Does a big box of Valentine’s Chocolates make you feel special? Or, to look at it from the opposite side of the coin, are you disappointed if you don’t receive your favorite chocolates? We all know that a big, beautiful box of chocolates is a most popular way to express our love…. and not just with our sweethearts but with our family members as well!
As you are figuring out how to manage your chocolates, here are a few healthy considerations:
#1 – Go for a brisk walk or engage in some other form of physical activity. A study compared the effect of being sedentary vs. a 15 minute brisk walk on chocolate cravings in 58 healthy women. All women had no chocolate for a minimum of 24 hours before the study and some for up to a week. Across the board, cravings were significantly less after walking in all participants.
#2 – Individually wrap each piece of chocolate before you start eating them. OK, you can have one or two to celebrate opening the box but then wrap each piece. Why?? Well, another study looked at “effort” in association with consumption reduction of food, whether healthy or not. The researchers found that unwrapping a food product was enough to significantly reduce the amount eaten.
#3 – Bring the box to work and watch the chocolates disappear! I have another study to tell you about, and I love this one! Here, hidden cameras were used to watch 8 different boxes of chocolates that were placed on 8 different hospital wards in 3 different hospitals. The boxes were unopened when placed. The results?
● it took 12 minutes from time of appearance on the ward to someone opening the box
● 74% of the chocolates were eaten right there at the box
● it took about 1½ hours for the first half of the chocolates to be eaten
● 28% were eaten by healthcare assistants, 28% by nurses and 15% by doctors
So, if you work in a hospital, here you go! If you work somewhere else, I bet the results will be about the same!
#4 – Place your box out of sight so you are less tempted. Now, this is often a problem because the box is pretty and it reminds you that someone cared enough to give it to you. What to do? Well, you could empty the box and do suggestion #2 and place the actual chocolates out of sight and leave the box out for a few days. If you have children around, put sweet messages in the box to brighten everyone’s day. Valentine’s is not just about the chocolate, it’s about the love. Or, you could write down something you are grateful for each day for a week and then compare results all around.
#5 – Make a commitment to eat just one chocolate a day. Oh gosh, this one takes self-discipline and more. Another recent study used MRI measurements to see the parts of the brain that were activated during chocolate exposure and chocolate intake. The results found that those who ate the chocolate and those who resisted the cravings had activity in different parts of the brain … reward centers in the eaters, and cognitive control in the craving resisters. So, which group are you part of?
We all know that Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and appreciation. As chocolates enter the picture, enjoy them … and remember to enjoy your good health too! Lots of love …