Keeping Trigger Foods Around

If you struggle with your weight, overeating or sugar cravings, you most certainly have one or more trigger foods. These are the foods that once you begin eating them, you have such a tough time stopping.

Remember the Lays® potato chip commercial from many years ago? “I bet you can’t eat just one?” Potato chips are loaded with salt and fat, two of the ingredients that light up the reward center in our brain, releasing feel-good neurotransmitters. Lays® knew that! And they knew many people were highly sensitive to that release of neurotransmitters and indeed, could not eat just one!

So how do you manage your trigger foods? Does it mean you can never eat your beloved cookie dough ice cream again? NO! Any deprivation long-term just increases cravings. First, make a list of all your trigger foods. Awareness is key. You hear me say that all the time.

Next, follow the 90/10 rule. Eat foods that nourish your body 90% of the time and leave 10% of the time for the non-nourishing, but enjoyable foods.

Next, do not buy a package or big container to bring home in the hopes that you will dole it out a little at a time. That is usually a big FAIL.

If at all possible, go out for your treat and buy the single serving to enjoy while out. An ice cream cone is a perfect example. If it does not come in a single serving, buy the smallest possible size. YES, even if it is more expensive. Which is more valuable, your body, or your money? Take it home and immediately divide it up into single size portions and seal each container well. Freeze the others, if possible.

If you know you will just eat the other single servings you saved later that day, give them away! Sharing your food love will save you.

When you do eat your trigger food in it’s single serving size, don’t feel guilty and don’t rush through it. Sit down, take your time and savor each bite. If you are still having difficulty, check out my online e-course: Savor Each Bite

Beautiful woman eating a delicious ice cream on a hot day

Halloween and Sugar Cravings

Although I am well aware of the strong influence of sugar on the reward center in our brain, I am not a believer in banning all sugar. It just causes more cravings. Allowing sugar, on your terms is the way to manage eating sweets without having a candy binge.

Every store is filled with many kinds of Halloween candies now. If you are visually cued (and many of us are), this is tough to pass up. So here are a few tips to get you through the Trick-or-Treat season:

  1. Don’t stock up in advance. Wait until right before Halloween to buy your candy. They might not have your favorites… exactly!
  2. That leads me to the next… buy the candy you least like. It’s not for you. It’s for the trick-or-treaters.
  3. But, carefully choose something you do like, maybe one regular-sized candy bar or a small bag of fun-sized bars. This is your treat to savor on Halloween.
  4. If you have children, model savoring one piece slowly and putting the rest away for another time. Remind your children (and yourself) that treats are okay when you eat nourishing food too.
  5. If past memories of Halloween bring back bingeing on mounds of candy, remind yourself to stay in this present moment and truly enjoy your chosen candy. Open up the wrapper slowly, smell the aroma, put it in your mouth and slowly savor that morsel of sweetness.
  6. And as always, don’t settle. Don’t pick a Milky Way when you really want a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. That doubly goes for mindlessly eating Nerds because your child left them on the counter. Out of sight, out of mind. Put the leftovers away.

This marks the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a time for fun, joy, family and friends. I will be giving you tips and advice to get through the season, filled with an abundance of food. If you have a particular question, concern or holiday eating problem, you can send me a message in the box below and I will answer it in a future blog post. Anonymously, of course. 




Don’t Eat After Dinner: Myth?

If you have ever been concerned about your weight, you have certainly heard this rule, “Don’t eat after dinner.” The rationale used was that we are less active in the evening and everything we eat would turn to fat. Really?

Well, here’s some good news for you, if you ever went to bed hungry, with a gnawing feeling in your tummy because it was 11:30 and you ate an early dinner at 5:00. Eating in the evening does not cause weight gain. What does cause weight gain is the type of food you eat.

Being tired is a trigger for many to eat comfort foods. So you may be more likely to grab sugary snacks or salty chips. They are typically empty calories, meaning they are not giving your body what it’s asking for… fuel. If your are getting hunger signals, your body wants food- whole food that nourishes it.

So, the next time you are really, truly hungry in the evening, reach for a small snack that will give your body just what it needs. Also, make sure your evening meal has protein, veggies and no or minimal processed foods. We metabolize processed foods very quickly.

Here are some suggestions for an evening snack:

  1. graham crackers and nut butter (peanut, almond or sunflower)
  2. plain or vanilla yogurt with berries or sliced bananas
  3. cantaloupe half filled with cottage cheese
  4. whole grain cracker and couple of slices of cheese
  5. small handful of almonds and orange

Do you see a pattern here? A protein and fiber food in a small but satisfying amount. It takes a while to metabolize food, so don’t eat and hop right into bed because the digestion process can disrupt your sleep. Have your snack at least an hour before bed.

And if you’ve been active during the day, having a small nutritious snack (if you’re really hungry) will not add on pounds. Eating 2 bowls of ice cream a half hour after dinner will! Remember, eating only when hungry and stopping as soon as you are mildly full prevents weight gain… not the time on the clock. If you’d like to get more tips like this, sign up to the right to get them delivered to you email inbox about once a month. Cheese And Cracker Collection Studio

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Couch Potatoes Take Note

I am the first to admit that some days, I just don’t feel like exercising but couch potatoes take note of this info. If you decide that you want to eat less high-calorie, high-sugar foods, get off the couch.

According to the authors of this study, there is a correlation between the amount of exercise per week and the response of the food-related brain regions to high-calorie foods. Those that had higher levels of exercise responded less to images of high-calorie food. Not so with those that did little exercise.

We know that we are visually cued to eat even when we’re not hungry (those of us that are emotional eaters), so if you are a couch potato, you increase your chances of eating those cookies your co-worker brings in to work. But if you take a 20-minute brisk walk everyday, you’re more likely to say “no thanks”.

For all of my couch loving friends, don’t feel overwhelmed by this study. Make a decision to increase you activity by baby steps each day. Set you phone top go off every 30-minutes. Then get up off the couch and:

  1. Do arm stretches, leg stretches and shoulder shrugs
  2. Try 3 simple yoga positions
  3. Walk for 10 minutes
  4. Get a pedometer and add steps each day
  5. Dance like no one’s watching (no one is)
  6. If you can’t leave where you are, march in place
  7. Jump rope
  8. Hula hoop- can you still swing those hips?
  9. Lift some light weights (soup cans to begin)

It doesn’t matter what movement you do, just get up and move. Make it fun, something to get the blood pumping and the oxygen flowing. Studies have shown that too much sitting is linked to earlier death. So… get up and move! Less cravings for high-calorie foods and you’ll live longer. A win-win.

And if you’re looking for other ways to beat those sugar cravings, go to the right of this page and sign up for my free download, 5 Ways to Beat Sugar Cravings.