Should I stop eating chocolate?

I was reading an article on the top ten psychology studies of 2010, when number five caught my attention:

As you might have guessed, I gave up chocolate in order to increase my willpower.

I did some calculations, and it turns out I usually eat about 600 calories worth of chocolate everyday. Probably even more when I’m stressed out. I’m not overweight, but 600 empty calories isn’t good for anyone.

I went cold turkey on Sunday. I still have two 40 oz bags of Hershey’s candy, and I’m debating whether I should throw them out or not. So far the only benefit I’ve noticed is that I feel more alert every morning - probably because I don’t go to bed every night hopped-up on sugar. OTOH, I’ve had a headache for three days now, and I’m wondering if it could the result of withdrawal from chocolate (is that even possible?).

There seems to be little reward in keeping this up except to satisfy my curiosity on the study of willpower, and the extra energy in the morning.

Should I continue not eating chocolate, or is it not worth the trouble?

I’d rather have the cold turkey on a lightly toasted kaiser roll with LTM and bacon. Sure, I’d give up chocolate for that.

Can you learn to enjoy less chocolate? A small square of dark chocolate is a much better option than a large quantity of milk chocolate with its extra sugar and fat.

I lost 75 pounds on Weight Watchers, and I still enjoy chocolate. Just not a bag of M&Ms at a time. A small piece of Valrhona Extra Noir and I’m good to go.

I will not tell you that chocolate is a food group. You’ve read that joke over and over. What I will ask is if chocolate is your only source of caffiene. If so, that’s why you are getting headaches. I decaf myself once a year and the headaches are killers. The coffee buzz afterwards makes it all worth it :cool:

I would not start eating it. I love chocolate, but you got a chocolate monkey on your back. Once you get over it, you can start again by eating a little bit at a time.

If you work take the chocolate to work and put it out there with a sign saying “Free Candy.”

I agree with this idea. Eating a piece or two of high-quality, high-cocoa chocolate takes care of my cravings and tastes better than the lower quality stuff as well.

Are you an abstainer or a moderator?

I haven’t given up coffee. I’ve tried that once as well. Lasted two months before I realized there was no benefit, and started drinking again.

I used to do the once a year detox, but lately I haven’t had a week I could spare for the headaches.

It’s a slippery slope for me. I’ve tried eating dark chocolate before and it leaves me unsatisfied and craving more milk chocolate.

Actually, your article is a little bit of hogwash, according to what I’ve read.

Here’s an article talking about some studies that directly disprove the willpower transfer idea.

Basically, your willpower is like your gas tank. You’ve only got so much, and if you use it up not eating chocolate, you’re not going to have as much available for other willpower-related tasks in the same time-period.

The overall idea, that you can strengthen your willpower like a muscle, is related, but the downside remains that while you’re ‘exercising’ your will that way, you’ve got less available for other things while you’re working at it.

In other areas, chocolate has a significant amount of caffeine in it, which could explain the morning alertness and the continual headache. If the headache really bothers you, take Exedrin or some medicine with limited amounts of caffeine, and see if that knocks the edge off better than a regular pain-killer. If it does, then you’ll know that you’re withdrawing.

You could always consider it like a temporary detox! :slight_smile:

IMO you should only give up chocolate if you want to achieve something that can be only done by giving up chocolate. “Learning” will power seems really iffy to me. Do you think you lack the will power to do other things?

Another thing I don’t like about the OP quote is equating the stopping of doing something enjoyable with the starting of something unpleasant. To me, at least, they are two entirely separate things. I find it FAR easier to stop doing bad things, than to start doing good things.

If you were eating 600 calories of chocolate per day, then yes you should give up chocolate. There are two foods that call me all day – soda and chocolate. I don’t crave other foods, just those two. And I have found that if I give them up, after a few days, the cravings become much less intense.

I’m like a crack addict with chocolate. I just celebrated a birthday and got 4 birthday cakes from various friends and relatives. I had to give away or throw away the extra cake because I have no will power. If it’s sitting in my fridge, I will munch on it all day, until it’s gone. So it’s best to simply for me not have it on hand.

For work, I’ve found a good solution to limit my chocolate intake. I buy those big bags of Ghiardelli chocolate squares from Costco and give them to my friend, who safeguards them. She gives me one square per day, after lunch. I look forward to my little treat all day. It’s very nice to know that there’s no chance I’ll go overboard on it because E- will stand firm. She’s a good friend.

Some people find it ridiculous that an adult cannot control her chocolate cravings without resorting to these methods. I don’t care. I’ve found something that works and I’m sticking to it.

FYI, the headaches are probably related to caffeine withdrawal. It took me 4 days to be headache-free after I gave up soda for Lent this year. But given that it’s spring out and all the blooms are in the air, you may also be suffering from sinus issues at the same time. Give yourself another day or two and see if the headaches go away. I control my caffeine withdrawal headaches by taking 2 Excedrin Extra Strengths (the kind with caffeine) on day 1. One day 2, I’ll take 1.5 Excedrin. On day 3, I’ll take 1, and by Day 4 I’m headache free.

I used to be able to just take 2 Excedrin and be done with headaches, but lately it’s taking me longer. I don’t know why.

If your weight is not an issue and you otherwise eat reasonably nutritious foods, then why give up something you enjoy? How is it harming you to eat this chocolate? Is it guilt? It feels like a moral failing? Others can’t eat that much without getting fat so you shouldn’t either? If eating it makes you feel bad for whatever reason, then cutting down might make you feel better, but otherwise, I’d eat it. My advice is to practice willpower on something that is actually having a negative effect on your life.

Have you considered wearing a hair shirt? It’s more traditional.

That article is consistent with my article. My article isn’t saying that your willpower will increase at the same time you are training it by abstaining from something you like. It’s saying the same thing you are saying when you say willpower is like a muscle. When you train it, it gets depleted, but after a while it comes back much stronger.

I’m not doing it primarily to lose weight or to stay healthy. I’m doing it to increase my willpower. More specifically, I’m doing it to satisfy my curiosity concerning the accuracy of the study (I value curiosity above health apparently.) The weight loss and nutritional gains are incidental benefits that should be considered.

I’m a week in now, and the headaches have finally went away. Today I was once again more alert in the morning, and it was more productive than an average day. I’m not ready to declare a new era of productively just yet, but I’m going to keep abstaining a while longer to see the results.