We are all tormented by the fact that, when we least expect it and when we actually manage to stay away from sweets and carbs and maintain a balanced and efficient diet, our mind becomes set on any woman’s friend or foe, an arch enemy in all fights against excessive fat and a reward we always long for ever since we were little- chocolate. The flavored sweet more refined and tasty than all, the main ingredient in our favorite cakes and pastry, the ‘must-have’ element at any party and the ingredient in our family’s traditional Christmas pie that satisfied all taste buds and hypnotized us from the first smell when the oven door opens, chocolate is actually a fierce enemy in the battle with unwanted fat and extra weight.
Chocolate is what defined our childhood. It was present at every important step in our life and managed to satisfy us unconditionally: when we were upset when we were happy when we were depressed when we felt homesick when we loved and lost when we needed attention when we felt successful and so on. Nobody can deny the mesmerizing nature of chocolate, nor its effective powers upon us or its presence in virtually all chapters of our early age, youth or maturity.
Coming in various forms, textures, sizes or flavors (including dark, milk, white, peanut combinations and more), chocolate is a sweet, usually brown mixture of cacao seeds which undergo several stages of preparation, including roasting and grounding or fermentation. Having been cultivated for virtually millennia, cacao was first traced to Mesoamerica, a cultural region in the Americas, extending from Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, which, in the 16th century, was colonized by the Spanish, along with other regions in Latin America. The ancient civilizations of Mayans and Aztecs have allegedly used cacao seeds in order to make beverages. However, in those ancient times, people were drinking chocolate-based beverages which were bitter, as the seeds ought to be intensely fermented to develop the sweet flavor. The cacao beans ought to be dried, cleaned, as well as roasted after fermentation. It can produce cacao nibs, which are used to make cocoa mass, also called pure chocolate in rough form.
Everyone knows that eating chocolate can only lead to craving more sugary sweets and then, long for gluten foods or, worse salty ones. When our body gets adjusted to the sweet taste, it continues to desire chocolate or other sweets long after the first muffin, Danish or pancake we have eaten. Then, despite the fact that we satisfy hunger in a quick manner and give our body a short-term and pleasant boost, this entire process can lead to a vicious circle, in which we never feel full or energized, yet continue to pump up chocolate, carbohydrates (without the necessary backup of proteins and fats) and, therefore, end up having more pounds than we might like. We long for sweets due to the fact that they stimulate a sort of feel-good chemical called serotonin. Also, chocolate, as well as other sweets, releases endorphins which relax us and give us a state of natural happiness and joyfulness. Nevertheless, indulging in sweets can also make us over consume and then, of course, fight against extra weight and unnecessary fat.
Since chocolate seems to be our favorite worst enemy, it is important to bear in mind that there are still ways in which we can stop such cravings. Here are a few essential steps to stop craving chocolate:
Learn to give in a little. Registered dietitians and nutritionists have discovered that eating a little bit of what your body longs for, perhaps a small cookie or a tiny portion of an almond or milk chocolate bar can help you steer clear of feeling denied, yet still put a certain limit to indulging in what is bad for you. Also, not surpassing the 150 calorie threshold is important, as well as beneficial for your body. This limit is a decent, yet healthy one, suggested by famous dietitians around the world.
Trick your mind! If you cannot possibly imagine the world without chocolate (nobody can blame you as this wonderful sugary ingredient is to die for), you can trick your mind into thinking you actually consumed the ‘normal’ portion of chocolate or desired piece of cake by combining foods. You can add a tablespoon of cocoa powder into your morning milkshake or mix some almonds with a bit of chocolate in order to quench your thirsts. What ought to be mentioned is that, in addition to satisfying yourself and opening the gate for your cravings, you can also come up with healthy alternatives which can help your body stay energized throughout the entire day and take the nutrients it needs. You can also dip a banana in chocolate, break a chocolate bar and mix it with Greek yogurt, combine nuts and pistachio with cocoa powder or get some low fat cottage cheese, fresh berries, fat-free yogurt, as well as high-quality clean protein powder and prepare a tasty, yet healthy Protein Parfait. This is just one of the many recipes you and your friends can try. It is easy and can enable you to give in a little to your chocolate cravings.
Grab some gum. When you want to look good for an upcoming party or a future date, the most helpful ingredient to put an end to food cravings is gum. A stick of minty gum can significantly reduce food cravings and enable you to focus on solely chewing it and letting go of any craving you might have. Furthermore, it will offer you the chance to have a fresh breath and to train yourself, little by little, to ignore chocolate wishes.
Exercise and make a change of focus. Instead of giving into high-calorie doughnuts, muffins, chocolate rolls, biscuits, pancakes, chocolate soufflés or other desserts containing chocolate, you could opt for getting up and going, whilst occupy your mind with something else. When a chocolate craving hits, it is best to stop it by getting dressed, putting on shoes and going for a quick stroll around the block or anything which might help you ‘change the scenery’ and forgetting about that sweet, delicious piece of cake. Deciding to virtually walk away from temptations will help you out tremendously in becoming a stronger man or woman and being sure of what you want. Also, getting up and going can enable you to focus on other things that are important in your life and taking the time to reflect on yourself, your future plans, as well as personal relationships.
Go cold turkey! When nothing else seems to work, an ingenious idea would be to cut chocolate out permanently. This is a big step to all chocolate lovers, yet can prove to be a good method. Abstinence can enable you to stop focusing on calorie bombs which will lead to fat buildup on your body and relieving stress or pressure for good. Giving up on all kinds of simple sugar can work wonders for some people. Nevertheless, the first and second day can feel like a real torment, especially since you used to include desserts to any meal.
Reach for the fruit! Whenever you cannot stop thinking about sugar, eat a piece of fruit like a peach, banana or grape. This is a great way to satisfy your taste buds and also get a round of vitamins necessary for your body. You can also stock up on dried fruits, which come a little closer to your top sugar-full cravings. It is the ideal option when sugar cravings hit.
Stop rewarding yourself with ‘something sweet’. Ever since you were a child, you got used to receiving rewards from your family members and friends whenever you did something good. Chocolate was the prize for cleaning up your room or getting straight As. Also, it was the go-to source whenever you felt sad and needed comfort. It can be hard to give up on a habit, but this is the best way to go. You can find other rewards for yourself, ones that can actually trigger a bigger instinct to achieve professional or personal success. For instance, when you save up enough money to buy a house, reward yourself with a small accessory that can also look great in a car. This way, you can set up new aspirations and also feel amazing, as well as confident in your own strengths. Another good idea would be to treat yourself to a nice shopping spree or visit a spa whenever you notice losing another five pounds. You will see just how great you will feel after this!