The Dessert Club
Tuesdays, starting March 5
5 pm PST/8 pm EST
You’re pretty much “together” in your life, but this food and weight thing has always been an issue. Why is it so hard?
You often find yourself making “plans” about your eating or your body. That’s it, I’m going to completely cut out sugar this month…or go to that exercise class four times this week…or lose eight pounds by vacation.
Sometimes — and you might not have told anybody this — you feel out-of-control around food. It’s almost like you leave your body for a few minutes, or you go into a mini-trance.
Does everyone spend so much time thinking and worrying about everything they put into their mouth? Does everyone have to put in so much effort to not be “fat”?
If you resonated with any of these statements, the Dessert Club is for you.
The Dessert Club is a 8-week deep dive into why you feel out-of-control or frustrated around food, and what you can do about it.
In a small group setting, we'll learn some new ways of thinking about food, eating, and our bodies, do some deep personal examination, try some new practices, and share what we've learned with other warm, caring people. You know those conversations that you have with your close friends late at night? When you be vulnerable about what's going on with you and what you really want out of life?
The Dessert Club is like that.
The ultimate goal of the Dessert Club is to help you help you relate to food, your body, and your life with more self-trust, kindness, and joy.
“Before joining the dessert club, I was feeling so exhausted and hopeless and like I would never be "normal" regarding food. I was tired of the cycle of restriction and binging and I felt out of control. I felt so sad and alone.
I am just so thankful from the bottom of my heart that you created this group. It felt so scary to do it on my own and admit that I really had a problem, but I have seen that I am not alone and that is a wonderful feeling! There were times during the group that I was really having a hard time and to know that I had a whole group of people cheering me on felt truly amazing. THANK YOU THANK YOU!”
-- Kathy, from Philadelphia
Who should join the Dessert Club?
People who are exhausted by all of the effort it takes to “manage” their eating or “avoid being fat.”
This might mean that you’ve spent a lot of time on and off of diets. Or maybe you have your own system for “good” or “reasonable” eating, and it takes a lot of planning and worry to make sure that you eat that way — and, let’s face it, you often don’t eat that way, and feel annoyed with yourself.
People who often feel confused or frustrated by their eating behaviors.
Ever think things like, “wait, why did I eat all of those chips at the Mexican restaurant?” or “I just bought those cookies yesterday, how are so many of them gone already!” If you act in a way that seems completely illogical or even self-sabotaging, there’s likely more going on than you think. That’s what the Dessert Club is all about.
People who are ready for something different.
The Dessert Club isn’t a diet. We won’t be regulating how much or what or when you eat. Weight loss isn’t the goal. If you are desperate to lose five pounds in the next two weeks, the Dessert Club probably isn’t a good fit for you. But, if you are exhausted by all the other things you’ve tried and open to the idea that much of how you’ve been “taught” about eating and weight could be wrong, then you might be in the right place.
People who really like food.
We believe that it should be possible to eat food that you love — and no, not just healthy food that you love, but also Nutella and grilled cheese sandwiches and double fudge brownies or whatever else you like. We actually believe that the scarcity mentality brought on by decades of dieting or worrying about your eating is a big part of the problem.
People who are willing to examine their whole lives.
The Dessert Club teaches an integral approach to understanding eating and weight issues. That means that we are interested in you as a whole person, without leaving anything out. Your relationships, work, environment, thoughts, feelings, and even physical/somatic sensations (or lack thereof) all have an enormous impact on what, when, and how much you eat, and we will consider all of these factors.
People who are caring and kind, and who will show up.
The secret sauce of the Dessert Club is the people who join, share their stories, and support each other. But the group only works if each person is caring and kind, and if they are willing to show up. This last part is important — it is essential that you plan to show up to each session, and that you stay in touch with your pen pal group over email between sessions.
"If you're considering signing up, I'd say, "DO IT". In my experience, folks with a diversity of "food issues" benefitted from the Dessert Club practices and community support. Katie is supportive and funny and palpably brilliant and down to earth.
"The group is intelligently structured and will likely push your comfort zone; it takes willingness and hard work, but it's really made me feel like the holistic change I've been seeking for over a decade is possible."
— Kate, Maine
Is the Dessert Club right for you?
Here's what you need to know about the Dessert Club:
The Dessert Club is deep and challenging. It's not challenging in the way that a diet is challenging. There will be absolutely no restriction of foods or portions. But when you stop being unaware, numb, or compulsive about your eating, other things inevitably come up. You'll get all kinds of information about what you do and don't like about your relationships, work, home, and more. Participants often tell me: "I had no idea I had so many feelings!"
If you haven't spent a lot of time doing introspection before, that can be intense -- so the Dessert Club is ONLY a good fit if you have the emotional energy to look at your whole life.
The Dessert Club is about action. Talking about things is nice, but most of us intellectually "know" that we need to stop doing what we're doing. It's taking action that actually makes change happen. Every week in the Dessert Club, you'll get mini-assignments, which include reading, journaling, and trying new practices. These assignments layer on top of each other, so each week you're building skills you didn't have before.
