I never quite managed to actually stay on a diet for more than half a morning, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time wishing I was thinner. At its best my preocupation with food was an incovenience. At its worst it could be tortuous.
Over time I discovered that denying myself food just meant I ate more when I started eating again. I ended up eating more than if I’d just eaten the doughnut in the first place.
Reading Susie Orbach’s ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’ got me thinking about the links between weight and being a woman in our society. A few years later, when I found her ‘On Eating’, I knew I’d found the answers.
What Orbach suggests in ‘On Eating’, and what sisters Sophie and Audrey Boss explain in Beyond Chocolate, is very simple. We can trust our bodies. We can trust our bodies to be hungry for what they need, and to tell us when we’ve had enough. We can eat whatever we want and not put on weight.
It’s not quite that simple, of course. We’ve got a lifetime of programming to dismantle – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, using food for comfort or as a way of stuffing our emotions when a hug or writing in our journal would be a better solution. The insidious influence of the media. Fear of fat.
It does work, though. I’ve been signed up to the Beyond Chocolate philosophy for years. I’ve been eating exactly what I want for all this time, and my weight has been pretty constant. As final proof, I bought myself a very expensive and delicious chocolate brownie last night, and found myself stopping half way through because I felt satisfied. I never thought I’d see the day.
Beyond Chocolate run workshops around the UK, a 7 day retreat in Italy which sounds rather marvellous, and a 12 week e-course. Or you can sign up to their free newsletter at their website (I just have).
Here’s to us women (and men) reclaiming our right to enjoy every mouthful of what we eat. Especially butter caramels.