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.
I love those men’s tee-shirts with ‘Tough enough to wear pink’, written on them. I wonder if I could get a Beyond Chocolate tee-shirt with ‘Tough enough to stop?’ written on it along with the Beyond Chocolate logo – it might encourage other women to ask me what it means.
And what do I mean by 'tough enough to stop'?
Well, several things actually. Firstly, are you tough enough to stop dieting? It’s not as easy as it sounds. We are surrounded by messages coming at us from all angles, official and word of mouth, telling us that as a nation we’re too fat, we need to lose weight and the way we do that is to diet. Successful celeb diets abound in the media – most recently Jennifer Hudson – and women’s magazines EVERY ISSUE feature a diet, always claimed to be easy and effective. How hard is it to stop in the face of all this pressure? How hard is it to stand up and say, ‘no, I’m not doing this any more, it doesn’t work for me’? How hard is it to go against society’s ‘norms’ and stop dieting? It’s hard, it’s tough, but boy is it worth it!
Secondly, are you tough enough to take a really good look at yourself and your eating? Survey after survey proves that people don’t actually have a very good grasp of how much they are eating and dieters are worse than non-dieters. Many of us are deluded about our own and other people’s eating – I have been in conversation with people who can’t understand why they (or a friend) is gaining weight, ‘I/They hardly eat anything,’ will be the bewildered refrain. Yet, if we kept an honest tally, even just for one day, we might be surprised by how much we were eating and how unconscious a lot of that eating actually is. Really looking at what, when, why and how much we eat and making a conscious choice to change that [if we want to] is tough. But it’s worth it.
Thirdly, are you tough enough to say, ‘no thank you’, when food is offered and you know you’re not hungry? Even if someone has made it specially for you? Are you tough enough to only eat half a restaurant meal and ask for the rest in a doggy-bag, or even [gasp!] leave it on the plate?! There are a lot of members of the ‘clean plate club’ out there. There are a lot of people who don’t like to see food ‘wasted’. There are people who resent paying for food that isn’t eaten. Leaving food, not finishing meals, accepting that we’ve been given too much by someone who doesn’t know what our appetite is like, is tough. It can be very uncomfortable, it can be flying in the face of what you were taught as a child. But it’s worth it.
Fourthly, are you tough enough to sit with the sheer discomfort of not eating when every cell in your body is crying out for food, but you know you’re not hungry? That’s very tough. We are used to 24/7 access to food in this country. For many of us, food is a friend, a comforter, a way of filling in gaps in our lives, something socially acceptable we can do (even in public!) at any time. Not eating when we really want to (but don’t need to) is tough – but it’s one of the ways to stop overeating and can help us to lose weight (if that’s what we want to do). Deliberately not eating is tough, but it’s worth it.
Following the Beyond Chocolate principles isn’t a soft option. It can be very difficult as we confront many years of destructive behaviour around food – but I can say absolutely that it is worth it.