THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS. PLEASE READ.
Thank you all for your contributions to recent posts in which many of you commented on how the community is and isn’t working for you. We welcome all your experiences and have read every one with attention.
We wanted to give some input and our perspective and guidance. This is a long post! Maybe make a cup of tea, get comfy and dive in.
We’re talking about diet talk, language, being your own guru, the diet mentality and more.
As the founders of Beyond Chocolate we would like to say a few words about what this community is about for us. We created the Beyond Chocolate online community to provide a dedicated space for those who are experimenting with the Beyond Chocolate approach across the world. This page is specifically for anyone who is doing or has done the online course or one of our workshops. It replaced the forum which used to be housed on our website. The Beyond Chocolate approach is resolutely and unapologetically anti dieting. Our aim is to put the attention where it is most helpful which is on our relationship with food and our bodies, and to move the focus away from weight loss. We have, since day one, been militant about our drive and ambition to empower women to know and trust their bodies and to step off the weight loss treadmill. What we teach here is how to have a balanced, relaxed relationship with food and our bodies. We know that many of you land here desperately wanting to lose weight. There’s nothing wrong with that. We were there ourselves 20 years ago. And we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that focusing on the size of our body doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for health, it doesn’t work for self worth, it doesn’t work for confidence… it doesn’t work for anything in the long term. If you’re here you probably know that too. Weight loss is not the goal or the solution.
This group is for you if you are ready to park that goal for a while in favour of developing a perspective and a set of skills that will support you to stop yo-yoing from one diet/healthy eating plan to another and all the overeating that we do in between. We’re not saying it’s wrong to want to lose weight, we can’t make ourselves stop wanting to be thinner, however hard we try, it’s just that weight loss is definitely not the focus here and there are SO many pages and places where it can be and is discussed at length. The Be Your Own Guru principle remains paramount, which is why we welcome anyone who shares our vision and have always been supportive of each one of us finding our own way. No rules. No absolutes. And we are and will always will be 100% anti diet. So being your own guru means making Beyond Chocolatier work for you in whatever way you like. What isn’t helpful is posting about diets or restrictions that you are trying, even if they work for you. Women come here to seek refuge from diets, so while it’s fine to use any tools in the world for yourself, we ask that you use this Beyond Chocolate page primarily to get support, ideas and encouragement with the Beyond Chocolate principles as you explore and transform your relationship with food and your body.
For the past 20 years we have challenged the dieting world and the medicalisation of our eating. For reasons that you can read about on our blog and in our books, we choose not to view or describe our eating through a medical lens with or with medical language, for example, we have always talked about overeating and throwing up rather than binging and purging. We want to move beyond the eating disorder labels to a greater understanding of each person’s unique experience. Beyond Chocolate is a refuge from the world of dieting in every form. And the first step in our approach is to ditch the diet mentality. If you don’t know what we’re talking about please read our books and join our online course. This is an essential part of what BC is about. You’ll feel more at home here if you have a grounded understanding of the basics.
Ditching the diet mentality includes changing the way we talk about eating and weight loss. Because the words we use shape the way we think. Language matters. When we talk about calories, weight lost and gained and when we label foods as “good” or “bad” , when we talk in food group; carbs, protein, sugar, fat as opposed to talking about pasta, bread, cake, chocolate, cheese etc. we are perpetuating diet culture and diet mentality.When we buy into the latest fads even by adopting just the language, we give the diet mentality power. And that keeps us stuck. So the work here is to learn a new language. To use descriptive words rather than euphemisms, to find new way of talking about what we’re all looking for when we yearn for weight loss: our desire to be loved and accepted and our need for connection. We can have that at any size. This is what we offer here. It can take a while to learn that new language, to untangle ourselves from the sticky web of rules we’ve created and adopted over a lifetime of dieting and torturing ourselves over our weight. We don’t expect you to make the shift immediately. Sometimes it takes years. We know you’ll have questions and doubts and come with all your dieting baggage. It’s all welcome. All your experiences are welcome. All of you is welcome. All your horror stories. All your fears and hopes and dreams.
We are not policing you. We don’t do policing. That’s not part of our moderators’ job, it never has been. The people who are volunteering their time and energy are here to approve new members and flag up any spam members. All the welcoming, guiding, answering questions and commenting they do, they do as regular members. They are joined by others who aren’t officially moderators, people like you who have been around for a long time and support themselves by supporting others. You’ll know who they are because they were among the first to welcome you when you got here. They’re the ones who have a kind word for everyone, who offer ideas to experiment with and gentle reminders of the principles. They have real wisdom and experience. They have lived the Beyond Chocolate principles for years, often they’ve done a whole load of other self development work and professional training. So, if you post something and they suggest that this sounds “diety” or like restriction/deprivation, please listen. We invite you to read their words with the care and goodwill with which they are intended. Please know that you are not being criticised or attacked. That is not the intention here, ever. On many forums and in FB groups there are simple, categorical non negotiable rules; violate the language guidelines once, you get a warning, twice you’re out! No explanations, no apology. That’s not how we operate. We believe in conversation and understanding. We strive for inclusion and we believe in embracing difference. We will always be here to talk it through, to listen and to take your thoughts and concerns seriously. So never hesitate to speak to us. We created the Q&A page with Sophie and Audrey for that very reason. If something bothers you, tell us. This is a messy imperfect process. Communication is often messy and complex, just like our relationship with food and our bodies. In that process we will inevitably feel churned up by what we read, and sometimes what we write will stir feelings in others. All that is ok. It’s normal, we are only human. We invite you to pause, just for a moment, before you post a reply… pause and tune in… as long as your comment comes from a place of care and goodwill it is always welcome. If you are annoyed or irritated by what someone has said (and it’s perfectly ok to be annoyed!) hold back from posting or commenting, your response is unlikely to be helpful to them or ultimately to you. The aim when we respond is to help and support the person who posted, so it’s helpful to ask ourselves the question, “:Do I think this will be helpful?” Advice is rarely helpful, contradiction is rarely helpful. And sharing our thoughts with kindness and respect usually is. And we have seen thousands and thousands of supportive, helpful, motivating, inspiring posts and responses over the years. This is what the group has always been about and we have seen it over and over again. You are an amazing, welcoming and infinitely kind and supportive group of people.
We are all here to learn and grow. All of us. And we can only do that if we are willing to take responsibility for our own reactions and responses and take a moment to check in with ourselves. We invite you to be open and willing to be gently challenged and to learn a new language and a new approach to eating, food and weight. That’s what we all want. And being kind to ourselves and others makes all the difference.
Thank you for reading and for being part of the Beyond Chocolate Community.
Sophie & Audrey