Friday, 13 January 2012

Watching someone else diet ...

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.

Something unexpected has happened in my house. My other half has put himself on a diet after being told by one health care professional that he was over-weight and being told by another that he was within acceptable weight range for his height.
The form this diet has taken is very familiar to me as it’s the sort of thing I used to do once I’d become disenchanted with the major diet clubs and started inventing my own. He’s stopped eating butter and hard cheese and has been using margarine and slices of various meat stuffs instead in his sandwiches. He talks about the strategies he’s adopting to cut out snacking and tells everyone he meets how many pounds he’s lost so far.
He claims to have lost ½ a stone already and he knows this because he’s been weighing himself every morning.
At some point he’s going to hit the dreaded dieter’s ‘plateau’ and will wonder why the weight loss has stopped.
It’s quite scary to watch someone I’ve known for 26 years putting himself through the sort of torture that I put myself through for most of those 26 years. It’s all the more scary because he’s always seemed to understand what I was doing with Beyond Chocolate and supported me in giving up dieting forever.
I find I am rather impatient with him because I’ve been through all this before, so many times, over so many years and ultimately it’s doomed to failure. And the failed dieter then blames his or herself and tries again, so many times, so many different ways until their metabolism (and their mind) is completely messed up.
The problem with this, of course, is that the new-born dieter can only see the initial ‘success’. There is weight loss. This is working! They feel empowered, virtuous, like they’re taking control of their lives for the better. They have a shared vocabulary with lots of other people who are also dieting.
I don’t know what’s going to happen long-term with my other half’s self-imposed diet. I guess I will wait and see and make an effort not to be judgemental or impatient with him and then pick up the pieces and be sympathetic if necessary.


  1. What I would say, if it makes you feel any better, is that I have seen many men do this sort of thing and succeed. Maybe it's that they don't equate food as much with the emotional stuff or that they don't beat them selves up so much in general (we women can be very good at that). I think you're doing the right thing though - you need to let him find his own path. If he reaches out for your help/support then you can tell him what you think. But for now he needs to work this out for himself! It is hard though when obviously you care about him and want to help.

  2. Oh my god, I am going through the very same thing with one of my best friends! She has never dieted before (though I think she has a history of some bulimia) but is now calorie counting. It's so frustrating to see. She gained 7lbs over Christmas and I could tell she was blaming herself - not the way her massive pre-Christmas calorie restriction had knackered her metabolism! I'm finding it really hard to bite my tongue every time she mentions how some food is "healthy" cos it's low fat, despite having no other nutritional benefit and not being very nice.

  3. Its must be incredibly hard for you Gretel after all you've been through. I find I'm usually reminded of a certain diet club when we visit mother in law. The fact that she now seems bigger despite having followed WW for so many years obviously doesnt make any difference. Its sad. If we eat low fat versions of cheese,yoghurt etc the body will only crave the real thing and we will get hungry more quickly!


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