Newbies to the Beyond Chocolate and no diet approach often ask the same type of questions when they start out. We see it all the time on our facebook group and in workshops. One of these questions is:
How do I work with these new ideas without becoming obsessed with ‘doing it right’ and turning it into yet another diet?
Well, I don’t know, is the short answer.
But that’s a bit disingenuous, because I do know – at least, I know how I worked with this issue in my life and I can share that with you to start you thinking on how you might respond to this new challenge and arrive at a conclusion that works for you in your life.
One of the (many!) very great things about Beyond Chocolate you will discover is it isn’t a one-size-fits-nobody programme or lifestyle change. It’s more like one of those stretchy garments which will cover anybody of any size, shape and weight – and once it’s been stretched to fit your particular circumstances, it will feel comfortable and familiar and workable in your life – not something that makes you feel like you have to change to squeeeeze yourself into.
So, how do I “do” Beyond Chocolate without becoming obsessed and turning it into another diet?
I started with accepting that the principles are there to fit me and not the other way round and that however I choose to work with them, that will be right for me. There is no all-encompassing ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ to ‘do’ Beyond Chocolate – there is only what works for each one of us as individuals.
There will be days when all the principles fly to the four winds and I don’t Move, I eat when I’m not hungry, I eat on the hoof rather than sitting down with the food, I tune OUT of my body, I eat until I feel physically sick. But I haven’t ‘failed’, I haven’t ‘fallen off the wagon’, I haven’t ‘let myself (or Beyond Chocolate) down’; I don’t have to ‘start again on Monday and this time be really really good’. I don’t have to summon up my will-power and grit my teeth and ‘just get on with it’. Instead, I have a range of options:
- I can reach out to the Beyond Chocolate community in the absolute certainty that they will understand and sympathise and reassure me that I am not a bad person who is a complete failure and a disgrace.
- I can gently look back over the day to see if there was anything specific which triggered that behaviour, or not, and I can work with the information I’ve gleaned – I find it helpful to know why something happened, but others don’t necessarily.
- I can go back and look again at any one of the principles to help me move on from this day; did I Enjoy the experience? How did it feel not to Move? What was it like to spend a day eating non-stop? Do I want to do that again? The choice is absolutely mine to make.
- I can gently let that day go. Chalk it up to experience and look forward to a completely different day tomorrow filled with eating and moving opportunities for me to take or not as I choose.
- I could decide that what I need right now is compassion and gentleness and a bit of pampering and take some time to do something just for me. I am not going to beat myself up about this because it happened and now it’s over and I can take a deep breath and move on.
- I can tune in and find out where I’m at right now instead of rehashing the day or planning tomorrow.
The point is that all experience while working on our relationships with food is useful experience – I may find out what triggers binges, for example and that gives me useful information for future similar situations. Knowledge is power – if I know that a certain situation is likely to trigger a binge, I can choose to do something different next time it occurs, or I can choose to eat to manage the situation – but either way, I’m in control, it’s my choice. I’m not driven blindly into a binge eating day filled with unfocused anger and self-recrimination.
So, turning my back on the rules which govern diets and accepting that the work I do with the Beyond Chocolate is going to be different, challenging, individual, cumulative, fascinating and empowering, was the first step I took towards losing the obsession with treating this as a diet and running into diet-related problems as a result.
What might this process look like to you?