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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Posted by Jane at 2:59 PM
Chocolate cravings can be incredibly hard to stop, especially if you have been indulging in a bar or two of chocolate each day. Although research has shown the benefits of chocolate, these benefits are outweighed when we consume way too much chocolate and take in large amounts of saturated fat, caffeine, sugar and possibly an array of flavorings and fillings. Once you realize that it is time to pull back on the chocolate consumption, it's time to take it seriously and stop eating chocolate all of the time.
Be realistic. Cut down on rather than cut out chocolate. If you make a decision to completely deprive yourself of chocolate, it is likely that you will not succeed and your habit may well escalate. The truth is that chocolate makes most people feel good and has its own way of making us want to come back for more.
Schedule reasonable occasions for when you can indulge in a little chocolate, such as after a sports game you have played in, after a hike, on the weekend etc. Map out the times when you are most likely to reach for chocolate, such as the afternoon slump or when you feel bored, and reach for a glass of water or a handful of nuts or sultanas instead. Do something rather than letting boredom be the source of your desire to munch away.
Back up realism with quality. Go for quality in small amounts rather than eating large amounts of poor quality chocolate. Good quality chocolate is high in cocoa and generally lacks fillings and artificial flavorings and colorings. If you avoid "candy chocolate", suddenly a lot of chocolate choices are off the menu and you will find it easier to enjoy quality chocolate properly on suitable occasions.
Avoid places where chocolate is on display. Walk on the other side of the street rather than by the window of that sweet little chocolate shop. When you go to the grocery store, avoid walking by the chocolate aisle. At the checkout, try to go for the checkout that is confectionery free, or simply look elsewhere.
Don't keep chocolate in the house. Temptation is only at the reach of a hand when you keep chocolate stashes in the home.
Try to substitute chocolate with less fattening options. Try gum, fruit, small amounts of dried fruit or celery sticks.
Consider whether your daily chocolate cravings may be a form of food addiction. Chocolate contains chemicals that make us feel good. If you are relying in this aspect of chocolate regularly, it may be that you need to face underlying reasons as to why you seek chocolate as a source of medicating or calming yourself on a daily basis. If you are stressed, suffering from anxiety disorders or you aren't quite sure what's wrong, seek professional assistance to deal with the root of the problem.
You may eat chocolate occasionally, but only if you think that you won't become addicted to it again.
Carob is still a source of saturated fat and does not contain the same elements that make chocolate so delicious. If you make a decision to substitute carob for chocolate on the grounds that it will be a fair taste substitute and that it is healthier for you, you are going down the wrong track. It is better to eat smaller amounts of high quality chocolate than to indulge in supermarket quality carob drops that contain hydrogenated vegetable fat, sweeteners and just as many calories. If you genuinely enjoy carob, by all means eat it but also keep it in moderation and seek quality versions of it.
Accept those times in life when the only comforter on Earth is chocolate; sometimes these days happen and once in a while, giving in to this need will not harm you.
Chocolate can bring on headaches in some people (it has a high content of phenylethylamine). If you notice such a connection when you consume chocolate, you have an added incentive to cut down. Heartburn and acid reflux can also occur from eating chocolate. Unfortunately, chocolate is also a culprit in swelling, so downing it at that time of the month may be counterproductive!
You may become addicted to whatever you are using as a substitute for chocolate. If so, recognize that you have an addictive nature when it comes to food and find coping techniques for dealing with this.
Posted by Jane at 12:58 PM