Whenever I used to start a new diet, I would get rid of all the sweets in the house so there would be no temptations. Usually “getting rid of the sweets” meant indulging in all of them all on Sunday night since Monday was going to be a new day, where all of a sudden I had the willpower to eat perfectly healthy. As it turns out, my chocolate-free pantry never helped my diet. It just made me increasingly aware that there was nothing “good” to eat in the house and was a constant reminder that I was on another tortuous diet. I wanted chocolate more than ever. Now, I have some form of chocolate in the house at all times, and I eat a little bit almost everyday (and have never been happier!). I treat myself to good quality chocolate with as little ingredients as possible, and it seems to be working out for me. Let me tell you why I keep my pantry stocked with dark chocolate and you can decide if you want to run out and buy some today.
Because it’s not off-limits, I don’t over-indulge.
Whenever I would make chocolate off-limits, it made me want it even more. So I would go a few days without it, and then when I couldn’t handle it anymore, I would go off the deep end and eat three chocolate chip cookies and a piece of cake at the office potluck. If I’d just had a square a day of dark chocolate, I’d have been much better off and been able to stay in the shallow end, eating only one cookie, or none at all if I didn’t feel like it. Now that I allow myself to indulge when I want to, I don’t have nearly as many over-indulgent days.
Dark chocolate has health benefits (other than the ones you read about).
I know there are some health benefits to dark chocolate like magnesium, antioxidants, etc, but for me the benefits come from what I’m not eating if I’m eating dark chocolate. If I’m fulfilling my dessert craving in the form of a 70% organic chocolate bar with just 4 ingredients, I’m not eating brownies, chips, cookies, or a piece of cake that is loaded with other junk (not to say they can’t be eaten, but probably shouldn’t be part of your daily diet). I remember when my dad and I gave up dessert for lent (40 days of no dessert!) one year, and I gained five pounds because I was eating chips, French fries, and anything I could get my hands on just because I couldn’t have what I was craving. Since I do crave chocolate, I’m better off fulfilling the real craving so I can refrain from the other junk.
I have a healthier relationship with dessert.
Being able to keep dark chocolate in the house and learning to eat just a square or two at a time has strengthened my relationship with dessert. Ya, I know, that sounds weird to have a “healthy relationship” with a food item, but it is the best way to describe it. We used to have a love/hate relationship where I would love it so much and eat a lot of it, and then hate it when I couldn’t have it, or when I felt like I ate too much of it. But now, we have a loving relationship and we see each other when we want to, we take breaks when we want to, and we simply have no drama.