Numb

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More than a week has passed since my last post because I just wasn’t sure what to write about.

As I mentioned in my last post, I no longer feel like I NEED chocolate to survive. It took 27 days without chocolate to accomplish that feat. But do I feel like a success?

No.

I feel numb. I feel like this is no big deal. I’ve even gone ahead and told a few more people that I’d given up chocolate for Lent. They didn’t react. I said this after I was feeling numb, by the way, in case you were thinking I fed off of their reaction.

I’ve been squirreling away chocolate as Lent has gone by. I’ve got a small bag of M&M’s, a king-sized Coffee Crisp chocolate bar and a Lindt 85% cocoa chocolate bar tucked in a drawer, the first 2 being leftovers from combos purchased at the movie theatre, the latter to enter a contest to win free Lindt chocolate for a year (YES, PLEASE). I open the drawer that they live in regularly, but I don’t feel like they are a temptation anymore.

I do feel disappointed. I really thought that if I was able to give up chocolate, I would feel like I was in control of my cravings, of my eating habits and of my life. Instead I feel like I’ve let myself down. That perhaps I should have just given it up for Lent and not tacked on any additional expectations. Maybe I just don’t care anymore because Easter is in a week, leaving me with little time without chocolate.

My mother’s birthday is on Tuesday. She has requested chocolate cake. My family has more than one birthday that often falls within Lent and as a general rule when it comes to birthday cake, if it’s something someone has given up, they’ll eat it anyway on the birthday. On Tuesday I will have one regular-sized slice of chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate ice cream. I’ll let you know what happens.

Stay tuned.

I don’t hate everything, a milestone moment.

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Today is Monday, and it has been 27 days since I last tasted chocolate. And I have not maimed anyone.

Today is the first day that I haven’t actually wished for chocolate in about 27 days. Seriously. Granted, it’s only 3:30 p.m., there is still time.

But during the last two weeks in particular the craving has been all day, every day. In my last post I considered turning to music as a chocolate replacement, rather than an edible. The very next day I was in the kitchen preparing some baked goods for the Church bake sale, and I turned on a playlist filled with songs that I like to sing along with (a.k.a. belt out at the top my lungs when no one is around to cringe). And I danced. I’m an awful dancer, but I enjoy it so I do it anyway. I danced around the kitchen – I put the knife down first, don’t worry – and I sang along with Christina Aguilera and Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry and Serena Ryder and I felt good about everything. The cloud that has been following me around for the last several days gave way to sunshine.

I lived in the moment, and I loved the moment.

So, I kept doing it.

Those snickerdoodles and honey nut squares were tasty, not only because they are, but because I baked a lot of happy into those sugary delights! Total epiphany moment, let me tell you, and not a moment too soon. I was cantankerous enough to really think about eating chocolate just to see what the effect would be.

A few days later came a great challenge. I went with some of my friends to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. If you’ve never been, it’s a week-long indoor market made up almost entirely of Canadian artisans selling their homemade anything and everything. One of the anythings is food. The Food District area of the show has, of course, lots of chocolate to sample. They were everywhere! These smiley, contraband-peddling evildoers holding out free samples of homemade chocolately treats appeared every few steps.

Not only did I have to dodge the treats, I finally had to break down and tell one of my friends that I had given up chocolate for Lent because she could not understand why I kept turning the samples down! She was a bit surprised but she said, “Good for you!” I mentioned that I hadn’t told anyone, and since she’s a BFF she wordlessly understood that I didn’t want to talk about. She did tell me to pick up the samples anyway for her, which I did. BFF!

But the greatest test of my strength came yesterday while I volunteered at the aforementioned bake sale. I was tasked with dividing a batch of brownies into half dozens. They were the gooiest, most chocolatey-aromatic brownies covered in icing. It was all I could do not to take a taste. But I stayed strong!

