What Triggers Cause You to Overeat?

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People eat for many reasons. The sight or smell of food, time of day, social events and activities, and certain feelings or moods can trigger the urge to eat even when we’re not physically hungry.                                    

Eating behaviors often have little to do with physical hunger. For example, you walk into the movie theater and must have popcorn, or every Saturday after your child’s baseball game, you stop for ice cream. Here, an event or circumstance becomes the signal to eat instead of hunger.

Dr. Trupti Patel, Founder of Physicians Weight and Wellness Center has been helping people successfully overcome these triggers for years.  She also believes it is extremely important for the long-term success of any weight loss plan.                                            

So, let’s take a closer look at triggers and what to do about them.

What signals you to eat? The sight or smell of good food is a powerful trigger. Visual cues, like passing by the candy dish in the living room, seeing delicious pictures of food in a magazine or on TV, or smelling the aroma of freshly baked bread can tempt you from staying in control. The time of day could also signal you to eat. For instance, when the clock strikes noon, you want lunch; at 3:00 PM you head to the vending machine at work. If you eat according to the clock, ask yourself, “Is it physical hunger or habit that’s driving me to eat?” Certain people can trigger eating, since meeting with friends, family or colleagues is often associated with food. Some activities are also a cue to eat. For instance, do you automatically eat when you watch TV, read a book or newspaper, or drive in the car?

Consider the circumstances that signal your desire for food. By deciding to prevent these visual cues and situations from becoming a reason to eat, you’re taking an important step in learning how to handle your food triggers. Here are some strategies to help you gain control.

1. You Can Decrease Visual Temptations in a Variety of Ways:

Plan ahead.  Plan in advance what you’re going to eat for the day. Decide which foods should be kept out of sight or out of the house.  This will help you stick with your daily plan.

Shop from a list: Stick to the items on the shopping list to avoid impulse buying. Skip the aisles that don’t contain foods on your list.

Shop when you’re not hungry:  Shopping on a full stomach will guard against impulse purchases, like grabbing a candy bar at the check-out line, and will help prevent you from buying more food than you planned.          

Keep problem foods out of sight:  Hide tempting foods in rarely opened cabinets or in the back of the refrigerator. Remove the candy dishes around the house or from the desk at work. Designate a cabinet for your kids’ snacks and make the contents off-limits to you.                                               

Keep healthier foods within easy reach:  Place nutritious foods, like cut-up raw veggies, fresh fruit or nonfat yogurt in the front of the refrigerator. Keep lower-calorie substitutions of tempting foods on hand. For example, have sugar-free fudge pops instead of a chocolate bar, or a mini bagel with light strawberry jam instead of a jelly donut.

2. You Can Control Your Eating in Challenging Situations with These Tips: 

Limit the number of times you eat daily:  Try to structure your eating around three meals a day. If you prefer a between-meal snack, build it into your eating plan. Stick to your schedule as much as possible to minimize unplanned eating and unwanted calories.

Limit the number of places where you eat:  Decide on a few specific places to eat, and try to eat only in those places. For example, choose a specific spot at the kitchen table or at the office. Make the TV room a “no eating” zone. Finish watching the show and if you still want to eat something, do it at your designated eating spot.

Watch out for danger zones:  Side-step situations that will entice you to eat. For instance, if fresh pastries are your nemesis, choose a walking route that doesn’t pass the bakery. If you can’t avoid a danger zone, decide that you won’t let it control you. For instance, refuse to enter the bakery if you pass it on your walk.

The strategies shared here can be extremely powerful and will help you create habits that do not trigger a desire to eat.  Everyone is different and that is why Dr. Trupti Patel and her team customize your weight loss plan to your specific needs.  They also consider any medical reasons that may contribute to your struggle to lose weight. 

For more information, please contact them at https://healthymeweightloss.com/contact-us/ give us a call at 703-783-5673.  Dr. Trupti Patel and her caring team are ready to help you overcome your specific barriers to weight loss success so you can feel your very best.