Mindful Eating Programs and Training

Mindful Eating Programs and Training

Chocoholic Cure: Eat Fearlessly!

Michelle May


When someone calls themselves a “chocoholic,” they typically mean one of two things. 1) For some, “I’m a chocoholic” is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying they’re really passionate about chocolate. 2) For others, being a chocoholic means they feel out of control when they eat it. Ironically, the cure for the second type of chocoholic is to eat fearlessly! (The first type doesn’t need to be cured!)

Craving chocolate doesn’t make you a chocoholic

I once asked on social media: How many rice cakes does it take to satisfy a craving for chocolate?

My favorite reply: Five rice cakes. 7 baby carrots. One orange. A container of light yogurt. And a Snickers® bar.

TFAR_Cycle: Thoughts>Feelings>Actions>ResultsI’ll be the first to praise chocolate’s incredible sensory properties, but that alone doesn’t explain the difficulty some people have with chocolate and many other foods. I’ve since come to realize that my own eat-repent-repeat cycle stemmed from what I’ll call “fear-based” thinking.

You see, when people label themselves chocoholics, they can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In other words, what you think and believe cause you to feel certain ways, which cause you to act in certain ways, which ultimately leads to specific results. Calling yourself a chocoholic leads to fear around eating chocolate.

Fear-based thoughts about eating chocolate

Let’s look at a few examples of fear-based thoughts people have about eating chocolate that may lead to the very behaviors they want to change. Then we’ll consider a few “fearless” thoughts that lead to more favorable results.

Fear-based thought: I am a chocoholic.

When you label yourself as a “chocoholic,” you are giving your brain instructions! You’re telling your brain that when you eat chocolate, you’ll feel out of control and you won’t be able to stop.

Not surprisingly, when you start eating chocolate, that’s exactly what will happen – reinforcing the belief you are addicted to chocolate.

Fearless thought: I love chocolate.

Instead of labeling yourself, simply state your preference: I love chocolate!

Now, instead of planning to lose control, you are planning to enjoy eating something you love.

Fear-based thought: Chocolate is bad.

When you label certain foods “bad,” you’ll feel bad about yourself when you eat them. Ironically, the more you try to avoid these foods, the more power they gain over you.

When you finally give in to those powerful cravings, you’ll feel guilty and out of control. You’ll think, “I’ve already blown it I might as well keep eating.” This reinforces your belief that chocolate is bad and that you’ll lose control when you eat it.

Fearless thought: I eat what I love and I love what I eat.

Chocoholic CureAll foods can fit into a balanced diet using the common-sense principles of balance, variety, and moderation. When guilt is no longer a factor, common-sense prevails!

When you enjoy the foods you love without guilt, you’ll notice they begin to lose their power over you and your urge to overeat them diminishes. Over time, you’re able to eat anything, without eating everything.

Fear-based thought: I let myself indulge in an occasional treat.

The words “let myself”, “indulge”, and “treat” all imply scarcity, potentially causing you to stock up in anticipation of your next round of self-denial.

Fearless thought: I eat and live in a way that nourishes my body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Practicing self-care is not an indulgence, it is a necessity. Self-care means meeting your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs, including the need for pleasure and enjoyment. Since we live in an abundant food culture, it is all too easy to attempt to meet many of our needs, including pleasure, by eating. Once we recognize what we’re really hungry for, food (yes, even chocolate) can serve its true purpose of fueling our fulfilling lives.

So if you insist on calling yourself a chocoholic, I hope you just mean you’re really passionate about it!

This article has been updated from a previously published version.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Cravings 101: What causes them and what to do

Are beliefs about eating driving unwanted behaviors?

Is Sugar Addiction Real? A friendly, informal debate

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