Au Revoir: Tossing Triggers

What's your trigger?
What's your trigger?
Depending on where I am mentally or emotionally, sometimes I can have a bag of pretzels at home for two months without going near them or thinking about them …

Other times I can enjoy a small handful now and then and be done with them …

And other times, I can’t get them in the trash quickly enough.

I hate to be wasteful, and I realize how awful it is to throw out food (why buy it in the first place?!). But I liken “what is a trigger food” to how sometimes my IBS (which has been much better the past five years on WW) can flare up from eating, say, tomato sauce one day, and the next day I’ll be fine with it …

In other words, what might be a trigger today might definitely not be tomorrow. And it’s nearly impossible to predict, which makes playing “defense” hard.

And so this weekend I had to toss three triggers that I’d had at home for weeks without nary a problem: delicious yogurt-covered pretzels, fancy white chocolates you get at the bin in speciality stores (forget the brand, but $$), and butterscotch morsels (intended for my oats but they never made it that far). All things I’d managed to enjoy over time, in small increments, as any self-aware, dignified person would.

(Note to self: hmmm … all are sweet …)

I know I am not alone in struggling with triggers.

I had had a particularly stressful weekend and food was, admittedly, a source of comfort … I don’t mean in the sense of a binge, only in that I used food to “numb” what was really bothering me. I knew I was doing it, and didn’t stop myself from reaching for the yogurt pretzels or the butterscotch chips.

Until Sunday night when I was feeling a lot better and realized, “Hey, eating XYZ, even in small, moderate portions, won’t make you feel any better.”

And so one by one, I tossed each item into the trash.

I’m not proud of that fact — especially after having just watched Slumdog Millionaire with my hubby the previous night (incredible movie, we loved it!) — it felt really awful, corrupt, even, to be tossing good food

(And in case you’re wondering, if they were things my husband likes, I def. wouldn’t have tossed them — I’m not that wasteful!)

The truth is, I’d much rather be the girl who can keep a pack of M&Ms on her desk for a week … but I am not her. I’m anxious with things like money and food.

And I know that out of sight, out of mind sometimes is the best solution for me. Last week, not one of these things posed a problem. But some stress building this weekend just shot that notion in the foot, and it was as though all my good intentions were for naught.

Keeping those things around only hampers me from reaching my goal if I’m not in the right frame of mind to have them around. However, it’s hard for me to predict my mood.

And sometimes something as innocuous as carrots or Kashi can be the “fix” of choice at the moment, and I can’t (and won’t) rationally ban all food from my house. It’s kind of an as-it-happens act.

I can, however, work on changing how I react to stress, one of the things I’d like to explore further with Dr. G. this week.

Fortunately, I know what triggered my emotional eating. It certainly wasn’t out of control eating (I just compensated with smaller meals to make up for the unplanned snacks) but the fact that I turned to food for comfort speaks volumes to what I was feeling this weekend.

The good thing is, I can identify it, and I did identify it.

Though I am not too thrilled that’s how things played out this weekend, I still say it’s progress!

How about you? Have you recently had to toss a trigger food or stop buying it?

17 thoughts on “Au Revoir: Tossing Triggers

  1. I just recently began to be able to buy cereal again. For a very long time, I really could not buy it because I would go through the entire box in 1 day, eating it dry.

    I’m not sure how I got past this, but I’ve been able to eat it in normal amounts lately.

  2. A big trigger for me was peanut butter and I’m trying to introduce it slowly but surely back into my fridge. It’s an interesting struggle you talk about, especially for those with ED or disordered eating. I decided to try bringing back peanut butter (only one of my many triggers) because I wanted to challenge myself and more importantly felt the longer I held off on having any trigger whatsoever in my house, the longer I am allowing the ED to win out. It’s the ED or disordered thoughts that I feel sometimes make us create false boundaries around food.

    It’s a really difficult question to ask yourself (makes me think of Hamlet’s to be or not to be): when is right to introduce or have trigger food around and when isn’t it?

    take care!

  3. I had to stop buying cereal completely because I go crazy with about 4 bowls at once when it is around. Unfortunately I have a roommate who buys my favorite cereal (Honey bunches of Oats). She goes away every weekend so this past Friday I lost control. I make her hide it in her room but she has a curtain as her door so this does not stop me. I decided I need to keep myself very busy on weekends to this does not happen.

