Dealing with trigger foods

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Dealing with trigger foods-  Many individuals who struggle with binge eating also may have particular foods that trigger binge episodes. Foods that are higher in carbohydrates and fats can cause the release of the hormone serotonin in the brain, which can induce pleasurable feelings.

For this reason, people who are dealing with binge eating disorder often gravitate towards foods with these components, either for comfort or as a means of escaping from difficult situations. Examples of these types of foods would include pastries, cookies, cakes, and other desserts, foods that are higher in simple carbohydrates (such as breads, pastas), foods that tend to be higher in fats (such as fried foods, fast foods).

 

Dear Readers,

 

We have been asked lots of questions on how to deal with trigger foods in recovery. Please find below a short article from Ali Kerr on how to deal with your trigger foods in recovery. The second article is from eating disorder hope and has some very helpful suggestions and tips on BED recovery. We hope you’ll find these tips helpful in your journey to recovery and healing.

 

 

 

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Dealing with trigger foods

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever noticed that some foods seem to hold a strange power over you? 

Do you find yourself obsessing over sweets, crisps or Chinese takeaways for hours – sometimes even days – on end?

Can you think of a few products that are particularly adept at calling out to you from the supermarket shelves?

If you struggle with binge eating, you’re more than likely to know what I’m talking about.

I call these items trigger foods. 
Just one bite of your biggest trigger food can spiral straight into a full-blown binge. 

You can’t even pinpoint the exact moment when you lose control. 
Before you know it, one innocent chocolate bar turns into numerous wrappers strewn on your bedroom floor.

This is how it was for me. 
My biggest trigger food was definitely chocolate. 

I used to try desperately to resist the cravings, but the obsessive urges wouldn’t leave. 
Fighting them seemed impossible, and giving in to the cravings was just as scary. 
The more I thought about chocolate, the stronger the binge urges grew. 
The more I ate chocolate, the more I craved it. 
I was stuck in a vicious cycle.

So how should we deal with these sorts of foods in recovery?

Should we spend the rest of our lives avoiding them like the plague?
Or should we face our fears head-on, but on our own terms?

It’s true that trigger foods can be dangerous during the initial stages of your recovery.
However, long-term avoidance isn’t enjoyable or realistic.
Constantly depriving yourself of your favourite foods isn’t going to cure your binge eating.

What I suggest is distancing yourself from your trigger foods for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. 
Here are the reasons why:

1. Your gut bacteria will have time to change.
Gut bacteria has a huge influence on your cravings.
The good news, however, is that you can have just as big of an influence on these bacteria.
By abstaining from your trigger foods for a few weeks, you will allow them to die off. As a result, your binge urges will grow significantly weaker.

2. You will break the habit.
You might often find yourself eating your trigger foods without even craving them that much.
The force of habit can be incredibly powerful, but staying away from trigger foods for a while will enable you to take back the reins.

3. You will learn to eat balanced meals again. 
Avoiding your trigger foods for a limited period of time diminishes the possibility of binge episodes.
You can use these binge-free weeks to really focus on eating regular and nutritious meals. 

I’d like to add a few reminders though: 

Never avoid whole food groups. Focus on specific items that tend to trigger your binges. 

Keep it slow and steady. If you have lots of trigger foods, work through them one by one.

Don’t forget that this is a short-term plan. After a few weeks of balanced eating, try and reintroduce a small portion of your trigger food into your diet. Eat it mindfully and let yourself enjoy it. You are allowed to eat it moderately, so there’s absolutely no need to go overboard and binge.

Try and find a replacement food for your trigger item. For example, I used to eat an oat biscuit with cheese if I had a particularly strong chocolate craving.

Most importantly, I want you to remember that these cravings aren’t your fault. 

Yes, bingeing can morph into addiction.
Yes, the cycle can seem treacherous, or even unbreakable at times.

However, what I’ve learnt during my recovery – and what I want you to learn as well – is that you are NEVER as helpless as you think you are. 

