Who doesn’t love chocolate? Okay I have one friend who doesn’t but let’s be honest, he’s really missing out. Do you feel you fall into the category of a chocoholic though and you must avoid it at all costs? Let’s break this down a little bit, shall we?
I used to work in a homemade chocolate shop, best job you will ever have, free chocolate all the time, delicious, amazing. What I noticed while working there is the amount of people that came in and just beat themselves up for even walking into a chocolate shop. Guys, chocolate is just another type of food, a delicious one at that and you are not the devil for eating it.
I follow people leading the non-diet movement, you know what I have seen them discuss regularly. Not one client they get that they teach to fully allow themself freedom around food, do they then feel like they are addicted to a certain food, not one. This can take work and require the assistance of a professional, but when you learn to have complete freedom around food and no longer guilt or shame yourself for eating certain things, your world opens up.
Chocolate has been a part of human culture for years upon years, as far back as 1900 BC has there been evidence that humans have made chocolate. It is a beautiful compliment to many different things and it can contain many nutrients that will benefit us. Now are there some chocolates that are better then others? Of course there is, there is always a cheaper version with plenty of artificial additives and can make you feel less then awesome after eating it. But does that mean you can only eat one type of chocolate, that super strong 90% cocoa and nothing less? No, absolutely not.
Having strict rules around food is only going to make you crave the food more. You feel like you “should” avoid chocolate because that is “better for you”. When you are constantly telling yourself that you cannot have a food, the brain then takes that on as that food is scarce, when it feels that food is scarce, it is going to want all of that food. If I told you that you could no longer eat chocolate ever again starting tomorrow, what would you be having for dinner tonight? When you put barriers around a food, you make your body want it more. This can go for any type of food that you are avoiding.
Now, when it is a food you actually really enjoy, the positive emotions you would get from the joy from eating it, would far outweigh the stress you put on yourself by using your “will power” to avoid it. And when you do finally give into those cravings, which we all know eventually does happen, especially when you are stressed. You find your self completely smashing a whole block and feeling extremely sick after it. You’re then feeling sick physically, emotionally you are beating yourself up, feeling guilty, feeling shameful that you just can’t get it right and that you’ve done something horribly wrong. Honestly the level that people hate on themselves when they eat something they feel they shouldn’t, you would think they have just committed a serious crime. Food is just food, some makes you feel on top of the world and full of energy, some makes you want to take a nap and moody, some just fill your soul up and make you feel like you are in tastebud heaven.
What is also noted on people who stop restricting themselves around food, is that food that they feel like they are addicted to, when they allow themselves complete freedom to eat it, they often find if they are mindful in the process of eating it, they don’t even enjoy that food, it was just the idea of it that made them go crazy.
When you are shaming yourself for eating chocolate or any food you think is “bad”, you are activating your stress signals within your body. When our stress signals are activated, all of our bodies energy gets pushed to our external limbs in preparation to run away from the stressor. Leaving very little energy left for your digestion to function at its best. So not only are you making yourself mentally feel terrible, you are also impacting your digestion and potentially impacting making yourself feel terrible physically.
If you love chocolate, go out and find yourself a good quality brand, one that you really enjoy the flavour of, and enjoy the moment when you are eating it. Take your time, be mindful with it. Remind yourself of all of the joy that chocolate brings into our lives. Be conscious of how you are viewing the food, are you perceiving it as bad for you and that you are doing something terribly wrong by eating it? Check in with that, ask yourself if that is 100% true. Ask yourself is there a better way you can think about that. Give yourself some freedom to enjoy the foods you love.