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Eating Triggers: How to Recognize Them and What You Can Do

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Eating Triggers: How to Recognize Them and What You Can Do
Eating Triggers: How to Recognize Them and What You Can Do

No matter what your weight is, whether you’re overweight, obese, or a normal weight, we can all fall victim to eating triggers. Eating triggers are the things that get us to eat even though we aren’t really hungry. Maybe it’s the smell of the bakery in the grocery store. Maybe it’s an office party or social gathering. Or even eating as a reward or celebration.

There are common categories of eating triggers. There can also be eating triggers specific to individuals. It’s best to understand what triggers you to eat so you can learn how to recognize the triggers, plan for them, and learn how to avoid them. This is especially true for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you lose weight, but your weight loss success is dependent on the changes you make to your eating habits.

Some common triggers can be:

  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Environment
  • Emotions
  • Trauma
  • Social eating

If you find yourself not able to adhere to your pre-op or post-op bariatric diet, try keeping a food journal. Write down what you eat and drink, what time, how much, where you eat, what you are doing while you eat, and how you feel before and after eating. Try keeping the journal for one to three days to get a good overview of your eating patterns and possible triggers.

If you can notice a pattern, see what you can do to avoid the trigger. For example, if you eat while watching TV you can try to break the habit by changing where you watch TV, what time you watch, and even what you do while watching TV. To occupy your hands, you could try crocheting or knitting, or even squeezing a stress ball to keep you from reaching for a snack. You could even use the commercial breaks or time between episodes to do a plank, push ups, or lunges to help keep you motivated to make the best choices.

If you are still not able to reduce or control your eating triggers, consider getting help to conquer them. A professional counselor, psychologist, or a psychiatrist can help you identify what’s going on and learn how to take control of your eating habits, your weight, and your life. Sometimes we need help to do this, and just like your bariatric surgery, seeking professional help can give you the tools you need to handle it. Dr. Shillingford’s office can make recommendations for therapists and a psychiatrist who have experience with bariatric patients. Controlling your eating habits can be what you need for your weight loss success, and Dr. Shillingford’s patients are encouraged to call the office at (561) 483-8840 or contact us to get local recommendations.