How can I avoid foods that trigger overeating?

Katie Rickel, PhD
Most people have what I call a “trigger hierarchy,” a way to rank tempting foods from “impossible to resist” to “acceptable to turn down.” You need to be eating foods that are appealing and appetizing, but you may choose to exclude the foods at the top of that hierarchy if they are just too difficult to manage. These would be foods that you have difficulty limiting in quantity or foods that trigger other cravings.

Personally, I decided long ago that keeping peanut butter in my home is a setup for disaster because I have trouble eating it in reasonable amounts. Do I feel deprived of peanut butter? No way. I am just choosing not to fight that battle; since it is my choice, I remain feeling empowered and in control of my food decisions.

Your weight management efforts should never feel like punishment. Quite the opposite: Making decisions about your food that will bring you closer to your larger life goals can be a rewarding and fulfilling pursuit. If you focus on foods that you enjoy, allow yourself some wiggle room on occasion, and make conscious decisions about staying away from foods that cause you more grief than pleasure, you will never feel deprived. Make your own rules in this game, and you increase your chances of winning.
Most people have "trigger foods" that they tend to overeat when given the opportunity. Figure out what your triggers are, and try to keep them out your house. Some common trigger foods include potato chips, chocolate, ice cream, and white bread.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

First you have to identify what foods are trigger foods. Trigger foods are foods that set you off on an overeating binge. Many times processed refined sweets are a problem. For others it can be salty, crispy fried foods or any food that once you start eating you cannot stop until you are stuffed. Skipping meals and allowing yourself to be really hungry can set off overeating too. Keep a food journal. This will help you identify foods that set off overeating. Once you know what sets you off, you will have to make a conscious effort to avoid them. Eating more whole foods that are full of fiber can also help eliminate over eating.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.