I was tired, lonely, upset, etc.
You probably don’t have much trouble identifying eating triggers related to food itself. But as you know, lots of non-food triggers can also pull you toward eating.
People, situations, or even habits you’ve previously associated with food can easily send you to the refrigerator or the cupboard.
Uncomfortable emotions, demands from others, or even high expectations of yourself can all trigger unplanned eating. So can the need for relief from pain, illness, fatigue, or other physical discomfort.
Emotional triggers can often be very subtle and hidden. You might not realize you’re feeling depressed or bored until you start searching for food.
The same thing is true with stress, anger, loneliness, or depression. These emotional needs can send you toward food simply because eating helped fix them in the past.
Because these aren’t always very obvious, watch carefully for the non-food signals that cause you to want to eat.
As you go through your day, pay attention to the subtle cues that prompt your food thoughts or send you hunting for a snack.
Today’s assignment (my answers are in blue)
1. Notice all of the non-food cues that tempt you to eat. In particular, watch for how you respond to stress, anger, and other intense emotions. Record the ones that you need to work on the most.
Anxiety and fear, especially around unknowns such as my work situation.
Also, avoidance… when I have a writing project, I start looking for something to eat to avoid doing the work of writing.
2. Make a list of any food thoughts today that were prompted by emotions or other non-food triggers.
I recently had an evening where I was determined to go to one of the ice cream shops in our area. Later on, I realized that I was feeling very isolated and wanted the comfort of the ice cream as well as some people to be nice to me.
3. Notice whether you typically give in to emotional triggers or whether you’re able to ignore them. Write some notes about how you responded to the triggers.
If I can recognize it, that helps. Sometimes I don’t want to do the work of trying to figure it out. But after I’ve eaten, I suddenly realize what the triggers were that prompted my food craving.
Excerpted from DAy 62 in "100 Days of Weight Loss"