Monday 8 November 2010

The lure of the diets... promises and more promises 

In my dieting days I loved having a goal. Something to aim for. A deadline. Dropping a dress size by Christmas would definitely have appealed. Fitting into a size 10 by the summer holidays, losing half a stone before my friends wedding, back into my favourite jeans by the beginning of term... I always had a target and 9 times out of 10 I’d give up before I was even half way there.

The more I dieted, the harder it became to stick to the rigid regimes and limited choices. I spent 20 years dieting. 20 years worrying about what I should and shouldn’t eat. 20 years spending far too much money and time trying desperately to get to that elusive size 10 and actually getting fatter and fatter after each failed attempt. It just seemed more and more impossible and the diets got harder to stick to.

But that was all rather a long time ago. And while I don't diet anymore I know that daily many hundreds of thousands of women are so desperate they will try almost anything... the more attractive the promise the better. That's why I felt so angry when an email landed in my inbox last week from Tesco diets urging me to join their online diet and ‘Drop a dress size by Christmas’ not just because I am fed up with their relentless spam mail but because it enrages me when I think of just how many women will get sucked into the false promises and the dream. I have no doubt than anyone who signs up and sticks to whatever diet Tesco gives them can indeed drop a dress size by Christmas… but what happens on January 1st when they’ve spent the whole of the holidays making up for lost time and throwing caution to the wind because, after all, they’ve been so good for weeks… and so, new year, new resolutions, more diets… so that by December 2011 they’re back exactly where they started but probably with a few more pounds to lose than in 2010.

Diets are not the solution to the problem, they are the cause. Yes, the cause. The diets teach us how to overeat, they teach our bodies to hold on to excess weight and they perpetuate the belief that we will never be free, that we have to stay in a permanent state of self denial and punishment. Diets don’t even begin to address the real reasons we put on weight. Not one of them has a realistic or helpful way of addressing overeating. Either they just tell you not to do it or they legitimise overeating as long as it’s free food….

It doesn’t have to be like that. I know that with Beyond Chocolate weight loss is not quick or easy (for the majority anyway) but then we have much more ambitious objectives than dropping a dress size…much, much more ambitious! We want you to feel free, to trust yourself, to enjoy food and enjoy moving, to allow yourself to be all of who you are; even the difficult and messy bits… We don't want you to have to pretend that you never binge, that you're never out of control. We don't want you to feel that you have to eat chocolate or crisps or cake in secret, we don't want you to hide and feel guilty and ashamed. We want you to know how to be willing to stay with yourself even when you're terrified or furious or desperately sad, we don’t want you to ignore yourself  or abandon yourself in moments of need or crisis or boredom by turning to yet another chocolate bar. Because when we find ways to deal with the relentless desire to stuff ourslves with food rather than kidding ourselves that counting calories or points or cutting out carbs or sugar from our diet is the answer… then we have a solution that lasts a lifetime. We don’t have to constantly look out for the next miracle because the miracle is right there in front of us… It may take time to get there but it’s well worth the wait, I promise! That’s why we’ve created a brand new Overeating Ecourse - it’s really Beyond Chocolate Step 2 (in fact were in the process of writing a new book which will be based on this Overeating Ecourse). If we want to stop overeating then we need to look at why we do it, how we do it, what foods we are drawn to, how we talk ourselves into it and how we let ourselves off the hook… We need to get to know our overeating Gremlin and find out how to get the upper hand. We need to explore our overeating from every conceivable angle and then gradually, gently and with commitment and certainty, we can begin to experiment with stopping… Whether you’re new to Beyond Chocolate or have been around for a while this Ecourse is suitable for you. Join us anytime after 1st January 2011 for a transformational online journey. We’ll be on the end of the phone twice a week to support and guide you and as usual there will be weekly emails, mp3 audios and the wonderful support on the forum. The launch price for the Overeating Ecourse is  £79.99 and it’s available until 19th November (saving you £40). Book your place and we’ll send you our special 'Dealing with Christmas’ mp3 so that you can enjoy every moment of the festive season without even having to think about dropping a dress size!


  1. "to allow yourself to be all of who you are; even the difficult and messy bits" - sums it up for me!

  2. Oo, I thought for a moment you were really trying the 'drop a dress size challenge'!
    I should have known better ...
    "It may take time to get there but it’s well worth the wait, I promise!" I agree absolutely - that moment when you know you're finally free and comfortable around food and feelings is definitely worth waiting for and working towards.

  3. Christmas is only weeks away, and I am already fighting the thoughts of trying to diet my way there. I know all my in-laws will be coming, and maybe other relatives will show up. But that would be to undo the hard work of nearly two months.
    Beyond Chocolate works slowly, but it grants lasting success! I've actually come to the point where I am not thinking about sweet foods all the time. A 600 gr. pack of Spekulatius (German spicy biscuits) will be open in the kitchen cupboard and I may have 4 or 5 with a cup of tea and that's it!
    There's a huge carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in the fridge. I'll have some if I want to, but I don't feel the urge to keep having little nibbles off of it whenever I'm in the kitchen. I also had a proper portion of it last night for my son's birthday.
    That's huge progress around here!
    I have also discovered that I WANT to eat healthy foods. I crave a nice salad (with olive oil, egg and cheese!), roast chicken and broccoli. In fact, most of the time I want to eat real food. It's a process and I still feel like I'm trying to get out of the dieting ditch, but I am confident that I am on the right path.

    Thanks for the work you do! I doubt I will be able to do any online courses, but I have read your book and follow your newsletters.

    When Christmas comes, I will be whatever size I happen to be, and I will aim to enjoy the days with my family. Goodies and all!

  4. Thank you Madame for your kind words.It's thanks to women like you, who take the time to tell us how we impact their lives, that we continue to do this work....and because we love it. Have a wonderful Christmas, it sounds like you are well on your way out of the ditch, climbing out of it gets easier and easier and then eventually you'll be able to sidestep it altogether. I'm particularly impressed by you not being swayed by the Spekulatius - I love those :-)

  5. To the 'Chocolate Fairy'(WTF!)
    This site is so ridiculous because it is constantly telling people 'diets' such as weight watchers and the like are money wasters but your courses arent exactly cheap at £80 a course!


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