Now let me backtrack a little. I mentioned that I was baking for the Church bake sale. I need to take a moment and remark upon the fact that chocolate dominates baking! I have the Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies (I looooove it!) and I struggled to find simple recipes that did not contain chocolate. Hence the very simple snickerdoodles and honey nut bars. I even poked around online to find something tasty that made me think of spring and totally struck out. I figured everyone would make decorated sugar cookies and crispy rice treats, I was trying to avoid those, (of course then no one made any). I’m considering developing non-chocolate cookie recipes for bake sales post-Lent. That could be fun.

I really do think that since I have survived a cranky mood, turned down free samples and managed not to even buy a brownie, let alone lick my fingers after plating them, I will not only survive this Lenten challenge, but may even come out feeling empowered over my addiction. *wobbly ballerina twirl of joy*

I really hope this is rock bottom.

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I broke the other day. Friday, to be exact. I went out of my mind, was encased in utter rage, and wanted, no, NEEDED chocolate.

Emotionally, it had been an up-and-down week from the start, which is difficult at any time. Throw in the fact that my brand new jeans fell apart on Thursday, my driver’s side headlight burnt out the same night, and a particularly painful, and moody, time of the month, and let me tell you that I can’t believe I didn’t break a dinner plate just for the satisfaction of controlled destruction.

I was sad because I’m 30-something years old and still don’t have the life I want. I was annoyed when the domes (yes, plural) on my brand new, and beloved, jeans fell off. By the time I got to the dealership so that the service centre could replace the bulb in my headlight I should have known that I was going to lose my mind. Instead, I sat there for 90 minutes, simmering that it was taking so long to change a light bulb, then seethed when I got my $78 bill. I was done with positive feelings and all that other good girl crap. I considered buying myself a cup of tea on my way home (we have skim milk at home and it’s just not the same as the 2% milk in any drive-thru), but the thought of talking to another human being made me want to throw things, so I got home with my pride in tact, barely, and proceeded to rage internally. No chocolate in sight, and I needed a fix. I needed it to fix me.

Why did I want desperately to turn to chocolate at that time? I’m able to tell you, because I had just enough sanity to consider while falling to pieces. As I fretted about in the kitchen, trying to decide if I would cheat on my mission and dive into the chocolate chips I knew were in the pantry, I asked myself what I hoped eating chocolate would do for me.

Eating chocolate, for me, is a process. My tongue, actually my whole mouth, appreciates chocolate. I don’t chew it up and swallow it down. I let it melt at least a little, I enjoy the textures of chocolate – from the solid shape, to the shavings made by my teeth, then that velvety, soul-soothing finish. And the flavour shoots happy messages to my brain. I relax, because in eating chocolate I am taking a step back from whatever I’m doing, wherever I am, however I’m feeling. I calm down, even if it’s just a little, and consider what’s going in my mind. I trick all of my senses, hoping to align them on the same track. And you know what? It works.

But on that day I decided I would be strong, for once in my life not let chocolate rule me! Surely I don’t need chocolate, I’m a grown woman, sound of mind and strong in stubborn characteristics. I calmed down, watched some TV, read a book, and when the time came, went to sleep. Saturday was a new day! But I still felt off. I decided to get some sympathy for my 90-minute, $78 car repair so I told my parents. They told me that I shouldn’t go to that service centre again, they knew where I should have taken my car to begin with. I turned to Facebook, hoping for sympathy. Within minutes I realized I’m an idiot, Facebook is not a place to garner sympathy, and I deleted the message because everyone out there knows what I should have done too. They must have talked to my parents. Then I shut down my computer, and my phone. Did I say I was in a rage on Friday? That’s hilarious because until Saturday afternoon I had no idea what rage really was. I went to Church, I ate a quick dinner and, fearing for the relationships I have with, well, everyone in my life, I tuned out of The World and watched romantic comedies on TV, letting my mind fill with nothing, be distracted by nothing. Sunday morning I enjoyed a pre-planned social brunch, but found myself not really tuned into the conversations, I was still mentally zapped. But still I did not turn to chocolate.

