4 Ways to Think about Food Triggers

My husband and I went away recently and while the destination was relaxing and fun, it was also full of triggers.  You know, the kind of triggers that set you off running in the wrong direction and it takes every thing within you to rein yourself in again.

For those of you familiar with Michigan’s beautiful Mackinac Island you know you can’t go there without indulging in what they’re famous for.  So for me, just the environment alone can trigger eating urges.

The second trigger is the feeling that Mackinac Island gives me.  It’s a favorite vacation spot for my family while I was growing up and holds many, many happy memories, and yes, that sweet indulgence is one of the memories. It brings back good feelings. Crazy isn’t it?

The third trigger for me is the smell.  I swear they purposely pump the buttery, chocolate, sweet, sugary, smell out onto the streets so within a block of roadway, you have approximately 10 stores all making the same thing. And boy oh boy, the smell alone will make you lose your way and forget who you are. If there’s some way you could bathe in this stuff it would be less fattening.

And then finally the last trigger for me the food itself - the fudge.  One bite and it’s hard to stop. Just one more nibble, and I swear (I tell myself) THAT’S IT.   It’s amazing how the urge can be overwhelming and before you know it you’re wiping the back of your hand across your mouth while the thick, sweetness hangs around your mouth (and taste buds) a little longer than usual.

The bottom line is there are triggers all around us, and for the most part, when we’re in our daily routines we can more easily manage those food triggers that trip us up. But every now and then you go away, and even though you know what to expect, you can still succumb to the sinful pleasures.

Here are some helpful things to think about:

1.  Triggers do not automatically make eating happen. Your thinking determines whether or not you partake.

2.  Sabotaging thoughts makes all the difference between successful dieters and unsuccessful dieters.  Successful dieters learn to master their thinking when confronted with a trigger.

3.  Know what your triggers are to help minimize your exposure to them.

4.  If all the triggers overcome you (like my visit to Mackinac Island), have some. But don’t keep eating, and eating, and eating the trigger food.

I know that I’ve changed my thinking because of my attitude towards the whole “fudge ordeal.”  I had some fudge while on the island but didn’t feel the need to bring home a month’s supply - like I would have before.  I can have some and it will satisfy my desire or need but I don’t have to hoard it, beg, borrow or steal to have pounds of fudge on hand. I get it. I finally get it.

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