Monday, September 6, 2010

What's your trigger?

We've all heard of triggers, right? Certain times of day or moods you hit that make you want to eat anything & everything in sight?  Have you discovered what yours are?  

For the longest time I thought I had myself pegged in this area.  I used the cop-out phrase, "I am an emotional eater.  I use food for comfort..."  Well, duh, doesn't everyone?  This was also a convenient justification to explain away any and all food related trasngressions: 

"I was so sad because my favorite show was canceled & I just kept eating that whole bag of chips!"
"I had the worst headache from being so stressed I had to eat those 3 donuts from M&W!"
"I'm just always snacking between these times" {When I wake up to when I go to sleep!}
"Got in a fight with my husband and I was so mad, so I ate a whole pan of lemon bars."
"My sister got engaged and I had to celebrate with her by eating 3 cups of ice cream because we were so excited!"

...and the list goes on & on!  Anytime I'd completely jump off the semi-healthy bandwagon, I'd blame or justify it on some emotion.  Every single time.  Never really stopping to think about why I was really eating what I was, or what my real & true triggers were.  

This time around, I've been paying attention.  And I've discovered some interesting things. 

Each time I've been really tempted to cheat-or the times I've given in and cheated (taking full responsibility while doing it & then feeling totally crappy after!), I've taken note of what I'm feeling, thinking, doing, and what circumstances are in my life and around me at that time.  And, I've been journaling.  In the past, I haven't documented during those cheat periods of time because I don't think I wanted to face up & take notice...and mostly I'm not sure I wanted to change!  Now though, I'm ready to kick myself in the rear-end and figure it out-and become better prepared to face my personal triggers & kick them in the butt too!

I've determined that my two biggest triggers are:
1.  Being Tired
2. Feeling overconfident

Surprising?  To me they were.  I had NEVER attached being overly tired to binging, overeating, or just plain junk-food eating.  Nor had I seen any correlation between feeling good about myself and choosing to eat junk.  It's the truth though.  This past month and a half or so, I've struggled to be 100% on the program-in mind, body, spirit, and choices-and I've also been extremely sleep deprived.  Having two small kids does that to a person anyway, and I've always enjoyed time with my husband after our kids are in bed, but it's been extreme lately.  We haven't been to bed before 11:30 (and usually much later) more than 3 times in the past 45 days.  Add to that the fact that I'm up with one or both boys at least 1-2 times a night, and don't get a nap during the day and that leads to one tired mama!  I've definitely noticed this being a HUGE trigger in my desire to eat non-nutritious food.  Secondly, lately people have been complimenting me.  I'm getting close to my goal and am feeling pretty good.  I am enjoying clothes shopping and trying on smaller sizes...and just feeling confident in the clothes I do have.  However, I've noticed that the days I struggle are usually the days I've been noticing how much my body is changing, someone compliments me, I reach a new personal best in weight/size, etc., or I get a great workout in.  Crazy, huh?  This phenomenon will be addressed in my next post, so stay tuned!

For now though, try it out yourself.  Be more present in your food situations.  Be aware of what you're feeding yourself and when.  Write down what's happening in your life and how you're feeling before you eat, while you eat, and afterward.  Pay attention when something like that experience happens again and make yourself busy so you're not tempted to give in again.  Make each trigger experience less painful & less heavy.  Keep track & kick those triggers in the butt!