Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dark Chocolate Decadence

Stress eating. It is a real phenomenon. I know from personal experience.

My vice is dark chocolate. The biggest amount of dark chocolate I have consumed in a day (in recent memory) is a 220-calorie Dove bar (five melt-in-your-mouth squarish sections) with three–maybe even four–Lindt Lindor extra dark chocolate Truffles (melt-in-your-mouth round balls). That makes an additional 150 to 200 calories.

Basically I consume a whole meal's worth of chocolate to feel better about my day - and I do it one piece at a time until I feel a return to equilibrium ... or intense guilt about what I've consumed.

I like to think that awareness of my weakness is the first step to controlling it. I hope so. But the Lindor Truffle slogan is "Do you dream in chocolate?" and I actually think I might. I also think I don't want to regain control. I've read the studies. I know about the science. Dark chocolate helps me somehow.

No pretending. No pretense. I rely on dark chocolate to give me an emotional lift nearly everyday.

On a continuum of vices, I am aware that dark chocolate isn't horrendous. Still, I could do something a bit more healthy - even if it means limiting the amount I consume. More than that, I don't like the weakness I feel when at the mercy of chocolate. I'd like to eat chocolate for enjoyment, not for stress relief.

I'm not alone in my stress struggles, either. My husband, Mark, has a food vice too. He relies on Little Debbie Nutty Bars and buys packages of them without me around–because he knows I won't buy them for him. Dark chocolate is one thing. But nutty bars? Not even in the same league, if you ask me. But that is Mark's issue to deal with. He has his food vice. I have mine.

Actually, we have a shared vice as well: chocolate-frosted raised donuts. But this food habit is decidedly more controlled. We have agreed that every Saturday we are each allowed one donut, accompanied by a wonderful cup of decaffeinated coffee. But lately, something else has begun to occur in our home. I could try to explain it, but it is probably more fun for you to see for yourself.

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