• Emma Green

How to deal with trigger foods


Contrary to most advice you read about dealing with trigger foods, I don’t think you should restrict them or get them out of your house. By doing these things, you not only confirm your beliefs that you can’t trust yourself around that food but you also make it more appealing because you have limited your ability to have them.

Making peace with trigger foods is not an overnight process. If you’ve been restricting any food (or calories in general) for an extended period, you will likely overeat these foods when you first allow yourself to have them. If you give it long enough, things will balance out though. The power of permission is huge.

This probably seems impossible if you currently struggle with an ‘all or nothing’ approach but I can assure you that it is possible. Just like fitness, consistency is key, along with belief in yourself.

My ideas aren’t just anecdotal, you only have to look at the large body of literature on ‘restrained eaters’ and ‘disinhibition’ to see what happens when a food is limited and then suddenly made available. These individuals unsurprisingly eat more than those who didn’t limit the food. They also experience more negative feelings around it so enjoy it a lot less.

A more recent study showed that people were actually more likely to choose a ‘healthy’ option when it was surrounded by ‘junk’ than when it there was only one piece of ‘junk’ food next to it. That demonstrates that just because certain foods are there, it doesn’t mean we’ll eat them.

Yes, I love to geek out on science but you don’t need to read research to have a healthy relationship with food. When it comes down to it, it’s about making things as simple as possible. Eat the foods that make you feel good, physically and mentally, whenever you want them.

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