With Lent having started this past Wednesday I imagine that a lot of people are doing their best to keep away from chocolate. The problem is that for a lot of people that is easier said than done and forty days and forty nights can seem like a hell of a long time. So if you have decided to give it up until Easter, or you are just looking to cut down, then hopefully these few ideas will help you along the way.
Chocolate might not be as damaging to our health as cigarettes but the reason we crave it is almost the same. Certain things cause our brain to produce dopamine and chocolate is one of them, just as cigarettes are. And as with any addiction over time you need more of whatever it is to trigger the same response. This is the problem that we face.
So the first thing you want to do is make sure you don’t get hungry. This idea of waiting until you are absolutely famished before you eat is absolutely ridiculous and just ends up with people eating the sorts of foods that they should be avoiding. Eating regularly will keep your blood sugar at a regular level and you shouldn’t be craving chocolate in the same way as when it hits the floor. So try to plan your meals throughout the day, ensuring you are eating about every three hours.
Eating more protein is another way of achieving exactly the same thing. The high levels of protein will encourage a slower release of glucose into the blood and help to keep sugars at a more constant level. If you imagine plotting your blood sugar on a graph, you want to keep that line as smooth as possible, without major peaks and troughs.
You can even try incorporating a small amount of cardio on top of what you are doing already, and I mean small. When a craving hits, particularly for chocolate, doing a small amount of exercise will not only distract you from your craving, but the cardiovascular effects will increase your insulin resistance and help with blood sugar again.
For some people the addiction is less with chocolate and more with sweet things in general. So if you know that you are guilty of having a sweet tooth then try and plan for cravings. There are all sorts of snacks out there that will provide the sugar you are looking for, without coming hand-in-hand with the fat that chocolate possesses.
Fruit is the perfect example of a sweet snack that is low in fat. Most fruits are sweet and eating them should satisfy your craving for sugar and most of them have little or no fat whatsoever. Just remember though, eating endless amounts of fruit may have its benefits, but it also means you will be eating more and more sugar.
Most people won’t tell you that you have sacrificed all your goals just because you have eaten some chocolate and of course you should feel free to treat yourself every once in a while. But if Lent is good for anything then it is its ability to test the human will-power and that applies to whatever you have decided to give up. So why not stick it out until Easter, just to prove to yourself that you can.