In the last few years, it's become clear to me that I have an addiction to chocolate.
I came a little late in life to the chocolate party, in fact, I didn't like it much until I was in my late twenties. Now I need chocolate some days more than others but every. single. day. I require at least a little Vitamin C (as we call it in our house.)
I know better than to think of this as something I must change completely. I firmly believe that chocolate, in moderation, is fine. A health food even!
But I also hate feeling like I have to have chocolate to get through a day. I don't want to have to break off a chunk of anything every three hours to survive. I want to believe I'm stronger than that.
I know that our housebound existence is in large part the issue here. Most weeks I spend a good portion of my day at home and I eat every single meal here. This means that the pantry, with its delicious chocolate, is right there CALLING MY NAME.
About a month ago, when we ran out of chocolate and I was at the grocery store feeling annoyed that I now require three chocolate bars to get through the week (it used to be ONE), I decided to not buy any, quit cold turkey, just to see what would happen.
(Stupid, I know.)
By the end of the first day, I was twitchy, prowling the pantry for the last handful of chocolate chips. On the second day, I resorted to unsweetened baking chocolate. Day three, I was eying the cocoa when I found one piece of Z's leftover Halloween candy, crumbled in the corner of the pantry. As I licked my finger to pick up the crumbs from the shelf, I felt as close as I've ever been to reenacting a scene from "Requiem for a Dream".
(Have you seen that movie? If not, don't. My nightmares are still fed by it.)
On day four, I went to the store and bought a damn chocolate bar.
The next week, my plan was simply to reduce my consumption. So I bought two bars of a flavor that aren't my favorite, hoping this would diminish their allure.
The following week, I tried answering the craving with something else: drinking a glass of water or eating a handful of nuts before having any chocolate. I cannot tell you how annoying it is to want chocolate but to eat nuts instead. I don't want NUTS, I WANT CHOCOLATE, my taste buds and brain chemistry raged at me.
My current plan is sort of working. I buy smaller bars, for one. (These are my current favorite!) I also try to drink enough water and eat protein at each meal. When I feel a craving for chocolate, I check in with myself, see if I'm feeling stressed (the answer is usually YES) and if there's something else I can do to handle it, like deep breathing, a little yoga, or a mama time out.
But mostly I try to eat chocolate with gratitude and moderation. In the morning, I break one half of a chocolate bar into smaller pieces and remind myself that it's okay to have some when I want, but those pieces should last the day.
They usually do. Every once in a while, I don't even eat my "allotment".
This current state feels okay, good even. This love of chocolate feels like my need to exercise. Or my current reliance on Pr0zac. I like chocolate, it makes me feel good, it gives me a boost when I need it, it helps tip the scales of each day toward happiness.
At the moment, I feel like I've found a reasonable place somewhere between fighting it and overindulging.
What about you? Do you indulge in chocolate? Fight it? Smoke heavy drugs instead?