You love chocolate. The smell. The smooth creaminess as it melts in your mouth. The happy memories of Easter searching for the Easter eggs, hanging with your friends watching movies, your first Valentine’s Day.
You love it so much that you hide how much of it you eat. Hide the wrappers, eat when no one is around, stash some in a drawer ‘for later’.
You wear your badge of “Chocoholic” with pride (on the outside). But inside you know you can’t stop even though you want to.
If only there was a way to enjoy chocolate without the remorse…
Why We Food Shame
We receive a lot of mixed messages about chocolate. One minute it’s bad for us — full of sugar, makes you fat, gives you pimples. The next minute it’s good for us — provided it’s dark, organic and eaten in small amounts, occasionally. But it’s ok to have chocolate on Valentine’s Day, your birthday, or for some other ‘special’ event.
Chocolate is described as indulgent, luxurious, a ‘guilty pleasure’; language that makes us feel bad for wanting it. Add to that all that we’ve learned in recent years about sugar — how it negatively affects our physical and mental health. No wonder we’re feeling guilty!
So we eat the chocolate anyway, all the time thinking that we shouldn’t, we mustn’t, we’ll be judged for it. Even if we’re only judging ourselves.
The Craving Is the Problem, Not The Chocolate
Pure chocolate is actually good for us. It’s full of antioxidants called flavonoids which have beneficial effects on your health.
Good quality chocolate is packed with nutrients like magnesium, iron, and calcium. But this chocolate is bitter, so the packaged chocolate that we all love and adore is full of sugar and milk to make it more palatable.
And this is where the problems lies: Sugar cravings.
Sugar: Studies show sugar is addictive. Sugar activates the brain’s reward system by releasing dopamine — the “happy hormone”. A flood of dopamine can produce temporary feelings of euphoria. No wonder we reach for the chocolate after a long stressful day!
Cravings: defined as a “powerful desire for something” are often caused by:
- External prompts — such as seeing an advertisement or a display stand in a shop. Or it’s ‘Friday night, junk food night’. Perhaps your cravings have turned into a habit.
- Emotional state — such as being bored, tired or stressed. Stress increases cortisol levels which then increase food cravings for sugary or fatty foods (aka chocolate). As well as increasing hunger hormones (aka lots of chocolate).
- Hormonal changes — menstruation and pregnancy are common reasons for eating lots of chocolate.
- Nutrient imbalances — magnesium imbalances and low protein intake are often associated with chocolate cravings.
So combine the sugar addiction with a craving and you most likely have a ‘chocoholic’.
You do have control over your addiction
Taking this new view that your chocoholism is most likely due to an underlying sugar addiction combined with at least 1 of 4 types of cravings — you must see that you are not a lost cause, destined to eat chocolate by the truckload.
- Get a hold of your sugar imbalances by retraining your taste buds to like less sugary foods. Go cold turkey if you can, or simply drink more water when you feel like something sweet.
- Be aware of the cues that set you off craving chocolate. Ask yourself do you really need it, or is this just a habit that you would like to change.
- Have a well stocked fridge full of healthy sweets like berries and kiwi fruit. Especially when your period is due.
- Address any nutrient imbalances — see a naturopath or nutritionist to advise you on the best dietary changes and supplements.
There is a logical reason for your chocolate addiction, and if you want, you can take control. Guilt free!
Enjoy Every Single Bite, Every Single Time
Embrace your love of chocolate.
There is nothing to feel guilty about. There’s no need to hide, or to stash for later.
You listen to your body, you understand the underlying cause for your chocolate addiction, and it’s ok. You are more than ok.
Wear your “Chocoholic” badge with pride, and enjoy every single bite - guilt free.