Tuesday 28 June 2011

Beyond Chocolate ‘Mistake’ Number 9 – thinking we can diet AND do Beyond Chocolate

Gretel Hallet, is a Trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich - perfect for beginners to experience the core principles of Beyond Chocolate and equally great as a refresher for any Beyond Chocolater. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate or her workshops, get in touch with Gretel.

Ok, so maybe it’s not a mistake, but it may well be a delusion. Imagine someone who had been a fervent believer in a religion for many years, suddenly deciding they didn’t believe any more, but they carry on with all their religious observances, just in case. A ‘saved’ dieter who continues dieting while starting to work with the Beyond Chocolate principles, is someone who is hedging their bets and will possibly end up not ‘doing’ either ‘properly’.

I can see the attraction, though. It may be that someone has been dieting for many many years. Dieting is familiar territory; it feels ‘safe’ and ‘known’. Dieters know exactly what to expect; they sign up, they buy the books, special food and equipment, they tell friends and relations so that their food can be ‘policed’ and keep them being ‘good’, they make charts to plot the progress of their weight loss, they go to clubs with lots of other women in the same boat as them, to be weighed and praised (or condoled) and they talk the same language as all the other women out there on diets. Constantly.

Beyond Chocolaters venture out into completely new territory. There aren’t that many other Beyond Chocolaters out there in comparison with the major diet companies. There’s nothing to buy apart from the book. No 'special food' (just the rather bewildering concept of being able to choose from ALL foods!), no gadgets. Beyond Chocolaters may find it tricky to talk openly about what they’re doing because there’s no shared vocabulary with the majority of other women. And, if they’ve come to Beyond Chocolate from many years of dieting, there may well be re-education to be undertaken with near and dear ones who think they are helping by ‘policing’ all food and drink. Charts may help, but are not a requirement. Weight loss can take a back seat to some of the other benefits of Beyond Chocolate and the Beyond Chocolater can find that her relationship with food and her own body takes over from the initial desire to lose weight.

All of this can be isolating to the new Beyond Chocolater. A changing relationship with food and her body can (in some cases) result in weight gain and this can further alienate the new Beyond Chocolater from her former dieting buddies – not only has she dropped out of the choir, but LOOK! IT DOESN’T WORK! SHE’S GAINED WEIGHT!! And this can lead the new Beyond Chocolater to think, ‘Ok, I know I can lose weight on a diet, and I do understand and believe in the Beyond Chocolate principles, so if I combine the two, I’ll lose weight AND improve my relationship with food and my body.’

And maybe she can. I personally can’t see how the two can be compatible. But that’s just me. One of the beauties of Beyond Chocolate is that everyone gets to make their own choices – if it works for you, keep doing it. But, at some point, I suspect, you will reach a point at which a firm decision will be needed – do you continue dieting or do you commit to working with the Beyond Chocolate principles? I'd be curious to hear from anyone who can do both.


  1. Great thought provoking post.
    Beyond Chocolate has taught me to think for myself and make my own choices around food rather than be told what to do via a diet sheet, book or club.To choose the types of foods that I know will satisfy me and my hunger at that moment in time - whatever I'm hungry for, alongside whatever suits my body. No more low fat,aspartame based products that fit with the 'healthy' or diet plan just simple foods that I love and work for me.

    I've recently started a circuit training class and was offered the 'nutrition plan' to use alongside if I wanted to....there for me is the key - I now decide and I've decided to use some of the advice and ignore 90% of it(eating starchy veg before 6pm !!! blah blah blah)
    I told the instructor in no uncertain terms how dieting has screwed me up physically and mentally for the past 25 years and was told to trust my own instinct. Refreshing!

  2. Just spent the weekend with a dear friend who is 'doing' Lighter Life. I was both appalled and I'll admit envious of the dramamtic weight loss. It was as if she'd got religion and was trying to convince me to convert...Your post has allowed me to relax and think I am normal and to keep trying to change my relationship with food.However it was excruciating eating my Danish while she drank a banana flavoured gruel thing!

  3. Not as excruciating as it was for your friend, I bet! How long before the willpower elastic band snaps back and she binges on tens of danishes?

