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One day my co-worker and I were having a conversation about managing our diets, and he said, “Melle, once pasta touches my lips, no matter how much of it I have, I can’t stop eating.”  He went on to tell me how pasta makes him feel out of control. It was so funny to hear him say this.  Especially since he’s been in health and fitness for over 25 years. At one point in his life, he even used to body build at a high level.  So, the idea of pasta being his diet kryptonite made me laugh out loud.  Once I calmed down, I began thinking about the one food, that even if consumed in a small amount, still sends me into Tasmanian Devil mode.

That food is Lifesaver Gummies. OMG! It feels like the minute I taste one of those gooey, chewy, mouthwatering gummies all the cravings I’ve been fighting come flooding back leaving me powerless against them.  After I have them, my sugar craving increases and I am unable to satisfy it.  Before I know it, I’m in a food coma feeling miserable about all the damage I’ve done.

The key to keeping this from happening is knowing what your trigger food or trigger drink is so that you can avoid it at all cost!  The truth is that you must stay far away from any trigger food, even on cheat days.  Before you can do that, you need to know what your triggers are.

Pinpointing Your Triggers

It’s a trigger if it makes you:

  • Eat or drink a large amount of it nonstop
  • Never feel satisfied or content after consuming it
  • Crave additional foods
  • Feel more emotionally satisfied than other foods or drinks that you consume
  • Unable to resist it

Now, have you thought of a food or drink that fits the above description?  If so, it’s okay.  You just need to know how to keep your triggers in check.

Managing Your Triggers 

  • Don’t keep it in the house {Out of sight, Out of mind}
  • Don’t lie to yourself and say you’ll only have a little bit
  • Don’t consume it in a social setting. {Avoid Peer Pressure}
  • Avoid any sensory stimuli

There is also another way to manage your trigger; it’s called a buffer food.

During our conversation, my co-worker told me about buffer foods and how he uses them to curb his pasta cravings.  These foods usually aren’t healthy and typically fall outside of your diet and macros; however, when you have them, the food or drink will satisfy the craving WITHOUT causing you to binge, and even a small amount will leave you feeling fulfilled.

My buffer food is ice-cream! I can have one serving size, and it WILL satisfy the remaining cravings. It leaves me feeling content, and then I’m able to get right back on track with my diet program. I am amazed at how trigger and buffer foods never crossed my mind before I had this conversation with my co-worker.  I now realize that it’s important to know what both your triggers and buffers are.

Pinpointing Your Buffer

It’s a buffer if it:

  • Isn’t an uncontrollable craving
  • Doesn’t cause other poor eating or drinking decisions
  • Isn’t the food or drink you desire when you’re emotional.
  • Satisfies the initial craving and allows you to get right back on track

When you are focused on staying true to your diet program (fat loss or bulk), you must make some food sacrifices—especially foods that send you spiraling down an unhealthy path. I recommend keeping a diary of your cravings. It will show patterns, and you will soon learn which foods are triggers.

Cheat meals should consist of buffer foods, so they can treat you to a job well done without destroying all your hard work.  Over time, as you become stronger mentally, you might be able to covert a trigger food into a buffer food. This will happen once you gain more self-control and can resist the trigger food. For instance, bread used to be a trigger for me. But with time, I was able to eat smaller amounts and still feel content; therefore, it is now a buffer food.

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