Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Developing Body Intelligence

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. 

Oh how the internet LOVES lecturing us about dieting! This is one of the latest efforts and, at first, I thought we were heading in a Beyond Chocolate direction.

Check it out.

“This year, over 10 million of us will go on some sort of diet. Six weeks on, half of us will have thrown in the towel and, even if we do manage to shed a few pounds, 12 months later 95% of us will have put all the weight back on. The key to escaping this on-off dieting mentality, says Zest nutritionist Judith Wills, is to boost your body IQ. 'Intelligence is usually applied to our mental prowess; we rarely think of our physical intelligence,' she explains. 'Upping your body IQ means learning how your appetite works naturally ...”

At this point I was getting excited and thinking that this Zest nutritionist was a Beyond Chocolate fan. But then she blew it ... read on ...

“... and getting savvy about the hidden fat traps that send you off course, such as two-for-one supermarket offers, indulgent restaurant meals and shop-bought salads that come with a creamy dressing.... “

Oh dear. And we’re back to deprivation via the short route of ‘avoid anything that is generally considered ‘fattening’ or ‘bad for you’.

From personal experience I can categorically say that attempting to avoid the sorts of things mentioned in this article is a guaranteed short cut to bingeing. The body is a clever, but tunnel visioned, thing. As far as the body is concerned Fat = Good. Fat = Saving Us from Winter Famine. Fat = Rare and Must be Consumed Whenever Encountered. What the body doesn’t realise is that these days fat is no longer scarce; in fact, fat is all around and very freely available.

And the phrases she uses aren’t helpful either. ‘Hidden fat traps’, ‘send you off course’, ‘indulgent’ (I may forgive her the last one, but not in the context she uses it). I think it’s insulting to our intelligence to assume we don’t know that some foods are fattier than others and that if we buy two of something when we only needed one, we are likely to over-eat. We do actually know this. The ‘problem’ is that food manufacturers want us to buy lots of food, more if possible, and this can bring us into conflict with our dislike of ‘wasting’ food. We have two cakes where we only wanted one, so what do we do? Throw it away? Eat it?

And, if we are not dieting, how can we be ‘sent off course’ by fatty food anyway? Despite recognising that diets don’t work, this nutritionist hasn’t investigated the alternatives – she assumes that people will go on dieting but just not call it that to themselves, that people will live with constant deprivation and constant avoidance of ‘traps’ in foods.

The nutritionist does claw it back a bit by the end, however. She says:

“And if you change your habits? You'll get weight loss without the work... and no chance of the pounds creeping back on, either.”

I agree with her but I don’t agree with how she got there. Beyond Chocolate does involve a change of habits. It can lead to weight loss (and we do have to work at it), and, once we’ve got it all in balance, the weight won’t ‘creep back on’ again – ever.

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