How do we deal with that obstacle?
That’s where we have to learn new tricks. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It’s also the downfall of anyone who has attempted a quick diet fix to long term health goals and has dived right back into “doing the same thing”.
Failing to curb chocolate cravings don’t have to derail your goals.
My top craving for something sweet is not chocolate. Chocolate is actually pretty low on my long list of craving. In my long and ongoing journey with weight loss, chocolate isn’t my ultimate downfall.
But when a chocolate craving hits I try to remember something I learned these last 3 years after losing 80 pounds and fighting to keep it off.
Quality over quantity.
For example, in the past if I was craving something like yellow cake with chocolate frosting (my absolute favorite) I would attempt to derail that craving with something less calorie and sugar laden. Makes sense, right?
The issue I kept running in to was those alternatives weren’t doing the trick. I would go for more of something crappy, instead of having a very small amount of what I was truly wanting. This doesn’t work for everything of course, but here’s the message I want you to take away.
If you really want that rich gooey chocolate cake, having a dozen low fat cookies is not going to fix that craving.
Finding healthy alternatives that curb chocolate cravings is not easy.
Most healthy chocolate alternatives out there scare the heck out of me. Or sound truly gross.
- On no planet will carob ever curb anyone’s chocolate craving.
- Just a reminder if you haven’t already got the memo, anything marked low-fat is to be avoided. So please skip the promise of better health attempted by anything in the cookie aisle.
- Waiting 10-20 minutes before indulging might help. As long as you aren’t staring at the chocolate treat the entire time.
5 Ways to help curb chocolate cravings
1. Have a small square of dark chocolate
You’ll notice that “have chocolate” is first on my list because I don’t want to torture you.
My husband loves dark chocolate and I avoided it for years. It just never had that satisfying flavor I was looking for. Turns out I was eating it wrong.
With my preferred milk chocolate goodies, I would bite in, enjoy the smooth texture, and gobble the next bite. Of course it’s smooth and easy to down, because of additives like sugar, cream and milk solids. Chocolate isn’t really chocolate unless it’s dark. Just look at the ingredients for a breakdown of how little chocolate is really in your “chocolatey” treat.
Grab that small square of dark chocolate, take a tiny bite and let it melt on your tongue. Savor it. It will take a while to enjoy, which is time your brain needs to feel like you’re full.
Dark chocolate has an actual percentage on it. Don’t be fooled by any “dark chocolate” versions of your favorite treats. Look for an actual chocolate bar with a percentage of cocoa on it. Start low at about 40% but work your way up to 80% and see how you do. My favorite is in the 60% range.
2. Fantasize about your best chocolate experience
Just fantasizing about your favorite chocolate experience might help. Really!
If I tell you NOT to think about a purple elephant with pink spots, you can’t help but think about it. This article in Women’s Health Magazine describes a similar situation with craving. The idea is the process of repeating picturing the chocolate enjoyment will help you habituate the process.
The goal to curb the chocolate craving so it is no longer a “special” event and will lose it’s hold on you. Worth a shot!
3. Cocoa powder
It’s not just for baking anymore. The good stuff can be added to greek yogurt, smoothies, shakes, cottage cheese, or your tea and coffee. This is pure cocoa powder, ideally organic and without a popular chocolate bar logo on the label.
Try 1 teaspoon in your drink or snack and remember it will be bitter, so if you need a little sweetness, pick a natural alternative like stevia.
4. Hydrate! Or die in a vat of chocolate.
For some of you, dying in a vat of chocolate is preferred to ever drinking water.
Water is your friend. Feeling full can curb all sorts of cravings, including any you might have for chocolate. Don’t hold back on grabbing water with every meal and keeping hydrated throughout the day.
You hear it from everyone for a reason. It works.
5. Try a healthy chocolate alternative recipe
I mentioned before that I don’t usually crave chocolate, but it’s not pretty when I do. I’ve tried various recipes for healthy versions of everything from crispy rice treats to gluten free baked goods. Some aren’t too bad, and many end up getting tossed after one bite.
This latest attempt worked out pretty well. This chocolate craving recipe for Chocolate Protein Pudding is on my Fitness Challenge Online blog this week. Trust me – this one is worth a try!
Working to curb chocolate cravings
Being healthy is not a single path of perfection. There are a million different ways to get there, and you are the only one that will know when you’ve tapped into the perfect solution for you.
Cravings are a normal part of being human. I really want you to enjoy the new healthy body you are making, not beat yourself up every step on the way.
What works for your cravings?
Go get your fit on
Give us your thoughts!
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.