Have you heard of the term “trigger food”? Do you know what your trigger foods are?
Trigger foods are any foods that trigger you to overeat and/or binge. They are foods that you just can’t get enough of; one bite is never enough and one helping isn’t enough. Trigger foods can also lead you to overeat on other foods that initially you weren’t even thinking about eating if you feel guilty for eating your trigger foods in the first place!
Some people could have just one trigger food category like ice cream, and others could be triggered by anything sweet, salty, or fatty. Usually trigger foods contain refined sugar, and while trigger foods don’t necessarily lead to a binge, it’s interesting to note that the binge eating survey I did here at Fearless Fat Loss showed that 72% of the survey participants binged on foods that contained sugar.
For me, my trigger foods are anything that contains refined sugar or flour, which basically covers the majority of processed and fast foods. Fried foods also trigger me to overeat, which makes sense because they contain flour (batter) and unhealthy fats. Salty foods trigger me to overeat only because the foods that I would eat that contain the salt would be something like chips, pretzels, frozen dinners, all of which contain flour (most contain sugar also) as well as the salt.
For you, maybe you are only triggered to overeat by one item, or only by food textures such as crunchy foods (chips), smooth foods (yogurt, mashed potatoes, ice cream), or if you examine your trigger foods closely you might find that it’s really the ingredients that are triggering you to overeat. If that’s the case, I’d bet that the #1 ingredient that triggers your overeating is refined sugar.
Not sure what your trigger foods are?
If you don’t know what your trigger foods are, here’s the easiest way to figure it out:
- For one week, write down everything you eat and drink – include how you’re feeling and if you overeat. At the end of that one week you’ll have a clear picture of not only the foods that trigger your overeating, but also you might find that your trigger foods are intertwined with emotional eating, and possibly even food addiction. This will be especially clear if you find that most of the food you eat and overeat on contains sugar and flour.
So how does this awareness help you?
Now that you know what your trigger foods are, what can you do next? The best thing I can suggest is to clean out your house – remove all of your trigger foods so that they aren’t in reach and replace those non-nutrient filled foods with healthy, whole foods such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole carbs. If you find that you’re an emotional eater you can learn new ways of coping with your emotions and let go of the emotional eating habit. Most importantly however, is getting those trigger foods out of your house, out of your car, your desk drawers, anywhere that you hang out and are easily triggered to overeat.
I know some people who just aren’t able to eat their trigger foods – once they do they cannot stop eating them. Now maybe in the future you will be able to moderate yourself with your trigger foods – you are the only one who will be able to determine that through your self-honesty and awareness. In the meantime if you want to lose weight and shape up, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get your trigger foods out of the way and focus on the clean, healthy foods that you enjoy – like a cold, Red Delicious apple, one of my favorite “treats” today.