Chocolate … Love-Hate-Guilt Relationship

Britain is a nation of chocolate lovers. We must be because every year we chomp through an estimated 660,900 tonnes of the stuff; that’s an average of 11kg per person per year or put another way, 3 bars a week.

Why we love it so much might have something to do with the fact that chocolate is packed with Tryptophan an amino acid that increases serotonin Secretion in the brain; Serotonin’s the ‘happy’ hormone that controls your mood.  Little wonder then that the taste, texture, and smell of chocolate make us all feel happier.

Recently, chocolate’s also been found to be both good for the heart and surprisingly, for the blood sugar levels too.  A study in University of Copenhagen found that people felt fuller and craved fewer sweet, salty, and fatty foods when they ate dark chocolate.  That’s because dark chocolate has a low glycaemic index meaning the body digests the chocolate slowly keeping blood sugar levels stable and giving us that fuller for longer feeling.

What’s Not To Love?

Our love for chocolate is not without its difficulties – we love it, we crave it and we should eat it too, but it’s a guilty love we feel. Google “ guilt free chocolate” and nearly 3 million results appear, we want all the goodness of chocolate but without the resulting guilt and worry about putting on weight.

The problem is we’re not eating a little bit of dark chocolate every now and again to reap the benefits.  Instead we’re chomping our way through 3 bars a week of the high in sugar, fat and calories milk-chocolate-variety and having to deal with the weighty consequences.

How Can We Have Our Chocolate and Eat It Guilt Free Too? 

The answer lies in HOW the chocolate is eaten; let me explain. For those of us who eat chocolate on the run, while in the car, behind closed doors, while watching TV, as a sideline activity or when no one’s looking then this is where we’re all going wrong. We’re eating the equivalent 3 bars a week mindlessly.  Eating mindlessly is why we’re over indulging without taking in any of the enjoyment we so crave.  What we need to do is eat chocolate mindfully, that’s being completely conscious and aware of what we are eating, enjoying the experience completely and being focused only on that task.

Just like meditation, you need to experience mindful eating for it to make sense  because reading about how something tastes is so different from actually putting it in your mouth and having the experience. My personal favourite for this exercise is chocolate but you can do it with anything at all the same rules apply. 
Personally, I think you’ll enjoy this process the most if you break off a square of really good quality dark chocolate, rather than doing it with, say, a cheap ole chocolate bar, but that’s entirely up to you.  Whatever type of food you choose, eat it as if it’s the first piece you’ve ever tasted and the last piece you’ll ever have the chance to taste.

Putting It Into Practice

  • Before you pick up the food take a couple of deep, slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, just to allow the body and mind to settle a little
  • Mentally leave behind whatever you’re doing for a moment or two
  • Take a moment to appreciate the food. Think about how it was made, where it comes from, what’s in it.  Imagine the different ingredients in their natural growing environment and even the types of people who might have grown the ingredients.  Let your imagination take you there as if you were seeing the whole process developing in front of you like a movie or a photo album.
  • Now pause to notice the feelings in the body.  Are you feeling a level of impatience, wanting to eat it as quickly as possible? or Do you have a feeling of excitement and pleasure, maybe even feelings of guilt and uneasiness?  Just notice the feelings, make no judgment just observe
  • Then slowly take a good minute or so to explore the food with your eyes, nose and hands. Look at it closely, smell it carefully and then touch it to see how it feels
  • By now you’ll be more than ready to taste it. Take a small bite (or alternatively put the whole thing in your mouth).  Notice how it feels in the mouth, the temperature and the texture.  Become aware of the taste on your tongue, is it sweet, bitter, salty, creamy … ?
  • Gently move the food in your mouth and notice how you chew it.  What side of your mouth are you using?  How does its texture change?  How does it taste now that you are chewing it?  Sit back and really enjoy the moment, feel the pleasure in your body, the sense of comfort perhaps, elation or even a sense of calmness and happiness.
  • The key is to appreciate it, savour it, and enjoy it!  Have fun.

If you liked this and got benefit from this article then please leave a comment and send the link to your friends. 

As an added bonus and to really help you take that first step and make this happen I have an audio recording completely free of charge for you to download and use anytime anywhere, just fill in your name and email address on the right hand side of this page and within seconds you will have access to the audio recording page which gives you access to a number or recordings which you can download and listen to.

Remember if you like chocolate then please share this with your friends and pass this on.

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