Are you guilty of derailing in your resolve to embark on a healthy diet? If yes, then the biggest culprit could be trigger foods, the kind that you start eating innocently only to find yourself overindulging.
With trigger foods, a small bite is enough to mess up your entire dieting objectives.
Only that they are not common to everyone. Each individual has certain foods that trigger the unhealthiest cravings.
In this write-up, we share more information on trigger foods, the existing types, and how to get over them.
Read on for more information and a greater understanding of this category of foods.
- 1 What Are Trigger Foods?
- 2 Common Trigger Foods and How to Replace Them
- 3 How to Identify Your Trigger Foods
- 4 How to Deal With Trigger Foods
What Are Trigger Foods?
If you have ever felt guilty for eating certain foods, you are not alone. Trigger foods are those that once you start eating you either cannot stop or lead to more irresponsible eating behaviors.
Start eating just a little bit of these foods and you will end up clearing a whole plate and more.
These foods belong to the junk category and may include chocolate, cookies, and French fries.
Due to their addictive nature, trigger foods aren’t eaten to satisfy hunger but as a habit.
They are mostly highly processed, sugary, and with a high-calorie count. These foods are hard to avoid due to their great taste.
Common Trigger Foods and How to Replace Them
Candy is an addictive trigger food, given its high content of refined sugar. If you are one of those people with a sweet tooth, avoiding candy is almost impossible. But you can get rid of it from your diet if you make up your mind.
Get some dried fruits and eat them whenever the craving for candy comes. Since dried fruits are naturally sweet, they will replace candy without the need of an artificial sweetener.
If that chocolate bar has been one of the trigger foods with the worst effect on you, try a healthy protein or fruit bar.
With time, you will get over the candy you had been so used to eating.
2. Salty Snacks
It is not just the sweet foods that are likely to awaken all kinds of cravings. Salty snacks are culprits too.
While they may not arouse the same feeling as their sugary counterparts, they are equally harmful.
If you are not careful, eating these foods could result in unbridled weight gain.
The most common salty snack is the usual bag of potato chips you always find hard to put down.
You could easily replace the chips with healthy sweet potato chips or kale chips. While the alternatives are healthy, they are also not as addictive.
3. Sweet Drinks
In this category are both coffee drinks and soda. Coffee is a culprit, given the fact that a lot of sweeteners are used to make it.
As for soda, it contains huge amounts of refined sugar. No wonder you just cannot stop taking soda and coffee.
Given the fact that coffee and some sodas contain caffeine, these drinks can be very addictive.
If you must take soda, try the types with zero sugar. You may also want to make iced tea, sweetened with honey or fruit slices.
Alternatively, prepare a fresh fruit juice and take it.
4. Fried Foods
Many are the people who just cannot resist the urge to eat fried foods. The taste, texture, and fat content all work together to entice you into having more and more of the foods concerned.
The worst types of fried foods are those you will buy straight from the grocery store.
They are prepared to be so tasty to the extent that they are irresistible. Think about how you just cannot resist that pack of French fries.
In their place, you could eat baked sweet potatoes, which are way healthy. Unlike French fries, which are loaded with calories, sweet potatoes are great. They aren’t as addictive and are unlikely to turn into trigger foods.
5. Baked Treats
For many individuals, their sweet tooth is better satisfied by goods such as brownies, muffins, donuts, cakes, and cookies.
The problem with commercially available baked foods is that they contain a lot of sugar, salt, and fats.
This is the reason to seriously consider replacing them with homemade foods.
Find great recipes and bake your own treats at home. In the place of all-purpose wheat flour, use almond flour.
As for the sugar, you can replace it with stevia.
Replacing the key ingredients ensures you have foods that are less sugary, less addictive, and healthier.
Even with homemade baked goods, only eat in moderation. Anything more than the right quantity could only result in these becoming trigger foods.
How to Identify Your Trigger Foods
Before you embark on a strategy to avoid trigger foods, you need to take steps to know what you need to overcome.
It’s only when you are aware of yourself that you will be able to successfully implement dietary changes.
To know your trigger foods, go about it in the following way:
•Think about your behavior in the past. Can you identify any foods that lead you into overeating once you start?
Make a list of these foods and place it in a prominent place (where you are likely to see it always) like the refrigerator door.
•As you keep on living, add to the list of trigger foods. Consider your behavior and the many times you just cannot control yourself in front of certain foods.
•Since the foods have different characteristics, find out what’s it about them that attracts you.
Is it the taste, texture or look? If it is chocolate, do you have a problem with the darkest or sweetest?
