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December 27, 2006

Healthy Eating – Is Chocolate the Answer?


(A post by Marsha Hudnall)

So how many boxes of chocolate did you get this holiday season?  My bounty included chocolate-covered chocolate cheesecake, chocolate truffles, hollow chocolate pears and apples, chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate kisses, chocolate hazelnut thingies, chocolate peanut butter cups, shaved chocolate for hot chocolate…and that doesn’t include what I bought for others!  I love chocolate, but must admit that I’m a little tired of it at this point.  I’ll put it all out for my New Year’s Eve party and am sure it will go.

One of my girlfriends will only eat dark chocolate.  Partly it’s because that’s what she really likes – yay for her.  But there’s another part of her that rationalizes that dark chocolate is healthier for us.  Nutritionists caution us about that rationalization, though.  There have been too few studies to make that a solid claim.  A recent article in USA Today explains more.  The president of Scharffen Berger Chocolate – one of my favorite brands! – sums it up well for me.  He says they don’t make chocolate for its health benefits; they do it for its taste.  Yay for him!  I eat what I want, and that’s exactly why I eat it!

Photo by kashmere

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Posted by Cindy on December 27, 2006 | Permalink


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Kashmere, I just have to ask if you are a person with a weight problem. It doesn't seem so if you're surrounded by so many different types of chocolate, are being given chocolates as a gift, and give others chocolate. No one would dare give me chocolate for a gift because I'm 150 pounds overweight.

I thought this blog was for those "tired of dieting" and the mood of your post is that you've never been on a serious diet in your life. And to say you're tired of chocolate.......? If I am wrong, please correct me, but I just feel that I'm a freak here because I can't enjoy hearing about all the types of chocolate you have in your house right now.

Posted by: Kathy | Dec 28, 2006 12:58:57 PM

Sorry, I meant to address the previous post to Marsha---I apologize!

Posted by: Kathy | Dec 28, 2006 1:00:23 PM

Kathy, I'll pass your comment on to Marsha. She's away on holiday, so I posted for her. Consequently, your response came to me instead. I'm sure she'll get back to you as soon as she can. Happy new year!!

Posted by: Cindy | Dec 30, 2006 12:41:21 AM

Hi, Kathy,

Actually, I struggled with eating and weight for many years, so seriously at one point (a long point -- 10 years) that I was bulimic. Seriously bulimic; totally ruined my teeth and who knows what else in my body. But I have overcome all that because I began to eat what I want and deal with the other things in my life that were causing me to use food for things other than physical sustenance. At my highest, I was probably only 30 pounds over what would be considered the 'right' weight for me by societal standards, but that doesn't mean I didn't feel the issue the same as people who weighed more than me. I think my bulimia speaks to that. I have been on more diets in my life than I can accurately count. But not since I started addressing my eating and weight problems in a more intelligent way, like the way we try to get across on this blog and at Green Mountain.

One of the big points about eating that we try to help people understand at Green Mountain is that only by giving yourself permission to eat what you want will you ever find out what you really want...and don't want. I like chocolate. But I get tired of it if I eat too much of it. That's actually a built-in system in the human body that I can't think of the name of right now because my brain is dead from all the celebrations I've recently taken part in. Anyway, how it works is that when we eat something, our taste buds tire of it after a while, and it no longer remains appealing. At least for a while.

The problem for many people who struggle with eating and weight is that they don't really let themselves have something like chocolate, even when they're eating and overeating it. That's because they are guilty the whole time they're eating it...or shortly thereafter. That guilt, remorse, whatever you want to call it interferes with our built-in systems that guide us in eating what we really want...and turning away what we really don't want.

It's true people don't easily give people who are considered 'overweight' chocolate or other goodies for gifts. I feel conflicted myself giving a good friend who i know struggles with eating and diabetes and weight because I'm fairly sure she doesn't really appreciate the gift. I should ask her to be completely sure, now that you mention this.

I apologize if my post made you feel bad at this time of year. It's particularly tough trying to eat normally at this time of year because what is normal is so outside of the norm that defines the rest of the year. That is, the norm for eating at this time of year is eating a lot of rich stuff. But studies show it's only people who struggle with weight who really gain weight during this time of year. Normal eaters may see the scale jump up a pound or two (if they're watching at all) but once life returns to normal, those extra pounds disappear without any effort.

Our hope at Green Mountain is that we, along with the many other professionals who are now working in this area, are successful in helping people who struggle with weight to become normal eaters. Because once they are normal eaters, much of the struggle disappears. Then they can begin to examine other aspects of their lives to determine what they wnat to do to take care of themselves and live the best life they possibly can.

My best wishes for a Happy New Year.


Posted by: Marsha | Dec 30, 2006 8:25:36 AM

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