Wednesday 9 March 2011

Sometimes there is nothing Beyond Chocolate

When I finish this post I am going to climb into bed with a book and a bar of Valrhona Jivara 40% milk chocolate. I will eat and read and eat and read until the chocolate is finished and my eyelids are heavy and I'm ready for sleep. I'm not hungry and although the chocolate is delicious I'm sure I will have had more than enough after a few squares.

So why am I doing this?

I am doing this because I can't think of a better way to sooth away a very distressing day and I just don't want to lay there with the feelings, or share them, or contain them or explore them. In fact, I don't want to think about why I am feeling sad, terrified and furious all at once at all. There's nothing I can do to make things better and I know I'll be feeling like this for a while yet.

So I resort to the one trick that I know will work: mediocre, easy to read fiction and very good chocolate. (Funny that, years ago it would have been award winning, challenging fiction and bad chocolate but that's age and experience for you). And it will work like a charm - for a brief moment I will be transported to some exotic, improbable place, lulled by the meltingly sweet sensation in my mouth. I will turn pages, bite into another square and for a while, just for a little while, everything that is bothering me will fade to nothing. Success.

I won't feel guilty, I won't feel out of control, I won't beat myself up. In fact, I might just give myself a couple of brownie points. I am looking after myself in the best way I know. I am not taking pills, I am not buying myself shoes or handbags I can't afford, I'm not getting drunk and I'm not taking it out on someone else. I'm dealing with pain and I feel fine about it. Neither will I carry on eating chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner tomorrow. Tomorrow I will continue to eat when I am hungry, stop when I am satisfied and generally put the food on a plate and eat it sitting down.

But not tonight. Tonight there is nothing Beyond Chocolate.


  1. I know the feeling very well ... ;)

  2. Thank you for this post. Although I understand (and fully agree with) the Beyond Chocolate principles and although I have magical days when everything works and I eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full and find my focus is drawn to something other than food, I also have days when I am just too drained to confront the underlying emotions and looking after myself with food is just the best I can do. I think it is important to put this into perspective and your article does just that. Recovery is not a straight line for all of us! Lia

  3. Thank you so much for this blog, and your post too Lia. I had an awful day on Tuesday and ate more pasta and sauce than I (or an army for that matter) was hungry for. I felt bad at teh time but it's slowy sinking in that sometimes I will do that but more often than not I won't eat when I'm not hungry. Nice to know I'm not alone :) Katie x

  4. I love that you "give permission" to use food for comfort. I especially love that you mentioned continuing as usual tomorrow morning.
    On another board where I post, people were discussing strategies to "undo" emotional eating. Strategies include eating "super clean" the next day, adding another session of exercise, cutting down on calories, even drinking a "Fat burning tea".... bla, bla, bla
    The only way that works for me is enjoying the moment of indulgence and then moving on.
    I had a few squares of dark chocolate with orange on Saturday night for the same reason. On Sunday I did a feel-good workout (Ellen Barrett Yoga-Pilates blend dvd) and went on to enjoy my day.

    I hope you enjoyed your chocolate!

  5. I hope you're feeling a bit better now Audrey. Take care.Love from Rosy xx

  6. Oh god, this is me all over. Substitute your book for my trashy magazine fetish (how better to torture myself than by poring over pictures of perfect celebrities!) and your chocolate for my kettle crisps obsession, and that is me to a T. I felt so exposed reading your article & admire the honest way you talk about something like this, whereas I hide behind a wall of shame & would never even admit to my closest friends that I do something with such abandon & lack of self control. Thank you... thank you.

  7. I new to the blog and to intuitive eating as well. Thanks for this post. This is exactly why I know I've found a way to live my life. There will be times when I'll eat when I'm not hungry, but as long as I'm aware that's what I'm doing, accept it without guilt, and move on afterwards, everything will always balance out. Thanks again!


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