What exactly are they?
According to the dictionary, a trigger is “anything that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.”
That sounds about right.
There are two main types of triggers in my life ~ emotional/situational and food.
Emotional and/or Situation Triggers
When confronted with a frustrating situation, how do you respond? What is the first coping mechanism type thought you have? For me, nine times out of ten I want to turn to food for comfort.
An unkind comment on the blog
A rough day of schooling the children
A misbehaving child
An upset client
A disagreement with someone
Feeling overwhelmed by a busy schedule
Now, it’s not always negative situations that can be a trigger. It’s also happy occasions.
A good school day
Being good all week with eating and journaling
Receiving some fantastic news
Reaching a milestone
These are normally viewed as a reward. “I deserve to overindulge because I’ve done x, y and z.” (Notice I emphasized overindulge because I’m not opposed to indulging. I just want to point out there’s a difference between the two.)
How do I deal with emotional and/or situational triggers?
Since there are two kinds of emotional/situational triggers, the negative and the positive, I approach them differently.
Each morning when I get up and prepare myself to face the day, I tell myself in my head, “Ruthanne, today will not be a perfect day. Today, you will face challenges. Today, the children are going to frustrate you at some point. Today, something will go wrong. You will be tempted to make these situations feel less stressful by overindulging. Remember how horrible you feel afterwards? The bloating, the guilt? It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. When you get frustrated, text a friend, walk away, take deep breaths, but DO NOT ENTER THE KITCHEN!”
Honestly, I don’t just tell myself this in the morning. This is a conversation I have with myself throughout the day.
I have to consistently remind myself that turning to food as a result of a difficult situation will not make me feel better, but worse.
When I feel like I deserve a reward, I try to bribe myself away from overindulging in food and toward something else ~ a new book, a new running magazine, a soak in the tub, watching a movie, taking a walk, etc.
I tell myself I won’t have any of the guilt or regret and it will be fun.
These are foods that once you take one bite you are gone, buh-bye, see ya, woo-hoo ~ self-control out of the window. These foods trigger a domino effect. One bite leads to two bites leads to a finished bag.
Your food triggers are probably different than mine. Or maybe not. Maybe you don’t have as many as I do. ::snort::
Chips & Salsa/Guacamole
Buttery Ritz Crackers
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
Hummus & Pita Chips
Cupcakes (Any kind. I’m not picky, y’all.)
Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies
Warm White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (Ok, pretty much any warm cookie.)
I’ll stop. This is getting a little embarrassing.
How do I deal with food triggers?
Don’t bring the food home!
Some of the foods in that list rarely show up in our house anymore. I know my limits. I’ve recognized the food triggers and I know what I can and can not handle. The best way for me to still indulge in these foods without being triggered by them is to have them out at a potluck, on vacation, during a date night, etc. These food items can not be in my pantry.
Spend some time today identifying your triggers (knowing what they are is half the battle!) and coming up with a plan.
P. S. You might be thinking at this point, “Wow, Ruthanne! You think about food all. the. time.” Yes, yes I do. I’m not going to lie to y’all and tell you I’ve reached some sort of nirvana and I only view food as sustenance. Eat to live? Hmmmmm. Not there yet.