How do I control myself around chocolate?

The Question

I love chocolate. I eat it almost everyday. I want it so badly but I know it's not helping me lose weight. How do I control myself around chocolate?

The Answer 

Thank you for the question. Many people experience cravings for chocolate so know that you're not alone. 

It sounds like you already understand this but I want to first clarify the difference between true hunger and artificial hunger.

True hunger is a physical sensation that comes and goes. It's gradual. Your body will feel physically hungry and if you don't eat right away, your body will "feed you" from its existing fat storage. When that happens, you won't feel as hungry. Then, hunger will come back again and if you don't eat right away again, your body will "feed you" from its existing fat storage again. And the cycle will continue until you eat and satisfy true hunger. 

Artificial hunger is not true hunger. You'll feel a strong sense of desire (a craving) for food. In this case, it's a specific craving for chocolate.

There's a few reasons why you might be having these cravings.

First, you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance and withdrawal from sugar. This may be perpetuating the craving. If you suspect this may be the case, read The 2 Root Causes Of Overeating.

Second, the feeling of desire is being caused by a thought in your mind.

Thoughts cause feelings. And feelings cause actions or inactions. So, the desire you feel for chocolate is very possibly caused by your thoughts. 

You may be thinking, "Could it be that easy?" 

Yes, it can be.

Now, it's also possible that you're experiencing both of these things. A hormonal imbalance and withdrawal from sugar as well as an emotion caused by your thoughts. 

Whatever the case may be, I've got 4 steps you can take to change your relationship with chocolate. 

Step #1: Check In With Yourself

In your question, you specifically ask how you can control yourself around chocolate.

To me, CONTROL = ACTION.

So when people ask me how to control themselves, I hear them asking how they can start taking an action or how they can stop taking an action.

But before you do anything, I strongly recommend you checkin in with yourself. Based on your question, I'm sensing that you're feeling a little inconsistent about chocolate. You love it AND you hate it. 

Take the time to figure out how you're thinking and feeling about chocolate now. Do you have a love/hate relationship with it? 

Does it feel like there's a battle or tug-of-war going on inside your mind when you think about chocolate? 

Get a clear idea of where you're at with this and be honest with yourself. 

Step #2: Create Your Big Picture Goal

Now that you've checked in with yourself, it's time to create your big picture goal. 

What do you want your relationship with chocolate to be like in your future?

How many times a week do you want to eat it? 

How much of it do you want to eat at each sitting? 

Get super clear with your big picture goal. 

Step #3: Create Your Plan 

Next, create your plan for how you'll get to the place where you're eating chocolate the exact number of times each week that you want to eat it as well as the exact serving size you want to eat. 

Let's say right now you're eating an entire bar of chocolate everyday. And your big picture goal is to eat 1/4 bar of chocolate, one day a week. 

That's a big difference. So, your plan may look something like this.

  • Week 1 - Eat one bar of chocolate each day 
  • Week 2 - Eat 3/4 bar of chocolate each day
  • Week 3 - Eat 1/2 bar of chocolate each day
  • Week 4 - Eat 1/4 bar of chocolate each day 
  • Week 5 - Eat 1/4 bar of chocolate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Week 6 - Eat 1/4 bar of chocolate on Monday, Friday
  • Week 7 and Beyond - Eat 1/4 bar of chocolate on Monday 

Gradually change your intake of chocolate one week at a time. 

Step #4: Take Action On Your Plan

After you've created your plan, it's time to start taking action on it. This is probably the most difficult step. But you can do this! 

The most difficult part of it will be managing the urges you have to eat chocolate. An urge will hit you and you'll want to eat the chocolate. You'll need to practice not giving into that urge. Don't fight it or avoid it. Just sit there and feel it. 

Urges sometimes feel like they last forever because they're uncomfortable. But really, they last just a few minutes. 

So, sit there and feel it. Practice feeling it. And after time, it'll be so much easier. 

The Wrap-Up

A craving for chocolate is not true hunger. It's artificial hunger. 

You may be experiencing artificial hunger because of a hormonal imbalance and withdrawal from sugar, an emotion caused by your thoughts, or both of these things. 

Whatever the case may be, you can start making changes by checking in with yourself, creating your big picture goal, creating your plan, and taking action on your plan. 

Make sure your plan is designed in a way that will be simpler for you to apply to your life. Like, gradually changing your intake of chocolate one week at a time. 

Thanks again for your question. I hope my answer helps you.

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