It might not sound particularly convincing now, but trust me – there are heaps of strength within you.
You have infinite opportunities for change.

Now reach out and grab one of them. 

 

 

Your friend and coach,

Ali Kerr

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Ali Kerr
Author of The Binge Code & The Bulimia Help Method

P.S.  Success is easier when you have someone who’s supporting you, guiding you, keeping you on track – every step of the way.

With this in mind we offer a coaching program for anyone looking for one-on-one support and guidance to overcome binge eating or bulimia.

All of our qualified coaches have recovered from eating disorders, so you’ll be sharing your journey with someone who truly understands what you’re going through.

Once you’ve signed up you’ll be assigned your own personal coach to work with. Gently, at a pace that is right for you, your coach will support and guide you step-by-step to binge freedom. Learn more here

 

 

Renegotiating Binge Foods in Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

ED Hope

 

 

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

 

he process of recovering from binge eating disorder is one that requires many different steps and approaches. Because this eating disorder is a complex illness, approach the emotional, psychological, and biological factors are necessary for recovery and healing. A person with binge eating disorder cannot simply “get over” the struggles that they are facing.

Eating disorders must be approached in the sense that a person is attempting to improve their overall quality of life and managing symptoms, as there is not necessarily a “cure” for these mental illnesses.

Learning how to better manage the symptoms commonly experienced can be stepping stones in helping a person with binge eating disorder improve their overall quality of life.

 

 

Behaviors that an individual with binge eating disorder will characteristically display include chaotic habits with food, such as eating abnormally large portions in a short amount of time, consuming food rapidly, and eating quantities of food that would put them beyond a feeling of fullness.

BED Influences

Part of recovering from binge eating disorder understands possible underlying emotional or psychological influences related to binge eating and constructing new methods for coping with overwhelming situations.

girl-206144_640Many individuals who struggle with binge eating also may have particular foods that trigger binge episodes. Foods that are higher in carbohydrates and fats can cause the release of the hormone serotonin in the brain, which can induce pleasurable feelings.

For this reason, people who are dealing with binge eating disorder often gravitate towards foods with these components, either for comfort or as a means of escaping from difficult situations. Examples of these types of foods would include pastries, cookies, cakes, and other desserts, foods that are higher in simple carbohydrates (such as breads, pastas), foods that tend to be higher in fats (such as fried foods, fast foods).

Binge foods may be different for every individual who is dealing with this mental illness. The important factor is to recognize what these foods are and understand the possible emotions that trigger the urge to want to eat these foods. Learning to decipher physical hunger from emotional hunger is also a key to breaking the binge cycle.

For example, if a person just had dinner and ate an adequate amount to satisfy their hunger but is experiencing an urge to binge on a gallon of ice cream an hour later, this is not likely physical hunger. In this situation, an emotional trigger may have led a person to eating a particular binge food, even if they are already physically satiated. Being aware of these differences is critical for moving forward in recovery.

Binge Foods

Another aspect of renegotiating binge foods is learning that all foods are on an equal playing feeling and giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. What exactly does this mean? Letting go of the mentality that foods are “good” and “bad” is essential to making peace with food.

Extended family in living room smilingIt is important to let go of the judgment that you may commonly feel for eating certain foods and understand that all foods can play a role in your overall nutrition. Allowing yourself to eat the foods that you are truly wanting and craving when you are hungry is also a key aspect of renegotiating binge foods.

For example, if it is your lunch time and you are craving a sandwich and chips but opt for a salad because you feel that is the “better” option, you are essentially creating a sense of deprivation for yourself that can trigger a binge later on. If you honor the craving you are experiencing, you can likely move on from that craving and ultimately feel more satisfied about your food choices.

Practicing mindfulness is also a helpful part of re-learning how to eat your binge foods, and this includes recognizing and eating when you are hungry and learning how to stop eating when you are full.

The process of renegotiating your binge foods can feel like a difficult challenge at times, but step by step, you can be on your way to making peace with food and your body.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 1, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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