What Does Trigger Foods Mean?
The act of eating a delicious food source that causes complete destruction of will-power and self-control. The actual behavior causes excessive macro consumption due to the release of happy signals in the brain.
Who can relate to this?
We all have our Trigger Foods, but may not realize it. Many times this is the culprit of a failed diet. Do you ever find yourself consumed by one bite of food and before you know it you have eaten the entire box or cookies or every scoop of Peanut butter from the jar? Afterwards do you wonder what happened and why you lost all control? If so, this most likely is your trigger food. These foods ruin many people’s macro numbers and derail them from their nutrition plans. Everyone has that one food that causes them weakness and blows their diet!
We can blame all of this bad behavior on our wonderful BRAIN. So here is the quick and easy science behind Trigger Foods: When you take that first bite of a brownie, your body immediately sends pleasure signals to the brain, releasing dopamine and serotonin. Both of these hormones create a happy/pleasure response. This causes you to keep eating because of the natural high you feel with that specific food. Soon after consumption you come to your senses and most likely feel guilty… that’s because the high is gone!
Another reason for these uncontrollable behaviors is SUGAR! Many Trigger Foods contain sugar which is why sweets are typically the culprit of Trigger Behaviors. Sugar activates the core of our brain and essentially creates a “Food Monster.” We immediately feel happy because this specific food has stimulated our brain’s REWARD system. Thus, leaving you with increased cravings and wanting to eating more! Studies have shown that the sugar activation in the brain is stronger than that of cocaine! Studies have been done for all you naysayers 😉 (Go check out FED-UP, great documentary on food consumption in America)
How Do We Fix it?
It’s a common occurrence that sugary foods will lead to binge-eating and then before you know it your whole day has gone to sh*t! Many will just say “What the heck, my numbers are already ruined?” This then leads to binging the entire day! We begin to feel discouraged and fail to jump back on our fitness/nutrition plans. Many times these delish Trigger Foods can derail all your hard work. But, if recognized early on you can actually prevent overindulging. You can learn to add them into your diet without going crazy!
I am guilty of having Trigger Foods, but I know what they are and I am careful to eat/buy them in moderation. It always seems I need my foods on stressful days… They are my comfort type foods that I know bring me a sense of immediate happiness! My 4 biggest weaknesses are Oreos, Cereal, Ice Cream and Peanut Butter (ALL sugary)…. One bite and all will-power is gone! I recognize this and I am sure to monitor my consumption.
I have also developed a few tricks and options to manage triggers ….
– Try to buy single serving portions! This will help with control and prevent open containers/jars, which leave you free to access them!
– Plan for Trigger Foods and allot a specific amount in your macros
– Portion out the serving size and put the rest away (eating out of the container spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R)
– Try to incorporate Trigger Foods with your Refeed meal
– Do not keep Trigger Foods in the house. Only eat these treats when you are out and have planned for them
– Place things like PB or cookies in a separate cabinet so temptation is not readily available in the pantry
– Try to find alternatives that are a bit more macro-friendly
o Lower calorie ice cream: Enlighten, Arctic Zero, Halo Top
o Single serve Peanut Butter or PB2
o Instead of regular oreos you can buy the Oreo Thins
o Find an alternative sweet treat that’s beneficial and provides some protein, fat and lower sugar….
I typically reach for my fave protein bar: Quest Nutrition Cookie Dough is my go-to
We are all guilty of over indulging in specific foods that make us lose control! Its normal .. all part of being human. No one eats “Healthy” 100% of the time. We need balance and yummy food in our life. Just do not let one treat ruin everything you worked for! Don’t become the “Sugar Monster” and allow Trigger Foods to take over. Find balance in all that you do.