Wondering if the Dessert Club would be a good fit? Here's what past participants had to say.
“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!”
“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.”
“I came to the Dessert Club thinking I must be crazy, because I was spending an absurd amount of time and energy thinking about, researching, planing food.
“And through this work, I see that it's not about food. My abuse of food was just a sign that there were significant issues in my life that I was avoiding dealing with. But before the Dessert Club, you would never have convinced me that it was not about food.”
“Now, it's just food. That's all. Not this consuming source of fear and desire that it was before. I have a container of peach ice cream in my freezer and a jar of Nutella in my pantry...and I haven't touched them in quite a while. Not because I don't feel like I can or that I shouldn't. I just haven't wanted them yet. I actually forgot about the ice cream. That NEVER happened before. And I know they are there when I decide I want them. And when I do want them, I'll eat them and enjoy them...with no guilt.”
“[Before joining the Dessert Club], I felt out of control! I honestly thought about my body and being fat almost constantly, but didn't really think about my eating habits much at all. I guess I felt resigned. I don’t know if I had any expectations [for the Dessert Club]. I guess I expected it to be kind of like a Weight Watcher’s meeting.
“Since being in the Dessert Club, I have become more gentle with myself. I am no longer tempted by quick fixes or harsh changes - I'm being much kinder and patient. I have started cooking more, taking pleasure in my food, and savoring the experience. I find myself observing things all the time - and talking about all I've learned with anyone who will listen!
“[To people considering joining], I’d say DO IT! The impact this has had is beyond weight or food. Katie and the Dessert Club offers the space to slow down and reconnect to our basic selves. It all seems so simple in theory, yet it's more than the facts and knowledge - it's the time, support, and encouragement that is the best part of this. Thank you, Katie!!!
“I now have a whole list of tools to use when I start to think about food and eating. I know how to determine if I am really hungry or if there's something else going on that needs to be addressed with something other than food. I know that I need to pay attention to the food I choose to eat, to really enjoy it and to stay focused so I can tell when I have had enough.
“I think about food so much less often than before and now when I think about food I think more about what I really want to eat and how it will taste. Eating has become a positive thing in my life now.
[To people considering joining], I’d say do it. I have been following your blog for a long time and I'm sorry that I didn't choose to be part of the very first Dessert Club.”
“I loved the group exercises in the Dessert Club. Hearing other people's perspectives made me realize aspects of my own experience that I hadn't realized previously or hadn't fully understood. Additionally, it was so nice to share, as often I felt alone in this issue (although I knew many people who dealt with it too). I had made it shameful to even think about my food and body image issues, let alone talk openly about them.”
“Before Dessert Club I felt a little out of control and confused when it came to food and life. I knew something was wrong with my eating habits, but I didn't know where to start when it comes to changing my relationship with food, short of starting a new "diet plan," which has never led to long-lasting success.
“From being in the Dessert Club, I’ve learned that there is lot more that goes into my decisions about food than I ever considered before, and that I have a really strong desire to use food as comfort and as part of a desire to block out difficult things in my life.
“Some of the homework assignments were tougher than I expected them to be! But it was also enlightening, and therefore worth it.
“I would say if you even have the slightest inkling to explore the complicated feelings you have regarding food - feelings that many of us have but never talk about - you should join the Dessert Club, not least for many insightful discoveries about your own relationship to food and for camaraderie among other people with the same concerns.”
“My favorite part was hearing the life stories from the other girls. We lived so far apart from each other, yet I felt like I could be friends with each one of them and loved how we all had so much in common.
“[To people considering the Dessert Club], I’d say DO IT!!! Because if you don't, you will be in your 50's and doing the same damn thing that you're doing now.
“[From being in the Dessert Club], I realized that I use food to give myself an easy "treat" (pun intended) because I've consistently neglected my wants and needs. This became pretty clear when I was getting angry over not being able to finish my morning bagel because I was full - I felt like I deserved that goddamn bagel and wanted to finish it, regardless of how my body felt.
“I also realized that I was not happy when I was thinner than I am now. I think I knew this deep down, but confronting it directly was very powerful and upsetting. I hated my body then (albeit less than I hated my body before starting the Dessert Club), because there was always more weight to lose. I wasted time and mental energy on obsessing over what I would eat and how I looked, even when I was really thin! It has made me question the quest to be thin and what I'm really looking for, because I don't think thinness is it.”
“[Before this group], 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.”
North Yorkshire, UK
“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.”
""Prior to joining the Dessert Club, I was scared by food, by my eating habits, and by the potential I could spiral out of control. I knew I wasn't eating right, but I also wasn't sure what "right" was.
[Since the Dessert Club] I've been much less stressed, much happier eating, and SO MUCH more in tune with my body. There have been days when certain foods sound so great and others not appetizing at all. And I listen to that. It's revolutionary.
Thank you, so much. I don't think I can explain how much of an impact the Dessert Club has had on my life and my future. Life without shame and guilt about food is monumental.""
"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."
"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! "
"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! "
“What did I learn as a result of the Dessert Club? Holy cow, I have a lot of feelings and wants and needs! Once I realized how I ate instead of feeling scared or lonely or bored, I stopped eating and tried to figure out 1) how I actually felt and 2) what to do with how I felt without resorting to food. I started to see that I was a lot more complicated than how many servings of carbs I had in a day, or how many pounds I weighed -- and nothing about me can be simplified to a number, a fact, or an action. It was pretty scary.”
