Tuesday 12 July 2011

When will I ever learn?

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 went out to a friend’s house for dinner the other evening and lay awake all night unable to sleep because I’d overeaten. I bought a pink iced doughnut and ate it because that’s what I do on my lunch-break; it’s my treat after a morning’s work. I ate five squares off a large bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk when I got home from work because I was tired and there wasn’t anything else immediately available. I thought that, by now, I wouldn’t be doing these things any more. After all, I’ve been working on my relationship with food and my body for 3 years now ... I thought I would be ‘sorted’, I thought I wouldn’t be making these mistakes anymore, I thought I would be ‘cured’ – oh, and I thought I’d be several sizes smaller than I am.

Does any of this sound familiar?

The questions: "How soon will I be ‘cured’?" Or "How long before I stop overeating?" Or "When will I lose weight?" come up regularly on the Beyond Chocolate Members Forum. We can be forgiven for asking ourselves and/or the Chocolate Fairies these questions.

After all, Beyond Chocolate is about stopping over-eating, losing weight, being ‘cured’ of our bingeing and emotional eating. Isn’t it?
Well, yes and no. I’ll explain.

Yes, absolutely Beyond Chocolate can help us to stop overeating, lose weight, stop emotional eating and become ‘normal’ around food. And, no, it can’t unless we are prepared to put in some spade-work and acknowledge (a) that we want to work with our bodies (and minds), and (b) that we accept that we won’t be instantly ‘cured’ forever, even if we do put in the spade-work. When I look back at those occasions when I overate (listed above), I realise how far I’ve come since I’ve been working with Beyond Chocolate. I overate at the friend’s house with total awareness. I don’t eat out every night, so one night’s discomfort isn’t actually that big a problem.

The pink iced doughnut. Well, I certainly didn’t need it on this occasion (I wasn’t hungry) I didn’t enjoy it very much and will remember that next time I think about buying one. There are some occasions when I really enjoy eating pink iced doughnuts – I’ll look out for those occasions and buy one then.

Using chocolate as a ‘pick me up’ doesn’t actually work for me. I know this. I’ve proved it to myself over and over. So why do I still do it? Maybe I don’t quite believe myself. Maybe it does help, just not in the way I intend it to. I like chocolate but have found out that on some occasions it tastes just sooo much better than on others. I am learning what those better occasions are and, in the main, I eat chocolate on those occasions and really enjoy it.

Before I started working with Beyond Chocolate I wouldn’t have stopped eating as soon as I did at the dinner with my friend – I would have gone on until I was nearly sick and then eaten some more when I got home. I would have bought a six pack of the pink doughnuts and eaten them all, in secret, hiding the wrappers in a bin. I would have eaten the whole ‘family size’ bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate in one go ....

So, I have learned. And I continue to learn. Unlike diets, which promise us we’ll be ‘sorted’ in 28 days or in time for some event, Beyond Chocolate is a process of continual learning and in that way it works for me.


  1. It's true. I ditched dieting in Jan 2009. Do I overeat sometimes? Heck yes! Do I eat junk food, sugary food, so called "bad" food? Heck yes. There is no good and bad.
    Sometimes I eat more
    Sometimes I eat junk
    Sometimes I eat cos I feel upset

    And I'm OK with that. I'm me. I am not perfect, I acknowledge I'm brilliant and rubbish like every other human on this planet.

    But I'm glad I don' diet, as I no longer live in a state of constant anxiety around food, like I used to. That has been the biggest benefit of ditching the diet. I used up far far too much of my valuable "head space" on it. Now I use that for much more enjoyable things.

  2. Thanks for this Gretel. I found myself nodding my head the whole way through. And I really needed to hear something like this because just recently I've felt like I'm going backwards instead of forwards in terms of how I handle food.

    Thank you for reminding me that this is a process and that, actually, just the fact that I'm aware that I'm overeating/not eating mindfully, and yet not threatening myself with diets and long gym sessions is massive progress.

    I actually am several sizes smaller than I was when I started (thanks mainly to my new crazy life as a stay at home mom), but I sometimes still feel like a fat person stuck in a thin person's body! Living proof that being thin doesn't mean you're problems are solved... even if the people round me seem to think it should.

    I shall make an effort to remember to be kinder to myself in future!

  3. I'm glad the blog post helped both of you - and like Zero G Jenny, I am just so pleased not to be dieting or worrying about food - but there are still other issues that crop up that I am dealing with (as you can tell!). It is important, as Anonymous said, to remember that this is a process, it's not one or the other, that's diet thinking, but it's going to take time and effort and it's so more than worth it!


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