As I write this entry it is Monday night, and I still haven’t completely recovered from The Rage. I’m no longer angry, but I feel restless. And still have not touched chocolate. I’m seriously wondering whether that’s the right choice. I still haven’t figured out how to replace chocolate. I spend far too much time considering snack ideas and coming up with nothing (which is better than choosing everything, I suppose). Looking back at the last few days I think I should have turned to music, another great love of my life, but today in particular I spent mostly in silence, not even turning on the TV. But then I consider that I spent a good portion of my day getting lost in a book, as reading is yet another of my great loves. Was it the right choice? Am I supposed to bounce back after The Rage? Or is this all part of the process of taking control of my life?

Um, I mean, taking control of my chocolate addiction?

 

 

No chocolate for 11 days. Have not gone insane. Yet.

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Day 11 of the No Chocolate for Lent experience, and I haven’t lost my mind (yet). I’m coping much better than I expected I would be.

Wanting chocolate remains a daily hum. That is not a typo. It’s as if my body is using sonar to search for chocolate sources nearby, and it searches constantly. Just the other day I walked by the chocolate milk at the grocery store and noticed some coupons. Drawn to the chocolate, I stepped closer and almost reached out. I shook myself out of the trance I found myself in and reminded myself that store-bought chocolate milk grosses me out. I make my own. Chocolate sauce recipe from my grandmother (1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2cup or more to taste cocoa powder. Combine in small sauce pan. Simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar in the fridge. I’ve never had a batch go bad, but that may be because it’s never been in danger of going bad), and milk. Place desired quantities of sauce and milk in a drinking glass and stir. Store-bought has some ingredients on the list that I can’t even pronounce and on top of that COLOURING. Does the chocolate part not take care of that? Gross! I walked on without taking any coupons.

Night time seems to be the time of day I regularly crave chocolate. Seems to be part of my daily wind-down pattern. A couple of friends have unknowingly participated with this project by providing me with homemade non-chocolate treats. I got a jar of Christmas strawberries from one as a birthday gift and mini cupcakes from another (pistachio so that they were green for St. Patrick’s Day). This weekend every time I craved chocolate I reached for one of those (okay, or both) instead.

Verdict? They aren’t chocolate 😦

I’ll be satisfied with my treat for a short while, but I always want more. I always want more chocolate too, but I feel happier when it’s chocolate. With the sugary strawberries and frosting-topped little cakes, it’s just too sweet, too sugary. Am I unhappy simply because I want chocolate? I don’t think so. I think I really just prefer chocolate.

The hardest test thus far was Thursday night. I went to the opening showing of Veronica Mars The Movie in my area, and I purchased a snack combo that included a candy treat. “Choose anything from either of the top 2 shelves” the a cashier told me. I looked it all over. Lots of chocolate and candy options, and as I’ve mentioned before I’m not much of one for candy. I do love Twizzlers, but they weren’t available. Instead of choosing a candy I wouldn’t eat at all, I picked up some regular M&M’s, shoving them into my purse as soon as I’d paid so that they would be out of sight and, hopefully, out of mind. It worked! I didn’t think of the M&M’s at all during the movie, and I’ve tucked the little bag away for Easter. The wonder of movie itself may have helped me out. I waited seven years to find out what happened next, and it was worth the agonizing wait! Proud Kickstarter backer right here!

I think my toughest week without chocolate has just begun. Cranky has been the polite way to describe my mood recently, and I can’t fallback on my favourite happy-mood inducer, chocolate. Wish me luck! And everyone I come into contact with. *Cue maniacal laughter*

Day 6: I want chocolate

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It’s Day 6 and I can officially say that I want chocolate. This is more urgent than “I’d like chocolate” and less pressing than “I need chocolate” but it is uncomfortable nonetheless.

