4 Steps To Understanding Your Weight Loss Triggers

by : Medifast

Triggers are certain foods, situations and feelings that prompt us to overeat and gain weight or prevent current or future weight loss. Different people have different triggers when on a diet. For some people boredom is a trigger, for others it's stress; for some people it's a party, for others it's being alone. People bottom line need much better food nutrition. No matter what your individual triggers are they bar your way to successful weight loss. If you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight before, one of the things that have prevented your success was that you never learned to identify or control the trigger foods, situations and feelings that cause unconscious overeating. You never turned "I'm out of control" into "No, I'm in control".

See if you can relate to this pattern: It starts out slowly. Something prompts you to eat some of the foods you cut back on while you were dieting. Perhaps you are at a movie, or feelings stressed, or simply smell some freshly backed cookies. You feel a little deprived because of your dieting and so you decide to just treat yourself with certain foods you used to eat when you felt stressed. Believing you are in total control of those foods now, you test the waters and decide to have "just a little bit" of them. However, "just a little bit" pretty soon grows to be, "a little bit more" and then rapidly progresses to "a lot more". Before you know it, you are right back where you are started in terms of food control. Then your weight starts inching upwards.

The trip-up point is this patter is where you cannot recognize that certain foods you "gave up" while dieting are not foods you can just start eating again once you have lost weight. The realities are that certain foods, especially eaten at certain places or while experiencing specific feelings, have the power to control you.

How to Turn "I'm out of control" into "No, I'm in control.

Like any behavioral change, learning how to control triggers is a process. Awareness of the influence of triggers and acknowledgement that they are deterring you from your weight loss goals is the starting point for this process. After that, it can be broken down into four steps to help to understand how to lose weight and keep it off for good.

1) Identify
Identifying the foods, situations and feelings that trigger unconscious overeating is your first step. The best way to do this is by using a journal. You can divide it up into three sections for each of your trigger foods, situations and feelings, or just note everything in one place.

2) Decide
Once you have identified a number of trigger foods, feelings and situations, your next step is to decide that you are going to learn to control them. Believe in your ability to do this.

3) Stop
The best way to control your triggers and increate food nutrition, therefore, is to consistently stop responding to them. Not just for a day, a week or a month. Not just while you are trying to lose weight, but until you can control the conditioned eating habit, and in some cases this may mean permanently. True control means that you, not the trigger decides where, when, and what you will eat. On the other hand, if you have a problem say for instance eating popcorn at the movies, not responding to the trigger does not mean you can never eat popcorn again.

4) Practice
Controlling weight loss triggers takes practice. Now that you have an understanding of triggers, put into effect what you have learned. Use the following as examples.

* Trigger Situations
- Write a statement describing the trigger situation. Phrase it in the past tense: "I used to eat while watching TV".

* Trigger Foods
- Write down what your favorite foods were as a child, a teenager, a young adult, and now. Have they changed? For most people they do, which tells us that taste buds can change over time and with choice. Think about how you learned to like the taste of alcohol for example!

* Trigger Feelings
- write down several of your trigger feelings and state why you respond to the food in that way. For example, "I eat after a stressful situation because food calms me."

Remember, weight loss and maintaining a diet involves dealing with triggers to stay aware and think before you eat. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.