“Pause Before Eating” with @beyondchoc #Ditchdieting

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:


beyond-chocTrue, 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):

  1. ‘Tune in’ and become aware of what your body wants/needs, and what else might be triggering a craving for food.
  2. Eat when you are hungry – rather than when the clock says that you should.
  3. 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.
  4. Experience that you are eating – put it on a plate rather than grazing or multi-tasking with the TV.
  5. Notice when you’ve had enough (not stuffed full, but satisfied) and stop. You can have more later, if you want…
  6. Enjoy food! It’s not a minefield, a danger zone, or a ‘naughty treat’…
  7. You don’t have to love your body, but you need to own it, acknowledge that it’s part of you.
  8. Move! Not painful exercise sessions, but enjoyable movement – whatever works for you!
  9. 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.
  10. ‘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)!


The Food So Far: #TFBloggers

So yesterday, on Facebook I put a photo of our meal the evening before “pork and Irish”:


We always know that food will get people talking, and heading off to foreign climes always gives the opportunity to be exposed to other cuisine.

We established pretty early that any restaurant menus are a work of aspiration rather than reality … it comes down to the same choices as we get at our guesthouse each evening:

  • Meat: Chicken, Fish, Pork or Beef
  • Carb: Chips, “Irish”, Rice, Boiled Potato or Chappati

We’re grateful as it means we do get to ring the changes each day – and thankfully as I’m not a great one for whole fish – the choice does include filleted fish. Jay Butcher, who visited Ogongora 18 months ago was surprised to hear that there was pork (less common with a large Muslim population) – but we’ve had it twice (once in the guesthouse & once in the village) … I’m wondering if that’s a sign of success of the PEP process as in the photo below we see that Pastor Pete has 2:

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When we’re in the village, we are treated “royally” – which can actually be quite distressing seeing what the children eat – some kind of porridge made of millet – which may be the only meal that they get all day:

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We, meanwhile, are seated up at the front – and our job is to show appreciation for the food (whilst being aware that any leftovers are available for the villagers) – as this feast is spread out before us:


There has been a big pile of rice each day (served with a bowl), plus some meat, some sauce, and a few other things – below is the infamous ‘goat stew’ we had been warned about – pretty tasty – I’d eat it again (less ‘stringy’ than much of the other meat):

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Simon Martin on Facebook said “In NW Uganda, staple diet is Enya – like brown playdough, made with cassava and millet or sorghum flour” – which I think must be the below (tastes like wet paper, with the consistency of wallpaper paste):

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Yesterday we had the opportunity to watch our dinner being made – in a very hot and smoky hut – spot the chicken’s feet in the pot (and the undeveloped eggs are taken from the slaughtered chicken and eaten also):


We do know that our meals have been pre-paid for but it’s difficult to know that others are watching, but they just seem happy that we’re happy…

And one thing that’s an essential for the food is a bit of a ritual with hand washing … Although we all have handwashing gel, the village has had the importance of handwashing drummed into them, so it’s important that they see us doing it too. Someone comes around with a jug, a bowl and a piece of soap – and we rinse and shake!


Interesting to hear how rice is a growing foodstuff – we’ve had it every day – but before (and maybe it’s just been for us) – more of a use of millet and sorghum.

40 minutes to a loaf of bread!

I have just eaten a couple of slices from this loaf (well, I did a bit of other blogging after), and am resisting have too much more :-). At 5.45pm I hadn’t even started making it…  It wouldn’t be much good as a sandwich loaf as it didn’t quite stay whole (but maybe that’s because I was cutting up straight out of the oven)… but it’s “well tasty”.

What’s the recipe?

  • 500gm Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 400ml (buttermilk or) yoghurt

Mix it all in, but not for too long (just til all the flour is folded in… which I didn’t think it was going to do initially!)

Flour a baking tray & ‘plonk’ it in a (preheated) 180 degree over for 1/2 hour.


Zoe Salmon ‘Big Fat Truth about Low Fat Foods’

See more on the BBC website, and also a couple of stories from the Express and the Sun.  Alerted to the TV programme by Beyond Chocolate… also remember from Slimming World Days, that Special K was banned!

Slow Cooking

On my to-do list for this year was to try and cook more of my own food (especially that which is then freezable). I’ve never been a fan of ready meals, and especially after having a couple this weekend (I was tired & they were in the reduced section.. Taste the Difference Steak & Ale Dumplings – the meat was so horrible I left it – rest was nice!), I have been having a go with some of my other recipe books – my big plan was to sit down & make bit lists, mark off big sections, etc… but instead, having learnt that I need to do things in more bite-size chunks, I’ve instead picked a handful of recipes from Katie Bishop’s ‘Easy Slow Cooker Recipes‘, including the following, which is a squash, spinach and prawn curry – really nice!

I’m looking forward to getting some more recipes from a friend’s blog (didn’t realise it was hers til today), which works with British ingredients – they look gooooooooooooood!