Review of Beyond Chocolate – by Sophie and Audrey Boss
Like so many women, I struggle with my weight. Having spent my teens and 20s quite effortlessly slim I started putting on weight gradually in my 30s. Then once I had children the weight started to creep on more insidiously until I am now the heaviest I have ever been. Some of the reason for this is I am far less active than I was before I had children but I can also see that much of my weight gain is due to eating through boredom, to ‘treat’ myself or for comfort.
What I immediately like about Beyond Chocolate was its frankness and honesty. It is written by two sisters, Sophie & Audrey Boss, who have both spent their lives yo-yo dieting, losing the weight and then putting it straight back on (plus some!).
Let’s get this straight from the outset – this book is NOT a diet book and most refreshingly NO food is forbidden. It’s a book about changing habits and re-tuning into your own body. Their argument is that diets don’t work because they are too prescriptive and no one set of rules suits everyone. In just the same way that no-one else can tell you how often and when to go for a pee, no-one else knows how much food you need and when you need to eat it. Instead we need to retrain ourselves to respond to the signals our body is trying to tell us.
The book has strategies to help you to:
- Eat the foods you love without feeling guilty
- Think about food only when you are hungry
- Stop overeating
- Deal with cravings and comfort eating
It also encourages you to accept yourself as you are now, find ‘ways to move’ that you enjoy rather than approaching exercise as a means to losing weight and most importantly to sit down and really ‘focus’ on the food you eat – the taste, the sensation, how it makes you feel, how full you are getting – without the distraction of the TV, books, computers etc.
I found the tone of the book very friendly and encouraging. There are no eating plans – just a series of general rules through which eating can begin to become a pleasure rather than a minefield of deprivation, measuring, denial, bingeing and guilt.
So much of a woman’s relationship with food is emotional and based on how she sees herself so I really liked the fact that this book tries to tackle the issue from the viewpoint of changing your ‘habits’ rather than changing what or how much you eat. Children are naturally very good at regulating what they eat – they have hungry days and not so hungry days – and are not as conditioned as us adults to eat at set times of the day. As a parent I have always felt a real responsibility not to pass on any of my bad habits to them. But in actual fact, it may be them who have a lot to teach me about tuning into my actual appetite rather than my conditioned one.
For me, September and the start of a new school year is even more motivating than New Year for making resolutions so I will certainly be trying out the many exercises in the book in the weeks to come in the hope that, through a more natural relationship with food, I will lose some of my excess weight without it feeling like a battle.
For more infomation about the Beyond Chocolate philosophy and details of their workshops and online support community please visit http://www.beyondchocolate.co.uk