Mind, Blown

Have you read Dr. Albers’ Q&A with Dr. Stavnezer over at Psychology Today? (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/comfort-cravings/201402/why-do-we-crave-chocolate-so-much) Do it! It’s very illuminating.

Here are some nuggets from the piece that spoke to me:

First, the research that proves that when our cognitive system is stressed, we make food choices “that are higher in calories and more impulsive.” So, in other words, if I choose my chocolate while consoling a crying child, taking a call, and, metaphorically at least, balancing a bunch of spinning plates on sticks like those old vaudeville performers, I am going to make a very poor choice that I will probably regret.

Next, Stavnezer cites a study that indicates a “decrease in craving is driven by all components of chocolate being taken together, and not simply by the biological effects of the chemicals.” We can’t just blame the ingredients of the chocolate bar itself. Oh, no. Our positive responses to chocolate are learned, over many years, and contribute to our cravings. Even ads for chocolate help create this positive response. When have you seen the message that chocolate is horrible? Even under the guise of dieting, chocolate is still presented as a wonderful thing, just something that must be avoided.

All of this should make you feel much better if you have a chocolate craving. You should feel some comfort in knowing all these forces are conspiring to create that feeling. You’re practically powerless against them! All the more reason to give in, but do so mindfully.

Lastly, in discussing chocolate’s correlation with love, Stavnezer brings in the evolutionary perspective, that “love leads to sex, sex leads to offspring and offspring lead to passing on our genes, which, in the end, equals survival.” So, you see? The entire human race depends on your eating chocolate! Get to it!

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