    Great post and great comments xx

  4. Thank you all! I was hoping I hadn't offended anyone by writing about those that diet and 'do' Beyond Chocolate and I'm very pleased that it has resonated with you and that it has helped grumpyfatbird to feel 'normal' - I firmly believe that what we are doing with Beyond Chocolate is getting back to 'normal' an that dieting is 'abnormal'.

  5. yes another great blog gretel. Thanks!
    I had a bad fat and ugly attack when the weather was baking on Sunday.I phoned my BC buddy and she supported me by listening lovingly. i journalled, allowed my gremlin out for a side of A4 and then told it to stop. At this point i took a step back and realised that hot days are always the hardest as a woman carrying excess weight. Not only do I feel hot and heavy but all the bad body thoughts come up when I see other women floating around in cool dressese that I feel to fat and scarred for.
    These hot days are generally few and far between so I reasoned it was a case of managing them. So the next day, Monday, was also a scorcher and this time thought, "how can I really take care of myself today?".I took myself off to the womens pond and found a shady tree to lie down under whilst i stretched out on my big cotton throw and enjoyed looking up at the trees whilst listening to a Geneen Roth download.
    Before I left i had a swim with other beautiful wobbly, toned, scarred, old , young, large, small women and dried out in the sun. I looked around and felt so delighted to have given myself this time and this experience and think I may do a bit of topless sunbathing there next time.
    I tell you this not as an advert for the womens pond but to say as a seasoned beyond chocolater who has still not lost any weight I have learnt SO much along the way. i now have a fantastic set of tools which i know how to use and when to use. There are other tools I need to practice using a bit more for example the what to do with the terrible bereft feelings that come up when i stop when satisfied. When I learn how to manage those feelings then i am guessing the weight will come off. To he outside world I may look like BC failure but actually I feel like such a success story!

  6. i have re educating myself with BC for 19 months now and have put on a stone in weight. i do get panicy sometimes when my feet and knees hurt and like you denise i see all these slim people in thier lovely summer clothes but i popped into work on my day off today and one of my collegues said " you look lovely jane,but then you always do". i was over the moon and it made me feel so much better about sticking to the BC principles and looking after myself. i left, floating on air and feeling good about myself. i will lose wieght eventualy, i am sure, but in the meantime i just must learn to love myself the way i am.

  7. Thanks for this blog post - it made me feel better too. two years ago I followed the Rosemary Conley plan and lost enough weight to be the slimmest I've ever been as an adult. I then fell pregnant having tried for years and it was a wonderful surprise. I looked after myself and my baby and loved my growing body, but the entire time was aware that I would have to 'work hard' afterwards to 'get my body back.' I returned to the classes when he was 6 weeks and steadily lost a pound here and there and gained a pound or three.

    My wonderful son is now 9 months old and a few weeks back I felt terrible as every week everyone else was losing so much weight and I felt useless, overweight and a failure. My husband kept telling me not to go to the class as it was making me miserable and he loves how I look. I finally listened to him two weeks ago and initially I just ate everything I had denied myself, cream cakes, full fat foods, toast - oh mountains of toast !! This week I have settled into eating when I am hungry and eating what I feel like. I've noticed I'm not panic eating or hungry the entire time and am actually enjoying my food. Yesterday my sister took the baby for walk in his buggy while I had a lie down and relaxed - pure bliss !!

    It's taken me years of receiving BC emails and re-reading the book over and over to actually commit to doing it and blow me if it doesn't actually work !! I may not have lost any weight, but I feel great and am wearing clothes that fit and suit me instead of punishing myself for not fitting into unrealistic shapes and styles. I'm also appreciating that my body won't be the shape it was pre-pregnancy as it's been through so much and is different now.

    I kept going to classes out of a sense that it would do the work for me if I just kept going, but all it did was make me feel terrible. Taking charge of my eating and my body has been a long road, and it's early days still, but I hope that it continues :o)

  8. More brilliant comments, thank you, Ladies!
    I also have found summer harder than winter as clothes are more skimpy and it's more difficult to be covered up ... but with BC's help I've been enjoying floating around in loose cool clothing this summer.


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