Although it may seem bad to feed your feelings, I am here to tell you that there's a way to enjoy your comfort foods without sacrificing your health completely. You actually set yourself up for a bigger problem by attempting to avoid your cravings. Chocolate is one of the most common cravings we have that is filled with serotonin and anandamide, which are chemicals that cause you to have a desire for more.
The secret is not settling for something that is not as bad for you, it's satisfying that craving by eating what you really want. By settling, you are going to over-indulge because you aren't getting the pleasure you want from a treat that you don't even want. This is a golden rule that I have for myself and it works well. As a baker, I know when a treat is worth the calories and sugar, like my cranberry orange pound cake I have pictured above. I am able to avoid eating overly sweet or dry treats because I've trained my taste buds to desire the premium desserts.
Think of it as shopping for shoes. Would you rather spend $20 on a pair of shoes that you'll have to replace every two months or spend $100 for a pair that you'll replace after a year? I hope you choose the $100 pair as it saves you $20. When you indulge in that one treat that you really want, you're likely satisfied and may not crave it again for a few weeks. When you settle for something sweet that you aren't craving, you'll probably eat several servings of that same treat in one sitting just to satisfy that craving in some way. You are also likely to continue eating it week after week because you still aren't satisfied.
Another important rule is to stop everything you're doing to truly enjoy that one treat. I used to laugh when people would do this as it would seem like they were obsessed with food. But when you think about it, how can you get the full pleasure that a chocolate candy bar will give you if you're shoving it down your mouth or you're doing something that is stressing you out at the moment. Your focus is somewhere else and just think about when someone's talking to you when you're watching your favorite show. You'll either tell them to shut up or you'll re-watch it without distractions so you can enjoy the entertainment of that show.
Probably the most important rule is to not feel guilty when you are "pleasure eating" (as I like to call it). It defeats the whole purpose. You won't feel pleasure when you indulge because you're constantly telling yourself it's not good for you. So you'll end up feeling worse because you're gaining calories and not feeling pleasured. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while, especially when you are feeling down. You deserve to pleasure yourself because you're worth it.
Credits: Emotional Eating: The Trick To Staying Slim What Your Food Cravings Say About Your Emotions
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