Trigger Happy

When John Lennon wrote, Pistol in a plate on the served table“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, I think what he meant to write was “Happiness is a Warm Freaking Plate of Chocolate Chip Cookies”. That is how us binge-eaters see it. Plain and simple, food brings us happiness. Initially, this is our thought process. However, in the wake of the binge we are left feeling the very opposite of happiness.

If we could curb our craving to one or even two cookies we would be ok. Heck at that point we wouldn’t really even be binge eaters, would we? But we don’t. We can, but we don’t. The reason we don’t put our hands to our side and step away from the plate of cookies is because of a little term known as “trigger foods”. Trigger foods “can be described as any food that, when eaten, makes one crave more of either that particular food or just food in general. This often leads to a binge – a period of uncontrolled and compulsive overeating.” [6] A trigger food can be any type of food. In my experience my trigger foods tend to be the ones that I have vowed to restrict from my diet. Generally foods that fall into this category are sweet treats, chocolate, and carb dense foods. By not allowing certain foods in my diet I tend to crave these foods the most. Typically, I try to extinguish the idea of giving in, but it will build and build until I feel like I may absolutely explode. Upon giving in, the floodgate busts open and I am left feeling uncomfortably full, disgusted embarrassed, tired, and lonely. Binge eating is a very lonely place, but we will save that for another post.

In my case, I would say that avoiding my trigger foods is far from helpful. Avoiding them at all costs only makes me rebel. So I do the exact opposite. I accept that I want it, that I am going to have it, and that I am going to have it in moderation. By doing this I stay in control. When the urge to continues to strike I distract myself. I sit down read a book, go for a run, walk the dog, meditate, take a bath, whatever I can do to otherwise engage my mind before it kicks into overdrive on the binge highway. This takes practice, and it is not 100% flawless, but eventually it does get easier to do. I look at it this way, allowing a treat of about a 100 or so calories into my daily diet is better than restricting, becoming frustrated and bingeing out on say 15-30 the amount of calories. Yes, 15-30. The typical binge is anywhere from 1500-3000 calories. [5] Take the risk to make a change. It does work, and while we may suffer a bit in the beginning, the end result of being in control is the sweetest treat of all.

To think food actually brings happiness is a silly notion


[6] Horowitz, Erica. “What Is a Trigger food?” Women’s Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2013.


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