How to Overcome Your Chocolate Addiction or Craving

Chocolate Addiction or Craving Concept Image
Are you a chocoholic?

Do you take your chocolate so serious it’s in fact becoming an “addiction”?

Let’s face it, if you told people you had a chocolate addiction, most would probably tell you that it’s a great addiction to have, or they might even ask you where they can sign up and join you.

Yes, it’s ‘just chocolate’, however it, like almost anything, can become addictive when not consumed in moderation.

When it comes to a real addiction, addictions are no laughing matter! With that said, people will joke they’re addicted to chocolate, and most of that is just ‘talk’, stated in jest. It’s when it’s truly an addiction it should be considered as problematic, something that needs an intervention, or treatment.

 

CAN YOU REALLY ABUSE CHOCOLATE AND BECOME AN ADDICT?

Chocolate Cravings Concept ImageFirst off, it’s important to identify not only chocolate, but any substance as truly ‘an addiction’.

There is certain criterion that fall into place when discussing addiction.

An addiction is complex and can posses and array of components. It’s a progressive and insidious disease which happens over time. The user/addict develops a tolerance for the substance, whether it be psychological, physiological, or both.

Individuals experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as they try to stop using whatever they’re addicted to. These might be either physiological or psychological.

Individuals have tried repeated times to quit on their own or with the help of others and can’t.

Thinking you can do it alone is magical thinking! Individuals will traverse through psychological stages before, during, and after treatment and recovery.

Some individuals use substances, in this case chocolate because it provides them a means of instant gratification, or a quick fix. Some individuals become psychologically conditioned to consume chocolate due to environment, social factors or triggers which stimulate the use followed by the user’s response.

Some chocolate addicts engage in their over-consumption of chocolate to alleviate emotional or physical pain. They derive a sense of enjoyment from the rapid numbing relief chocolate provides.

You see, chocolate contains lots of sugar and fat, and this alone can lead to becoming addicted to it. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter involved in regulating your moods.

When you have higher serotonin levels, this can produce tremendous feelings of elation!

The availability or easy access of a substance, in this case chocolate, creates a stimulus to use it much like a drug. Since people don’t believe chocolate is an actual drug, and because anyone and everyone can get it easily, it’s often times an unconscious ‘go to’ substance for many.

Sugar Addiction Concept ImageIn fact, people who love chocolate tag themselves more as a “Chocoholic” rather than an addict. Chocolate is the “most frequently craved food in women and they insist its habit-forming and abstinence creates withdrawal symptoms in the sense of well-being.”

As chocolate is a food and we have to eat to survive, unlike many other substance abuse drugs where we don’t need them, the therapeutic world tends to lump it together with larger category of food addiction, and in particular sugar addiction – see resource section below for links to more in-depth resources on sugar.

What starts out as a ‘rewarding treat’ can over time become a craving that can start dominating and interfering with healthy food habits.

Researchers have found that while chocolate does contain active ingredients that contain mood-altering substances the same can be found in normal vegetables and in higher quantities than chocolate. This leads them to believe it’s the sweetness and texture of chocolate that hooks people and encourages them to over indulge.

However, whether you really have an addiction or just a craving is somewhat academic if you as an individual feel it’s an addiction and you need to overcome it. That’s the focus of the next section…

 

OVERCOMING YOUR CHOCOLATE ADDICTION:

choices over chocolate concept imageWhether you buy into the argument a food can be addicted or not in the end probably doesn’t matter, because you’re reading this and worried and therefore feel for you it has become serious.

If you’re really looking for permission to continue your craving for chocolate, then consider this permission to eat chocolate… in moderation.

Because chocolate is a food, and you have to eat, then the question becomes more of a choice about what you eat, and how much of one particular food.

So here is some practical advice on dealing with your cravings for chocolate from PsychCentral

  • Discover if the craving is emotional – there are all sorts of reasons why people crave foods. It can often be related to feelings of low self-esteem or depression. If you can identify your reasons, then try another approach to tackling the problem.
  • Incorporate small portions of chocolate into your usual diet, rather than restrict yourself. Moderation is the key. A research trial found that people who limited eating chocolate to within half an hour of eating a meal gradually weaned themselves off their craving.
  • If you are feeling bored and craving chocolate, go for a walk, run errands, call a friend or read a book. If you can take your mind off food for a short time, the craving may pass.
  • Make sure you always have healthy food nearby, so you can replace chocolate with fruit a few times a day. Eat an overall balanced diet, eat regularly to avoid hunger, and eat more slowly. When your blood sugar levels are stable, cravings are less likely to occur.
  • If you think it’s necessary, do not allow chocolate in the house. Ask friends and family not to buy you chocolate, or even not to eat it in front of you!
  • Finally, it is a good idea to increase your level of exercise, to burn off excess calories and increase your metabolic rate. Exercise also releases endorphins, which counteracts stress, anxiety and depression.

Kicking the cravings concept imageCan chocolate cravings persist and be stubborn to overcome? Of course, they can. If this is you then you may need further help. Likely chocolate is just one food causing the issue and it can be more of a sugar addiction.

There are 12 step programs for nearly every addiction, including chocolate and other foods, as well as treatment programs and I’ve included links to these in the resource section below.

You may also feel the need to seek professional help and this can be in the form of counseling or hypnosis. If you’re in the beginning of your abuse or dependency for chocolate, using hypnosis to treat your cravings or over-indulgence of it can be an option.

Seek out a local hypnotherapist who specializes in weight loss as most of these offer help in sugar addiction or review some self-hypnosis sessions you can purchase and use at home on your MP3 player.

If you feel you’re experiencing cravings for chocolate and find that simply trying not to eat it falls short of what is required to quit successfully, and don’t have access to a local hypnotherapist, then, check out this popular self-hypnosis session here >>>

 

ADIITIONAL RESOURCES:

13 Ways To Fight Sugar Cravings – WebMD
Being Clear on Sugar Addiction and It’s Effect on You
Food Addiction – A Serious Problem with a Simple Solution

12-Step Programs:

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
GreySheeters Anonymous (GSA)
Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA)
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA)

 
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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