In case you’re just joining this blog community (welcome! stay a while!), nine blog readers and I embarked on a Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge in which we stayed away from chocolatey goodness for as long as possible. Some lasted two days, some two weeks, but everyone came out stronger. In the end, it wasn’t about the deprivation, it was about building positive momentum grounded in inner strength. Who knew chocolate could be so deep? Here’s Jen’s story (she’s pretty funny, too… read on).
I Survived My 14-Day Chocolate Detox
Hello, my name is Jen and I am a Chocoholic.
A few weeks ago I decided to face my worst fear and join 8 other reluctant competitors in the Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge hosted by Mel Runs. Instructions: Swear off all forms of chocolate for 14 days.
Why did I need to do this?
Well, it caught me at a good time, coinciding with New Year’s resolutions and the need to repent for a month’s worth of holiday eating.
Bigger picture, I wanted to see if I could wriggle free from the spell chocolate had over me.
I go to the gym every day and eat cleanly, but chocolate is a persistent vice. On any given day, I’d consume 250-500 extra calories in chocolate… starting with chocolate chips in my breakfast oatmeal. Over the course of 14 days, this equals 3500-7000 calories, or 1-2 lbs! Gross. Step 1: Admit you have a problem. Check.
Day One was the hardest.
I didn’t actually cry, but I came close. I went and stared at my chocolate stash several times. I kept reminding myself that it wasn’t like I could never have chocolate again. It was 14 friggin’ days.
I thought about other times I had to deny myself things I loved. During my pregnancies, I didn’t have any sushi or booze, and I drank decaf coffee and backed off intense exercise FOR 10 MONTHS. How in holy hell did I survive that… twice?! Sh*t, 14 days without chocolate didn’t seem so bad.
The Challenge dictated that we were supposed to exchange chocolate for fruit. That only happened half the time for me. Otherwise, I was like Ronald Reagan exchanging cigarettes for jellybeans. Instead of chocolate, I made frozen banana-blueberry slushies, ate almond croissants and bowls of oatmeal with pumpkin pie filling, drank iced coffee, and oh, lots of white wine. I may have successfully foiled my chocolate cravings, but this 14-day fast was doing bupkiss for my waistline.
The Highs & Lows
Day 5 My husband actually gets to taste the TJ’s Chocolate World Sampler I allegedly bought for him as a stocking stuffer. I watch in horror as he tosses the last piece of New Guinea in his mouth. “Hey! I wanted to try New Guinea – 70% cocoa. Marked fruity taste with a touch of spice. Ideal pairing: Merlot.”
Day 7 I barely thought about chocolate today, and when I did, I went for a 5-mile run. I hate myself.
Day 11 Considering sabotage of the other competitors. Come ‘on people, fold!
Day ? I’ve lost track of days. Are we there yet? Mel says when this is over she’s going to marry Ferrero Rocher. I’m going to melt down all the chocolate I didn’t consume into a giant Bradley Cooper-shaped Easter bunny and devour him.
Day 14 & Beyond
I did it. I beat the pants off of chocolate. How do you like me now?! But part of me is worried. Sure, I can fend off the toxic boyfriend in broad daylight, as long as I’m keeping busy. But if he showed up at my door after too much wine and Natalie Merchant, would I be so honorable? What if my first bite of chocolate is the gateway to a wild chocolate bender that results in me Hoovering up chocolate croissants, chocolate ice cream, molten chocolate lava cakes, etc? I wonder if I’ll ever be able to enjoy chocolate responsibly again.
There’s only one solution.
I’ve decided to save my chocolate indulgences for when I’m out. I’m not going to keep chocolate in the house. I choose quality over quantity. Because let’s face it, me consuming just a single square of dark chocolate is about as likely as my pug chewing each bite of dinner 30 seconds before he swallows. It’s just not in our genetic make-up.
So I’m handing over the keys to all the fine chocolate-makers out there. And I trust that their withering looks will deter me from ordering seconds and thirds. First stop? Maybe a delicious mug of Mexican hot chocolate. Callate mi amor, you had me at hola.
Jen is a NYC recruiter who writes a blog called In Good Company where she showcases the ad industry’s thought leaders, speaking on a variety of topics – from social media to launching a business.
P.S. If you liked Jen’s story, here’s some other Mel Runs challenge stories:
- Jessie’s energy revival from the Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge.
- Mike’s 512 push up triumph in the Push Up Challenge