If you are the least bit curious about yourself and why you eat the way you do, if you want to know how you can enjoy eating your favorite food without feeling the least bit guilty, if you want to be part of a community kindred spirits, if you would like to refocus your energy from eating and dieting to living and growing -- this is what the Dessert Club was for me.”
“What surprised me most was how much I ended up enjoying the group sessions. I am not a "share your feelings with a group" type of person, so I'd expected that part to be a little bit of a chore. But I ended up attending every session (going out of my way to attend a couple), and genuinely looking forward to each.
“There was something about the focus of the sessions (which are well-facilitated), the honesty the other participants brought to it, and the profound truths Katie would drop that left me feeling somehow invigorated and calmed at the same time. I told a friend that Dessert Club sessions feel similar to getting a hug—it's like a safe retreat before you head back into the world.”
“In the weeks since Dessert Club ended, I've really noticed that I'm eating less, specifically in times of stress or exhaustion. Currently I rarely find myself putting something in my mouth without really noticing or thinking about it first, which definitely wasn't the case before the Dessert Club.
“Sometimes I'm surprised when I'm not standing in the kitchen eating toast after work or not really feeling tempted by the jar of peanut butter on the counter. I still know I enjoy those things, but the practice of trusting that I'll let myself have whatever when I actually feel hungry has really helped.
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.
“I baked vanilla cupcakes and in the past I would have eaten them all and felt bad. But this time [after being in the Dessert Club] after a few days I lost interest in them. I never would have thought that was possible.”
“[Before joining the Dessert Club], I was pretty miserable and hopeless. Food was taking up way too much of my mental space and I was on an endless roller coaster of dieting and bingeing.
“I wasn't sure about joining because I have probably read every single book about dealing with food issues and have done extensive individual therapy as well. But the feeling of warmth and support that you get from a wonderful group of people who struggle with the same issues is just incomparable. And Katie's presence is like that of a wise wonderful friend who always knows exactly what to say.
“The Dessert Club was kind of like what I expected in terms of structure, but definitely surpassed my expectations in terms of how much I would gain from it.”
“[Before the Dessert Club], I had been plagued for years with insecurities about my body and wishing I could be thinner. I have always exercised regularly but eating "right" has always been my problem. I had tried Paleo diets in the past and calorie counting. Nothing seemed to work and I was in despair about my body. I wanted to feel something different towards myself and just be happy.
“[My favorite part about the Dessert Club was] the exercises, the reading, and the weekly check-ins. (Ok so maybe that's all of Dessert Club was my favorite?)
”Dessert Club isn't just about learning to have a better relationship with food but about having a better relationship with yourself. You really learn to think more about what and why you are eating as well as other things in your life. It felt like a therapy session where you could talk about your fears, experiences, and find comfort that others felt the same way.
”I think my biggest take away from Dessert Club were all the tools to deal with stress eating and how to approach problems.”
“Dessert Club is a present you can give yourself. Dessert Club helped me bring more meaning and mindfulness to my relationship with food--and also fun.”
“I found Katie's blog through an ad in an Ann Friedman newsletter - and within a few lines I thought, 'hang on! That sounds like ME. Do other people really think like me about food?' At the time when I started considering signing up for the Dessert Club, I was on yet another round of a diet plan that really wasn't working for me. I couldn't stay motivated to continue.
”[Since being in the Dessert Club], I've seen that I *can* trust myself around food. I've seen that I can trust my decisions, and I've seen a pattern in how and when I binge. I've also realized that my binges all have triggers and it's getting easier to figure out what those triggers are. I've seen that even though the voice inside me that helps me to be aware of why, when and how I am eating is a quiet voice, if I take the time to listen it usually won't lead me astray.
“Eating two squares of chocolate and putting the rest of the bar away would have seemed impossible a few months ago (especially if I was alone). Now it's something I can do, something I have done, and something that makes sense to me.
“[if you’re considering signing up for the Dessert Club], do it! It will serve you in more ways than you can imagine. On a practical level, it'll equip you with a better toolkit for navigating the overwhelming world of eating and body image. But for me the real benefits went deeper too. I Dessert Club is a safe space and a very supportive space, and that support not only comes from Katie but from your fellow participants. If you find yourself constantly falling back into the same cycles of eating, restricting, guilt, bingeing and obsessing about food, Dessert Club is a powerful way of resetting that cycle and helping you to find your way again.”
“Before being in the Dessert Club, I was thinking about food ALWAYS, but the thoughts gave me so much anxiety because of all of the external messaging. So, my life in this sense was just cycling through negative thoughts of food, bingeing, then punishing myself for it. “
“[Since being in the Dessert Club], I am so much more self-aware around my binge-foods. From pasta to pastries, I really dial in and allow myself to stop, knowing that there is always more, and I don't have to have it all right now.
”For me, the Dessert Club ended up being a group of women who, despite being geographically all over the map, became so close after eight sessions. I am so grateful that Katie pulls these small groups together and asks the hard questions that we might not be strong enough to answer individually.”
“If you want to change your relationship with food and with your body this is an amazing step towards that, in a gentle, open, fun and unpressured way. There is nothing to achieve and no wrong way to do it. It's not a quick fix or silver bullet. It's real and sustainable if you are willing to step into it with an open mind and open heart.”
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