Monday, September 1, 2014

No Chocolate Experiment

I spent the month of August sans chocolate.  This was a self imposed deprivation motivated by the fact that I was eating "too much" of it.  By "too much," I mean after lunch and supper I was justifying the consumption of a little dark chocolate.  Many days I would enjoy a small piece (1/4-1/2 oz) after lunch at work, or perhaps have a few chocolate covered espresso beans from Caribou with my snack; or as my snack.  Then, once I got home many nights I found myself having a square or two of Lindt 85% dark chocolate with a spoonful of almond butter or cream cheese on top.  Then another spoonful or two of AB or CC would find its way into my mouth via the spoon.

Why all this chocolate I asked myself?  I knew why...I wasn't packing enough for lunch, and many days I would neglect to bring a large enough afternoon snack or supper.  I often work from 12-8pm and eat lunch at 11 and supper at 4pm, on those days I don't snack, except for when I get home and I don't think I'm hungry, but really...I am. Thus the almond butter and chocolate mini feast by the fridge.  On days when I work 10-6, I do eat a snack around 4 so that by supper at 7pm I'm not HANGRY!

I knew this was getting to be a bad habit.  Instead I took a month off from chocolate.  This forced me to bring more food to work.  Common additions to the lunchbox included: hard boiled eggs, an apple, almonds, deli meat, sugar snap peas, olives, and/or leftover chicken.  There were days when I still didn't pack quite enough, and would end up eating 1/2 a protein bar at work.  Yes, only half.  As I mentioned in my previous post, protein bars typically come packed with added fiber that does a number on my digestive system.  Most of them don't even taste that good; talk about an un-satisfying snack.

The month of no chocolate wasn't that bad.  I discovered that if I actually ate enough at my meals, I didn't crave it.  AMAZING.  (said sarcastically)  There were several nights when I did get home, and all I really wanted was my chocolate and AB.  Instead I settled for yogurt and flaked coconut or an almond flour muffin with butter and jam, or leftovers from whatever Ryan cooked for supper.  The hardest moment was last week when Ryan made oatmeal monster cookies for his co-workers and I came home to a house smelling of fresh baked cookies.  Uhhhh, and they were still warm!  Alas, I finally had a bite of one today.  Fresh from the freezer, it was delicious.

I still love chocolate, and may or may-not go back to eating it daily.  But now I realize that if I'm eating it because I'm legitimately hungry, I need to go in search of some real food.  Be it more protein, fat, or on days I work out, starchy carbs.

What is your trigger food?  Is there a food that is holding you back from reaching your health goals?
Chips?  Crackers?  Wine?  French Fries?  Cheese?  Peanut butter?  Beer?  Coffee?  Ice Cream?
Ask yourself why you crave it, and when you crave it?  Could you give it up for a week, how about a month...or two?

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