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Food triggers that force you to eat when you don’t feel like it. How to deal with them

Food triggers that force you to eat when you don’t feel like it. How to deal with them

Healthy lifestyle

Food triggers that force you to eat when you don’t feel like it. How to deal with them

26 october 2019

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Most living things eat when they are hungry. But we humans eat for other reasons as well, which sometimes doesn’t do any good. In fact, the world is filled with triggers that cause us to eat poorly. Now you will learn what exactly motivates us to eat unhealthy food and what to do about it.

Two types of hunger

Unfortunately, there are many people in the world for whom hunger is a constant companion. Symptoms of physiological hunger include a feeling of emptiness in the stomach, headaches, and severe weakness. You’ve probably experienced similar symptoms when you skipped a meal or two. These signals are given to us by the body when it lacks fuel in the form of calories and nutrients. With physiological hunger, you must eat.

However, people living in countries where food is plentiful and inexpensive experience a different kind of hunger – psychological. With psychological hunger, there is no feeling that the body needs fuel – you just feel like you want to eat something. For example, thoughts about food appear immediately after eating, or we want something specific and we cannot stop. A trigger may be triggered, such as the smell of food (the aroma of freshly baked pie from the oven), environment, or mood. It is the triggers that most often cause psychological hunger, under the influence of which you can eat too much, and this food will be unhealthy. Let’s take a closer look at the topic together with the authors of the book “Healthy Eating Every Day.”

How to identify food triggers

We are all different. It’s important to know if psychological triggers are a problem for you, and if so, how to deal with them. Select the triggers that are problematic for you from the suggested options. If you know what else makes you eat more, add more examples.

External triggers

I eat without feeling hungry when:

  • I see food;
  • smell food;
  • I am at work;
  • I am on vacation;
  • I meet certain people;
  • see a restaurant or food advertisement;
  • I read;
  • I work on a computer or tablet;
  • cooking;
  • talking on the phone;
  • watching TV.


Meeting friends is one of the triggers. A source

Internal triggers

I eat without feeling hungry when:

  • I feel good;
  • I’m tired;
  • I’m bored;
  • I am under the influence of alcohol;
  • I’m sad;
  • I am anxious at parties or social events;
  • I’m under stress;
  • worried or angry;
  • upset or offended;
  • I am overwhelmed with emotions or thoughts.

I eat without feeling hungry …

  • before breakfast;
  • before lunch;
  • before dinner;
  • After dinner;
  • in the middle of the night.

How to deal with triggers

Healthy eating depends in part on responding to these triggers that we all deal with. When you have a desire to eat, you need to determine whether it is physical hunger or psychological. If you are physically hungry, eat. We hope you choose healthy food and get the right portions! If you are hungry but not physically hungry, you need to understand what makes you eat. Once you’ve figured out what the trigger is, decide if you can adapt to it or should you avoid it.

How to adjust

Sometimes the best way to break the connection between a certain trigger and unhealthy food is to replace it. Let’s say you travel to customers a lot, spend most of your day in the car, and usually eat at fast food restaurants because it’s inexpensive and time-saving. That is, eating out and the need to eat quickly become triggers. Obviously, you cannot quit your job, but you can change the trigger. For example, take your lunch with you and keep it in your car in your cooler bag. Or find fast food restaurants that also have healthy food.


A source

Be careful: the moment you are at the mercy of a trigger, you may not think of alternative solutions. It’s better to think about this in advance so that when faced with a trigger, you already know the options. A plan will help you adapt to the situation. For example, if you eat a lot of high-salt foods while watching TV, try putting a plate of colorful fruits, vegetables, or unsalted nuts next to it before the movie starts.

How to avoid

If you’ve made a lot of effort to adapt to dangerous situations, but still don’t eat well, you will need to avoid them altogether. For example, you eat when you have nothing to do. You need to determine when exactly this is happening (at night, on weekends, during holidays) and plan something that will prevent you from eating in this situation. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, to avoid temptation, just do not look at the dessert menu in a restaurant and do not keep sweets at home.

More tips on how to deal with triggers

  • Listen to yourself: what you feel in your stomach, in your mouth, like your head. If you do not have symptoms of physical hunger, try to determine why you are hungry. Could it be thirst?
  • Eat slowly. It will take some time for the signal of satiety to reach from the stomach to the brain. If you do this quickly, you will eat too much before you realize you are full.
  • Pause in the middle of your meal to check if you are full or not. If you don’t feel like eating anymore, then don’t. Set aside what’s left on your plate until your next meal.
  • Once you feel you have eaten enough, make a conscious decision not to continue eating, and then do what you decide: set the plate aside or place cutlery or a napkin on top of it.
  • Don’t get distracted while eating. Eat in the same place, or at least sit down to fully enjoy your meal. Don’t do anything else: don’t watch TV, don’t read, don’t watch anything on your smartphone.
  • Eat mindfully. Mindful eating takes time, and you must concentrate fully on food and enjoy it. This way you will enjoy the taste and control the portion size.

So now you know the triggers that make you eat even when you don’t want to. With our advice, you can make a plan to counter these triggers. Good luck!

From the book “Healthy Eating Every Day”.

Post cover: unsplash.com.

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