Sometimes I can’t believe it myself – it is more than a year since I ate chocolate.

After 49 years of loving and adoring chocolate, it is now absent from my life. I’ve lived for more than 12 months without my beloved chocolate cornflake cakes, chocolate covered flapjacks, and chocolate brownies.

Even hot chocolate – so tempting when served with fresh cream and marshmallow topping – has not passed my lips.

This self-imposed ban on one of my favourite foods isn’t part of a diet plan. Having been diagnosed with an inner ear problem that can render me dizzy and nauseous, I’ve been told that if I want to stay healthy I need to avoid certain foods – chocolate being one of them.

So, almost a year ago to this day, I did the seemingly impossible and gave up chocolate. Do I miss it? Only when I’m reminded of it, as I have been today – the beginning of national Chocolate Week, purported to be ‘the UK’s biggest and most indulgent chocolate celebration.’ This week I can’t escape it – be it the media telling me how a daily dose of chocolate cuts your heart disease risk by a third, or adverts for chocoholics promoting ‘I Love Chocolate’ key rings, mugs and T-shirts.

I haven’t missed chocolate as much as I thought I would. I was never a great eater of chocolate bars, but couldn’t get through the day without a chocolate cornflake cake.

And I really do miss a big bowl full of Coco Pops, eaten not for breakfast, but last thing at night. I still suffer cold turkey with that one, the craving kicking in after the ten o’clock news. I’ve had to rush to bed, avoiding the kitchen.

But other than that it has been fairly easy. I’ve even filled and operated our chocolate fountain at birthday parties, without sampling a speck.

I admit, there is no substitute for chocolate, particularly dark. Nothing really compares to that delicious, melt-in-the-mouth, bitter taste.

A chocolate-free Christmas is tough, with giant tins of Quality Street and Roses dotted about the house and chocolate bath bombs fizzing away in the tub. But for me there is no choice, and I’m resigned to a life without it. Unless someone comes up with a way to mend my ear, that is.