I can’t remember a time when chocolate wasn’t a part of my diet. When I want a snack, I eat a chocolate bar. Anytime I order dessert, I go for the option that is loaded with chocolate—from cookies to brownies to ice cream, chocolate in any form is welcome. I even turned to chocolate hummus as a way to add some of my favorite sweet stuff to a fruit salad.
Yes, it’s safe to say I am addicted to chocolate. So what would happen if I just decided to stop eating chocolate?
Well, that’s exactly what I did when I gave up chocolate for two weeks.
And I truly am forever changed.
What happens when you stop eating chocolate?
I went cold turkey, which was a bit hard at first. See, I was eating chocolate multiple times a day. I would have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup whenever I wandered by the candy dish in my living room, added frozen dark-chocolate covered strawberries to my morning smoothie, and would make myself a mini ice cream sundae with some of the Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream that was in my freezer for dessert in the evening. Yes, chocolate was a key component in every meal.
So just stopping that completely was a bit rough at first. My body was craving (and missing) the sugar, as it’s easy to see I was consuming far too much added sugar throughout the day. I found myself thinking about chocolate, as I could no longer eat it and in my kitchen, there is plenty of temptation. The cookies, granola bars, and peanut M&Ms are right there, all the time. It was important for me to not purge my kitchen, but instead, let myself be faced with the culprit every day of this two-week period to really test my willpower.
RELATED: Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!
It really was a test, as I found myself a tad bit more irritable and cranky the first 48 hours. As time went on, my emotional dependence on the comfort chocolate would give me subsided. I was proving to myself that I could resist it and I started getting used to life without chocolate.
But the biggest takeaway from my two-week chocolate cleanse is the effect it had on my skin.
I have struggled with acne on and off since I was 16 years old and more than 10 years later, I still battle with hormonal cystic acne. I try to track flare-ups and keep note of what I put into my body the times when my skin decides to act up, and during the two weeks I refrained from chocolate, I noticed a major difference. I didn’t have any big, painful breakouts under my skin that I’ve become so accustomed to dealing with. I still had a few little breakouts emerge, but with some carefully applied creams, they went away within a day or two.
Eating tons of chocolate, I feel, was not helping my skin at all and perhaps made things worse. The two weeks I went without it, I was able to feel my face when I washed it and there were no big bumps. That was a major breakthrough for me and motivated me to really think about eliminating chocolate from my diet after this two-week cleanse.
Will I eat chocolate again?
The short answer: yes. Once I made it safely beyond the 14-day mark, I treated myself to a mini Hershey’s snack-size bar that was sitting in my fridge waiting for me. That little bar was enough for me—I didn’t have chocolate again for another nearly three days after that. The cravings seemed to have disappeared and I believe that’s because I saw such positive results from my chocolate detox. I’m not saying I won’t eat chocolate again because it’s still one of my favorite foods. I’ll be smarter with my choices now, though. I’m limiting myself to indulging once a week from now on, and I’ll be mindful of the type of chocolate I do eat. I’ll aim to munch on a small piece that is 70% cacao when I’m in the mood, as dark chocolate has been proven to have many health benefits.