In my last post I said that I was trying to decide whether to replace chocolate. The answer today is quite clear that YES I want to replace chocolate. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

What pushed me all the way to this conclusion is the fact that I am a restless snacker. If I have a snack that isn’t the tasty that I crave, my taste buds rile and so I search through the cupboards looking for something better. Knowing this about myself, when I am buying my snacks I will consider what it is that I truly crave and buy it, even if it is terrible for me or a little pricier than I want because I am more likely to eat enough to satisfy me and not totally pig out. This is a new concept I’ve been trying out with success over the last 6 months. Therefore, if I do not replace chocolate, I will snack endlessly.

Chocolate’s replacement won’t be simple. I’m working on cutting back on sugar (I’ve heard the word “diabetes” tossed around too frequently for my liking), and I don’t care much for candy so a stroll through the candy aisle isn’t going to help. Instead of a food replacement, I’m in need of a mental replacement, and this is where I will discover the other item up for discussion in my last post: When and Why do I want chocolate? Today it was time for my mid-afternoon snack and I wanted chocolate because I wanted sweet. I’m not in a bad or sad mood, although not chipper either. I whipped up a smoothie with a couple of natural sweets in the forms of a banana and half an orange (and hemp hearts, spinach, plain yogurt, skim milk and 2 Tbsp of coconut milk leftover from my birthday cake). I considered my hunger pangs and added some (unsalted) corn chips and hummus. Super healthy? No. Better than a peanut butter sandwich and a bag of chips? I think so.

It didn’t work, I still want chocolate and I’m still hungry. As I write this I’m making myself wait the suggested 20 minutes for my brain to render the ACKNOWLEDGED notice that I have been fed. In fact I started writing this to make myself wait out the 20 minutes. My mind is at war. Intellectually, I have informed myself that my snack is healthier and way more filling that chocolate. I should be satisfied. I will be satisfied! But the chocolate part of my brain argues that nothing compares to the taste of bittersweet chocolate, even just one small square. Both of these are facts, the battle is equally weighted.

I’m not (quite) ready to break down into tears, but I’m going to have to step up my snack habits. I’ve got some ideas and will do some research. Hopefully the next post has an upbeat feel.

Day 5 of this stupid idea.

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In the last 5 days I have reached for chocolate at least 100 times. The shock of just how much I turn to chocolate is just starting to hit.

Wednesday, Day 1 of this experiment, (also my birthday), hardly counts because it was a day of fasting (no snacks). On such days, everything is a temptation and I’m generally a miserable grump by the time bed time rolls around. In terms of giving up chocolate, this day did not count.

Day 2 was the real start to life without chocolate. While I didn’t go straight into withdrawal, I faced temptation over and over again. I ran several errands and everywhere I went I considered picking up a chocolatey treat to celebrate the triumph of turning a year older. A hot chocolate from Tim Hortons or William’s Coffee Pub. Dark chocolate-covered pretzels from Bulk Barn. The Hershey’s kisses leftover from Valentine’s Day sitting on the kitchen table. The semi-sweet chocolate chips sitting by my computer that I still have not tucked back into the pantry from my temper-induced binge on Tuesday. Turns out that I think about chocolate everywhere I go, and I was not really aware of that fact. The wake up call finally got through.

Day 3 I kept myself occupied with socializing, and remarkably few chocolate temptations crossed my path, but I found myself yearning for something sweet several times, but I don’t care much for candy and nothing but chocolate felt like it would satisfy so I resisted. Day 4 was a whole ‘nother story: I came eye to eye with chocolate pudding shooters. Just let those 3 magical words hang in the air for a moment. They kind of shimmer, don’t they? Cold, boozy, chocolate-cake-batter-like pudding shooters. I was at a friend’s house party and there they were, sitting on a plate with a few of their friends on presentation just for me. I had to be up fairly early the following morning, so I convinced the crew that I would only indulge in one shooter. Under the watchful eyes of those who know me very well, I selected a vanilla shooter with just a hint of butterscotch schnapps. To my surprise no one commented. I played it cool, savored my treat and no one uttered a single surprised remark about my choice. I didn’t know if I was in the Twilight Zone or if truly no one thought it strange. I may never know.

