It is the final week of the 8 week challenge, and I hope everyone has gotten enlightenment in some area or another. I've had many different comments about each week and I appreciate all the feedback. Thank you all so much for following and supporting my blog. This week I want to talk to you about triggers when it comes to eating. Triggers are feelings, situations, events, etc, that propel you into an episode of disorderly eating. Triggers can cause you to either overeat or under eat, fear food, love food, use food as a drug, or use food as an excuse. Triggers come in all forms because they are different for everyone. They are dependant on circumstance, history of the individual, and time of occurrence.
Everyone has triggers, not just with food, but within life. For example, the feelings of anxiety may trigger an alcoholic to drink, or the situation of eating a meal may trigger a smoker to want a cigarette after. Christmas time may trigger an individual to eat baked goods, or the event of a wedding may trigger feelings of loneliness. There are thousands of triggers and they all mean something different to each individual. When it comes to eating, it is imperative that you know your own personal triggers.
When I was in the 5th year of my eating disorder, I finally started to get acquainted with my very own triggers. I finally started making the correlation between specific feelings or events that triggered me into either binging or severely restricting food. As I started to connect the dots, true healing started because true self discovery started. Instead of pushing my feelings down or to the side, I started to deal with them instead of turning to or away from food as a form of control.
The feelings that trigger most of the clients and people that I have counselled are the following: anxiety, fear, doubt, inadequacy, guilt, shame, loneliness, hate, lack of purpose, and excitement. Of course there are many others, but these seem to be the reoccurring ones. When these feelings come up, it is important then to counteract them before an episode of disorderly eating commences. How do you counteract a trigger though, especially when you are in the thick of a specific feeling or event?
1. Breathe- First I tell my clients to breathe. Because the stress response occurs in the body when any of the above mentioned feelings come up, breathing will help your body to "calm down" and help you think more clearly and rationally. And because increased oxygen means more oxygen to the brain, you will also be able to problem solve more efficiently.
2. Pause- Stop whatever it is that you're doing, and let yourself process what's happening in or around you.
3. Feel- Let yourself feel emotion. It is familiar with human beings to not feel what they're feeling. "Suck it up, stiffen your upper lip, or be a big girl and don't cry" are sayings we know too well. When you don't let yourself feel the emotions that come up, that energy will be directed elsewhere and manifest in different (and usually not optimal) ways.
4. Know- Know that every feeling or situation eventually passes. Some may take longer than others, but eventually, all things comes to an end. Deeply knowing this will help you get through an episode when a trigger sets you off.
5. Experience- Experience every aspect of the emotions that come up. Experiencing is different from feeling in the sense that through experience we gain a greater understanding of our situation, and feeling we gain a greater understanding of our innerman, or our soul. When you experience something, your eyes open a little wider, and see a little broader than before. When you truly feel something, you're then able to empathise with yourself or others more effectively.
6. Let go- After all is said and done, we eventually have to let go and move on. Like letting go of a loved one that's passed away, or a friendship that's ended, we need to let go of the feelings that control us and hold us back from moving into freedom. If you do not let learn to let go of fear, anxiety, loneliness, the feelings of inadequacy, or any other trigger you may have, you will never win the battle with food which starts as a battle in your mind.
I trust that each one of you reading this will get through your battle with food and into successful eating. Like always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me!