If you are someone you know struggles with comfort eating or food triggers, this blog is a MUST read.
You may or may not know when and why you eat for comfort. Most of the time comfort eating or cravings are not random independent acts, but rather associations and triggered by events, emotional responses or subconscious stimulation.
Some people respond to sensory stimuli with the need to eat because the full feeling can help them feel safe and centered. It’s kind of like the effect that a weighted blanket can have on a dog to keep them anxiously barking.
If you can identify these triggers or associated responses that compel you to eat for comfort or to fulfill a craving, then you will be able to take control over your health and the mountain before you can be reduced to simple, daily, achievable, implementations and manageable steps.
Eating Chains, Triggers, Association, Comfort Eating and Reward Eating
What are eating chains?
Eating chains can be explained like this, you’re driving your car when you see a fast food restaurant sign. You immediately begin to think about your favorite juicy burger and fries. All of the sudden you find yourself starving prompting you to pull into the drive through and order a meal, picking up an extra 1800 cal you didn’t plan on eating. After you eat the meal, you proceed to reprimand yourself for doing so.
What are triggers?
Triggers are a little bit different than eating chains yet they still have a remembrance quality. With Trigger response eating, there is usually an event that transpires or specific emotion that triggers the compulsion or desire to eat. This is similar to the trigger effect that smokers battle when trying to quit smoking.
What is Association eating?
With Association eating there is usually a set pattern, association or connection that a person has with a specific action, setting, person and food. For example, you always eat ice cream and chips when you sit on the couch for movie night or when you go out with a specific friend you always get coffee and donuts.
The key is to be prepared and have a plan so you don’t get caught by surprise.
Comfort Eating and Reward Eating
Comfort eating is usually brought on by a trigger or some type of emotion, both positive and negative and certain foods are chosen to make you feel better, to satiate a craving, or even for celebration.
You may not know why you crave specific types of food. There is actually some science behind it and they’re not the random choices that you may think.
Most often the foods that are chosen are ones that are high in refined sugars and carbohydrates due to the quick serotonin response and feel-good effects it has on the mind. Unfortunately, these types of foods can be as addicting as cocaine keeping you coming back for more.
Another very popular thing to do is reward eating. This type of eating is actually program in our mind from youth. How often are we someplace and a big bowl of lollipops is sitting there and given as a treat or a reward to a small child. In schools candy is often the reward of choice for positive reinforcement and for offering correct answers. People go out for dinner at their favorite restaurant or ice cream to celebrate and once a year on the day we were born we have a big cake to celebrate our existence.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be ridiculous to assume you cannot take a child out for ice cream as a treat. As a matter of fact, too many laws and limitations are a big reason that healthy change fails to stick and we cover that in our Keys2Eating Complete Transformation Program. COMING SOON!!!
The examples are merely to show that some of these patterns are deeply ingrained in the subconscious so in order to implement change it will take cognitive awareness and an action plan.
By understanding and discovering the difference between true hunger and triggers or habits, you can better re-structure a plan and your health. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail, that common cliche still holds true to so much in our lives.
Also, some of the cravings you might have could actually be caused by unhealthy bacteria living in your gut that compels you to keep it alive by feeding it sugar or carbohydrates. You can follow this link to learn more about these invisible but strong living parasites living inside you.
Exercise: The following exercise is intended to help you identify your eating chains, triggers, associations, and when you comfort eat in order to break the cycle. Once you download the document below and complete it, share your findings and victories with us!
Download and personal exercise: Exercise eating chains, triggers, associations, comfort eating and reward eating.docx