Two things that I’ve been pondering this week:

1) Do I intend to replace chocolate with another snack?

2) When and why do I want chocolate so often?

No solid answer to either yet. But every day that goes by I think that I’d better make clear decisions or else I’m going to fail in my mission.

I believe I will greatly benefit from understanding why I turn to chocolate. Is it mostly in times of good cheer? In upset? In boredom? What is it about chocolate that soothes my soul, settles my temper and interests me? I also need to make the decision whether to replace chocolate. So far I’ve been trying not to, but I don’t know if that’s the right answer. Before I can make a final decision about the switch, I want to understand the why. Knowing that will help me decide how to enjoy chocolate once Lent concludes for the year. 

Today is Day 5. I’m a weary, cranky lady today, but I suspect it’s due to a lack of sleep (party!) more so than lack of chocolate, however, I’ve yet to enjoy my birthday cake. That will happen tonight. My coconut concoction awaits in all it’s shredded coconut glory as tonight’s dessert. I’m incredibly skeptical of this cake because it is not chocolate. I’ve told anyone who asks that I’m skeptical because I’ve never tried it before, but the real truth is I want chocolate birthday cake and I’m not getting it, so disappointment has already set in. I’ve been disappointed with this birthday anyway (psychologically/philosophically, not in terms of attention and celebration), and no chocolate cake just adds insult to misery. I’ve only myself to blame, and only myself to rely on so I better snap out of it.

On the bright side I have gone 4.5 whole days without chocolate. Each day is a success. Nay! Each HOUR is a success! And so while I spend a little time wallowing in self-pity, I’m also mighty proud of my strength.

My last day of chocolate

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It’s 9:16 p.m. on the day before my birthday (which is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent).

At midnight two things will happen:

1) I will be another year older, and

2) I will give up chocolate until Sunday April 20th (Easter Sunday).

I gave serious consideration on how to spend my last day with chocolate. Do I binge or start the fade out early?

Ha, ha, ha, BINGE, OF COURSE. Binge eat the chocolate!

I was eager to locate and eat all the chocolate I could find in the house. I started my day off right by pulling out the blender and filling it with a banana, 2 Tbsp of peanut butter (unsalted & unsweetened, but not all natural because I’m just not there yet), 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder (WOO!), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 c. of milk, 2 Tbsp of hemp hearts (whaaat?!) and a handful of SPINACH. YOU GUYS. Yeah, I like the spinach in the smoothie. The spinach bit is a new thing for me (the smoothie without spinach has been a thing for the last 3 or 4 years for me). I tried it, I couldn’t taste the difference but felt more energetic so decided to roll with it. It worked for Popeye.

I blended! I liquified! I discovered the base on the blender jug was loose!

Smoothie down the drain. Actually, it was all over the blender, the counter, and then down the drain. The air was blue.

I considered making another smoothie, but ultimately decided that the base of the blender was wet and that it was probably not a good idea to plug that back into an electrical outlet in the immediate future. So I ate a bowl of cereal and a couple of mini quiche. Not bad, but not chocolate. I headed out the door to run my errands, irritated and in want of tea.

Several hours later I had indulged in a mani/pedi and a cup of tea. I was in the loveliest of moods. No sarcasm! This is a wonderous thing because I have found for the last few years that the day before a birthday can be volatile. I am either be thrilled to have another year to celebrate my accomplishments, or it’s be a dark day spent woefully wondering what in the heck I’ve done with my life. Right then I was a happy little tree! And I was prepping my birthday cake. I’ve chosen a coconut concoction that is both challenging and descriptively mouth-watering. I’ve never tried it, but if I can’t experiment with my own cake, when can I?

NOTE: I am well-known in my social circle for my baking and cake decorating skills.

