I can’t stop eating chocolate. Help!
Out of Control
Dear Out of Control,
Cravings are the worst. We get these uncontrollable urges to eat food and we don’t know why or how to stop. Plus we have all these rules about food that we have been taught by the diet industry. First thing is to let go of the “shoulds” around food. Once you can do that, you are open to learning a new way of perceiving the brilliance of cravings.
“How can cravings be brilliant?” you ask. They are the body’s way of communicating with us.
Our body needs to maintain a certain range within our functioning systems to be healthy and maintain life. This is why your doctor checks your heart rate, blood pressure and a host of other functions as soon as you enter the check-up room.
The body does this naturally without our interference in most cases. The body uses cravings to help you create balance nutritionally and hormonally.
When you are trying to understand a craving there are two things you need to consider. The first is whether there is a nutritional imbalance that needs to be satisfied.
With chocolate this would be related to the amount of magnesium in your food. Magnesium is a micronutrient. It is essential to the functioning of every cell in our body. When our diet is deficient, chocolate is a well-liked source for the body.
The other thing to consider is your emotional well-being. Chocolate (and magnesium) help to lift our mood and makes us feel better by triggering the production of serotonin. If you are feeling stressed or worried about something, chocolate cravings could be a way for the body to try to calm you down.
Before you reach for the chocolate, try purposely relaxing your body and taking slow deep breaths. This will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system to relax your muscles, cleanup stress hormones in your bloodstream and open your circulatory system allowing for better blood flow.
Just to be clear, I have no issue with chocolate and think it is a wonderful superfood when eaten with consciousness and deliberate intent. If it causes you to feel guilty or “bad” then it is doing more harm than good to heal your body. Make sure you are eating the darkest chocolate you can find. It will have a higher antioxidant content and provide you with more health benefits.
Theresa Grisanti has studied nutrition and psychology with experts in this field for over 20 years. Using her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s degree in Nutrition, she coaches people to understand how their body works and ways to eat that promote health and vitality. You can find more information about Theresa on her website: http://theresagrisanti.com