But if you don't have 15-30 minutes a day to try out some new things, the Dessert Club probably isn't a good fit.
The Dessert Club is supportive. The #1 thing I hear from past participants is what a relief it is to realize that you aren't the only one struggling with this "food stuff." Our struggles with eating and our bodies can feel so private and isolating -- we feel crazy in our own heads and mostly don't talk about it. The Dessert Club has many different types of support -- readings from people who have struggled with these same issues, weekly full-group meetings over video conference, pen pals who you email between sessions. Many pen pal groups continue to stay in touch after the group is over.
The Dessert Club is NOT a weight loss program. My goal for you is to develop a happy and pleasurable relationship with food, and a respectful and kind relationship with your body.
Frankly, I have no idea what will happen to your weight as a result of making peace with food and your body. It might go up, down, or stay the same, and the result will depend on your current relationship with food (e.g., how often you are listening to your hunger signals, bingeing, etc.) and a lot of other factors (your past dieting history, your biology, age, etc.).
This might be hard to hear, if you are very concerned about your weight. I get it. But as long as you are fixated on a specific weight or body type, it is probably making your "eating issues" worse. Honestly, most diets that say you can “lose 8 pounds this month” are misleading you anyway, because the data shows that in the long term, most dieters gain back the weight they lost and then some.
Of course, you won’t have to give up on your dreams of more confident, more content, healthier, or more comfortable in your body. We just won’t pretend that weight loss is 100% required to help you get there.
(And if you want to stop being fixated on being a certain weight, but don't know how to stop, that's okay too. You're welcome to join the group).
The Dessert Club isn't for everyone. If you don't have the energy to examine deep emotional issues, or the time to spend 15-30 minutes a day trying some small practices, the group might be too intense and overwhelming. It's definitely not a "quick fix."
But if it sounds like a good fit, the Dessert Club could be a transformative experience. I don't say that flippantly. I say that because I've seen it happen -- past participants often tell me that they never realized that they could feel so free or at ease with food, and that they are thrilled by what it taught them about the rest of their lives.
“I always joked I wanted to be one of those girls who says they "forgot" to eat lunch. I used to constantly think about food and my next chance to eat - sometimes I'd go to bed *just* so that I could get up and have breakfast!
I've actually started missing some mealtimes since being in the Dessert Club. When I ask myself if I'm really hungry, I noticed I don't need to eat as often as I thought. I am allowing myself to take breaks from work for the sake of needing a break - not only when it's "lunch time" or "for a snack". That's been a huge breakthrough for me!
— Annie, New Jersey
Groups meet weekly for up to 90 minutes over video conference, starting at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST
Meeting dates will be Tuesdays, March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2, 9, 16, 23 (8 weeks)
Each week we will explore a different topic (e.g., hunger, or how we relate to our bodies) — which will include new ideas, group discussion, activities, and homework.
Everyone will be part of a Pen Pal group to stay in touch over email between sessions. Many pen pal groups stay in touch after the official group ends.
If you can't make a session, no worries. You'll receive notes and homework via email, so you won't fall behind. If you happen to be going on traveling for work or pleasure and still want to join, many past participants have still found it easy to join the group meeting. I don't recommend missing more than 1-2 sessions, though, or you'll miss out on the full group experience.
The group meets in a Zoom video conference. You'll need a video camera attached to your computer, as well as a working microphone. You will receive instructions about how to enter the meeting via email.
Some fine print:
Dessert Clubs have a minimum of 4 participants. If your group has fewer than 4 participants 36 hours before it begins, it will be cancelled and refunds will be issued.
Cancellation policy: You’ve registered for the group, but now you can’t make it? Oh no!
– If you’re canceling because you’re dealing with a serious illness/medical crisis, we can give you a refund, switch you into another Dessert Club now or in the future, or figure out some other arrangement that works for you.
– If you’re canceling for any other reason (“I changed my mind,” “I feel too nervous to show up,” “I didn’t coordinate childcare,” “I'd rather focus on some other part of my life right now,”)… you will not receive a refund. This is a firm policy. Thank you for understanding.
"I now know how terrible my relationship with food was, and for how long it's been happening. I realize how much damage I did to myself, and how far I have to go...but for the first time ever, I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
"The group really exceeded my expectations, and opened a whole new chapter for me."
p.s. Hey, this is Katie Seaver — I run the Dessert Club groups :)
I'll be totally honest with you. I spent years annoyed with my eating and frustrated with my weight. I wanted to be stop disliking my body, but I also wanted to eat chocolate and pizza and pasta without feeling like an out-of-control crazy person, and I feel like the only "helpful" advice I could find out there was about counting calories, restricting portion sizes, or cutting out whole food groups (I like carbs! And sugar! And Nutella! I didn't want to take them out of my life).
I wish someone had sat me down, shook me hard, and shared with me what I want to share with you. I wish that ANYONE had told me that it was possible to live a life where you get to eat what you like and what makes you feel good and food doesn't need to be such an all-consuming big deal anymore.
And, much more importantly, that I could have been with an awesome, welcoming group of people while moved towards a happier way of eating -- I'm sure you know lonely it can be to feel crazy around food. So if you're interested, I'd love for you to join us!
