There are decadent foods that I can eat, enjoy, and then move on without wanting more. Cheese falls into this category. I buy small quantities of great cheese at the market, savor it in tastes, and rarely overeat.
And then there are foods where one taste is like opening the flood gates. Eating a single slice of banana bread with fruit or an egg for breakfast would be reasonable. But put a loaf of banana bread in front of me and it will be nearly impossible for me to stop at just one piece.
These triggers food can put a serious damper on weight loss efforts. No matter how well we eat 95% of the time, if that other 5% is spent binging on hoards of food it’s going to be hard to meet weight loss goals. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify and manage your trigger foods:
1. What foods do you consistently overeat?
My trigger foods are white and fruit breads (wholegrain is fine), milk chocolate, homemade cookies, sweet cereals, ice cream, and corn chips (particularly the lime chips – my god, they are good). For you they might be Doritos, gummy worms, pretzels, or peanut butter. They don’t necessarily have to be foods that are bad for you in reasonable quantities. The goal is to identify the foods that cause you to lose control over your portions, eat more than you planned, and derail your goals.
2. What are your gateway foods?
I love wine. To me, a great meal is not complete without a glass of red wine. Turkey and stuffing without Beaujolais Nouveau and it wouldn’t really be Thanksgiving. While I don’t usually over consume the wine itself, I know that when I’ve had a glass or two of wine, I am more likely to munch on other foods I don’t need. I’ll find myself eating the leftover slice of bread while cleaning up after the dinner party is finished or running down the street to buy ice cream for dessert. This is one of several reasons that I no longer consume a glass of wine with dinner every night. I absolutely still drink wine, just not daily. Does this happen to you when you consume any foods or beverages?
3. How can you enjoy your trigger foods without overeating?
This is the third time in this single blog post that I have written about bread. That gives you an idea of how much I love it. Particularly toasted in the oven and dipped in olive oil. My mouth is watering just typing that sentence! But having an entire loaf of crusty, gushy, fresh bread in the house is a recipe for disaster. I’m definitely not ready to give up bread, though, so I have learned that I need purchase it in small quantities – one dinner roll from the bakery or a demi-baguette from the grocery store. When the dinner roll is gone there isn’t an option to eat more – perfect portion control and I still get to enjoy!
Identifying and learning to manage my trigger foods has helped me immensely in becoming healthier and moving towards my weigh loss goals. I hope it helps you, too!