•Do varieties in certain foods affect you in the same way? If your trigger food consists of nuts, is it the salted or unsalted variety that gives you problems?
•Can you notice any changes in trigger foods that come with the passage of time?
Has the taste or texture you preferred changed over time? If so, what are your current trigger foods?
How to Deal With Trigger Foods
Nothing is as hard as conquering the craving for trigger foods, given their high palatability and addictive nature.
But does that mean that you give up on trying something healthier in your diet? Of course not.
Here are 4 steps to help you quit those trigger foods and adopt healthier eating habits.
Step 1. Take Control of Your Eating Habits
When it comes to eating disorder trigger foods and cravings, it is easy for you to feel helpless.
But you can be in control if you put your mind to it. After all, it is you who decides and goes ahead to eat those addictive foods you are trying to avoid.
Think about it. Is it possible for chips to jump into your mouth and slide down your throat without your will?
In essence, you cannot claim to be powerless. The problem is that many individuals end up trying to justify their errant behavior, instead of working to change it.
While you may feel bad after eating trigger foods, you may try to feel less responsible by developing a mental defense mechanism.
There is no way you would want to avoid a plate of chips and still end up eating it. No human being can be that helpless.
Having excuses about your supposed helplessness doesn’t in any way help change your bad eating habits.
Get out of denial, and you will be able to change your eating habits. But it is not easy.
You have to accept responsibility as the only person who can do something about the worst of your habits.
If you made up your mind to stop eating trigger foods, no one would be able to stop you.
Start by removing the food in question from the list of special foods. Of course, you find it hard moderating this particular food and always end up overeating it.
But that doesn’t mean it occupies a special place in your life. It is just ordinary food, which you could easily avoid if you make up your mind.
Step 2. Break the Cycle
Now that you have taken control and reclaimed your mental strength, it is time to break the vicious cycle of eating unhealthy foods.
Check if there is a pattern which has developed over time and needs to be broken.
It has been established that stopping a food addiction is easier just before it starts. Most addictions to trigger foods start as a simple thought.
As soon as the feeling comes, learn to think of something else to avoid falling into temptation.
You may want to occupy your mind by activities such as counting backward, Sudoku or long division.
In that simple way, you should be able to forget about the craving. Breaking the cycle may also involve taking deliberate steps to keep the trigger foods out of site.
Don’t just buy and stock them in your house. If you already have some of the addictive foods in the house, throw it away, donate it or make up your mind to avoid looking for it for a week or more.
Alternatively, keep unhealthy foods out of sight while storing the healthy ones where you can see them.
This will encourage you to eat healthy foods and avoid unhealthy ones.
Step 3. Creating Scenarios to Avoid Trigger Foods
In what situations do you often find it hard to avoid certain trigger foods? What’s usually happening and where?
Do you usually have any specific feeling before you go for that bar of chocolate?
Which place are you most prone to trigger foods? Find out if it is in the car, your home or at the office.
When you critically look at it, certain situations predispose you to binge eating.
Take time to analyze where, when, and with whom you always end up eating a certain type of food.
Once you are sure about the factors that trigger cravings for food, take steps to alter these situations.
Only then can you be sure of breaking the trigger foods eating cycle.
Step 4. Get Over Binge Eating Triggers
Look back at what you have achieved so far. Are you able to actually avoid eating the foods you had been addicted to?
Don’t look at the time you have failed. If you have been able to go for a whole day without falling to temptation, then you are on the right track.
Pat yourself on the back and keep going. As time goes by, your levels of confidence will keep growing.
Occasionally, you could have a piece of ice cream. But don’t eat it in the shop, since this could increase your chances of ordering for a second or even third ice cream cone.
Buy an ice cream cone and eat it as you stroll in the park. With time, you should be able to avoid even that single cone of ice cream.
Step 5. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
You know you have the power to avoid trigger foods for binge eating and have even made some progress already.
One afternoon, you pass by your favorite eatery and end up downing a whole plate of potato chips. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
That single mistake doesn’t mean you have completely relapsed. In the end, it is what you do in the long-term that matters.
Of course, you need to take note of your tendency to do what you shouldn’t.
Dwelling too much on it can be counterproductive. Instead, think of how much weight you could lose if you stick in there.
Every day when you wake up, resolve to avoid trigger foods by all means.
Avoiding trigger foods is about implementing successful lifestyle changes. You have to, first, know what your trigger foods are.
Once you do, then you can come up with the right systems and strategies to avoid eating any of those foods.
But you must summon enough energy and willpower to ensure you succeed in your endeavors.
To get over your trigger foods, you have to drastically alter your behavior. After all, food addiction is as strong as any other and requires concerted efforts to overcome.