Chocolate addiction is rife. The more you eat the more you crave it. Many people find it hard to resist and the dependency results in piling on extra pounds.
Perhaps you’ve tried to beat your addiction before now or at least stave off and limit thee cravings, but perhaps going cold turkey was too much to take.
We can help!
Kicking the addiction requires willpower and knowledge of the physiological effects of this tempting but faux friend!
Step 1: Boost brain signalling
Eating chocolate produces dopamine which makes us feel good. The problem is the more we stimulate dopamine release through eating chocolate the less sensitive our brain signalling pathways become. Over time we will need more chocolate to produce the same effect.
And it is not just chocolate that has this effect – cigarettes, cocaine and sugar will all diminish our dopamine response when used habitually.
Change your diet:
– You need to support your brain’s signalling pathways and dopamine production through eating lots of omega 3 rich foods and avoiding trans and hydrogenated fats altogether.
– Choose salmon, mackerel and sardines and avoid margarine and deep fried fast food.
These dietary measures will ensure naturally enhanced dopamine pathways and help you to feel happy and mentally buoyant without chocolate.
Step 2: Have regular meals and snacks
Eating a healthy meal or snack every 3-4 hours helps to keep your blood sugar well balanced and avoids the inevitable dips that bring about intense cravings for chocolate and those fateful grabs for the bars and packs.
Step 3: Eat more protein
Eating protein with EVERY meal and snack will help you to feel more satisfied. It encourages a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream, keeping blood sugar balanced and helping you to avoid chocolate binges.
Once blood sugar is disrupted by eating chocolate it becomes difficult to balance it again resulting in further dips and intense chocolate cravings.
Focusing on healthy protein rich meals from the first meal of the day is your best defence against the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Step 4: Go for a walk
As advice goes that probably seems far too simple, but honestly it works. Whenever the craving hits you, take yourself for a brisk walk around the block into the park, around the shopping mall – whatever works.
This is not simply a distraction technique.
If you go for a walk after eating it regulates insulin levels which are most likely behind that sweet after-dinner craving.
And I’m not talking about vast distances here. Just walk at a decent pace for 10-15 minutes and this will improve insulin resistance contributing massively to your battle against chocolate addiction.
Step 5: Balance your gut flora
For some people chocolate cravings stem from an imbalanced gut flora. Yeasts and non-beneficial bacteria can influence cravings for sweet foods.
What’s more, eating sugary foods will disrupt your gut flora further still.
Disrupted gut flora is linked to irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety and auto immune disorders. Improving your gut flora with probiotics and fermented foods is the long term solution.
Combining these steps with a little will power will help you to beat chocolate addiction once and for all.
Connect with Expert Sarah Hanratty.