I thought stopping, even just pausing, would be easy, and worse, would not be necessary. How wrong I was. I've learned this lesson the hard way - I've put on a few pounds/my trousers don't fit so well (I haven't weighed myself for a year).”

Certainly, I agree with Truffle35 – this is another ‘mistake’ that ex-dieters can make. Once we’ve made the decision to stop dieting, it can be difficult to accept that, if we want to work with Beyond Chocolate, it’s not going to be a piece of cake (deliberate pun!). In fact, it may take many many pieces of cake before we realise that we’re not actually working with Beyond Chocolate at all – we’re just not dieting. We may think, as Truffle35 did, that our bodies will know what they’re doing and we will stop eating automatically when we reach ‘full’ and/or ‘satisfied’. But why should we? If we remember the diets we’ve been on – what in those diets would lead us to believe that our bodies will be anything other than confused by this sudden freedom?

For example, I spent 2 years of my life never allowing myself to become hungry – my diet guru at the time warned me that to do so would lead inevitably to uncontrolled eating and that the only way to avoid that would be to eat every 2 hours regardless of whether I was hungry or not. So, when I stopped listening to that diet guru, I no longer knew what it felt like to be hungry. And, if I didn’t know how it felt to be hungry, how would I know when I had satisfied that hunger?

Beyond Chocolate has taught me how to really listen to my body, to respond to genuine hunger and to recognise when I’ve ‘hit the spot’ as regards satiety and/or satisfaction. I am able to recognise subtle gradations of hunger from a realisation that it’s been a while since I last ate, right up to ‘get out of my way, I’ve got to eat NOW!’. I know that letting myself get that hungry is likely to lead to panic induced over-eating, so I choose to eat at an earlier stage and am then able to spot the (often very small) signs that I’ve had enough.

I remember watching an intuitive eater once who pushed her plate away and said, ‘I’ve had an elegant sufficiency, thank you!’ and that’s how I like to feel at the end of a meal or snack – energised and ready for the next thing I have to do, not weighed down and sluggish because I’ve over-eaten.

So the question is, are you just not dieting, or are you really working with the Beyond Chocolate principles?


  1. Excellent post, Gretel! And I love your question at the end. Absolutely fundamental! Keep the 'Mistakes' posts coming!

  2. Will do, Truffle35 and thank you for your inspiration for this series of blogs!


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