Tricks for Overcoming Food Triggers
Last updated: November 2023
Let's set the scene. It's 10 PM on Sunday. You have 15 seconds before the next episode of your show begins, when you get a sudden urge to rush to the pantry or freezer.
With a quick sprint, you return to the couch with your favorite pint of ice cream, just as the opening credits begin. Phew! Not a second to spare!
Completely immersed in the storyline, you lose track of your hunger cues or eating habits. Before you know it, you've hit the bottom of the pint and are concerned about your blood glucose soaring.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. Sometimes these moments are unintentional, and other times you may feel a complete lack of control. Either way, changing your actions comes down to managing food triggers.
What is a food trigger?
It's the food that you seemingly can't have just "one bite." Generally, these foods are either fatty, salty, or sweet, or a combination. Feeling like you are losing control of your eating habits when you consume trigger foods is a common problem.
After all, food companies spend countless hours perfecting the balance of flavors to keep us reaching for more. Resisting their products is not a fair fight. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to help overcome trigger foods and gain more control.
What powers food triggers?
What is that mighty force that drives our irresistible mid-Netflix snacking? Perhaps it's an internal cue from the TV or from scrolling through indulgent food images on Instagram. It could be a coping mechanism for the daunting feeling of another stressful workweek. Or it could be a tasty way to keep the "weekend vibes" going for a few more moments.
While everyone's food triggers are different, they can easily get activated by emotions, social activities, media, and more. Understanding the root of your food triggers is the first step to overcoming their influence on your daily habits and helping improve your type 2 diabetes.
It’s time to reflect
Grab a pen and paper because class is in session! After all, managing food triggers is an individualized process. It is essential to maintain an awareness of your triggers to stay clear of any negative influences. To better understand your eating struggles, outline your eating habits by answering the following questions:
- List 1 cue (external or internal) that causes you to overeat.
- List specific foods you typically turn to, such as a certain brand of potato chips or flavor of ice cream.
- Where do these triggers usually occur? For example, is it on the couch, after putting the kids to bed, or seeing a box of donuts when you get to work?
Emotions that result from food triggers
Triggers can cause a lot of frustration and feelings of failure, especially when you feel as though you are trying everything possible to form a neutral relationship with food.
While your progress may be consistent for a while, there is also a reason that "old habits die hard." Finding new ways to keep on track is important. Use the tips below to help you overcome your food triggers.
Celebrate your wins
If you managed to avoid food triggers all week, allow yourself a small non-food-related reward. For example, grab a new nail polish, face mask, water bottle, notebook, or another little way to give yourself a pat on the back!
Switch your routine
Sometimes it's about changing the routine. If you need help making it through your late-night TV session without heading to the pantry, try something new! While watching TV, distract your brain by folding laundry, knitting, coloring, and more.
Mindful eating with type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes does not take a day off, and managing your blood sugar is a 24/7 job. By recognizing if you have food triggers, you can take the first steps toward managing your blood sugars through nutrition.
Share some of the ways that you deal with food triggers. What has worked for you?
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?