Wednesday, 6 July 2011


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.

Yesterday I contravened a number of 'dieting rules' as I ate my lunch.

I had brown seedy bread with low salt butter, white pasta (cold) smothered with unweighed grated cheddar cheese and unmeasured mayonnaise (hey, it works for me!), with a handful of mini spicy rice cakes and a side salad with an oil based salad dressing, again unmeasured. I followed it up with a bowl of fresh strawberries, sprinkled with sugar over which liberally poured double cream. I lost count of how many diets I contravened with my lunch, but I certainly didn’t contravene any of the 10 Beyond Chocolate principles, and that made me very happy!

To start with I ate exactly what I wanted. It may have sounded bizarre to you, but it hit the spot for me.

I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied – I don’t always manage it, but that meal time I did and it felt great during and afterwards.

I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch.

I sat at a table, away from distractions, and really focused on what I was eating.

And it got me thinking. How many meals have I eaten in a very different way? How many meals over the many, many years I was dieting and bingeing were unsatisfying in so many ways? Why did I waste all that time eating things I didn’t want or didn’t actually like and certainly didn’t enjoy?

Over the wilderness dieting years, I carefully measured, weighed and assembled miserable meals according to whichever diet I was following at the time – I even (to my shame) telephoned a recipe over to a friend who’d invited us to lunch, so that I wouldn’t fall off my diet wagon by eating whatever they may have had in mind to cook. The friend was very understanding and cooked my recipe for me, but I would never do anything like that now. There is something about a dedicated dieter that can be quite scary with hindsight!

I champed my way joylessly through plates of undressed salads, pasta with no sauce, dry fried vegetables and fat free puddings. I don’t recall enjoying any of it. I certainly haven’t kept any of the ‘recipes’ from my dieting days – apart from a very easy fruit cake ;-)

And then, when I was ‘off’ the diets, I ate everything in sight and a lot of things that no-one saw me eating too. I don’t recall enjoying that either – I may have said or thought I enjoyed my food, but anyone watching me would have seen precious little actual enjoyment in the way I was eating.

So, my lunch the other day was a wonderfully liberating experience and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another big THANK YOU to Beyond Chocolate without whom I would still be stuck measuring and counting and miserably eating unappetising food at all the wrong times!

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