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I've been on a reduced calories diet for past 4 months and lost about 20kg, but I keep on getting sweet tooth.

The main unhealthy thing that I eat is mostly 85% chocolate, which I usually eat after excercising. By eat I mean I take couple of bites, not eat the whole thing :)

Is it better to eat something like this more less regularly, or just try to stick with the diet for as long as I can and then eat a lot of it? By that I mean letting myself off the diet for a day or something like that. What do you recommend?

And when I'm about to eat some chocolate, should I do so before or after some excercise? In the morning, afternoon, or it doesn't matter?

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cheat day FTW!! =D –  kjy112 Mar 2 '11 at 1:25
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85% chocolate isn't that unhealthy in my book. It has a lot of complex substances that may meet needs you aren't aware of, beyond just "protein/vitamins/minerals/etc." Not a lot of room for sugar in there. You may be doing just fine. You lost 20kg, after all. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 9 '11 at 1:33
    
Health benefits of dark chocolate –  Rhea Mar 24 '11 at 14:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would suggest you look at solving your craving by eating fruits which are naturally sweet and not an unhealthy food.

You can vary this by eating different types of seasonal fruits or try and find your favourite.

I love to eat watermelon and rockmelon (canteloupe) after a workout.

If you like the flavour of chocolate not necessarily the sweetness you can try something like carob bars which have a similar taste.

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Many diets allow or even recommend a weekly cheat meal or cheat day. This might be one approach to controlling your cravings - and on that one meal/day go ahead and stuff yourself.

Some discussion of the cheat day as well as a supplement stack* and other techniques that help block absorption of the sugars can be found in the 4 Hour Body.

*Specifically, the recommended basic supplement stack was a combination of garlic, ALA, green tea extract, and policosanol. Cissus quadrangularis may also have some beneficial effects.

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Yep. Trying to fight the cravings is much easier when you know you can have whatever you like in a few days time. –  Ali Mar 9 '11 at 5:41

Trust taste.

There's a reason you feel the urge to eat that chocolate. It's a real reason, a real unmet need, and it's an important need. Don't dismiss it. Just realize that chocolate may not be the best way to meet that need.

First, eat with as much attention as you can. You're eating this thing strictly for enjoyment, right? So enjoy it as much as you can!

The deeper you go, the better. If you can enjoy it twice as much, you'll get what you're needing with 1/2 as much.

If you can experience your food very deeply, you may notice that it's not meeting your true need, and you'll be in a position to take even better care of yourself. For example, I eat junk when I'm tired, to avoid feeling tired. With a little more self-awareness, I can rest instead.

If, instead, you eat while thinking about how you're failing on your diet, or you're a bad person for eating this, or you hope you don't get caught eating this, or you deserve a reward for being such a good person when you exercise, or whatever, then you aren't really going to experience the food you've chosen.

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Satisfy the craving...

As long as you're capable of only indulging a little, it doesn't have a measurable impact on your progress, and it's a 'physical' craving not an 'emotional' one; it shouldn't hurt.

Just keep in mind that not all cravings are equal.

A physical craving has the following qualities:

  • You are physiologically hungry.
  • The craving does not go away if you try to wait it out.
  • The craving intensifies over time.
  • Nothing you do will take away the craving except the craved food.

An emotional craving, on the other hand, looks like this:

  • You are not physiologically hungry.
  • It does go away if you try to wait it out.
  • The craving does not intensify over time; the emotion does.
  • Doing something else satisfies the real need, and the craving disappears.

Source: familyeducation.com

The key here is, "Nothing you do will take away the craving except the craved food." That means, if you're specifically craving chocolate (and it isn't just an emotional craving) then not just any other type of sugar (like fruits) will meet your needs.

Satisfy it or you might find yourself eating larger quantities of other foods in vain without satisfying the craving.

You may also try some different types of chocolate to pinpoint exactly what you're craving. Is it the sweets, cocoa, or a quick spike in fat that your body is really craving.

As for 'when' you should eat chocolate. Eat it during those moments where ignoring it for a while only makes the craving more intense. If that is following a workout, do it then.

SideNote: I feel a little embarrassed admitting this but I get a vicious craving for fried chicken (like those little nugget things from ckick-fil-a) occasionally after some good sex. I have no idea why but eating anything else doesn't suppress the craving. If I don't meet the craving, I usually find myself eating a lot of other crap instead. The funny thing is, aside from that I rarely ever eat fast food (and never crave fast food specifically). Cravings are a strange beast...

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+1 wanting the pleasure of food is different than needing the sustenance... –  J. Winchester May 16 '11 at 5:49

Slowly. Take small bites. Savor the flavor. Enjoy the texture on your tongue. Let the enjoyment slither around in your mouth. But then when it's gone, remind yourself that that's it. That you'll enjoy it more if you abstain until the next time you allow yourself the pleasure.

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If you really must have something sweet, eat it early in the morning because then you have the whole day to burn it off. The worst time to eat sweet things is at night. You should not be eating anything 2 hours before bedtime (if you are trying to loose weight).

I would suggest you have a cheat day where you eat a small quantity of chocolate (or whatever your craving is) instead of having a huge amount every 2 weeks. During the week you will be more motivated to avoid bad foods, because you don't need to long for them because you know that on Friday (for example) you are 'allowed' to eat something less healthy and you will also not feel as guilty about it.

I am most definitely not suggesting you spend the whole day eating chocolate on Fridays. Buy yourself a small and delicious expensive bar of chocolate instead of something cheap and nasty. That way you know it will be delicious.

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