Saturday, 20 May 2017

No more chocolate... Take 3

A couple of years ago I made two attempts to stop eating chocolate. These failed. Since then, I've made a habit of eating other foods- mostly nuts and raisins- in an attempt to give up the confectionery. This has only led to me eating more on top of the chocolate. I'm going to make a third attempt to quit, but this time I believe I'll have more luck. It all comes down to a chemical called dopamine.

Dopamine is 'a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers.' (Psychology Today) The basic principle of addiction, which I suppose is what you'd call my problem with chocolate, is that your brain is wired up to receive dopamine from that one source- the source of your addiction. Each time you use what you crave, your brain uses a neural pathway to get it. And each time the pathway is used, it's reinforced. Similarly, the more you tread through a field, the less the grass will grow there and a path will form. The more you walk in other directions, the less that first path will be eroded and the grass will grow over it again.

Put simply, I've been treading the same path since university days, when I first started gorging on chocolate. I'm now going to tread other paths for enjoyment- better food, more socialising, more reading- a wider range of enjoyment. Food, and in particular chocolate, I'm going to try to make myself forget. And that path will soon be... well, you get the metaphor. I'll get sugar from fruit, and sparingly at that. I'll drink plain Ovaltine instead of hot chocolate, and I'll continue at the gym. My current weight is 76.6kg (12st 1.) I've been bouncing between 70.9 and 80 for months now. With chocolate out of the equation, and mixed nuts stashed in every bag and in my car, I should see a reduction. I'm going to get my weight below 70kg (11st) by this time next month, with no loss of strength.

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