I am a chocoholic ! Just seeing chocolate, can cause multiple spurts of dopamine to fire off in my head. But if I am perfectly honest, many times, actually eating the chocolate is not as rewarding as I was expecting.
For example, some visits to the grocery store turn into a chocolate orgy. The chocolate is added to the grocery basket due to a sudden overwhelming desire – often fuelled by the point of sale displays. It is a case of see it, need it, eat it – NOW. Granted, you have to wait until you are through the check out, but by the time you are climbing in the car, the chocolate is no longer hanging out with the other groceries. It is in your hand …..
NOW means that you gobble it down on the way home, while simultaneously driving the car through peak hour traffic. As you pull into the drive way, waves of regret can hit – all those extra calories don’t really seem like they were worth it. Although chocolate calories are SPECIAL.
You need to savour the flavour
It is not your imagination – a gobbled down chocolate really doesn’t taste SO GOOD.
To taste REALLY GOOD, you need to take the time to enjoy it.
This is the finding of researchers from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Taking the time
Yes, yes, chewing your food is inherently a good idea and has been shown to keep the kilograms at bay.
But in this case, taking your time is not referring to actually eating slowly. Slowly is referring to all the stuff that precedes popping the chocolate into your mouth, so that it can melt away……………bringing those waves of delight.
The prelude matters…..
Introducing the chocolate ritual
The Minnesota team began by writing a chocolate eating ritual…
Without unwrapping the chocolate bar, break it in half.
Unwrap half of the bar and eat it
Then, unwrap the other half and eat it
The team enlisted the help of a few volunteers and then served them up FREE chocolate bars. Don’t you wish you had volunteered for this study ?
Half the volunteers were simply given the chocolate to eat, but the other half, had to follow the special chocolate eating ritual.
Everyone ate the chocolate….and everyone enjoyed their chocolate, after all eating chocolate is a physiological necessity. But those that performed the special chocolate eating ritual, reported that their chocolate tasted especially good.
The definition of a ritual
To be sure that the flavouring enhancing was not as a result of the movement, the team tried out the experiment again.
In one version, volunteers did a few other moves that had nothing to do with the chocolate bar, before tucking in. The result….
no “touching” – no taste boost.
In another version, the volunteers watched someone else perform the chocolate ritual. Again…
no “touching – no taste boost.
The conclusion… the chocolate had to be touched.
What about other foods ?
Let’s be honest – chocolate really doesn’t need help tasting good. Would rituals work for foods that have likeability issues ? The team wrote a ritual for baby carrots and tried this out on a bunch of volunteers.
Yup… “touching” carrots, made carrots taste better.
Foodie rituals are good for you
You probably already have quite a few foodie rituals you’re already doing, think birthday celebrations, Sunday lunch and how you like to make a cup of tea.
These rituals may seem small and mundane, but they add value to your life.
Probably few of your foodie rituals were purposefully designed, many were inherited from friends and family, some simply evolved. Maybe it’s time to be a little pro-active.
Time to create a chocolate ritual ?
Formally designing a little ceremony around your chocolate nibbling, will be both fun and good for your waistline.
By adding an element of mindfulness to your chocolate eating habits, you’ll more than likely eat less and enjoy the chocolate you do eat, a whole lot more.
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