THE KALEJUNKIE DISH: TRIGGER FOODS
Let’s chat. TRIGGER FOODS. A trigger food is any food that “triggers” an emotional response. For me, it’s ice cream, because my ice cream binges are very vivid and very painful memories of a confused, stressed, overworked, and unhappy version of myself. I’d routinely binge at home on gallon size containers of mint chip ice cream in order to feel more in control of stressful situations in my life. Then I’d purge, because purging on ice cream is really easy to do. I did this hundreds of times. The days of the ice cream binges are GONE, but I still don’t keep it in my house. Not because I’m afraid of a relapse, but because I acknowledge that it’s my trigger food, and I’ve turned the negative relationship I had with this particular food into a positive one. For me, that now means enjoying it outside of my home, creating memories with my boys and friends.
If you struggle with a trigger food, you are not alone. It’s super common and nothing to be ashamed of. Here are some tips for navigating though it:
1 Get it out of your home— It doesn’t need to be in your home environment. End of story. Get out the trash can and toss it. I don't care if it's considered wasting food. If it's hurting your health, mentally or physically, it's worth wasting.
2 Upgrade the quality of the trigger food. For example, when I eat ice cream nowadays, I choose a high quality non-dairy option, or a full fat option made with the highest quality ingredients. Bye-bye dreyers, and don’t even think about giving me Halo Top. Steer clear of artificial ingredients in cheap brands.
3 Build some structure around the trigger food. For me, that’s eating it outside my home, at the ice cream shop, in front of others. That way, I have more self control around my portion size, and I am accountable to others.
4 Be mindful when you eat your trigger food. Eat slowly. Don't scarf the food down. Practicing mindfulness creates the space for the full appreciation and enjoyment of food. In the days when I binge ate, I ate so fast that my brain never even had a chance to register satiety. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer.
Do you have a trigger food? If so, how do you deal with it? Please share!