Okay ladies, listen up! You are not addicted to chocolate! Many people (mostly women) assert that they are addicted to chocolate because of its feel good compounds like serotonin and cannabinoids. When we eat high fat foods, like chocolate, serotonin is released giving us a feeling of elation. However, there are plenty of other foods that have these same properties and we arenít claiming to be addicted to them. Think broccoli. I canít remember the last time I heard about treatment for a broccoli addiction!
Generally, instead of just eating when we are hungry, we crave foods due to external triggers and our emotional state. If we are bored, stressed out, anxious or depressed we look for that feel better food and reach for the chocolate bar. Consider it self-medication for feeling miserable.
While itís true that chocolate does contain biologically active ingredients that cause psychological sensations similar to those of other addictive substances, chocolate addiction is not a true addiction. The sensory characteristics such as the texture and aroma combined with hormonal and mood swings we go through are the more likely culprit to our chocolate cravings.
Another explanation for your perceived ďaddictionĒ is just plain old human nature. We always want what we cannot have. The idea that chocolate is so yummy but something that should be resisted at all costs makes us crave it. Advertisers, huge grocery displays and a plentiful supply of high calorie options overwhelm us. The stress of living in this modern era, where we no longer need to hunt and gather, but rather food is literally in our face 24/7 makes the temptations almost insurmountable. Almost.
Here are some tips on kicking those chocolate cravings to the curb.
- If you can have a small bite of chocolate and then stop, do it! No one says you have to be a Martyr to the Anti-chocolate gods. Have a bite now and then. If you arenít able to stop after one or two bits ignore this and move to the next bullet point.
- Analyze your cravings. When you find that you are craving chocolate, take a look at your current emotional situation. Are you stressed? Depressed? Just plain pissed off? If so, you are most likely having an emotional craving. Before reaching for the Oreos, try another approach.
- Eliminate the temptation. Donít buy it. If you are at home and there is no chocolate in the house, you are less likely to eat it. Replace chocolate on your grocery list with fresh fruit.
- Exercise will burn excess calories and increasing your metabolism. It also releases endorphins that counteract stress and depression. When you feel a craving coming on, take a walk, jump on your elliptical or pump some iron.
- Consider replacing a high calorie/high fat snack with a meal replacement drink. There are shakes that cater specifically to women that are low calorie, low fat and even low carb. And the best partÖmost of them come in CHOCOLATE!