The Healthy Steps Program talks a lot about triggers. As you recall from the introduction, these are the things that make you want to eat, even though your body doesn’t need the food.
We want to teach you how to redirect away from triggers.
But if so many different things cause you to want to eat, how can you tell if it’s a trigger or if your body is actually hungry?
The truth is that in many cases, you just can’t tell and you will need to figure out ways to identify when you are truly hungry and when you are only being triggered. That’s why we recommend you always to assume that when you feel like eating, it’s because of a trigger and not because of hunger.
When you encounter a trigger, we recommend the following three steps:
Water is so important, especially when you are trying to lose weight.
I cannot stress enough how important drinking water is for your weight loss and overall health, and unfortunately, most people are not drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated.
Often when people feel hungry, our body is confusing signals and we are actually thirsty. Drink half a bottle of water, around 6-8 big swallows so that you feel the water in your stomach. In many cases, you’ll be surprised at how much that takes away your hunger.
If you still think you’re hungry, the next step is to leave the environment you’re in; step out of the kitchen, leave the lunchroom, even step out of the party for a few minutes and take a walk around the block.
There is a big chance that your environment is making you want to eat, and not that you are actually hungry.
Do anything to get yourself out of your trigger-ridden surroundings. Usually, 2-3 minutes out of that environment is enough and will reset your thinking away from food. Then, you can return to what you were doing previously.
Do an activity that is not food-related to distract yourself from the trigger. It doesn’t matter what you do; just do something else. You can vacuum the den, check your emails, go for a walk, or make a phone call. Just do anything that isn’t food-related.
If you get yourself busy, it will get your mind off the food, and you won’t feel hungry anymore because you weren’t truly hungry in the first place.
If you follow these three steps, most of the time, you will forget about being hungry and will be able to move on with the rest of your day.
Remember, delaying eating is just as good as not eating at that exact moment. If you decide that you really are hungry after these steps, that’s fine. Sit down, take out the small plate, eat slowly, drink plenty of water, and have a meal.
These habits won’t come easy at first, and these redirects will seem odd at the beginning. But if you practice them for just two weeks, they will start to become a habit, and you will learn how to eat like a thin person.
Before long, eating only when you are truly hungry will be much easier, and you will be able to recognize the difference between true hunger and a trigger.