The Program: Trouble Shooting in OWL
TAKE AIM AT TRIGGER FOODS
Okay, admit it. Like most of us, you’ve probably at one time eaten a whole box of cookies, a supersize bag of chips or an entire cheesecake. The specifics may differ, but the guilt, self-disgust, physical discomfort and overall sense of having lost control are similar. Don’t confuse this behavior with craving for more carbs several hours after a high-carb meal. With a trigger food, it’s a more immediate thing. You simply can’t stop with one. The next thing you know, you’re back for just another taste, and then more, again and again until it’s gone. When the box or bag is almost empty, you decide, “What the heck, I might as well finish it off,” even though the physical desire for it may have passed.
Unfortunately, simply banishing such foods from the house (even if your family or housemates are willing) is not a long-term solution to confronting these high-carb demons. For practical advice, see Blocking the Urge to Binge, but you also must deal with the reasons why you find yourself powerless in the face of certain foods.
Until you understand why certain foods provoke an uncontrollable reaction, you’re at their mercy when you do come across them. In many cases trigger foods are associated with pleasurable past experiences. Chocolate chip cookies may remind you of coming home after school and finding the house filled with their sweet aroma. You may associate those cookies with the love and the security that you may feel is now missing in your life. Perhaps pistachio ice cream reminds you of stopping at a certain restaurant chain in happier days before your parents got divorced. Understanding why certain foods hold a power over you may help you take control. With time, as you approach your goal weight and begin to settle into your new self-image, you should find that you, not trigger foods, are the one in control.