eating

Dear Chocolate, I Don’t Love You Anymore

Squares of dark chocolate piled haphazardly on top of one another.
Squares of dark chocolate piled haphazardly on top of one another.

Dear Chocolate,

There’s no easy way for me to put this: I just don’t love you anymore. It’s nothing that you did. Not at all.

We used to spend a lot of time together.  I used to get together with you every day. You had that special place in the kitchen, handy, accessible, always there for me. I could feel my mouth watering when I pulled back that gold wrapper on the 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar at the back of the snack drawer.

When the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating lesson a couple of months ago suggested that you might be a “red light food,” I defended you (and still do — you’re definitely not something I would banish from my life).  I said I needed you and felt comfortable with the amount of time we spent together. As you know, I believe food is beyond good and evil.

I didn’t even notice that we were drifting apart. But it kind of happened like this.  The Lean Eating program started nudging me in the direction of what they call “healthy habits.”  Lots of them had to do with making sure I was including things in every meal–lean protein, veggies, smart carbs (like quinoa and steel cut oatmeal).

They also recommended that I eat slowly and that I stop when I was 80% full.  The theory was that in time, if I followed these habits, I’d experience “food displacement.”  What that means, roughly, is that trying to fit in all the healthy habits every time I ate would change the sorts of things that I turned to regularly.

I could tack you on to the end of a meal, but usually by then I’m already 80% full (that’s my most challenging habit).  Stand-alone snacks without greens or protein just aren’t a big part of my repertoire anymore.  And in that late-afternoon slump I feel better if I have a mixed greens salad with tofu or chickpeas than a few squares of dark chocolate (sorry).

I didn’t consciously seek to send you to the sidelines.  Remember how the triple chocolate cake at Veg Out used to be my absolute favorite thing on their menu?  Well, the other night I went there and didn’t even order dessert (not even to go, which is what I did in the early days of eating to 80% full–just packed up a piece of cake to eat later). Why not? I just knew I wouldn’t get around to eating it.

I feel a little bit sad that we’ve parted ways in such a low-drama kind of way. Like I said, you’ve not been banished.  I’ve just found other things that make me happier these days.  I had no idea food displacement could have this affect on our relationship.  Not that I would have done anything differently, mind you.

I’m kind of relieved that I can easily get through a day, a week, a month without feeling that hold you used to have over me, especially after a meal.   It’s nothing personal and I have nothing against you.  I just don’t need you as much as I thought I did. Thanks for being there for all those years.  I’ll keep in touch but it’s just not going to be the same anymore.

Take care of yourself. I know that lots of people still love you as much as I once did.

Yours,

Tracy

 

11 thoughts on “Dear Chocolate, I Don’t Love You Anymore

  1. Wow. You’ve clearly worked hard and focused on behavior change and it has stuck! I am so not there, and wish I were. Right now I am doing a couple of 30-day challenges– food logs and outdoor exercise. So far so good. I look forward to reading more about incorporating healthy changes into one’s life; you two have written a lot about this, but in my view, we cannot get enough of your good perspectives!

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    1. Thanks! We can chat more when we see you in May. Really looking forward to it. The amazing thing about this change is how effortless. I honestly didn’t even try. I’m kind of wowed myself. Good luck with your challenges.

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  2. I used to really restrict my chocolate intake to 1 bar a month, back before I took up exercise. Ironically I was heavier/had higher bodyfat then than I do now! I don’t think I could go back to one bar a month now.

    What sort of lean proteins do you eat, BTW? Curious about your diet, although I admit I shy away from the idea of getting lean myself.

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    1. I’m vegan, so my main lean protein sources are: legumes, tofu, tempeh, and plant-based protein powder that I put in my smoothies (my go-to is a pumpkin seed protein powder by omega nutrition).

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  3. I love dark chocolate but when I read your post it was the “everyday” comment that struck me. Even though I’d rank dark chocolate as one of my top 10 foods, I only eat it about three times a week…

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    1. Everyday cocoa sounds like a good plan to me.

      My hot chocolate recipe is using almost a cup of hot water to melt 1-2 T dutch processed cocoa with one or a combination of sweeteners (totalling about 1 T): 0.5-1.0 t molasses; 1 T maple syrup; 1 T honey; 1 T brown/processed sugar crystals; and perhaps additional flavour from a pinch of cinnamon; a splash of vanilla; or a dozen chocolate chips (which usually includes both sugar and vanilla–and some processed soy lecithin).

      If you like chocolate milk, then keep a centimeter or so (about 1 T) of the water-based drink and top up your mug with cold milk.

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    2. I find I get into habits with things, and chocolate had become a habit. I wouldn’t even rank it in my top ten foods anymore. Quite the fall from grace! I still like that Veg Out cake, but I don’t know when to fit it in anymore.

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  4. What is a “red light food”? I had a similar experience with dessert in general when I was better about afternoon snack with protein. I wasn’t hungry after dinner anymore, hence dramatically less ice cream.

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