Posted: June 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

Over the years of paying close attention to my eating habits, I have discovered what situations and feelings will trigger me to mindlessly or emotionally eat easier than at other times. The biggest one is stress or feeling overwhelmed about something. I quickly have to find a way to distract myself by other means in those situations, because otherwise I will undoubtedly nose dive into our ice-cream stash and eat it all.

The past few weeks I have found another trigger. My previous “working” space.


As you may recall, I complete all of my blog work time during the kid’s mid-day nap time. I get a solid 2-3 hour block of time and I have to use it fully. This often meant that I would prepare my lunch and plop myself down at the kitchen table with my netbook to get moving on my posts, catching up on emails, and other related tasks. My fanny would chill in that kitchen chair or standing at the counter the duration of that time. Well…the duration of that time minus the little pit stops I would make on occasion to the pantry to mindlessly grab something to nibble.

I have no problem eating snacks when I want them. But I do have a problem eating snacks when I’m not hungry and when I’m not even enjoying them. When I recognized this habit I quickly made some necessary changes. I stopped trying to get things done while eating my lunch. I will sit at the kitchen table, enjoy, and pay attention to my food. I will also take this time for some quiet reflection and prayer. Then, I pack myself up and move out of the “food zone” so I don’t mindlessly meander to the box of cereal. I work more efficiently and now, when I have my snacks, I must make a conscious decision. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer fully savoring my food, so I quickly resolved this trigger issue.

However, I have another trigger that I have never fully mastered. It still gets me almost every time. Social events. I have picked up some tools and approaches that guide me to more balanced decision making while at these events, but I still have to try really, really, really hard to put them into practice. Take last night, for example.

Our church had a special gathering for those who work in the small groups community. Peter & I plan to once again sign on to lead a group this upcoming fall with our friends, so we put on our party hats and gathered with other church friends for a night of fellowship. I went in knowing that I could possibly come across a lot of good food, but that I also didn’t want to eat past full. I reminded myself to do the following:

  • focus on that “feeling of health”
  • pick and choose what I really want to eat/drink
  • focus on the time with friends I haven’t seen in awhile
  • pay attention to my hunger and eat slowly/mindfully
  • simply do my best to honor the body and health God has given me

It worked! I dined on two small wraps – one ham and one turkey – plus a bit of fruit.


They also had brownies up for grabs, but I decided not to grab one. They didn’t look as thick, chewy, and fudgy as I like - so I passed. I didn’t feel the need to grab one simply because it was there. Instead, I satisfied myself with the other food and the knowledge that if I had a sweet hankering I could have some ice-cream, which I would enjoy more, at home later. Sometimes I just need to go in with a plan of action and a reminder that I have the power to choose what truly satisfies me. Although, I can’t promise I would have had the same results had there been Oreo Truffles in the mix. 😉

  • How do you handle triggers for mindless/emotional/over-eating?


77 Comments to “Triggers”
  1. Social events are definitely my trigger. In virtually every other situation, I don’t struggle with mindless/emotional eating but as soon as I’m at a party or social event, I want to eat/drink every yummy thing in sight. I use the same strategies that you outlined… in particular, I try to choose a couple of things I really want to indulge in and stick to that; sometimes it works, other times not so much.

  2. janetha says:

    I can totally relate to the not grabbing a brownie because it is there. I always get criticized in social or work settings if I dont eat the food that is there simply because it is there. I have to want it!

  3. Great post. I get into weird mindless eating habits too, like snacking after dinner- that’s a tough one to break! Thanks for your honesty 😉

  4. Ela says:

    Social events are definitely tricky. Especially if you have special dietary needs and people have gone out of their way to make or buy a treat that you can eat (gluten free cookies, non dairy ice cream). I feel like I’m making my peace with it: appreciating the thoughts, enjoying a small portion, reminding myself that I’m so good about what I eat most of the time that it’s fine to indulge occasionally, so long as it doesn’t then make me feel bad internally.

    You are a great example.

  5. Love this post. Distraction is my key!!! I have to get busy and AWAY from the food/kitchen, etc. I’ve packed my boys up before and taken them to the mall, the grocery store, etc. I end up spending a little more money, but I’d rather do that than consume endless calories. 🙂

  6. Kristi says:

    Social events are one of my biggest triggers. I feel like since I’m out I don’t have to think about what I”m putting in my mouth. I have to really try to do things differently.

