June 3, 2015

Why we Crave Chocolate More than Sex.

chocolate bar

There’s something so comforting about the way chocolate tastes and feels.

It seems to envelop our bodies with pleasure.

A friend of mine, who’s trying to lose weight, told me recently, “I actually crave it more than sex! Will I ever be able to lose weight if I can’t give up chocolate?”

I had some good news for her, and for all of us. There’s a reason we have chocolate cravings. Once we understand why we crave it, we can decide if we really need chocolate to fulfill that craving and if so, what kinds of chocolate are the best.

It’s so important to understand your answer to this question and only you can find it out.

Chocolate stimulates your body by:

>>> Exciting you: It triggers mood-enhancing chemicals and neurotransmitters to be released in the brain—including dopamine, which increases feelings of giddiness, euphoria, attraction and excitement (and also peaks during orgasm). This is why some women prefer chocolate to sex.

>>> Giving a pleasure high: It contains substances that mimic THC in marijuana—and causes a pleasurable slight “high.”

>>> De-stresses: It increases the levels of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter that “makes people feel relaxed and satisfied and is essential for a well-balanced mood.”

No wonder we crave chocolate so much! That sounds amazing!

The major triggers for our chocolate desires are:

1. Nutritional deficiences:

Women tend to crave chocolate right before their monthly periods. Our magnesium levels drop due to hormonal fluctuations when we experience PMS—the time of the month that women tend to crave chocolate the most.

Magnesium is one of the major nutrients that most women lack and chocolate supplies. If you’re wanting chocolate, try adding these foods to your daily diet first. They have incredibly high magnesium levels:

>>> 1 cup cooked dark leafy greens, especially spinach, or

>>> 1 oz. nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds

During the time when our emotions tend to take a dip because of hormones, it makes sense that we also desire comfort, and chocolate supplies this. This is okay if we make sure it’s at least 70 percent dark chocolate. But try these healthier options first and see if your body is simply craving the nutrients, skipping the fat and sugar.

2. and 3. Emotional and physical reasons for craving chocolate:

We often turn to chocolate when we feel stressed—we’re under work deadlines, the kids come home and we feel the pressure of more responsibilities looming when we actually need some time to take care of ourselves. We sometimes crave it late at night when we finally have some quiet time and feel like we need something rewarding.

These psychological or physical desires can be major triggers. We have deep connections with the pleasure we get from the feeling of chocolate melting in our mouths from memories starting in our childhood.

There is something deeper that you are looking for when you crave chocolate. Chocolate provides a temporary “fix” for an unmet need. It’s important to realize what this need is—both so that you can address the real need in your life and so that you can work on filling it more permanently and with something less sugary. It will also help you with your weight-loss or maintenance goals.

Next time you’re craving chocolate, allow yourself to feel your craving.

Don’t feed your body chocolate this one time—feel the craving. What is that your body is really aching for? Be patient. It can be buried deep and you’ve been covering it with chocolate for so long. You are very likely to uncover something that may blow your mind.

While you’re in this moment of feeling your chocolate craving, ask yourself these questions to help uncover what you are really looking for.

“My chocolate craving is because”:

1.    I really want…(e.g. comfort, relaxation, de-stressing, a hug).

2.    I don’t want to feel…(e.g. stress, loneliness, boredom).

3.    It may be a replacement for…(e.g. love, a hug, excitement, calmness).

I recommend writing down the answers or typing them into your phone in the notes app. Your thoughts are clearer when you get them out of your head.

Once you are able to realize what you really need (after one to three times doing this exercise)—think about how you can give yourself what you need—not necessarily chocolate.

If you need comfort try taking a warm shower with really nice soap, writing a handwritten letter to a loved one, or reading a stimulating book.

If you’re looking to alleviate stress make a list of what you need to do, or take 10 deep breaths.

If you crave physical comfort give your partner, best friend or kids a long hug and fill up on this very important expression of love.

By spending time learning about yourself, you can improve your life by digging into your real desires—and not covering them up. At the same time, you will clear your path for a faster journey to weight-loss as you’ll find you simply don’t need chocolate as much as you used to think.



Is Chocolate Physiologically Addictive?

Top 10 Foods Highest in Magnesium You Can’t Miss

5 Common Food Cravings: Why you Crave What You Crave



The Chocolate Effect.


Author: Nagina Abdullah

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Gabriela Pinto/Flickr

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