I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I absolutely LOVE dark chocolate.
It helps that I know that dark chocolate is super rich in health-promoting polyphenols.
But what it comes down to is that I just love the stuff.
You may be surprised to hear then that I stay away from dark chocolate as much as I can.
I have gone years at a time without buying it.
“Why?” You ask.
Well, because I LOVE it so much. I can get into the habit of eating it every day. And even though the stuff is good for you, it still contains sugar.
But the real issue is that I become addicted. It is MY kryptonite.
I’ve realized that I do not like being beholden to any food.
It is very important to me that I feel like I’m in control of my eating choices, not the food!
And the truth is, I can easily avoid eating chocolate for years. Once I’m off of it, I rarely think about it.
But over this spring, a very dark spring for most of us, chocolate was calling my name.
I know it may be shocking to read about a nutritionist not eating a perfectly pristine diet. You may have an image of my having a natural ability to effortlessly follow said pristine diet, being impervious to any and all temptations. Maybe you think I just sail through life gravitating toward nutrient-dense foods and never once indulge in overeating or eating junk food.
Yeah, that’s definitely not the case.
It’s just as hard for me as everyone else.
I just have developed some really good habits over years of working at it.
But this winter, that chocolate got me.
It started innocently enough with my buying one bar a week of my favorite organic, Fair-Trade Certified, soy-free 80% chocolate.
I spread it out over the week, nibbling on a few bites a day.
Not a problem, right?
But with each passing week, as lockdown felt more and more oppressive, I started eating more.
Honestly, I didn’t care if it wasn’t great for me. I didn’t care that I was putting on a few pounds.
I didn’t care that I was losing control.
This kept on for awhile and I have absolutely zero regret or shame around it.
It is what it is.
But a few weeks ago I realized that I was no longer the one in control.
One day my husband, who has been doing all the shopping since lockdown, came home with 7 bars!
I immediately asked him why he bought so much! He answered that he was buying about 3 bars twice a week so why not just buy 7 so I don’t run out.
Well, let me tell you, seeing those 7 bars sitting in the cupboard was painful.
For the record, I finished all 7 of them. Without shame.
And then I just stopped asking him to buy the chocolate.
I went cold-turkey.
The first few days I missed it.
It had become my friend. Usually I would eat some mid-afternoon when I felt I needed a little treat. And again after dinner.
That was my pattern and it was nice.
But it had to go.
Why do I share this story with you?
Well, first of all, I want you to know that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else.
As a nutritionist and a coach my duty is to let the world know that perfect eating is not only unattainable, it is inadvisable.
There should be no shame in acting like a human.
The other reason is that I want to share with you the simple concepts I used to overcome my addiction (yes mental and physical addiction: sugar and caffeine are both addictive).
The first part of the strategy was to make it difficult to engage in the behavior I was trying to stop.
This is not rocket science but it is too often neglected under the guise of hanging in there or being tough. I wrote about setting up your environment for success last week.
I knew that if the chocolate was in the house I would eat it. There was no way I wasn’t.
I also knew that I wasn’t going to run out to the store to get it in a moment of weakness.
Well, this is the second part of my strategy.
I knew that I wanted to change. I had a strong “WHY”.
For those of you struggling with making bad eating choices I can tell you that these 2 strategies, when used properly, are extremely powerful.
- Set up your environment for success. Make it really hard to eat the chocolate (or whatever is your kryptonite).
- Know what you want and WHY you want it. Make that “why” something really important to you.
And bam! I am completely off the stuff!
The first week was a little hard.
I’m in the second week right now and it’s easy but I still do get moments where I think, “Oh man, I would love some of the chocolate right now!”
But it’s not here so I move on.
I share my story because I hope it inspires you to make a positive change in your eating habits.
If you want to learn more about how to do that I recommend you check out Food Boss.
Food Boss is a health optimization and weight loss course I have created where I teach you these strategies and so many more just like this to help you reach your health and weight goals.