I’ve mentioned to several people that I’m experimenting with this coconut birthday cake. Great news is that no one has said, “Oh my word, are you sick? You always have chocolate cake!” therefore, I haven’t lied to anyone about my cake motive. *Fist pump* Anyway, so I was happily preparing my cake adventure when I got into a verbal altercation with a family member in the kitchen regarding the use of flour and the kitchen sink. I won’t go into details, but they were mad and I was mad and in the end this no-longer-happy little tree put away all things cake and retreated to her super-baker cave to continue her Veronica Mars re-watch-a-thon (the movie is almost here you guys!). I ate at least a cup of dark-chocolate chips, right out of the bag. I contemplated not making my cake at all, my mood was so ruined. I can’t bake when I’m not happy because, and this sounds so corny but it’s true, my mood seeps into my baked goods. The more cheerful I am while baking, the more cheerfully tasty my work. So I brooded and felt very badly for myself and ate more chocolate chips. That’s when it hit me; I’m PMSing. Tomorrow is my thirty-somethingth birthday, the first day I’m giving up chocolate, and I’m PMSing.

Holey Effing Cow. This is bad. This is very much bad.

I decided a little retail therapy wouldn’t hurt. I don’t generally turn to retail therapy, and I did have some birthday gifts to myself that I was going to pick up this week, I just decided to do it a little bit early. I bought some DVDs (Supernatural seasons 5, 6 and 8 with 7 on order. Used shops are the best!), some music (Linkin Park, Monster Truck and The Sheepdogs), and some moisturizer (I live in Canada and it’s winter, this is a necessity). As I checked out of one shop, using my birthday discount, the shop clerk asked if I was excited for my birthday tomorrow. I wasn’t prepared for the question and so honestly said no. I tried to make it sound like the only reason was because it was a day of fasting for my religion, but I don’t think that’s the whole truth. However, I pulled up my socks and stuck a smile back on my face. Browsing through music will helped to lift my spirits a great deal. If music be the food of happy pre-birthdays, play on. By the time I landed at Starbucks for my free birthday drink my mood was almost back to happy little tree. Big, big shout-out to Michael, the barista who served me, for being the sweetest of hearts and for using his friendly smile and good cheer to get me chatting, laughing and walking out of there feeling happy about my birthday again. You, sir, are a star.

After all of that, here I sit with the last sip of my chocolate chai beside me. Even on the last day, chocolate is my crutch. I mentioned very much bad, right?

Once I take that last sip, that’s it for me and chocolate for 46 days.

Bottoms up.

Coming soon: Do I choose a chocolate replacement or tough it out?

To chocolate cake or to not-chocolate cake? Birthday brings question.

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With my birthday right at the start of Lent, and thus my quest to quash my chocolate addiction, I have had some serious discussions with myself about my birthday cake.

Every birthday cake I have ever requested was chocolate. Every single one. Chocolate cake is my favourite cake, so why wouldn’t I go there?

Since my actual birthday is Ash Wednesday, I have 2 options: Have birthday cake on the 4th or the 6th of March.

Pros for the 4th

  • I could have chocolate cake because Lent hasn’t started
  • I won’t be tempted to make my cake on my actual birthday, which would be torture because I can’t even lick the beaters (no treats on Ash Wednesday).
  • I could have cake for breakfast on the 6th.

Cons for the 4th

  • If there is leftover chocolate cake, I can’t eat it after the 4th!
  • There will be an entire day that the cake can’t be eaten, which makes it another day more stale on the 6th.

Pros for the 6th

  • My cake won’t go to waste, at all.

Cons for the 6th

  • I’ll be tempted to make make the cake on Ash Wednesday which will be torture (see above).
  • It can’t be chocolate cake.

Then I had the thought that I have not-chocolate-cake on the 4th. Or even celebrate on the weekend before and just eat all the cake before the 4th is over.

And I’m wrestling with the knowledge that I consider not-chocolate cake tasty enough for my birthday. Just another reason I want to rule chocolate.

At press time, I’m leaning towards not-chocolate-cake on the 6th. Even making it on the 5th as a test of strength. Who wouldn’t enjoy a battle of will on their birthday? (Me.)

