Food cues or triggers include all those little signals and thoughts that prompt you to eat when you weren’t planning on it.
Both the sight and smell of food can be powerful triggers that make you want to eat.
Think about the aroma of steaks on the grill, your mom’s pot roast, or fresh cinnamon rolls. And have you ever noticed how theaters always seem to have the popcorn machine in action right before a movie starts?
Discussing recipes, watching cooking shows or even talking about how to avoid food can prompt the desire to eat.
All of these food cues can suddenly make you remember you were “hungry.” Then once you start eating, the taste of food becomes another trigger, causing you to eat more.
Food sights, smells, and tastes are easy triggers to recognize. But visual images such as billboards or TV ads that remind you of food can also crumble your resolve.
One minute, you weren’t thinking about food or eating at all. The next minute, you can’t stop thinking about it.
Instead of slapping your head right after you give in to a food trigger, learn how to recognize these cues before you eat. Over the next few days, we’ll focus on a variety of techniques for handling triggers without automatically responding to them.
1. Watch for any food cues that show up in your day. Record the triggers you observe.
This winter, the snow and gloomy weather often make me want to bake cookies like my mom always did. Funny how even the weather can make us want to eat.
I also get really tempted by leftover Italian food in the refrigerator as well as magazine covers with great food pictures and recipes.
2. For today, focus specifically on triggers that relate to food itself such as sights and smells or other things that remind you of food. List the ones that typically bother you the most.
Every morning when I open the cupboard door to make coffee, I see the cinnamon/sugar almonds, peanuts and breakfast cereal. Silly me- I just realized I should re-arrange the stuff in my cupboard so those things aren’t right there in my line of vision.
3. Write down any specific food triggers or situations that tempted you today.
I remember going to a wonderful farmer’s market last summer where I bought some great vegetables and fruit. But I was amazed at all the booths that were selling cookies, desserts, and special cupcakes. The food triggers were very strong. But I used my line, “I don’t eat food because it’s THERE and I was able to walk past all of them, and head home with my healthy food.
Excerpted from Day 61, 100 Days of Weight Loss