Happy National Chocolate Day! Studies Show That Indulging 'Mindfully' Has Its Benefits
Giving in to that chocolate craving isn't the end of the world, but remember to enjoy all things in moderation.
Many would agree that eating chocolate for its taste is incentive enough, but a recent Psychology Today article written by dietitian Susan McQuillan notes that "...indulging in sweet and fatty foods also triggers the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that help you feel calm. Endorphins are responsible for the “high” you might feel when you exercise vigorously, fall in love or eat chocolate." So, chocolate's creamy-rich taste and a feel-good is a win-win right? Well, it depends.
One must be mindful of overindulgence. For emotional eaters, its important to differentiate from a simple craving and a potential binge.
McQuillan's Psychology Today article sited a published study from McGill University in Montreal that credits 'mindfulness techniques' like disidentification to curb one's chocolate cravings. Essentially, one must recognize one's feelings without labeling one's self. For example, "...instead of saying 'I am stressed (sad, lonely, angry)' you say to yourself, 'I feel stressed' (sad, lonely, angry). The idea is to recognize that you are not defined by your feelings, you simply have feelings that are just one small part of who you are."
Looking to learn more about mindfully eating? Gersten Center's registered dietitian Tatum Stern has over 6 years experience in meal planning, grocery lists, and cooking guidance. Call us at 847-329-9210 for info.
The Gersten Center has nearly 30 clinicians and 4 convenient Chicagoland locations and an online therapy option.