Circumstantial Triggers

   How do you react to sudden, unexpected “events” in your life?
For some, these “events” – whether good or bad – can trigger an impulse in us to eat. 
   For example, if our boss gave us an unexpected bad review, we could take that home with us and eat over it. Or maybe we got stuck in a traffic jam and were late for an important meeting. The frustration with this has the potential to stay with us all day. What if we had a fight with our spouse that morning, or experienced any other unexpected unpleasant situation out of our control? Is the food a stress-reliever for you in these situations?
   When we are caught off-guard with life’s “bumps in the road”, and if we already have a tendency to abuse the food, then any food can become a trigger, and this is a circumstantial trigger. 
   Circumstantial triggers can cause overeating of any type of food, leading to a portion control problem. And this problem can be more of a behavioral issue rather than a substance one – or, it can be both, depending on what food is consumed. In either case, if we are prone to reacting to these events by overeating, then what we really need to do here is recognize our emotion preceding the first bite and then deal with the situation differently.
   Here is an exercise: take a moment to list at least two circumstantial triggers you have had recently, that you ate over.  Simply becoming aware of the things that bother you will be your first step in overcoming the tendency to eat over them. Listing these triggers will become red flags for you to recognize, so that in the future, you can avoid getting into trouble with the food.