And seriously, I get the most heart-warmingly wonderful + positive feedback about the Dessert Club. Here's what a couple more lovely past participants had to say:
Before joining the Dessert Club, I was scared of a pot of Nutella, frustrated, and generally angry this thing had control of me. I was unable to stop eating when the ‘binge’ got hold of me and generally depressed that all the weight I had lost in the past year was almost regained.
Since being in the Dessert Club, I’ve realized that this issue isn't about food. It's about me: my emotions, how I feel, my reactions to others. I take things that are totally unrelated to food and punish my body with food, dumbing down emotions, reacting with my mouth and not my inner self. I see how little attention I pay to food, the distractions of life are around my hips instead of dealing with them.
For people considering joining, I’d say that it’s the first brave step towards dealing with the root of your eating problems. The support from Katie and the rest of the crew is a wonderful, safe way to explore yourself and your food issues. You may laugh or cry or do both at the same time. And when things are bad, you only have 6 days until there is someone there to support you.”
-- Fiona, Kent, UK
“[Before this work], I dreaded my binges, and felt absolutely demolished every time I succumbed to one. Food equaled guilt to me 100% of the time. I felt awful, out of control, and like food was the enemy.
“I had no idea what to expect with the Dessert Club, but I was afraid the group sessions would be boring, or not pertinent, or depressing. Ironically enough, the group sessions became my favorite part! I learned SO much from hearing the other stories. It made me feel less alone, less crazy, and supported by the other members of the group.
I now know how terrible my relationship with food was, and for how long it's been happening. I realize how much damage I did to myself, and how far I have to go...but for the first time ever, I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The group really exceeded my expectations, and opened a whole new chapter for me. For once I feel like being in control of my food intake is possible. I feel like eating is pleasurable again. I feel like I have a shot at being "normal" again...whatever that is. :-)
[For people considering the Dessert Club], I would tell them that if they are doing it for themselves, to jump right in and go.”
-- Lisa, Texas
“Before joining the Dessert Club, I felt like they would never be a time when I didn't have an issue with food. I was in a hopeless cycle of restriction and bingeing. And I felt anxious about any attempts to solve the issue as I was nervous I would put on weight.
“The love and kindness I received from the other women involved in the group [was the best part]. Although we were all at different stages and our problems unique, we could all offer each other support and the feeling that we were not alone
“[To other women who are struggling], I'd say relax. It's okay to get help. Stop carrying the burden alone. You can work through things at your own pace, you don't have to do anything you're uncomfortable with and you may just change your life for the better. For me the Dessert Club will be the best decision I've made to help me grow as a person and enjoy life to the fullest. I would recommend it to anyone who feels they struggle with their eating, however great or small they feel their issues are.”
-- Anita, North Yorkshire, UK
"Before the DC, I feared food, I avoided food, I used food to abuse. Life was a chaotic hectic mess.
[Since being in the Dessert Club] I’ve learned so much. I've learned how to shake myself awake during a binge or even when I'm just starting to head downhill with overeating. I don't restrict myself to anything anymore, I allow myself to eat it, feel it, to really, really enjoy it. And that's it. I don't overdo it. And even if I do, I have the tools and training necessary to recognize the signs - and to stop myself in time.
I am so thankful for everything you taught me, Katie - really! You changed my whole relationship with food. Life STILL is chaotic, but the DC has taught me how to react better to it."
— Sherry, New York
"I used to wake up and plan each meal that I would eat, how many calories I could eat, the times I was allowed to eat, etc. Of course, I used to break these rules all the time because I would feel hungry and then feel angry with myself.
But ever since I learned about intuitive eating from you I've stopped overeating and the stomachaches have stopped! I feel so happy every day waking up knowing that I can eat whenever and whatever I want as long as I'm hungry and I stop when I'm full. No gimmicks, dieting, restrictions, guilt -- it's wonderful to feel free.
Thank you, thank you SO much, Katie, for leading such wonderful sessions! You truly changed my life and helped me out of a cycle I thought I'd be stuck in forever. I'll certainly recommend the Dessert Club to anyone I know who is struggling with food. Thank you! "
— Anonymous (not everyone wants their name out there on the internet :)
"I used to be so obsessed, thinking if I lost ten pounds or if I cut out fries, my life would somehow fall in place.
[From the Dessert Club], I learned that the only problem that food solves is hunger. Everything else, you have to confront other ways. I am more aware of how my body feels, what is stressing me out, when I am bored. It's even gone deeper for me, in that I've seen that I use food to connect to people. So I have been trying to connect in other ways!
I think food has tasted better than ever-- I've really slowed down to pay attention to how it tastes, feels and how hungry I am. Slowing down and enjoying your food has really helped me crave less, and think about it less.
I would tell people [thinking about joining the Dessert Club] that is it is a great, great idea! It's really helped me mend my relationship with food (its been obsessive and unhealthy since FOREVER). Seeing that food and weight loss are not the answer to all your problems is eye opening. There are other ways to confront what's going on inside and food is not the enemy! "
— Sarah, Chicago