A friend of mine keeps a secret stash of small chocolate squares in her drawer. It’s her afternoon indulgence — and gets her through her “mid-afternoon slump.” There’s something so comforting about the way chocolate tastes and feels in her mouth. It seems to envelop her body with pleasure.
“Will I ever be able to lose weight if I just can’t give up chocolate?” she asked me.
I had some good news for her, and for you. There’s a reason you have chocolate cravings. Once you understand WHY you crave chocolate, you can decide if you really need chocolate to fulfill that craving. When you give your body what it really wants, you will be on a faster and sustainable path to weight-loss.
Today, I’ll show you how to tune-in deeply into your body to find out what it wants.
Why do you crave chocolate?
It is so important for you to understand your answer to this question so you can lose weight more quickly — and only you can find it out.
There’s a three-fold set of triggers that incites this strong desire for chocolate.
1: Nutritional deficiencies
2: Psychological and emotional triggers
3. Physical comfort
Let’s start with #1 — it’s the easiest to pinpoint.
Have you ever felt that you tend to crave chocolate right before you get your monthly period? Our magnesium levels drop due to hormonal fluctuations when we experience PMS — and the time of the month that women tend to crave chocolate the most.
Magnesium is one of the major nutrients which most women lack and chocolate supplies. If you’re wanting chocolate, try adding these foods to your daily diet, which have incredibly high magnesium levels:
- 1 cup cooked dark leafy greens, especially spinach, or
- 1 oz. nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds
#2 and #3
Do you look to chocolate as your saving grace when you feel stressed throughout the day — when you have work deadlines or when your kids come home and you feel the pressure of the evening’s responsibilities ahead (dinner, bath, bedtime) — when you actually need some time to take care of yourself?
Do you crave chocolate late at night when you finally have some quiet time from the busyness of the day — and you feel like you need something to comfort you?
Chocolate cravings can partly be due to nutritional deficiency, but often it’s also due to psychological or physical desires. We have deep connections with the pleasure we feel from the creamy texture and the feeling of chocolate melting in our mouth. Many people eat chocolate as a comfort food when they are depressed or stressed.
Here are a few ways chocolate stimulates your body:
– Makes you Excited: It triggers mood-enhancing chemicals and neurotransmitters to be released in the brain – including dopamine, which increases feeling of giddiness, euphoria, attraction and excitement (and also peaks during orgasm) – This is why some women prefer chocolate to sex
– Gives you a Pleasure High: It contains substances that mimic THC in marijuana – and causes a pleasurable slight “high”
– Destresses you: Increases the levels of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter that “makes people feel relaxed and satisfied and is essential for a well-balanced mood”
No wonder we crave chocolate so much!! That sounds amazing :)!
Why does your body crave chocolate?
Here are 5 psychological reasons for craving chocolate:
- A need for calming — to relax and de-stress
- To lift one’s mood, a “feel-good” boost
- Craving for love, intimacy and/or romance
- Looking for energy, passion, and excitement
- Unable to process sadness/grief
Here are 2 physical reasons for craving chocolate:
- Craving for a hug
- The desire for physical closeness
During the time when our emotions tend to take a dip because of hormones (for example, the pre-menstrual cycle), it makes sense that we also desire comfort, and chocolate supplies this.
There is something deeper that you are looking for when you crave chocolate. Chocolate provides a temporary “fix” for an unmet need. I want you to realize what this need is – so that you can work on filling it more permanently and with something less sugary that will make it easier for you to lose weight.
Next time you’re feeling your chocolate craving — it may in the afternoon around 3pm or around 10pm at night — try this.
FEEL your craving.
Don’t feed your body chocolate this one time — feel the craving. What is that your body is really aching for? Be patient with yourself. . .it can be buried deep and you’ve been covering it with chocolate for so long.
You are very likely to uncover something that may blow your mind.
While you’re in this moment of feeling your chocolate craving, ask yourself these 3 questions to help uncover what you are really looking for. I recommend writing down the answers or typing it into your phone in the Notes app. Your thoughts become much clearer when you get them out of your head and down on something.
How to deal with chocolate cravings
Ask yourself these 3 questions and write down the answers.
My chocolate craving is because:
- I really want . . .(e.g, comfort, relaxation, de-stressing, a hug)
- I don’t want to feel . . . (e.g., , stress, loneliness, boredom)
- It may be a replacement for . . (e.g., love, excitement, calmness)
Do this exercise once — and maybe twice or three times if you need more time to really feel yourself.
Note: Make sure to NOT give yourself chocolate when you are feeling the craving so you can dig into what you’re looking for. Yes, it will be hard to resist. However, once you give yourself chocolate, you fulfill your craving — and you won’t be able to discover what you were needing.
If you have other cravings, you can use the same set of questions (e.g. other sweet cravings, bread, crunchy, dairy).
Once you are able to realize what you really need (after 1-3 times of doing this exercise) – think about how you can give yourself what you’re needing – with something other than chocolate.
What does your body need when you crave chocolate?
- If you need inner comfort: Is there another form of comfort that would make you feel good – like a warm shower with really nice soap, writing a handwritten letter to a loved one, or reading a stimulating book?
- If you’re looking to alleviate stress: IIs there another way you could alleviate your stress, like make a list of what you need to do, or take 10 deep breaths?
- If you crave physical comfort: Can you give your partner, best friend or kids a long hug every evening, and fill up on this very important expression of love when you see them?
By spending time learning about yourself, you can improve your life by digging into your real desires – and not covering them up with chocolate. At the same time, you will clear your path for a faster journey to weight-loss.
I would love to hear your thoughts about what you need when you crave chocolate. Please comment on my blog or send me a response to this email.
P.S. In my next post, I’ll share my 5 recommended dark chocolates (brands and serving sizes) to satisfy your chocolate craving – while also helping you lose weight. These can be your go-to chocolates while you’re working on understanding your cravings.