There never seems to be an end to the things people put themselves through to raise money for charity.
And sacrificing chocolate may be one of the craziest.
But for women like Abi Barth, from Wolstanton, there’s a very good reason why they would give all this up for a month.
So people like Abi are paying their own small tribute to loved ones who have died or suffered heart problems, by giving up the sugary snack.
Abi, 25, who is hoping to raise more than £100 for the campaign, belongs to a family with a long history of heart problems.
“I’m doing it because most of my family have had problems,” she says.
“My gran, Jean, has had lots of angina attacks and my granddad Werner has just had a pacemaker at the age of 72.
“My mum’s best friend also died of a heart attack – leaving his wife and son behind.”
Every penny raised by Abi, and thousands of others, will count towards pioneering research into heart conditions – from heart disease to congenital problems.
And pretty much all of these conditions are worse because of the amount of sugar we consume.
So for Abi, the whole of March means chocolate, including sprinkles of top of your cappuccino, are off limits.
“The hardest thing is giving up the chocolate I have at night while watching TV,” adds Abi (pictured, left).
“I’ll see all the easter eggs and I can’t have them!”
The recommended daily amount of sugar for an adult is 30g – the same contained in just one average chocolate bar.
“I’ve had blood pressure problems so it’s scary that I might end up the same way,” says Abi.
One person who may find it particularly hard is 25-year-old Vicky Hoofe (pictured, top)
That’s because she works in the family business – running Mr Simms Sweet Shop in Hanley!
Chocolate is one of the things she definitely can’t avoid during March.
“I eat too much chocolate anyway and recently, after starting exercising more and trying to improve my own health, I thought what better way to kick the sugar.”
Although many people may go for the “out of sight, out of mind” approach, this is definitely something Vicky can do to get her through the month.
“The hardest thing to give up is going to be chocolate peanut butter cups,” adds Vicky.
“It’s going to be even harder when we get new stock in at work to not give into temptation and try something new.”
Few of us would find this challenge easy.
But for those with willpower, they will enjoy benefits to their own health from kicking the sugar habit, including more energy and clearer skin.
“I’m hoping to raise as much money as I possibly can as I know every penny counts, whether it’s £10 or £100,” says Vicky.
“I’ll just remind myself that not only will be health benefit from it but also the people I can help with the money I raise.”
The British Heart Foundation wants you to succeed and has given lots of ‘survival’ tips on how to get through the month.
This helped more than 19,000 people who took part last year, raising more than £800,000 and improving their own health.
You can even have a whole day off with a ‘cheat day’.
However, it will cost a £20 ‘chocolate-cheat fine’.
Take the whole of March off and that would add up to £620!
Plus, anyone raising more than £75 will receive a chocolate medal.
So, to help you along the way, here are a few top tips from Staffslive:
- Fruit is natures sugar. Make up a fresh fruit salad and dip in overtime you need a sugar buzz!
- Take a walk around the block. Exercise can give you as many endorphins as a bar of chocolate with the added bonus of some fresh air. Make sure to leave your purse at home in case you pass any tempting looking shops.
- Calculate all the money you have saved from buying chocolate and treat yourself to something special. A new magazine, a night out with friends, or a giant cake to celebrate your achievement on April 1.
- Keep your hands busy. This will certainly stop them reaching for the chocolate. British Heart Foundation have a great recipe for fruity teabread.
It’s not too late to sign up.
And you’ll be in good company throughout the month with thousands of other determined people.