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Loving Chocolate: Can it Help You Lose Weight?

chocolate shaped hearts 

This blog post is dedicated to my many weight loss clients who have confessed that their biggest problem is their love for chocolate and sugar.  There is a way to solve this painful problem that may surprise you.

 

Could loving chocolate actually help you lose weight?

The short answer is it depends. It’s possible to use chocolate either to continue a cycle of diet failure or as a remedy.

As a lifelong chocolate lover I discovered a remedy the hard way.  Hopefully your journey to conquer this craving will be quicker and easier.

 

My Chocolate-Loving Story

First I ate chocolate and other sweets to feel better. Then I couldn’t get rid of the weight so I dieted.

I dieted 25 times over 30 years, I gained and lost a total of 375 pounds.

There were inner and outer reasons for this yoyo dieting.

On the inside, I was emotionally comforting myself with food and used the weight to protect myself from unwanted attention. This is a story for another time.

On the outside, my relationship to chocolate (and other sweets) had 3 phases:

  • Feast
  • Famine
  • Cheating

I feasted before dieting to get ready for the famine stage. Then I dieted and denied myself all chocolate and sweets.  In between, I sabotaged myself by cheating and feeling guilty. Sound familiar?

 

5 Steps to Kick Your Chocolate Habit

How did I stop this vicious cycle?  My 5 steps to kicking this habit were:

  1. Awareness: 

    First, I became aware of my behavior. I realized that I was like a hamster on a wheel and that this cycle was keeping me from real success—weight loss I could sustain.

  1. Choices:

    Then I asked myself, what are my choices? How can I act differently and have a different outcome? What is my best choice?

  1. Action:

    I experimented and tried out some possible solutions. My first approach was to go cold turkey. I gave up sweets completely for 2 years. Then I decided that this all or nothing approach wasn’t right for me. As I reflected on the American era of prohibition I realized that prohibition of alcoholic beverages had only caused people to drink even more.

  1. Awakening:

    An awakening moment revealed itself to me and I could see a new possibility. Maybe I could pace myself. Perhaps after having some chocolate, I could tell myself, “There will be more tomorrow.” My new perspective was that I didn’t have to go from feast to famine anymore or eat everything sweet in sight and assume that tomorrow I would diet. In fact, I gave up the notion of dieting altogether.

  1. Best Choice:

    Lastly I switched to eating only my favorite tasting chocolate that would satisfy me after eating a small amount. Technically speaking choosing high quality chocolate with intense flavor allows the taste acuity appetite control mechanism in the brain to signal satiety or satisfaction without eating large amounts of a food.

 

Best Quality Chocolate

My favorite high quality dark chocolate has a rich mouth feel and intense taste. I happily confess that I eat a small amount of chocolate daily.

My favorites are:

  1. Valrhona Le Noir Amer, 71% cacao
  2. Trader Joes, Dark Chocolate Bar toffee with walnuts and pecans 70% cacao
  3. LU Petit Ecolier European Biscuits 70% cacao

I changed my relationship to chocolate and sweets in a way that has allowed me to lose weight and keep it off.  I gave up the notion that I had to be perfect and give up my favorite foods. Instead of striving for a perfect solution I chose one that was perfectly suited to me.  May I suggest the same for you?

 

Dark Chocolate Nutrition:

Dark Chocolate contains some beneficial components and some call it a superfood.

It has substantial amounts of:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc

Chocolate also contains flavanols, a type of phytonutrient that may support heart health.

Chocolate also may play a role in stimulating the release of serotonin and dopamine, hormones known to enhance feelings of well-being.

The fat in chocolate mostly comes from equal parts oleic acid (an unsaturated fat) and two saturated fats: palmitic, and stearic acids.  Stearic acid may not have an effect on blood lipid levels.

So it appears that chocolate has little effect on heart health.

But chocolate is so often combined with other high calorie ingredients making it a food to handle with care and eat in small amounts.

 

Are You Struggling with Food Triggers?

Still struggling with your weight and food triggers?

Have a talk with Kay.

Call to book your complimentary coaching call with Kay today at:

301-869-1787

Sources:

  1. Roberta Larson Duyff, American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide by, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey, 2012.
  2. USDA, National Nutrient Database, for Standard Release Reference 28.
  3. Wikipedia:  Chocolate and Milk Chocolate.