Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time...
“This will be easy!” you think. After all, you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Just a single square of Ecuadorian 80% now and again, that’s all, and the odd spoonful of luxury chocolate-chunk muesli. You’ll certainly not be one of those people climbing the walls at the start of March, hallucinating rows of dancing Dairy Milk. Definitely not.
But just in case, here are a few things you might learn if you've given up chocolate for Lent.
Pancake day is your final fling
You don’t waste time on spinach and ricotta fillings when you know this is your last chocolate supper for 40 days and 40 nights. No, every meal on Shrove Tuesday is a chocortunity – to be savoured, cherished and filled with so much Nutella that it oozes out the sides.
If you’re really dedicated you’ll stay up until midnight eating chocolate in formations you’ve always dreamed of but never dared attempt. Sandwiched between two Pringles? Melted and spread on a crumpet? Knock yourself out. You are Cinderella, and this is your ball.
You have to explain yourself all the time
“Oh, are you Catholic?” people will ask. A lot. And if you answer, “No, I just like a challenge,” it sounds slightly less convincing each time.
You must also contend with 542 people making the same “I gave up Lent for Lent!” joke as well as its equally hilarious cousin, “For Lent, I am giving up.” All without drowning your sorrows in a tub of Phish Food with chocolate sauce.
People offer you more chocolate during Lent than during the rest of the year put together
Suddenly, it is everyone’s birthday! And they’re all celebrating with a huge slice of You Can’t Have This. In much the same way that shop assistants only ever leave you alone when you actually need one, giving up chocolate will suddenly turn the whole of March into a festival of contraband freebies.
Things are especially bad if you work in an office, where no fewer than four times a day someone will offer you a Malteser, a square of millionaires’ shortbread or a huge quivering slab of double fudge brownie. These are the same people who never so much as waved a crisp in your direction before you willingly swore off chocolate for a month and a half. It’s uncanny.
You'll see chocolate where you've never spotted it before
You find yourself gazing lustfully at the tops of other people’s cappuccinos. Usually just rubbish decoration on a coffee, that little sprinkle of cocoa now seems like an underrated taste sensation. Mmm, almost-chocolate. Mmm.
White chocolate is a grey area
Around two weeks in, you’ll open up a big bag of moral relativism. For example, do Oreos count? Really, though? OK then, how about white chocolate? White chocolate, as purists know, is barely a relative of real chocolate. They hardly even live in the same postcode. White chocolate saw actual chocolate across a room once at a party and has been cashing in on the association ever since.
The trouble is though, white chocolate has "chocolate" in its name. Which is why you need to prepare a compelling half hour argument about cocoa solids, just in case anyone spots you tucking into a Milkybar.
Easter is the new Christmas
At the stroke of midnight on Easter Saturday, the spell is broken! You plough through a Lindt bunny faster than you can say "migraine".
Chocolate chastity out of the window, from then on it’s pretty much an orgy of cocoa-based products. Scrambled Crème Eggs on toast for breakfast perhaps, or a nutritious Mini Eggs omelette. You organise your own surprise egg hunt, except all the prizes are in your handbag and nobody else is invited.
By Easter evening you are slumped on the carpet, so full of sugar that your eyeballs are gently buzzing. You’re so sick of chocolate and everything chocolate-related that you almost think you could just give it up again, this time for good.
Maybe wait half an hour before you decide though. Just in case.