Have you ever caught yourself eating something and the realized you weren't even hungry and barely even remember how or why you were eating in the first place? We all have so many "triggers" that lead to mindless eating and often weight gain. Learning to be mindful of exactly what triggers us, and then finding a way to deal with these triggers may be the key to controlling our weight.
Triggers will be different for each or us. They are often tied to people, places, or things from our past. For example, there's a good chance you had a grandmother who knew just how to make the perfect food, and who would make it just for you every chance she got. It's normal to feel hungry every time you see her, or to get cravings for that food. Maybe as a child you associated a specific treat with family camping trips, going to your local market, or holiday meals. It's common to still want those foods when you are in similar situations.
But new triggers are shaping within us all of the time. If you start dating someone who likes to snack on popcorn or chips while watching television, there's a good chance that you will develop this habit, and then you may start mindlessly doing it even when you are alone. If you have children who ask for sugary cereals, it's likely that you may start eating sugary cereals, regardless of what you've eaten in the past.
Be mindful of everything you put in your mouth for the next few days. Notice every time you eat a piece of candy from the bowl on your co-worker's desk. Be aware of the few leftover french fries or crusts you eat from your child's plate. Do you really know how much you eat while you are taste testing what you're cooking or baking? All of these subconscious triggers add up.
Make a mental note (or written is even better!) of all of the things that trigger you into mindless eating when you aren't even hungry. You'll most likely find that most of the foods you eat while being triggered, are not healthy choices.
Once you have figured out what you're triggers are, they are much easier to deal with. Look at each trigger individual and make a healthy substitute action to do in place of eating.
If the baked goods in the break room tempt you to grab a snack, even if you aren't hungry, try going for a walk down the office hallways instead of going into the break room when you have break. If you must go in to the break room, start packing small healthy snacks that are just as easy to pick up as the doughnuts to have on hand if you must eat.
Just like the triggers themselves, the solutions to your triggers will obviously be different for everyone. The first and most important step is to be aware that they even exist; this alone will help you to not react subconsciously. The clearest way to deal with the trigger simply avoid it all together by eliminating the situation. But some situations, like the kid's leftovers and the bowl of candy on the coworker's desk, will be beyond your control. Create a simple, doable alternative that will work for you to avoid giving in to your trigger.
Being mindful of what your triggers are and having a plan to deal with them may be the missing part to your weight loss success.
To learn more about dealing with triggers,balancing your hormones, and losing weight, check out 131 Method.