  4. I, too, which I could be that girl who keeps M&M’s in her desk drawer! Like my co-worker, who can nibble on a single cookie all day, or can have a handful of M&M’s and stop at that. I don’t know if I will ever be “that” girl…but what I do know (while others might find it frustrating) is that I can’t keep trigger foods in my house or even be around them for long amounts of time. I’m all or nothing – I’ll pass on the cookies, or I’ll seriously have 12. I think passing is better for my tummy. 🙂

    I was definitely guilty of trashing some goodies around the holidays…I felt HORRIBLE, of course, but it just wasn’t worth a binge/all the anxiety. Feels a little selfish…but I have to tell myself that’s okay sometimes.

  5. I am constantly buying and tossing trigger foods. Luckily, I never buy the most powerful of my trigger foods. Chips and donuts. Those are not in the house ever. Other trigger foods are tossed or my wife hides them so they are safe from me. HAHA

  6. Ice cream and cookies, and sometimes Doritos. I have such a sweet tooth! If there’s anything from a pint to a gallon of ice cream, I’ll be good the first day or two and take a scoop for dessert. But throughout the day I’ll take a spoonful here and there, and that adds up. Now Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Daaz makes these little individual servings that are half a cup (if that). They’re great for the cravings and impossible to over-indulge. The same goes for cookies- if the package is open, I’ll pick at them. I’ve since learned that the key to keeping my eating in check is to make sure things are pre-measured and counted into individual servings.

  7. I’m pretty good with food in the house as I am so stubborn. My husband has a bit of a sweet tooth and runs a lot. He needs his carbs, and we always keep chocolate on hand. Although I love it, I’m fine with other treats and maybe some occasional chocolate. My problem is when I eat out. Chips and queso dip – I can never stop eating once I start. Love Mexican!

  8. A big trigger for me is fresh baked bread or bagels. I can’t have them in the house. I am fine with my Ezekiel bread/Ezekiel english muffins but I can’t buy a loaf of bread at a bread bakery and expect it to last more than a day. I got on a kick of buying fresh baked challah last Spring/Summer and it quickly became a binge trigger (as in eating the entire loaf in a few hours). Fresh baked goods are a no-no as well. If I want a cookie, brownie, cupcake etc I go and buy one from the bakery.
    I am fine with a bar of dark chocolate in the house but a bag of M&M’s wouldn’t last very long. Would love to be that person that can have the M&M’s in my drawer for a week but I have come to realize that I am not and might never be so why fight it. If I want M&M’s I buy some and either plan on eating the whole bag (the small bag you get from a vending machine) or taking a handful and giving the rest to my DH or throwing them away.

    Almost every time I have gained weight in my adult life it has been related to emotional eating and turning to food instead of dealing with the problem or dealing with stress in more productive way. It is a constant learning process and even with therapy (which has helped a lot) I think it is always going to be lurking in the shadows and just have to be super aware of it.

  9. I am like you – I keep the things around for awhile, not eating them, or innocently eating a serving or less, then I have a problem and go overboard. It’s like something takes control over my body. I’ve gotten better, but I do have to throw things away from time to time.

  10. There are certain things I never ever buy myself because I don’t trust myself. Low carb tortillas/lavash and ice cream are high on the list. I do keep alternatives around just in case I get really twitchy, like frozen fruit, which is sweet and cold and forces me to eat slowly. Just having the alternative is psychologically soothing.

  11. Sounds like each person’s triggers are different, and I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!! It’s just crazy how one day something can be a trigger and the next … totally not. It’s a work in progress, I guess.

  12. I have a huge problem with some things being triggers at certain times and not others. It drives me crazy, because I can’t seem to predict it. And then there are those days when *anything* in my sight is a trigger!

  13. you’re story is so encouraging. My triggers are definitely sweets. (cakes and chocolate in particular) i thought i was doing okay with them so I bought mini chocolate cakes… when i did eat it.. i didn’t want to stop so they all went in the trash.
    i wish i could predict when those “trigger” foods would set me off. sad day.

  14. Hello again. My triggers are anything savory. If someone said that I could never eat cake or chocolate again, meehh… what do I care my answer would be. But take away a sausage roll, or fries, or anything white, starchy and salty, and I would rip their arms off…… LOL.

    Anywhere near period time for me, I have to be extra careful about what I have in the house.

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