Featured image from Buttercream Dreams (Stockport based)
Christmas and then New Year is coming up … for many a time of ‘terror’ for Christmas parties, and then “the resolutions” (not something I’ve ever been a fan of – start where you are, don’t wait for a random date in the calendar). I’ve only ever got involved in formal dieting once… and that was Slimming World in 2006 … originally, I lost 3 stone (though I was training for a 10k at the same time) … but then … this picture came too true as I think it messed up my head more than it helped:
True, I did end up with a chest infection/post-viral fatigue which didn’t help with my otherwise quite busy exercise habit, but by 2009, when I first came across Beyond Chocolate, I seemed to be putting on a stone every six months. I can’t tell you what I weighed a year after I first started ‘experimenting’ with Beyond Chocolate as I threw away scales, but I can tell you I am still using some of the same clothes from 2010!
The 10 basic ‘Beyond Chocolate’ principles are (in my translation):
- ‘Tune in’ and become aware of what your body wants/needs, and what else might be triggering a craving for food.
- Eat when you are hungry – rather than when the clock says that you should.
- Eat what you want – there’s no such things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and ‘willpower’ just doesn’t work – so feel empowered to make choices instead.
- Experience that you are eating – put it on a plate rather than grazing or multi-tasking with the TV.
- Notice when you’ve had enough (not stuffed full, but satisfied) and stop. You can have more later, if you want…
- Enjoy food! It’s not a minefield, a danger zone, or a ‘naughty treat’…
- You don’t have to love your body, but you need to own it, acknowledge that it’s part of you.
- Move! Not painful exercise sessions, but enjoyable movement – whatever works for you!
- Make ‘self-care’ a priority – women so often put themselves last, and find that food is the only way to treat themselves. BC also has an online support system.
- ‘Be your own guru’ – you know yourself best – listen, explore and experiment – find what works for you!
and what I love about them is that it’s not a set of rules that someone else has written – it’s all about experimenting to find out what works for you – and there’s always a new way to experiment! Sophie’s words echo in my head “Try something once (rather than “giving up forever”), and if it works, try it again – it may well become a habit.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love my body to be smaller, for all kinds of reasons – not least that our culture surrounds us with images of women with ‘perfect (photoshopped) bodies’, and that some of the physical things I want to do would be easier, but Beyond Chocolate has influenced my life in so many other ways – let me see if I can think of some that are ‘suitable for sharing’ (yes, one does not need to share everything – but diet/weight is one of those things people only typically talk about whilst on it/reached goal weight!) – this is written on the fly:
- My constant priority has been to get more sleep – once I’m tired I just want to eat stuff that makes me feel rubbish the next day…. and looking for other aspects of ‘self-care’ – which combined with some help from counsellors and coaches has led to a decluttered house/wardrobe and even saying no sometimes!
- I have learnt to enjoy the food I eat much more … if I don’t like it, I’ll leave it (sorry, even if you’ve made it specially for me) – surprising how many cakes one doesn’t like once one stop thinkings “ooo, cake, never have that, stuff in all the cake”.
- I experiment with cooking a whole lot more … although this will be much easier once back in a full-size kitchen again – I have no work surface, and no dishwasher means I can’t be bothered to use as many pans as often!
- I’ve realised how much I’m a ‘social exerciser’ – if I can chat and move at the same time – that has to be a winner… I’ve experimented with some new stuff … current faves will be karate, swimming, hill-walking, and I’m experimenting with trampolining – and debating starting to use my bike to cycle into work – well, will try it at least once!
- There’s a practice known as ‘stocking up’, where you take more than you could eat in weeks and put it all in a container – whenever you want something – take some, put on a plate and eat … for some reason after doing this Haribo just don’t have the same pull – I threw a load of them away as they’d gone off!
- Found some more shops that do decent clothes – no point going in Top Shop or H&M, but shops such as Yours, Simply Be, and even e.g. Sainsbury’s Tu has some things I like. No point waiting – find some stuff that’s nice now!
- Recognised that I am more than my body. My faith would say you are wonderful just for existing, but sometimes our culture makes us feel that we should justify our existence … well I’ve done quite a lot too – to which weight is immaterial! I can’t worry so much about those who say “I just care” whilst giving diet advice … thank you, then ‘Keep calm and carry on’!
I hope you’ll decide that the ‘New Year Diet’ is not for you, and even just writing this has reminded me of some things I want to try … Go and find out what’s on offer at Beyond Chocolate – a lot of support for free (also paid courses)!