Avoiding trigger foods is usually NOT the most productive route we can take when trying to prevent binge-behavior, overeating, or consistently going off plan/macros.
Many of the girls who reach out to work with me say that they struggle with 'trigger' foods and constantly overeating them or going into an all out eating fest with them.
Of course, I ask them how long it has been going on for and if they have ever done anything to address it before and some of the most common responses I get are;
"I have tried to just throw them away"
"I end up tracking everything but then that only lasts for a little bit before it is like I can't even stop myself"
"I have no idea what to do, counting macros, following a plan, giving myself free for all, or taking a break none of it has helped".
And I am honestly NEVER surprised to hear all of this because that is what we are 'taught' to do by the industry, society, and the path of least resistance we as humans love to take.
Unfortunately, many of these women tend to feel like they are a 'lost cause' and like they will NEVER be able to overcome something as overwhelmingly heavy and upsetting as this.
BUT, what if I told you you could overcome it?
Many of the girls who start working with me are always skeptical that I can actualllyyyyy help them beat these behaviors but, if you look at my 'testimonials' page on my website or the 'bikini client wins' highlight on my Instagram, you will see how I have happily proven them wrong.
I developed a specific system and process, my PTG process, to help the women, especially competitors make peace with food WITHOUT having to give up their lifestyle as a competitor, athlete, or fitness enthusiast.
What I explain to them about this problem is that it is not always resolvable with avoidance, in fact it usually isn't.
Throughout my time earning my Bachelor's Degree I spent a LOT of time reading case studies, doing reports on, and research reviews on topics related to eating psychology and disordered eating.
One thing that was not just glaringly apparent in MY OWN journey to healing my relationship with food but also showed up in the research was that restriction increases fixation.
I mean, just think of it like when you are in a prep for months and haven't had a cookie and then you suddenly start thinking about cookies way more than you ever did before you said 'no more cookies, it is prep time'.
Some people refer to this pattern of avoidance as the 'no-binge diet'.
Telling yourself you have to throw everything away or 'never' have it again is basically a recipe for disaster.
Because that is like putting plastic wrap where your window broke and pretending it is now a window. No way, the problem still exists.
So we have to get to the root of why you are being driven to these behaviors.
While restriction is NOT always the reason for fixation eating outbursts, it sure is a common cause.
The best thing you can do for yourself is make it just as normal as your chicken, tofu, ground turkey, rice cakes, egg whites, or whatever else you choose to eat every day that doesn't have any sort of negative label on it.
Which of course, attaching morals to food can be just as problematic as restriction, but I will save that for another day.
For now, focus on how you can make 'trigger' foods, normal foods.
For me, it was eating chocolate every day. Then it was eating an Oreo cookie every other day.
Mind you, these were two foods I would sneak into the garage to eat when no one was around, or find myself thinking about non-stop to the point where I just HAD to have them and then ate SO MANY and promised to be 'good' from then on.
Eventually, after applying the normalization/exposure tactic--along with other tools of mine, I didn't care about the chocolate and I didn't care about the Oreos.
In fact, most days I FORGOT that I 'could' have them because I just didn't care anymore. It became more about if I ACTUALLY wanted them. Which, I usually didn't even find myself thinking about them like I had before.
I encourage you to apply this to your own life if you are struggling.
Find this post helpful? Share it with a friend or teammate in need or as a preventative measure.
Don't know where to begin with implementing this and need more support?
Reach out to me to apply for my Food Relationship Healing and Discovery Program or CLICK HERE now.
If I believe I can help you, I will let you know how we can work together, if I don't believe I can help you, I will refer you to someone else.
Please understand that the information I shared here can vary from person to person. It is important to know that you may implement the idea but there can still be other underlying factors. Unfortunately, and fortunately, these are what we call 'ill-defined' problems, meaning the path to a happier ending is not as easy as 2+2. I highly recommend you get help and support. Whether that is with me or with someone else, I encourage you to seek help. It doesn't get better with time if your beliefs, habits, and patterns remain the same. It pays to invest in someone to help you through it. I shouldn't have to put a disclaimer after every post or blog but have a disclaimer on my website for a reason. It's just not one size fits all.