  7. Joanna B says:

    I think you nailed it when you shared about your strategy for social events – planning and mental prep. It works every time and every time I don’t do it, I over eat.

    Mindless eating in front of the TV is also one of my triggers, it’s one of the reasons I don’t own a television.

    Finally, I’d say the biggest one for me is lack of sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I eat like crap and mentally I’m not in a place to prep and plan. It’s now a rare day that I don’t get my 7-8 hours in.

  8. Avery says:

    I totally relate to this post! Food is such a comfort and social centerpiece for me too and it takes intentional thought not to just let myself mindlessly snack, especially when I’m not hungry. It really does take planning and awareness. Boredom is a big one for me and I usually have to make sure I find something productive to do.

  9. Sarah says:

    See I’m self conscious about eating in public so social events are usually triggers for me.
    Ironically, thinking about not binging is a trigger for me. I will spend hours convincing myself I will not binge and I’m sitting there shaking my leg, trying to distract myself, but drive myself crazy thinking about not binging…then I binge! I get so anxious that I binge to calm the anxiety but now I’m trying to keep myself fully distracted and not doing the whole you will not binge talks every night.

  10. […] Featured Post of the Week: Emotional Eating / Overeating Triggers […]

  11. Donna says:

    For me, over-eating has been a work in progress over a long time! However, I have found that one of the huge triggers for me, has been when I am tired! I homeschool my kids, and a dangerous time for me, is when I am home and have things on my mind, and I am tired! I tend to reach for those savory carbs or sugar because I think my mind is foggy and looking for a pick-me-up in the wrong way! Now that I am aware of this, it is helping me to find moments of peace during my day instead of reaching for the buffalo wing flavored pretzels:) or sweets.

    • Tina says:

      I definitely have more of a challenge when tired too. The afternoon slumps hit on those tired days and I want to just snack snack away, even though I’m not hungry.

      • Donna says:

        Oh, and one more thing! Preparedness is everything! I always manage to make sure everything is in the house and avlbl for the kids, but if I neglect to shop for myself, when I need a snack, I will without a doubt, reach for one of theirs! I try to shop healthier for them, but even their healthy does not always equal healthy for me. Shopping for my own needs is a must so when I need to reach for something, it is there for a meal or snack, lack of good/nutritional choices also triggers binges or over-eating.


Leave a Reply




Catch Up With Recent Posts

Announcement Time

Posted: November 23, 2011 at 7:47 am

Well, I have had a whirlwind of a few weeks over here. I missed all of you so much! I can’t express enough gratitude for your patience while I got some important things sorted out. Some scary things. Are you ready for the announcement? Here goes! I will no longer be blogging at Faith Fitness […]

88 CommentsRead more →

Self-Love Reflection: The Road Not Taken

Posted: November 20, 2011 at 11:47 am

Hello FFF readers! Nice to meet ya! My name is Carissa and my husband and I blog at Fit2Flex.  Well, I blog…he consults! We are both certified personal trainers with a passion for healthy, active living and clean eating.  I am also studying to become a registered dietitian, a race announcer, and a runner.  Stop […]

24 CommentsRead more →

Healthier Eating For Kids

Posted: November 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about tips for baby feeding magic. What if you let baby choose what’s for dinner? Check out their cute "Quest for Yum!" video and see what happens! As parents, we want the best for our children. We help them to feel loved. We strive to teach them […]

14 CommentsRead more →


Posted: November 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Hey, everyone! I wanted to pop in and say I am working on some new and exciting changes.  As a result,I may not be posting as much during the coming week.  Please stay tuned for the big announcement! Love you all! And still feel free to find me on Twitter and Facebook for the time […]

21 CommentsRead more →

Where The Change Happens

Posted: November 16, 2011 at 7:54 am

It’s kind of funny. I become a certified personal trainer and the first workouts I turn to this week come from someone else. The book came in for me at the library last week and, after flipping through it, I couldn’t wait to give the circuits a go. Making The Cut includes a lot of […]

79 CommentsRead more →

From Beginning To End

Posted: November 15, 2011 at 11:53 am

Good morning! First off, thanks for the many congrats yesterday. Love you all bunches for the tons of support you have given me in so many things this year. I hope I can return a little bit of that love through this here blog as well. So yesterday I had my first parent-teacher “conference” for […]

55 CommentsRead more →