Many of us have been on a diet at some point and while we can lose the weight at first, once we return to our old eating habits it all piles back on and all too often with a little bit more!
There has to be another way right?
There is and Henpicked spoke to Audrey and Sophie Boss of Beyond Chocolate. Their mission is to revolutionise the way we think about food, achieve the weight that’s right for us and feel good about ourselves for life.
Here’s what they told us…
Why don’t diets work?
They do work in the short term if you can stick to them but the majority of dieters put any weight they lose back on within six months to two years, plus a little more each time.
They don’t work because they don’t address why we overeat in the first place. They tell us what to eat and how much and when but don’t deal with the why, which means that they are unsustainable in the long term.
How much can we control the shape of our body?
We’re not all born with model proportions and we can’t control the shape and size of our bodies as much as we’d like to believe. Between 40 and 70% of our body mass index (BMI) is determined by our genes. Our metabolism, one component in maintaining our weight, is largely determined by our genetic makeup.
Diets would have us believe that it’s quite simple: “Follow our prescriptions and you too can have an ideal body”. This is neither true, nor in most cases, desirable. Dieting is not the way to have a body shape and size that you like and feel comfortable in.
Surely diets can work if we simply use some willpower?
It’s a common belief that if only we had more willpower we could succeed. The truth is that dieters do have lots of willpower. They give up favourite foods for long periods of time while watching others eat them, they go on liquid fasts and eat nothing for weeks, they exercise every day… the extremes to which dieters go is sometimes mind boggling, making use of every ounce of willpower they have.
But willpower is finite. Studies have shown that we cannot sustain the exertion of willpower endlessly. Resistance becomes harder and harder, regardless of what we are resisting.
Very few women have enough willpower to stay on a diet for their entire lives which is what would be required to maintain the target weights that so many women wish to achieve. The maintenance plans that most diets offer are in fact just slightly more generous forms of the diet itself, which still require us to draw on willpower to stick to.
What would you say to a woman thinking of joining a weight-loss club?
I’d ask how many times she has joined weight-loss clubs before and if it has ever delivered what she was looking for. I’d ask if she weighs more or less than when she went on her first diet and if her relationship with food and her body is better or worse than when she first started dieting. I’d also ask her what she gets out of the clubs (often it’s the support aspect) and tell her where she can get that support elsewhere.
What would you recommend instead?
If you know that dieting and the ‘just get a grip’ approaches don’t work for you, try something different and give yourself an opportunity to get a different outcome.
If you’re perched on the fence, with Slimming World or the latest juicing detox beckoning you on one side and freedom calling out to you on the other and you just don’t know, here’s a little help to figure out if you’re ready to stop dieting for good.
These are the top five signs that you are ready to try a new approach to weight loss. Recognise any of these? Then you’re ready to stop the madness and taste the freedom!
- That sinking feeling you get when you think about starting a new diet or healthy-eating plan.
- You weigh more today than when you started your first diet.
- You are at the mercy of your cravings. Do you spend your days fighting off cravings and trying to resist temptation only to end up binging or giving in to the very foods you’d sworn you’d stay away from?
- You keep putting stuff off. Is your whole life on hold? Are you waiting to reach a certain weight or dress size to… do pretty much anything?
- You spend more time ‘in between’ diets than actually doing them.
When is a good time to start a new healthy eating habits?
Waiting until 1st Jan is typical of the diet mentality and likely to have you overeating throughout Christmas ‘last-supper’ style in a bid to make the most of all the forbidden foods you’ve sworn you won’t have again starting in the New Year.
What’s great about focusing on your relationship with food is that it’s not about being ‘on’ or ‘off’ a diet or any plan. It is an ongoing process. Begin with a really simple question: “Am I hungry?” and ask that anytime you eat.
How is Beyond Chocolate different to any other diet or slimming regime?
It isn’t either of those. Rather than telling you what and how much and when to eat, we give you the tools and support you need to transform your approach to weight loss and body confidence.
We show you how to take the focus off weight loss and address the underlying issues: why we eat more than we need to and how to eat differently.
What lies at the heart of Beyond Chocolate is self confidence, peace of mind and freedom.
So what is the Beyond Chocolate approach?
We have an eight-pronged approach to healthy eating:
- Eating when you’re hungry
- Stopping when you’ve had enough
- Eating whatever you want
- Conscious eating
- Enjoyment of food
- Moving rather than exercising
- Managing overeating and cravings
- Being your own guru
How easy is it to do?
Change is never easy but Beyond Chocolate is much easier than a diet or restrictive eating! This process does take a little longer than a quick-fix diet but the results are long lasting so you don’t have to keep coming back for more.
What’s your experience of women who have ditched diets – how do they feel?
Here’s what women say they get out of Beyond Chocolate:
- Valuable insights into their relationship with food and how to transform it
- Being part of a community of friendly, supportive women
- Realistic and practical strategies for a healthy relationship with food
- A clear picture of how their relationship with their body impacts the way they eat
- Higher self esteem
- Hope, joy and motivation
- Increased confidence
- New friends
- Support and encouragement
- A new way of thinking about weight loss
How do you get started?
The online course is a great way to start. It’s got everything you need including audio lessons to download, worksheets, interactive tools and lesson logs to track progress. It takes 30 seconds to have immediate access from any device and there’s a thriving online community for support which is what makes all the difference.
You can also read our books which are a great addition to the course with extra content, exercises and viewpoints. For some people learning happens better in a face-to-face environment so we also offer intensive weekend workshops and individual Skype or in person coaching and psychotherapy sessions.
What words of encouragement would you offer to women seeking to break a difficult relationship with food and diets?
Nobody is a hopeless case! We can all transform the way we approach weight loss and body confidence and it’s so worth it.
How did you become interested in this topic?
Through personal experience of being a serial dieter, desperate to stop yo-yoing and feeling crazy around food and hating my body! I had tried every diet, miracle potion and eating plan and had only ended up fatter than when I started and feeling really miserable and hopeless.
When did you last weigh yourself?
I haven’t weighed myself for over 15 years when I formally renounced the scales all those years ago. If I need to be weighed for medical reasons I ask them not to tell me and turn my eyes away. And I have never felt better about myself!
There really is a life beyond dieting and we’d like every woman to discover it for herself…
If you’re fed up of dieting and want to stop the obsession with food and your weight, try Beyond Chocolate, The UK’s Largest No Diet Community.