While I’m thinking all of these very important thoughts, another comes to mind. Will I be able to convince my family and friends that choosing not-chocolate cake isn’t an indicator that something is wrong?

I find that outside of this blog I don’t want to talk about giving up chocolate. Why? I think writing about my journey is easier than talking. I’ve always been better at writing than talking. The desire to present my journey outside of my own head is there, but the desire to share with my loved and liked ones is not. I don’t have a concrete answer  as to why, just that the feeling surrounding in-person chatter is…embarrassing. I had to really consider that adverb, and I think I nailed it (but not in a Pinterest-cake-gone-wrong kind of fashion). I think I’ll have to circle back to this later. Hmmm. Now where did I leave those psychology books from university?

I also cheated a bit with this chocolate cake thing. I purposely made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing to take to a Girls’ Night gathering I went to last night. I hoped that it would satisfy my chocolate cake wants at this time of year and give me the boost I need to have a not-chocolate birthday cake.

Sounds like the decision is made. Not-chocolate cake it is. On the 6th.

To chocolate cake or to not-chocolate cake? Question answered.

Decisions, decisions.

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I just wrote a great opening post about my journey while giving up chocolate for Lent. WordPress said it had posted my post. I accidentally closed the tab. My post? *POOF!* Gone.

Now I have to rewrite perfection? RAWR!

Welcome! To my blog! Where I have already gone crazy, as is apparent, but am going to drive myself further into insanity by giving up my favourite vice, chocolate.

Big deal? Big deal. Really Big Deal. I love chocolate. I love dark chocolate most of all, but am not a snob and so I enjoy milk and white as well. White the least. Let’s be real, it’s fake chocolate. Milk is very tasty, but often unsatisfying. Dark chocolate – I’m talking at 82% – is the stuff dreams are made of. One small piece of dark chocolate melting on my tongue can ease the stress of almost anything. It cheers me when I’m down. It’s celebratory, yet still every day. A treat, but one in which I overindulge.

Chocolate has a hold on me, and I intend to change that.

Why now? Lent. It’s coming, and so is Jesus. Now, you non-Jesus folk please don’t run off. Maybe you could be as open-minded as me, eh? I tend not to hate anyone and I read and learn about different viewpoints voraciously. Lent is a period of (approximately) 40 days before Easter Sunday that we Christians use as a time for solemn reflection and penance in preparation for what is The Biggest Deal in the Church. Catholics kick it up a notch by giving up a vice for that time period – with the opportunity to give up said vice forever, but it’s not a requirement. I’ve given up swearing. A few times. Don’t tell my mother. Many people give up candy and sweets, then dig in on Easter Sunday. Perhaps where the chocolate part of the holiday comes from? No clue. So is there going to be some religious reflection here? Yes. Are you going to get to laugh at my chocolate-withdrawals. Yes. Winning combination.

Three Lenten seasons ago I considered giving up chocolate for the first time. My instant reaction thought was, “You’d go insane.” That is how much I depend on chocolate. Last year I considered it again, but this time my reaction thought was, “Could you really do it?” This year I thought, “Yes.”

I’m doing it. I’m giving up chocolate for Lent.

I wholeheartedly intend to indulge in chocolate again at Easter, but I hope at that time I will be in control instead of under a spell. I’ve created this blog as a means of self-motivation. And reflection. And some comedy. Guys, I’M A WOMAN AND I’M GIVING UP CHOCOLATE.

To those who read this, know that I’m sarcastic, witty, and while there may be some actual reflective “Ah HA!” moments, I intend this read to be entertaining.

To those who read this and know me? You may want to keep your distance until Easter Sunday. You’ve been warned! Here. If you find this by surfing the ‘Net and figure out this is me.

When does this all begin? Well that’s The Kicker. Ash Wednesday this year, which marks the start of Lent, is March 5th.

My 30-something-th birthday.

Days until chocolate-free: 13

I think the Serenity prayer is appropriate and so I’ll end with this:

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Amen.