The first few days were hard. I would wake up thinking about chocolate; I literally had a dream about eating a Cadbury's Wispa! But I stuck with it, and after a week or so it became a little easier. There were still moments (or whole days...) when I really, really wanted chocolate, but I wasn't viewing it as an option, so I managed to hold. The hardest moments for me were being offered chocolates or chocolate biscuits at work and having to say no, and being in the confined space of my car with my brother while he ate a Belgian chocolate pudding. I've never known anything smell so good! And there was that walk with my friend Matt - usually we have cake when we go for a walk, but he brought a bar of Dairy Milk and proceeded to tell me he wouldn't tell anyone if I had some...
It's definitely been a learning curve for me! Here are five things I've learnt over the past few chocolate-free weeks:
I have a ridiculous sweet tooth.
There's not much getting away from this! I am very much a fan of sweet things, and even when I couldn't have chocolate I'd still find myself going for something sweet, especially in the first couple of weeks. I've developed a new love of boiled sweets! I did have a minor meltdown about a fortnight in when my Mum forgot to buy non-chocolate biscuits when she went shopping - what was I supposed to dunk in my tea!?
I tend to snack mindlessly.
I've become much more conscious of the fact that I often eat for the sake of eating - because I'm bored or a bit emotional - especially around a certain time of the month. I've got much better at picking up on whether I'm actually hungry, or whether I just like the idea of food at that particular moment, which can only be a good thing - on quite a few occasions I've found myself deciding that actually, I don't even want a biscuit right now.
Eating chocolate doesn't give me spots.
...or at least, not eating chocolate doesn't get rid of my spots! I haven't noticed a single bit of difference in my skin while I've not been eating chocolate - which I'm half-annoyed about (it would have been nice to see something for my efforts) and half-glad (what if I had to actually give up chocolate!?)
Having a buddy helps.
Having a friend who's also given up chocolate has really helped me! There have been a lot of "I really want Mini Eggs" and "I'd happily push a child under a bus for a bar of Galaxy right now" kind of texts... (That second one wasn't me. I don't even like Galaxy!) Just knowing that there's someone who "knows what you're going through" - which makes it sound very dramatic! - and can offer support, really helped me.
My will-power is much better than I thought.
It's time to start giving myself a bit more credit - when I put my mind to something, you can be pretty sure I'll see it through! I honestly wasn't sure how giving up chocolate would go but I'm actually really proud of myself for sticking with it and seeing it out. I've had two Lindt truffles sat on my bedside table for the last five weeks and I'm really quite pleased with myself for not caving in and eating them!
Did you give anything up for Lent? How did you get on? Have you ever given up chocolate?