Audrey, Clare and I have been working tirelessly for the last couple of months, to create our brand new website, which will be launching at the end of this month. In the process we've been writing about Beyond Chocolate and Beyond Temptation. We’ve been creating pages called: What’s it all about, How does it work etc. Writing about that now has really made me think. It's been over 10 years now since we first started and sometimes, my life of dieting and stressing about my weight just seems light years away.
When I look at the list of Beyond Chocoate principles, I can barely remember a time in my life when they were not simply a part of me, a way of life, second nature. They just seem so obvious to me these days that it can be a challenge to remember what it's like not to tune-in, not to eat when I'm hungry and not to eat what I want. I do have a foggy recollection of pushing myself into punishing exercise routines (which I'd give up within days) and I can certainly remover all the diets and the soul destroying overeating, but it's amazing to realise that today I feel good about the way I eat and the way I look without much though or effort.
It has taken a huge amount of effort over the years though to get to this place. And it's not that I don't struggle at all, just that my struggles and challenges are different. Now that I have the basics under my belt without a second thought, my focus is on making sure that the food choices I make really contribute to my overall health and well being. I continue to explore different ways of moving my body, in ways that really work for me. I love walking and I walk regularly and I still haven't quite found a way of stretching or strengthening my muscles and stung supple that really works for me. I've tried various forms of yoga and pilates and nothing quite fits the bill. I'm still exploring. And, without the basic principles under my belt and years of practice and effort, I don't think I'd be in a position to think about what I want to eat and how I want to move without feeling deprived and diety and falling into the all or nothing trap.
I can't stress enough how valuable the principles have been and still are. While to begin with using them was contrived and deliberate, they really have just become a part of me now.
I feel so desperately sad when I look around me and see so many women still caught in the diet trap, still looking for the miracle that will make them thin, still hating their bodies, still blaming themselves for not being able to stick to the eating plan. I feel furious when I see the mixed messages in the media about body size. I am frustrate to the point of bursting when I read about the obesity crisis and there appears to be a complete lack of understanding or care about what it's really like to struggle with weight gain and overeating. The platitude and judgements about the 'problem' are insulting and so damaging and rainy aren't helping anyone.
I am so, so glad that there we have a growing team of Chocolate Fairies ready to offer women real solutions, hope and freedom from the tyranny of dieting. There's a one day workshop in London on September 22nd where Sarah, a very experienced Chocolate Fairy will take you through the principles one by one so you know exactly how to experiment and work with them and there are more workshops on their way around the country. There’s Gretel in Norwich (who many of you will know as she often writes wonderful posts for this blog), and Chocolate Fairy, Ella, in Lewis who will soon be running an 8 week Beyond Chocolate course and Sonia down the road in Brighton who will be running workshops all over East Sussex. There will be half day and one day workshops available in Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Worcester and Solihull run by Trish and Suze, Wendy will be running workshops in the East Midlands (and in Devon and Cornwall, if there’s demand) and Joyce will be running more workshops in London too. They will all be on our new website very soon with more to come. So, if you want to experience the principles first hand, book yourself onto one of their workshops. If you look at the testimonials on our webiste, you'll see just how wonderful a day the workshop is.
Have you ever thought of becoming a Chocolate Fairy? Of being part of the solution? We still have a few spaces on the next Fairy Training. Do think about it, women all over the country need empowerment, freedom, hope and balance when it comes to their relationship with food and their bodies, and there aren't many places they can find those things. At Fairy HQ we'll keep working tirelessly to make sure they can.