My name is Sarah and I’m a chocaholic…
As addictions go, it’s pretty tame. But chocolate rules my life like the hardest drug.
Like a true addict, I have irrational explanations of why I need to eat chocolate. Yes, NEED, not want. They are a) that I lose weight easily and therefore need to eat a lot to stay a normal size and b) I am intolerant to most other snacks, therefore I must eat chocolate.
And like a true addict, I hide it and eat it secretly. It’s easy at work and when I’m at home and the kids are at school. It’s not easy when we’re all at home or, God forbid, when we are out. If it gets to 3pm and I haven’t had my SECOND fix of the day, it’s all I can think of – ‘How am I going to eat my chocolate?’
The kids know I eat chocolate and that it’s sometimes between meals, but I don’t want them picking up bad habits from me, so I try not to let them see me do it.
It hasn’t always been like this. Through my childhood, teens and 20s I liked chocolate, but I could live without it. I didn’t eat it every day and I didn’t obsess over a particular brand. And then I had kids.
Two things happened when I had kids. I developed a sweeter tooth and I started the ‘not keeping weight on’ thing. Pre-kids I was a size 12. Post-kids I’m a size 8 and I’ve never worked out why.
One morning while breastfeeding number one son I suddenly became very hungry. I knew what I had to eat. It was a Twix.
The Twix thing carried on, every morning without fail, into my second pregnancy. Then I went off Twixes and started on Dairy Milks. Every day. Usually twice a day. I stopped buying individual bars and started buying big bars, which I kept in my Tshirt drawer.
Ever since I had kids, my stomach hasn’t been the best. Coincidence? I’m not sure. By the time my daughter was a year old it was getting me down. The doctors were no help, so I went to a witch doctor. A kinesiologist (I may have spelt that wrong) – an alternative therapist who specialises in food intolerances. She told me I was intolerant to pretty much everything. So I stopped eating pretty much everything, lost more weight and felt amazing. But rather hungry.
In the midst of the doom and gloom, one line stuck out for me. I could eat ‘good quality, dark chocolate once or twice a week’. I didn’t like dark chocolate, but I soon trained myself. And once or twice a week soon became once a day, then twice a day.
So began my greatest love affair of all. Green & Blacks. Four and a half years on, it is still going strong. And still costing me a fortune.
If I eat it in the evening it keeps me awake. So I eat it at 9am instead. But then I want some more at lunchtime (which I usually manage to resist) and some more mid, well, early afternoon.
I haven’t touched a crisp or a chip in all those years. I rarely eat biscuits. I do eat cake, but not much, because it doesn’t really agree with me.
And I hate to admit it, but the chocolate doesn’t agree with me 100% either. Because I don’t want to acknowledge it, I file it away in my head and carry on with my irrational justifications.
I managed to give it up for two whole weeks last year. I felt great for it, although I missed it. Then I went on holiday to Italy. A vegetarian with a wheat intolerance in Italy? I had to get back on the chocolate just to stay alive. So I was straight back up to twice a day and it’s been the same ever since.
Apart from the days when it’s three times a day. (Those are USUALLY only when I run long distances.)
My colleague is always advising me on healthy and delicious foods. She told me a while ago about some new fruit and nut bars she’d tried. All I could think of was the dry cereal bars I used to eat as a kid in the 80s because they were ‘healthy’.
But as soon as I had that afternoon second dose of chocolate, my stomach was feeling really bad. I realised it was time to stop. Time to stop the second dose at least. So I bought the healthy bars (Nakd).
They are TRULY AMAZING. They taste like chocolate and give all the positive feelings chocolate gives and none of the negatives. My stomach feels great and when it gets to 6.30pm I don’t feel sick with hunger, I feel like I could actually wait a bit longer for my tea.
And I don’t even obsess so much about my morning chocolate! It may be temporary, but at the moment I am pleased to say I have broken chocolate’s vice-like grip on me.