A month ago, I decided to give up chocolate. While the timing coincided nicely with the start of Lent, I didn’t give it up for religious reasons. I gave it up for health reasons mainly, since I started to notice that my chocolate indulgence was quickly becoming a chocolate habit. In an effort to keep my waistline from expanding and my sweet tooth in check, I decided to give up chocolate “for now.” In truth, I have no idea when I’m going to break my chocolate ban, but I know that I don’t want to start eating it again until I feel like I’ve well and truly broken my chocolate habit.
I thought I’d be craving chocolate like mad, or constantly wish I had a chocolate treat I could snack on during the day or after a meal. It hasn’t really been like that so far, though. (I gave up chocolate once before when I was a teenager, and that’s how I remember feeling during the first few days of that particular experience.) Like a light switch, my desire for chocolate got turned off when I decided that I wasn’t going to allow myself any.
There were days when I wanted chocolate, of course, like on wintry days where I would’ve loved for a cup of hot chocolate, or when there were cupcakes in the office and I would’ve loved one with chocolate frosting. But a ban is a ban, and I quickly learned that there were ways to get around my desire for chocolate. During the workday, I snacked on chocolate whenever I was hungry because it was the most accessible snack, so I now make sure I have a stash of non-chocolate snacks at my desk. At home, I snacked on chocolate whenever I was bored or wanted something sweet. Now I eat fruit or just drink a bunch of water instead.
All in all, my little chocolate ban has been pretty smooth sailing so far. Well, except for one particular morning…
I was running drastically late for work on a day where I absolutely had to be in at a certain (early) time. I didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home like I typically do, so I grabbed a pastry from the cafe near my office on my way in. I didn’t even think about the fact that my pastry order has always been a chocolate croissant in the two years I’ve been going to that cafe, nor did I think about the fact that a chocolate croissant is something I can’t eat right now. I just knew that I was running late, I was hungry, and that cafe had my breakfast order. I was in such a mad rush that morning, I think I ate that croissant in the 10 seconds it took for me to get from the cafe to my office building.
I didn’t even realize I had eaten something with chocolate in it until the next morning. I was running late again, and as I was getting dressed I thought to myself, “Okay, I don’t have time to eat breakfast at home again but I can go to the cafe and get a chocolate crois — ”
I froze and stared at myself in the mirror. My blouse was only halfway buttoned, my pencil skirt sat crookedly on my waist, and my hair was a giant tangled mess. I should have been concerned about how I’d manage to make myself look pulled together for the office in the negative amount of time I had that morning, but all I could think of was oh my God I ate chocolate yesterday NOOOOOOOO how did that happen?! And how did I not realize that UNTIL TODAY?????
I pondered this during my commute that morning. I had done so well at avoiding chocolate, turning it down whenever I came across it and taking steps to make sure I wouldn’t be around it so there was no temptation. But in one frantic morning, all considerations I had put into place went flying out the window and I reverted to autopilot. The conclusion I eventually came to was although I was doing my best to break my chocolate habit, this particular habit ran far deeper than I had realized. I had a lot more work to do before it could be fully broken.
(I ended up ordering a raspberry and cream cheese croissant. It was delicious, and I’m happy to make that my new go-to breakfast pastry order.)
Luckily, aside from that one time, I’ve done pretty well with this whole giving up chocolate thing so far. I’ve even felt confident enough in my ability to abstain from the stuff now that I made a s’mores pie for Pi Day today for my colleagues. If that’s not a gesture of confidence, I don’t know what is!