Look, I’m going to be frank. I can’t tell you precisely what does it mean when you crave chocolate.
I’m not your doctor or your boyfriend. I’m not a gut microbe floating around in your belly. And I’m certainly not a psychic.
What I can do is describe 4 common situations where you might crave chocolate. Then you can think for yourself. You can decide for yourself if your craving is fine, or problematic.
- Are you legitimately hungry?
- Maybe it’s ok to crave chocolate?
- Are you emotional or sad?
- Are you bored?
Here’s a quick video I made about the topic:
So before there’s any sort of freak out I want to be clear about chocolate.
If you are experiencing chocolate cravings don’t worry! Craving chocolate does not mean you’re fat, you have an eating disorder, or you need to diet and discipline yourself.
Part of my job as an eating coach/therapist is to reassure you that cravings are normal and natural. We get cravings when we are hungry. It’s ok to crave chocolate.
Many of the eating disorder therapists and nutritionists I’ve interviewed on my podcast, Eating Enlightenment, candidly share surprising stories.
For example, one intuitive eating coach allows herself to eat ice cream if she wants ice cream. Usually she wants ice cream each day! She experiences cravings for ice cream, and so she goes and gets herself some ice cream.
Now this might sound crazy! Right?! I mean, ice cream, right? Ice cream is bad, right? Cravings for ice cream, the apocalypse must be coming soon!
Well… maybe. Maybe not.
In Eating Enlightenment we learn to Think Different.
We learn to listen to our gut and to hone psychological tools so we intuitively process the nutritional data and information from our heart.
Remember the intuitive eating coach who eats ice cream? She has maybe a spoonful each day. Maybe two spoonsful. Hell, she might even have a bowl of ice cream.
Yet something interesting is going on. She’s barely eating any ice cream. She’s not having buckets of ice cream or eating ice cream because she’s sad.
Hell, you may simply want more magnesium in your system. And chocolate has lots of magnesium.
No, she’s just having ice cream because she wants some ice cream.
And most importantly, there is no emotional distress. She’s in a great mood when she’s eating ice cream. She’s not eating ice cream because she’s sad, stressed or broke up with her boyfriend who isn’t me.
I hope we’re getting somewhere here in this post. We started off with the question “What does it mean when you crave chocolate?”
And I’m going on a rant here because I feel like going on a rant here. And because sometimes going along with your feelings is perfectly fine.
So sometimes the ‘meaning’ of a chocolate craving is simply that you want some chocolate. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I wrote a whole post about sugar cravings and how to stop them in 4 steps, click here for more info.
And of course, other times craving chocolate means something else. So let’s talk about those other times, how can you tell if your chocolate craving means you have a real problem that needs to be addressed?
- Eating Disorder
- Emotional Eating
- Binge Eating
- Out of Control Eating
Big warning sign – Chocolate is your only friend in tough times – and that’s it
Here’s perhaps the biggest warning sign I can give you. And warning. It requires you to be honest with yourself. Again, I’m not a psychic.
If you are always craving chocolate (or another sugary treat) when you are sad, stressed, or emotional … then you might have an eating disorder. Now perhaps the label ‘eating disorder’ is too strong for you. But you may need to invest in some skills to learn to stop emotional eating.
The definition of emotional eating is eating to cope with emotions, without many other ways to cope with emotional eating.
So let’s break this definition down a little bit. Because some emotional eating is fine. Hell, I remember the other day I got upset. I poured a ton of creamer into my coffee. Half sugar, half coffee. In hindsight it was disgusting. But in the moment I needed a sugary treat to help me feel better.
Now I also took a nap. I also journaled. I called a friend. And I sat with my negative emotion. The negative emotion didn’t overwhelm me. I didn’t feel shame afterwards. I didn’t have any emotional blockages preventing me from caring for myself.
And emotional blockages preventing you from caring for yourself are some of the biggest obstacles I help people with.
In essence, I did eat emotionally. But I also was able to take care of myself in other ways.
I didn’t rely on food to make me feel better.
And for some people, the answer to “What does it mean when you crave chocolate?” becomes more clear if you ONLY have chocolate as a friend in troubling time.
Is this you? Is chocolate your only friend in tough times? If so, please be aware that this is a warning.
Now I don’t mean this a warning in the sense that you will be punished as if eating chocolate is a crime. No. I’m the most gentle person to work with, and I never criticize my clients!
I mean simply this is a warning because you might be called, right now as you read these words, to live a better life. It’s not fun to have chocolate as your only friend in dark times. That’s not ideal. You don’t want chocolate as your crutch like this. You won’t want that.
So let’s recap and then move on:
- Chocolate ain’t all bad
- Craving chocolate ain’t all bad
- Craving chocolate can be fine and normal
- Yet craving chocolate can be problematic
- If chocolate is your ONLY way to cope in tough times
Now here’s a warning another warning sign – You always crave chocolate when you’re emotional
Now sometimes you have alternative ways of coping with tough emotions. You don’t just rely on food. You know how to feel your emotions and understand your emotions. That’s good.
Yet if you ALWAYS find yourself craving food when you’re sad, that’s another warning sign. And again, by warning sign I don’t mean you’re screwing up. I mean this as a call to action. Perhaps I should say “Call to action sign?” I don’t know. Seems like a mouthful to me. What do you think? Comment below.
Take me for example. Up above I said how using chocolate (or in my case, a sugary coffee) to cope with food, as long as you’re also using other means to cope, is fine. As long as you can feel and understand your emotions, then chocolate is fine. As long as chocolate isn’t your only friend, then you’re good.
But a further clarification is needed. I want to clarify that I don’t ALWAYS crave chocolate or sugar beverage when I’m upset. In fact, most of the time I don’t use food at all to cope with negative feelings or to make me feel better. Now obviously sometimes I do and that’s ok.
But I don’t always crave chocolate. So this is the other ‘call to action’ sign.
Do you always crave chocolate when you’re emotional or bored?
Even if you don’t purely rely on chocolate to make you feel better, do you crave chocolate every time you feel bad?
This is a sign that somehow your brain has been wired for chocolate. Just a heads up.
What does it mean when you crave chocolate? Well…
- It might not mean anything
- If chocolate is desired and you’re not emotional, it’s probably ok
- But … please heed these Call To Action signs
- If you ALWAYS crave chocolate when you’re emotional
- OR, if you RELY on chocolate, and only chocolate, to make you feel better
Here are some other signs of emotional eating:
So without further ado, I will close this post. Let me know your thoughts!