Identifying and Honoring your Triggers

Identifying and Honoring your Triggers

Hey ladies, I hope that you were able to tackle last week’s mindset homework. I know life is crazy, and self-care is often the last thing on our list. And if you do have a minute to spare, looking good tends to outweigh trying to change some unhealthy mental habits. But I encourage you to think about the impact it will have, even if it doesn’t seem like a pressing issue.

I like to think of it this way; imagine an empty mason jar.  Now think about filling it up with some rocks to the brim. At this point, the jar would be full, right? Not so much. We can certainly add some sand to the jar that would fill up all the space between the rocks. Is the jar full now? Well, you could add water, but you get the picture:)

I think about the rocks in the jar as things like diet (meal timing, food quality, high protein, fasting, keto, macros), and exercise (HIIT, spin, weights, running, yoga).

When I think of the sand, it’s all the little things we ignore. We tend to focus only on the big rocks. We find something that works; then we go backward, so we dump those rocks out, and put in new ones that look a little different. Yet we continue to ignore the sand. I am a firm believer that if we continue to only focus on the rocks, our jars will never feel full. So to make a long story longer, take time to work on the sand in your jar.

Ok, now that we are on the same page, this week we are chatting about triggers and the importance of being able to identify them.

First, let’s take a look at a few examples of triggers we typically see with clients.

  • Eating while distracted –> triggers blacking out and consuming an entire box of  (_____).
  • Waiting too long to eat –>triggers the hangers and over-consuming an entire box of (_____).
  • Restricting certain food groups—>triggers a lack of control when confronted with the foods denied.
  • Lack of prep –>triggers reaching for unhealthy items.
  • Social event overload –>triggers giving up on days in between events.
  • Feeling negative about appearance –> triggers anxiety with normal life activities.
  • Scrolling social media –>triggers a feeling of lack or judgment.
  • Relating exercise to food consumption –>triggers working out as a punishment for food choices.
  • Excessive drinking –>triggers loss of control with food choices.

Raise your hand if you checked off a few of these triggers?  That, my friends, is the sand in your jar that needs tending to. No diet or HIIT workout will change this.

Now that we’ve identified some triggers let’s look at how we can work on them. This is pretty simple as the cause of the trigger tends to be the fix!

  • I know I can blackout and mindlessly eat, so I make an effort never to eat while watching tv, on the phone, or on my laptop.
  • I know I can skip meals and then lose control, so I schedule my meal times in my daily work calendar.
  • I know I lack control when I restrict foods, so I am working on allowing myself to have all food groups in moderation.
  • I know I reach for unhealthy things when my schedule is busy, so I set up a snack drawer and make a point to prep for the meals I tend to struggle with.
  • I know I go off track if I have a lot of social events, so I put my focus on the days and meals in between events that I can control, rather than thinking about how to control events. *Really important with the holidays coming!
  • I know the conversation I am having about my appearance is unhealthy, so I have committed to not engaging in it anymore.
  • I know social media can make me feel like I am not where I should be, so I keep my phone away from my work and sleep area. Or delete the shit all together:)
  • I know I can view exercise as a must-do, so I make it a point not to exercise after a night out and take (___) rest days per week.
  • I know I tend to binge if I drink too much, so I am limiting myself to (__) drinks.

Now, as you try to work to identify triggers, it’s also important to know you will not 100% irradicate them. This is where honoring your triggers and course correction comes in. The ability to understand your slippery slope doesn’t mean you’re never going to take a trip down memory lane. Catching yourself quickly before you’re at the bottom of the slope is the deal-breaker. This is essential in breaking the all or nothing mentality.

Here’s a real-life example. Not too long ago, I consumed almost an entire box of cheez-its in one sitting. A little backs story, I have a fantastic ability to blackout when I am distracted. Also, cheez-its, in general, are a “trigger” food for me. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe when I was younger, my parents had a big fight while I was consuming cheez-its, and now they are a food that I lack a “stop” button for. Thanks, Mom. While I have done a lot of work to fix my relationship with food, here I was in a deep convo, navigating my way to the bottom of the box.

The win from this is that even though I crushed a shit ton of cheez-its, I was able to leave it at that. The old old me would have finished the box since I’d already “done so much damage”  Or thrown away the rest of the day, week, month (you name it).  And let’s not talk about the mental beat down I’d give myself for the act—>this causes significantly more damage than the trigger or the act, which is why course correction is so freakin huge. I can not stress that enough.

Your homework this week is to take a few minutes to write down  TWO things that trigger a habit you would like to improve on.  Maybe even share them with the FB group if you feel comfortable:)