You’ll see from previous blog posts that I’ve been interested in Beyond Chocolate since around 2009. I can’t remember how I first came across the books, but after reading, ended up going on a day course where I remember Audrey’s face as she described a ‘fun-size Malteser’ packet, learnt to reconnect with our bodies as we drew around ourselves/described ourselves, and experimented with new recipes and the thought of having food as something to enjoy, rather than something to be limited/restrained or feared. Prior to the course, post-chest-infection, I’d been putting on roughly half-stone every 6 months – 6 months after this one day, I’d stabilised and food had regained some of it’s fun and adventure (scales have since gone, so judging by clothes)!
I ticked along with this, read Beyond Temptation, then in 2013, decided to go to another day in Leeds, where the outstanding exercises in my mind were eating foods veeeery slowly to reacquaint with the taste (rather than shovelling it down), and encouraging people to say out loud to the person next to them the things that they say to themselves (e.g. you fat, lazy cow) – demonstrating how you wouldn’t to others but you would to yourselves!
In 2014, I went on a whole weekend, which was a great opportunity to take time out from everyday life, and undertake a series of exercises – including eating food in silence, and comparing to the next meal with conversation, having meals with lots of choices/limited choices, having ‘unlimited’ quantities of food that one is not ‘relaxed’ about, looking at one’s journey with food, and lots of fun and conversation! By this point, I’d already started sharing a range of stories on the Beyond Chocolate Facebook page (over the last 8 months we’ve increased from around 900 page members to over 1500, with a regular flow of stories ‘of interest’ to the group), and started road-testing a new online course known as “The Psychology of Weight Loss” (and yes, lots of discussion about using weight loss as part of the title when it’s about having a good relationship with your body – whether you are small or large – but it’s something people are looking for, so then encourage people to say this is not where your emphasis should lie!).
Anyway, I have just FINISHED part-1 of the course, and it’s been really helpful (especially the 1-2-1 inputs from BC), as there’s been time to do the material, then think about it, before diving in to the next session: aside from anything else, I’ve realised how much my relationship with food and my body has changed over the past few years, even if, in the world’s eyes, I am “overweight”.
Doing this online course has encouraged me to try a few more things, in tune with my ‘give me new stuff’ way of thinking, and against that thinking of “I need to do this, and I need to do this for ever” mentality of many a diet. I give something a go, reflect on it, then decide if I want to do it again. It may become a habit, or I may decide it’s not for me…
The intention is to do it within 3 months, but there are extension packages available if you want longer-term e-mail support. See an overview of the course here, and you can try the first lesson for free! Only £67 if you just want to undertake the course, or £350 with 1-2-1 support!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.