Trigger Points

trigger pointsEver find yourself snacking mindlessly?  Or starting to crave junk food at the same time every day?  One thing I’ve realized in my life, is that there are certain trigger points/times in my day when eating healthy can be tough.  I bet if you think about it and really analyze your past week, you might find the same thing happening to you.  There are most likely times of the day or situations where you tend to lack self control or cravings just become strong, and that’s what I mean when I’m talking about trigger points.

What Do Trigger Points Look Like?

I think trigger points can look different depending on the person.  Generally, they seem to either be time driven or emotion driven.  Some people might deal with both, or maybe you don’t really struggle with either.  But my point is that it can look different for everyone.   For me, I know I deal with both.

I always workout early in the morning, so for the first part of the day it’s pretty easy to stay on track.  I don’t want to waste all that hard work, right?  But I know when it gets later in the day, and specifically right when I get home from work, I often find that I really just want to snack.  I know I should just be making dinner and wait to eat then, but for whatever reason, my body really wants to eat then.  And it’s really easy to eat 300-400 calories pretty quick and blow my nutrition for the whole day.

Emotions also play a factor for me.  I know when I get really stressed or really tired my sweet tooth can kick in.  Or I’ll find myself looking for just anything to eat, even though I know I’m not very hungry.  These are tough situations too, because they can really come up at any time and can be tough to shake.

Tips to Help Deal With these Situations

The first step in dealing with the “trigger points” is to look at your day/week and really analyze where your trouble spots are.  Sometimes we’re just on auto-pilot and don’t really pay attention to what’s going on.  So at first, you might not even notice what times of day or emotions are driving you to eat.  It took me a little while to figure it out.  That’s why I put on 20 lbs my first year out of college.  But once you do find those times or emotions that cause you to eat you can combat that.

My first piece of advice is to swap your bad snacks for good ones.  I used to snack on pita chips and hummus right after I got home from work all the time.  I realized that the amount I was eating was causing me to have at least another 250 calories to my day if not more.  Really chips of any kind add up fast.  If you snack on chips, check out the bag and look at what a serving size really is.  When eating out of a big bag, it’s incredibly easy to eat 2 or 3 servings.  So what did I do instead?  I would cut up cucumbers and eat them with hummus.  It gives me some crunch which I like and can still enjoy my hummus.  But cutting out the chips is waaaay healthier.  So if you’re still going to snack at a certain time, just find healthier options that won’t blow your calorie budget for the day.

Also, sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just dehydrated.  So if you think you’re hungry, first try drinking a whole glass of water.  I bet you’ll find pretty frequently that it makes your hunger go away.  One thing I do every day is cut up some lemon or lime and infuse my water with it.  It actually helps curb my sweet tooth and makes drinking water more enjoyable.  It’s a really easy way to make your water taste a little better without artificial sweeteners!

Lastly, when emotions are driving you to eat, you need to distract yourself from that.  Choose a different way to deal with the emotions than eating.  Eating can sound really appealing, but you usually end up feeling worse than you did when you started.  So recognize why you think you want to eat a big bowl of ice cream, and substitute that with something else.  Go for a walk, talk to a friend, read a book, etc.  Whatever it is, find something else that can help you de-stress or deal with the emotional state you’re in with healthy options.

I definitely deal with this so I figured other people do too.  One big reason I wanted to discuss it was that I know many people have trouble losing weight.  This could be the issue.  You workout and eat pretty healthy, but snacking might be just pushing you over your calorie limit.  And when that happens on a regular basis you’re not going to make the progress you want.  So if you’ve been struggling to lose weight, really think about what your trigger points might be and learn how to combat them!



  1. […] of my posts this week was pretty timely considering our nutrition challenge.  It’s titled Trigger Points and it’s really talking about those times of the day or emotional situations that just make […]

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